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

“You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”  Deut 4:2 NKJV

“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.  And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.  For if our heart condemns us, God is greater that our heart, and knows all things.  Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.  And whatever we ask we receive from Him,  because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.  And this is His commandment; that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.” 1Jn 3:18-23 NKJV

‘But if the seed is the word, then every preacher must make sure he uses good seed. “It is a high offense against God to change the Master’s seed, mix it, or to sow bad seed in the place of it.” (Clarke)

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There is never a day we don’t need Truth…

There was a day that King David did the thing…

– He stayed at home when he should have been out at battle

– He saw Bathsheba and decided to take her, which set in motion a course of adultery, murder, and a way in opposition to God.

– Yet in 1Sam 13:14 God is looking for a man after His own heart, and later in Acts 13:22 David is declared by God to be that man “after My own heart, who will do all My will.”

WHAT HAPPENED?

The Prophet Nathan is sent to King David to confront him and speak truth.

– Nathan presents a story of a small precious lamb which gives David understanding of his despicable role when Nathan declares, “You are the man!” (Not in a good way!)

– Nathan further confronts David by inquiring, “Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight?”

– Nathan then shares with David the cost of his actions

– David recognizes his sin…and repents

– He is forgiven, but the consequences of his sin will persist

         — War will forever be in his house

         — His child with Bathsheba is taken in death

         — His sin and its repercussions will be known

         — Adversity will be towards David from his own family

         — It will all be seen by all of Israel (what David did in secret now God will do before all Israel)

         — David reveals the depth of his repentance and brokenness in Ps 51:17

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart…”

Brokenness and Heart conviction usher in new heart soil…

Your heart becomes a heart after God’s when the nature of the soil in your heart is renewed in truth by the Word of God, and you now see truth and believe truth in the way God intends through His Word. Old things have gone, behold all things are new.  But you have to work to keep them new…

When you plant new plants, I have found it is not good to use old soil.  It is generally depleted of nutrients, and probably contains bugs and fungi that will gladly attack your garden plants (been there, done that, got the tee-shirt).

Like the parable of the sower in Mark 4 shows, the thing that is different between the situations is the soil…not the seed.

The seed is the Word of God, and it is ever constant… ever the same. It is settled in heaven.  However, that is not true if you are receiving seed (concepts, doctrine, teachings as truth which are not part of God’s doctrine.

So again, in the parable of the sower the soil differs greatly: soil of the wayside; soil on stony ground; soil among thorns; soil of good ground.

Only the soil that is described as good ground is able to yield any crops at all.  Likewise, only the believer’s heart that has soil which is continually being replenished and enriched by the Word, which is also subject to brokenness and willing to be humbled to confess sin, is soil that will yield crops for the Kingdom of God.

This is not a one time deal either.  This is a way of a lifetime…

     – a time of composting and turning the soil of your heart

     – a time of weeding out lies, deception, bad doctrine, and consecrating the ground of your heart for God’s purposes

     – a time of purifying your heart soil by being sensitive to the finger of the Holy Spirit indicating problem areas in attitude, disposition, or behavior.

     – a time of reseeding your heart with truth that no bad seed of the enemy can take hold without notice

So, this is why we are called to guard our hearts above all that we guard, for out of it (the heart) spring the issues of life. (Prov 4:20-23)  The soil of our heart is God’s garden of truth that nourishes us and our brethren.

Once we become a believer, God gives us a new heart.  He takes away the heart of stone.  But the quality of the soil of our heart will determine our productivity and fruitfulness for the kingdom of God. The more responsive I remain to the Word of God, and to the correction of the Word or the Holy Spirit, the more I will cultivate a heart after God’s own heart.  Cultivating is something I am responsible for…

A heart after God’s heart is a heart that is tender to hear and does not harden itself into a place of pride and resistance, where I believe no error can be hosted in me.

Rather, this heart after God’s own heart sees the ease with which a heart can embrace faulty, soulish or even worldly thinking.  It is one that continues to view itself cautiously, asking God to know it, try it, and to see if there be any wicked way it it. This is why we need to be constantly in the Word, and having the Word constantly flowing through us.

Should there be a day that dawns, where I no longer actively guard my heart (and the quality of its soil), or I no longer am careful about the quality of seed that is sown in my heart (the unadulterated seed of the Word of God) – it is only a matter of time before I become open to sin and error.

It is what I truly believe in my heart, what attitudes and notions I believe are true that comprises the crop that I bring forward.  Sooner or later, the truth of what I believe will be known and observed.

David believed he could take a season off. He became indulgent in his thinking. Then he began to take notice of things around him, when he should have been on the battlefield.

This is Truth.  You are never not on a battlefield.  Even when touring the thoughts of your own heart, only a diet rich in the word and God’s presence will alert you to danger in the indulgence of your own thinking. I cannot police myself, but rather I submit to the searching and results of the Holy Spirit.

We each need to also become watchman of the walls of our heart, but not trusting in my ability or understanding – honestly this is a place where you never arrive.  You are never qualified to do open heart surgery on your own heart.  Only the Holy Spirit can perform that. You can either cooperate, or resist. But you cannot do…

The Heart After God’s own Heart

Loves!!! And is moved by God’s love!

Is truly teachable!

It is also tender, able to be moved.

It is accountable first to God, but also others that are God’s authorities.

None of us is an island to ourselves.

Look at King David – he listened to Nathan. Be open to Nathan’s in your life. There will never be a day when you have arrived and are all that…don’t kill the messenger, or harden your heart.

Look at the cost to King Uzziah when he became prideful.  Great King, but dire consequences entered in when he forgot his position and presumed himself qualified to offer sacrifice to God. Leprosy sprung upon him.

Here is the warning from the word of God about remaining open and especially humble concerning your own understanding.

Take heed what you hear.  With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given.  For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away.” Mark 4:24-25

What is the size of the entrance that the light of Christ has (wisdom, spiritual knowledge) to enter in and change your thinking?  I’m not talking about a novel idea here, I’m talking about the ability of the Word of God to make entrance and change your perspective.  To bring forth a spirit of repentance…to to turn you from dark to light.  Is the Holy Spirit still given access?

The quickest way to start a downward trend of erosion in your relationship with God is to become closed to greater light. We have to learn to hold the reigns of control and self-confidence in our understanding lightly.  None of us ever corner the market on Biblical truth and understanding. God is ever desiring to take the edge off our dullness, off our small grasp of His perspective, His bigger plan, and His even bigger heart.

You may be seeing in a glass darkly, but God can bring illumination that is needed to represent Him.

What to Trust

Today, increasingly, we are seeing the product of bad (seed) doctrine cropping up in the Body of Christ. Worldliness, indulgence, hard attitudes, self-importance, and entitlement are invading the Body.  Some of this doctrine is subtle in its error, other is not.

In the next few posts I will examine some error coming to the surface which threatens our understanding of God and even Who He defines Himself to be…according to the Word.

Stay tuned. Ask God to check your soil…

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“Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” Ps 119:89

“But instead warn (admonish, urge, and encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called Today, that none of you may be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [by the fraudulence, the stratagem, the trickery which the delusive glamour of his sin may play on him].” Heb3:13 AMP

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Settled into rebellion!  That was the problem with King Saul.  To have a heart full of rebellion and stubbornness is one thing…

To have a heart settled in that condition is quite another thing… and is a condition where repentance will not move your heart any longer.

You have chosen a particular way, or course, or attitude, or end goal over and over.  To have that end, that result which has been elusive has become the most important thing.  Your hands have gripped it so hard in your posture, you are not going to let go now.

In fact, the enemy has campaigned in your thinking, that your strategy to persist and hold on is actually an honorable thing.  But in truth, when the thing you pursue is out of the will of God what you are persisting in is stubbornness and rebellion.

King Saul was told, “…rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry…” 1Sam 15:23.  We are generally familiar with the whole witchcraft part of that verse, but we also often fail to apprehend the idolatry part. Idolatry – the deifying of self, making yourself your own God.

This is what happens when we won’t give over our opinions, plans, sense of correctness, desires or goals, or hungers, or sins over to God.  They begin to rule over us, and we become deceived…

James 1:22 talks about this in terms of obeying the Lord’s message, not being merely a listener – but being a doer as well. To be only a listener, as King Saul was, means you betray yourself into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth.  King Saul reasoned contrary to the Truth.

Truth said: “Kill all the Amalekites, all their people, herds, even children and babies.”

Saul said, “I am saving the best for a sacrifice to the Lord (and I have the support of the people).”

This is very dangerous to be so self-assured.  But it is fatal in the worst sense to be “settled’ in this self-assuredness!!!

It means you have chosen to be settled against God!

Settledness is also often rendered as hardened in the Bible.  King Saul had allowed and chosen to become hardened in his opinions that were adversarial to God’s.  This was to his detriment and ultimate destruction. But it also the same for anyone who persists in their own course.

Deut 10:16 says, circumcise the foreskin of your minds and hearts and no longer be stubborn or hardened.

Proverbs 28:14 says, blessed is the man who reverently fears the Lord but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

Proverbs 29:1 says, he who being often reproved hardens his neck shall suddenly be destroyed – and that without remedy.

To be settled is important, but to be settled like the word of God which is settled in heaven is the wise course. It is the course of Life abundant. To be settled along these lines means you are in submission and aligned in obedience to what the word says and required. You are not in rebellion or stubbornness opposing what it requires. Especially not opposing what it instructs as the way to believe and think.

You see, before King Saul ever disobeyed in his conduct, he had already entertained disobedience in his heart.  It was that disobedience that he justified over and over, that caused him to become settled in rebellion and stubbornness.

How about you?

Do you recognize the imprints of stubbornness and idolatry in your own heart? Is there something you are wrestling with God about, determined to have your own way no matter what the cost?  Maybe it is a relationship that you are stubbornly pursuing, even to your own harm?  Or is it a habit that you know you should give up?  This day, give that thing over to the Lord! Do not continue another day into the path of becoming settled in rebellion!!! Turn today!

In the most graphic terms, fighting for our way is like the dog who returns to his vomit. Is that what you want to end up with? Lay it before Him now.  Do it.  Ask Him to help you repent, and to be settled like the word rather than be settled into stubbornness and rebellion.

I pray you do it today…

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“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed –“ 2Cor 4:8-10 NKJV

“And he said, ‘Who are you?’ So she answered, I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.’” Ruth 3:9

Where you are safe!

Chances are you are feeling cooped up! A little constrained. Maybe even “hemmed in’’ by the current state of affairs nationally and globally.

But I want you to know, this state of things is no surprise to the Lord.  In fact, He has known every facet of this day and each day of your life, before it ever was. (Ps 139:16)

So, movement seems curtailed. Life put in a strait jacket of sorts, but look at the perspective the disciple Paul shares with us from 2Corinthians, and then a little about being safe under the Lord’s wing.

Paul describes here a corridor of movement for the Lord’s people.

They are hard-pressed … times and treatment are difficult for various reasons.

But they are not crushed!

They are slightly confused about all that is taking place and the reasons for it. So they are perplexed.

But they are not in despair.

The circumstances they face is bringing persecution.

But they are not forsaken…

They can even describe the hard knocks and blows as being struck down…

But they are not destroyed!

In short, in the times Paul described, and even now for us, we are constrained and life even curtailed.  But in being constrained – we are constrained in and by the Lord’s Love. His Love is and should be controlling, and urging, and impelling us! (2Cor 5:14)

Just like the picture above of the chicken tunnel, we are able to move but only as the tunnel allows. Take that as the Lord’s Sovereign hand of control and protection!

As you submit willingly to His hand of control, you willingly also abide in the secret place of safety under the covering of His divine wing or garment. (Ps 91:1)

The word for wing used in Ruth 3:9 is “kanaph.” It means wing, extremity, edge, winged, border, corner, shirt, skirt, corner (of garment).  It is in fact referring to the corner or fringe or hem of the tallit or prayer shawl that was worn by Hebrew men in the Old Testament.  Jesus Himself had such a garment and wore it.

So it is no surprise that Boaz, in the story of Ruth (as her Kinsmen-Redeemer and ours), also wears such a garment. It is being used here to cover Boaz as he sleeps. Ruth covers herself with it as she lays at his feet in the threshing floor scene.

The fascinating thing about the tallit is the fringes, or corners, were braided and knotted tassel like ropes. There were 613 of the fringes that corresponded to the oral laws that were given to Moses on Mt Sinai.

Just think of it… as Jesus Christ walked the earth, you had the Word Incarnate – Jesus, wearing a tallit with its tsitzit (the tassels or cords), being Himself submitted to the terms of the Law – even though He came in fulfillment of that very same Law! He wore and walked out for you and I, a perfect obedience and fulfillment to the Law because of His authority and because of His own submission to the Father. (Heb 10:7 & 9)

This is what Ruth was asking. She was asking to be covered by Boaz’s tallit, specifically to come under the protection of his authority – which was symbolic for the Lord’s authority in the greater perspective. She was looking for redemption and salvation from her Moabite heritage. She was looking for an entrance into the tribe of God and a place to belong. But she was also looking for a covering of protection and a place to walk in fellowship in family and the provision that could be supplied there. She was asking to belong to God and the people of God, and to not lack any good thing. And she was willing to abide there, even under the constraints that were for her safety and that of others. To be obedient, in other words…

It is in that very place – under the covering of the Lord, under His wing, where we abide in His authority, protection and safe-guarding, and under the banner of His name.

So how did Ruth, a Moabitess of scorned heritage, enter the fellowship of the people of God, and take her place under the tallit of Boaz, covered by his protection and authority?

She first submitted to Naomi’s council, walked out in obedience her direction, came before Boaz and asked for his covering, with every intention of complying and abiding there.

It is no different for us today. You can know this place of safety and protection in the same way, but you must be willing to accept the council of the word of God, walk in obedience to it, come before the Lord asking for His covering, with every intention of complying and abiding there – with His help.

May you find this place today!

 

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“…The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” Rom 10:8 NKJV

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Heb 11:1 NKJV

“…the just shall live by faith…”  Heb 9:38 NKJV

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the the word of God.”  Rom 10:17 NKJV

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What I am about to share comes as a product of having just taught a 13 week Sunday School class on, Investigating the Bible.

I am forever changed…

I was curious for certain. Bible history, nor history in general, is not my strength. But I was ignorant of how our Bible had come into its present form.  Seemed like a good thing to teach.

For the purpose of this writing, I can’t possibly compress 13 hours of teaching into one short blog post.  But I hope what I do share here you will further investigate … like a Berean. You can start with Chuck Missler’s videos on You Tube: How we go our Bible…

Let’s just jump in then, shall we…

I want to focus here on just the New Testament.  The Old Testament has arrived current day under the watchful eye of dedicated Scribes, then detailed servants called Masoretes, who were guardians of the Word and diligent copyists and brought it forward to roughly 1008 A.D. to the last codex written by the ben Asher scribes. Through the 12th C. these scribes of the ben Asher family line provided the only recognized form of the Hebrew Scriptures. Thus, from the Law being first given on Sinai, to the Pentateuch, to books being added through the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, The Septuagint (Greek Old Testament), to the Rabbinic Bibles of the 1500’s and later to the 1937 3rd Edition Biblia Hebraica, The Old Testament has been a guarded, well-protected whole.

Not quite the same story for the New Testament.

First let me say, thank God there is more manuscript support for the New Testament than for any other body of ancient literature.

There are multitudes of New Testament source items (some fragments – not complete works) on Papyri and parchment, which tend to be fragile and do not stand wear and tear of handling and time. But we swim in a veritable ocean of papyri, collections, The Dead Sea Scrolls, and fragments all pertinent to the New Testament. Some of these are dated to within a lifetime of the events they describe.  There is great assurance now that the New Testament parchments themselves were all written before A.D. 80.

Thankfully we also have many many quotes from early church fathers as they quoted and discoursed over the word. That is a gift that has made such insights as I will share possible.

So for instance, for writings of those early church fathers you have the writings of Clement (who was a companion of Peter and Paul). You also have writings of Polycarp (who was a pupil of John and bishop of Smyrna). You have writings of Ignatius, (also  pupil of John and bishop of Antioch) who wrote Seven Epistles. You also have Justin Martyr and many others.

These Apostolic Fathers were writing and sharing during the period of the early church, roughly 91-160A.D.. Their discourses provide many lengthy quotations of the Apostles and their original writings, which provided a transmission of these works to others as instruction.

There were, however, three codices (manuscripts) that are from the 4th and 5th Century that are considered complete. These were the Alexandrian Codices, two of which (Vaticanus and Sinaiticus) figure heavily in the translation of our Bible today. They all come from Alexandria in Egypt, which was a major center of Greek thought and commerce.

So, this is the story concerning our New Testament and things you should know.

At the end of the 3rd C., Lucian of Antioch compiled the Greek text to create the primary standard throughout the Byzantine World (centered in Byzantium – not Rome).  Then from the 6th C. through the fourteenth centuries, the majority of the New Testament texts were produced in Byzantium and also in Greek.

Starting in the early 1500’s Desiderius Erasmus (a Dutchman) compiled a New Testament from these available Byzantine Greek New Testaments. His fifth edition text, in 1525, became the basis for the primary text of the Greek New Testament for translations like the 1611 King James Version. It was called the Textus Receptus (TR) or Received Text (RT).

The use of the Textus Receptus (the Erasmus New Testament) as the backbone and framework for the New Testament continued for the next three hundred years.

In the 19th century, with the release of the Alexandrian texts (Vaticanus and Sinaticus) to scholarly examination, there was a complete shift in veneration from the Textus Receptus to these older manuscripts. To wit, by 1881, we see the Westcott and Hort Greek New Testament being completed after 28 years of work.

What seems to be the problem you say?

While indeed “older manuscripts” the Alexandrian texts are considered riddled with omissions, copyist errors, but worse, they gave Westcott and Hort the inroad they desired to sway Christian doctrine away from themes they found offensive and difficult.

These two Anglican churchman, having been influenced by Gnostic heresies and New Age doctrines, had developed great contempt for the Textus Receptus and  wanted a way to downplay its doctrines of:

– Bible history concerning Creation, the Fall,

– the Resurrection and the Fall

– deity of Christ

– forgiveness of sins

– literal heaven and hell

and they decided this was a good time to offset these doctrines and shift them into Gnostic like heresies with New Age twists…

Westcott Horts’ defense was they were using the oldest complete manuscripts. Really, they were using corrupt manuscripts that gave them a license to skew doctrine. 

The proof is in the fact that early church father’s who had extensively quoted Scripture in their writings demonstrated the presence of Scripture that had been left out by Westcott Hort.  These Scriptures had been in earlier writings than the Alexandrian texts.

Just one example of this is Mark 16:9-20.  Justin Martyr refers to this passage in the middle of the 2nd century. In A.D. 180, Irenaeus quotes Mark 16:19 outright in a commentary… but it is likely your Bible copy says, “earlier manuscripts do not contain these passages.” Those earlier manuscripts would be referring to Alexandrian texts that Westcott and Hort used. But remember the Alexandrian texts dated back to the 4th and 5th centuries.  But there were in existence many sources quoting Scripture that themselves were dated prior to the 4th and 5th centuries.  These sources quoted Scripture passages like that in Mark 16:9-20, thus confirming they had been present before the Westcott Hort text was compiled, and eliminated them.

Thus, was born the age of one-thousand years of influence from Wescott and Hort to today!!!

You see… their Greek New Testament text completed in 1881, would become the standard for the work of the Anglo-American Revision Committee (1881-1885) and would become the basis for the 1901 American Standard Version.  This ASV text, would become the standard in American Seminaries across the nation… filling the hearts of hungry Bible students who would later fill America’s pulpits, and later preach the word to America’s heart (just not the whole council).

In the 1880’s we saw the industrial revolution, and Darwinism gain great influence, and the concept of evolution take hold in the seed bed of American thinking.

Who knows what might have been different for our Nation, had the corrupt influence of Westcott Hort not been allowed to flourish.

But here is the harsh reality. Every modern translation of the Bible since the 1900’s has been based on the Westcott Hort Greek Text!

My beloved Amplified Bible by Zondervan, the RSV, the NASB, The NIV, and the NLT all are based on the 1901 ASV.

Want to check your version? Look at the graphic below and if your version has been lined out in the same manner, it is not based on the Textus Receptus, but rather the Westcott Hort text.

Let’s not let the devil have the final say in America’s reading of the Word of God, but rather let us rise up and take hold of the full council of God that was originally given. If you want to make sure you have a Bible based on the Textus Receptus, you will need to secure a KJV, NKJV, a 1537 Matthew’s Bible (difficult to read because of the Olde English), 1539 Great Bible, 1560 Geneva Bible, 1833 Webster’s Bible, 1862 Young’s Literal Translation, or any Bible using the KJ or NKJ text.

But no matter what, read the footnotes and the bottom and find out what they mean. Get the whole council of God.

For faith comes by hearing… and hearing by the word of God!

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“ For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal ] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.”  Heb 4:12 AMP

“So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth; it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”  Is 55:11 AMP

“…and from His mouth there came forth a sharp two-edged sword, and HIs face was like the sun shining in full power at midday.”  Rev 1:16 AMP

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What is it that holds a sword together – intact. Is it attraction and cohesion of the molecules inherent to the sword?  Is is because the metal has been forged in fire?  Is it held together because of an assigned “identity?” – “We are sword.”

In your own body, there is information coded within your DNA that determines the cells role, place, identity, and even when that cell should die.

Back to the sword for a moment, imagine a day, when the sword molecules begin to have opinions about their roll, or position, or place.  It would usher in rebellion, mayhem, and a total failure of the integrity of the sword to be a sword. The overthrowing of their assignment to be a sword would cascade into dissolution, for rebellion is contagious.

Only when the molecules of the sword obey is there the strength and integrity of purpose to be wielded as a sword. Only when cohesion to their greater purpose grips them are they a force to reckon with.

And so it is with the Body of Christ, the Bride. For some two-thousand years there has been a call for assembly to the Bride, to be and become – the Bride which is the Body of Christ.

There are forces of opposition to this call of assembly which are external to the Bride and are of the enemy. But the word says, the enemy will not prevail against the church.  We can overcome him.

But the forces of opposition to this assembly call upon the Bride that are strongest, even stronger than the enemy’s power, are the internal forces of independence and self (flesh) within every member of the Bride.

We are like the molecules of the sword, before it submits to being a sword. We often refuse to know our place, or take our place, because we have not fully submitted to the One Who determines that place.

While Scripture depicts the Sword as ushering out of the mouth of God, it also says that the Spirit wields the Sword (Eph 6:17). Both of these pictures require obedience, unity, and integrity. We must become one with the Lord.

Until our own obedience to the Lord is complete – our unity and integrity as a force for the Kingdom of God will be lacking. Until we accept and submit to and take our proper place, we can not be wielded by the power of the Spirit.

In an individual body, when rebellion and dis-function persist, it results in disease and then death. It requires a “sword of surgery” or treatment to bring things into balance and alignment, and integrity.  Even then, what appears to be a loss of wholeness can arise.

So too then, the Sword of the Spirit is needed to assess light from dark in the Body of Christ, to separate them, even to the dividing of bone and marrow, soul and spirit.

When that has happened, the Bride and the Spirit can be one together in their song, “Even so come Lord Jesus come.” Maranatha. When this happens, we will be one with the Lord, and His purposes can come forward.

Saints, take your place…

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“For Yours is the Kingdom … and the power…” Mt 6:13

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Some people have said the heart wants what the heart wants, and we haven’t thought that a problem.

But do you understand… your heart’s desire un-submitted before God can be a great liability.  In fact it/they can draw you powerfully, into error, delusion, and destruction.

Think of it! You have a hunger for God!  For more of Him!  Be careful! There are ways that can be appropriately fulfilled. Ways that are pleasing to God.  And then there are ways that are not.

But the first thing, is to lay these desires for God, even your hunger to know Him more – before Him!!! Leave the satisfying of that desire in His hands! It is too powerful for you!

Even what seems like a virtuous desire, like wanting more of God can lead you astray.

It is here, in the power of your wanting more, that you must lay down even that desire – before God.  It must be brought captive to Him – to His obedience.

in fact, all your greatest desires, your greatest hopes, your most profound perceptions, your perfect ambitions for the Lord, your dreams, all that is the very best of you — must bow down and submit to the Lord, alongside all that is the worst of you, your greatest fears, greatest liabilities, greatest weaknesses…

Because it is all you – good and bad, nestled nicely in a skin package that you can not separate from fleshly motivations.  But the Lord can.

Left unchecked or un-submitted, your flesh can not just impact your soul motivation, but it can impact your spirit motivation as well.

People that have un-disciplined sensuality (think appetites/hunger) in their soulish thinking, can have it impact the spirit.  It is a lust that has been allowed to run rampant, has been attempted to be cleaned up, but has not been repented of, forsaken, or renounced.

It must be put off! It cannot be cleaned up as being profitable for God’s use.

This is the heart of hunger that will not submit, nor obey the Lord. Jude speaks about it. These people are always going after their own desires, controlled by passions (even disguised as passion for the Lord).

While they have professed Christ, they have never moved from being carnally minded and controlled by their flesh, to being controlled and led by the Spirit.

They have not learned to die to themselves and to put off the old nature. They put new clothes on their old man. Like new wine in old wineskins.

It comes out as error. People proclaim Christ yet embrace doctrines incompatible with Who He is or what He has said.

They look to New Age inclusions and practices, because while they profess hunger for God and having more of Him, they are really hungry for more of His power through any means. We live after all in an age of overreaching, that started when Satan first sought to overreach God Himself…

One of the most amazing yet haunting quotes I have ever read is from Watchman Nee:

God does not look at how fervently we preach the gospel or how willing we suffer for Him; He looks to see how obedient we are.  God’s kingdom begins when there is an absolute obedience to God – no voicing of opinions, no presenting of reasonings, no murmuring, no reviling….Wherever there is a church on this earth which truly obeys God’s authority, there is the testimony of the kingdom and there Satan is defeated.”

                             Spiritual Authority, p. 105

 

What is this saying to us today? It is not your hunger for more that moves God and dispells darkness. It is your obedience to God and His word that will usher in the kingdom and defeat Satan.

It is not about our passion for the Lord that Satan is defeated – it is about our submission to His ways that victory is brought in. It is in our full obedience that we profess our love for God and where His Kingdom is able to come in!

We are in a time when the cry is to experience God’s goodness and His power. We have become like addicts, junkies waiting for the next fix.

But that is not what He has called us to.

Paul said he apprehends that for which Christ has laid ahold of him…. not the thing which Paul hungers for.  But the thing for which God has laid hold of Paul!

Laying hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of us, coming along side the Lord and His plans, this is the Way of the Kingdom…

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“For you are still [unspiritual, having the nature] of the flesh [under the control of ordinary impulses]. For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men? 1Cor 3:3 AMP

“What is born of [from] the flesh is flesh [of the physical is physical]; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.”  Jn 3:6 AMP

“That each of you should know how to possess (control, manage) his own body in consecration (purity, separated from things profane) and honor, not [to be used] in the passion of lust like the heathen, who are ignorant of the true God and have no knowledge of His will … for God has not called us to impurity but to consecration [to dedicate ourselves to the most thorough purity. Therefore, whoever disregards (sets aside and rejects this) disregards not man but God, Whose [very] Spirit [Whom] He gives to you is holy (chaste, pure).” 1Thes 4:4-5,7-8 AMP

“[Strive to save] others, snatching [them] out of [the] fire; on others take pity [but] with fear, loathing even the garment spotted by the flesh and polluted by their sensuality.” Jude 1:23 AMP

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Do I fear my soul?

The question of whether I fear my soul is straightforward, however the answer is not – exactly.

I don’t fear my soul. I fear its independent and un-submitted activity, without obedience and reference to the Holy Spirit. My soul on its own is like the mind of the flesh defined in Romans 8:6 – sense and reason without the Holy Spirit which is death.

This is in contrast to the mind of the Spirit which is life and soul peace…

But let us explore the previous state a moment – the mind of the flesh which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:7 explains that the mind of the flesh is hostile to God.  Its thoughts are carnal, and its purposes are opposed to God for it does not submit itself to God’s Law for it cannot.  It is rebellious therefore to God.

When each of us was saved a process began of bringing light to our darkness. Ephesians describes our condition as, “For once you were darkness….” Eph 5:8.  All that we once were was darkness – that was our condition. But as our soul (will, intellect, and emotions) are freed to light by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit – then light expands within us.  It is a process where we submit our will, our thoughts, and emotions to come into agreement with God and no longer resist Him.

But where I retain independence and different ideas than what is presented by the word, I retain self thinking based on self truth – there, in that place, is an absense of light, and an absense of obedience and submission.  In that place, death still reigns and there is an absense of the Holy Spirit. There resides the mind of the flesh… independent of God.

This is why we must renew our minds daily with the word of God – to rout out darkness of fleshly thinking and any thought that exalts itself against the true knowledge of God (2Cor 10:5).

Sidebar:  There is a really intriguing book called “The Latent Power of the Soul” by Watchmen Nee.  In it he explains some very almost bizarre things, like where Extra Sensory Perception,  and some other psychological abilities come from – the soul. He further explains that these abilities were given to Adam to help him perform God’s call upon him to care for the garden.  But with Adam’s fall, and the way into the Garden shut these abilities of the soul were all as fallen as Adam himself, and thus forbidden. The reason being, their entire operation would be thus totally independent from God and in operation as fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

With the coming of Christ and rebirth came a parallel of giftings now under the leading of the Holy Spirit. Now came words of knowledge, gifts of healings, wonder working power all sourced by the Holy Spirit.

The major warning of this book however, is how in the last days (now) men will be deceived and believe they are working under the Spirit’s power, but really Satan will have confused them into stirring up the latent power of their souls. The end result of this is, Satan wins in bringing many under condemnation and death because of their independent and rebellious action (think Balaam and Balak and bringing the Israelites under God’s wrath). Believers will believe they are operating under the power of the Holy Spirit, but they will actually be operating under there own soulish power.

This sums up why our independent, soulish thinking is so dangerous. It results in death. Galatians 6:7-8 is very clear.  Whatever a man sows, that and only that is what he will reap.

For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”  Gal 6:8

Now in the last days, apostasy ( a falling away) happens so that people who once looked like they were followers of Christ instead fall away and are taken captive in deception…

This is what we are seeing even today as people are embracing doctrines that are expressly against the truth of the word of God. Bizarre practices are arising in many quarters where people who once appeared as strong believers are pursuing power and energy and ability regardless of its source and throwing all caution to the wind.

This is a sensuality of the spirit. Where once sensuality was a matter of the flesh and gratifying its demands, now it has taken and polluted even the spirits of these who pursue such gratification disguised as spiritual hunger. It is in fact spiritual, but it is not Godly, nor is it holy.

Have you heard about practices of “grave soaking?” Have you heard of people “activating angels? Have you heard teaching that no longer focuses on a life lived for Christ, but rather calls you to “take the city” or take kingdom dominion now in government, entertainment, or arts, or any other of seven mountains? Have you heard people disdain end times teachings on the rapture, or totally dismissed the need for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, which Scripture itself presents as the Promise of the Father? Beware!

Here is a pivotal truth. Corruption begins in the heart – this is where it radiates from, but a constantly renewed mind can bring transformation to the body, soul, and spirit.  And so it is in the hidden heart of even the believer that independent, rebellious thinking can percolate and bring ruin. (Rom 12:1-3)

We are not called to be conformed to the current tides of cutting-edge religious movements, nor called to excessive behavior that we see in what once appeared to be saints hungry to serve the Living God…

But we are called to be consecrated to God Himself, that we should abstain and shrink from all sexual vice, that we should know how to possess (control, manage) our bodies in consecration, not to be used in the passion of lust like heathen who are ignorant of the true God and have no knowledge of His will —

The kicker point:  Where do I embrace and yield to and receive this will of God?  It is in my own soul – my mind that has been renewed and transformed and is now the mind of the spirit (with God), and not the mind of the flesh (sense and reason without the Holy Spirit).

Acts 2:38 Peter speaking …

Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Am I afraid of my soul?  Actually, forget my soul – I forget and lose sight of myself… I choose to set my love on Christ (Ps 91:14), and set my heart and mind on Him (Col 3:1-3), and lay ahold of that for which He has laid ahold of me (Phil 3:12) …

And I pray you will do the same.

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“To reveal (unveil, disclose) His Son within me so that I might proclaim Him among the Gentiles (the non-Jewish world) as the glad tidings (Gospel),…” Gal 1:16

As Thanksgiving dawns on the horizon before us, and as the age of the church waxes into maturity – I perceive a threat that is so subtle and precarious I must call out a warning!

We are enveloped in a time where it appears appropriate, even savvy for believers to press in for “more of the Lord” in every way possible.

More experiences,

More depth,

More of Him,

More anointing,

More power!

We are in danger of being “more” aligned with the heart of Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:9-24) and the heart of Herod to witness a sign (Luke 23… than the heart of Christ.

We are forgetting our constant need for consecration … to be separated to God — not to show what miraculous things can be done, or what wonderful people God can make us, but so Jesus can be revealed in us and through us! (Gal 1:16)

This is the witness He calls us to be. We witness of Him not of ourselves!

Now in the current press and desire to “have more” of Jesus, there lurks this unrecognized danger.  The danger being that we have been led astray, moved into a spirit of error, and believe we are desiring more of Him, but secretly we are desiring more of ourselves.  Like Paul says, “our minds have been corrupted and seduced from whole-hearted and sincere and pure devotion to Christ,” and instead we have been moved to a more insidious and secret devotion to self.

How smart and cunning is our adversary Satan, to take desire for more and turn it inwards upon our soul! He cannot preclude us from salvation, but in corruption he can make us polluted beyond recovery.

Like Jude 1:11 describes, “they have run riotously in the way of Cain, and have abandoned themselves for the sake of gain [it offers them, following] the error of Balaam, and have perished in rebellion [like that] of Korah!”

So my warning is this! Beware of your own soulish notions of “wanting more!” Do not trust they are pure!  But rather trust the Lord that as you continue to turn towards Him in pure devotion to Him alone, He will fulfill the desires of your heart.

Proverbs 30:8-9 contains great wisdom for us all:

Remove far from me falsehood and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, Lest I be full and deny You and say, Who is the Lord?…”

Here is an important fact… John the Baptist never performed a single sign or miracle, but everything he said about Jesus was true… (Jn 10:41)

We are rapidly making our Christian walk about us, and how we are used of the Lord and our experiences (which is all self-centered), rather than what the Lord desires.

The Apostle Paul made an insightful comment about this attitude and focus of the heart when he revealed in Philippians 3:12 that he was pressing on to lay ahold and make his own that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of him!

He wasn’t laying hold of more of the Lord, or more of the promises, nor more anointing! But rather for the Lord’s purpose to be accomplished in his life!

While he did desire to know the Lord in the power of His resurrection, in the fellowship of suffering, and in obedience unto death, these came after the consecration in Phillippians 3:7-8. This is consecration as a protection against rampant self indulgence!

Now, this is my own understanding that I relate here… 

In each of our hearts lie ideas, concepts, perceptions, hopes etc… some known but some secret, hidden in darkness even to ourselves. It is in continually consecrating ourselves to God and before God that unholy desires and notions are purged. 

Proverbs 16:6 says that by mercy, love, truth, and fidelity [to God and man—not by sacrificial offering], iniquity is purged out of the heart….

My brothers and sisters, it is this kind of purging that each of us needs, especially as the age winds down and the deceptions of the enemy attempt to snag us from devotion to Christ.

Matthew 6:21-23 discuss the issue of treasure (what captivates our heart), and the light of our soul.  I believe with all my heart that the quantity and quality of light in our soul and heart is directly attributable to a giving over of self and devotion to God.  So when it refers to the body being full of light, it is really saying the body can only project the light in our hearts and soul born of complete devotion to the Lord.  Where our hearts are mixed (desiring the Lord but the things of self as well) light is dimmed.  And where the light of devotion is sorely compromised towards self, the light becomes darkness! How great will that darkness then be!

I pray this season for a heart of light for the Body of Christ! Eyes that are sound and not evil, and for a whole-hearted devotion to Christ unhindered by self, or the deceptions of the enemy!

May the dominion of the Lord in His Body be full!

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“[The Gospel] regarding His Son, Who as to the flesh (His human nature) was descended from David, and [as to His divine nature] according to the Spirit of holiness was openly designated the Son of God in power [in a striking, triumphant and miraculous manner] by His resurrection from the dead, even Jesus Christ our Lord (the Messiah, the Anointed One).” Rom 1:3-4 AMP

“Now while the Pharisees were still assembled there, Jesus asked them a question, saying, What do you think of the Christ? Whose Son is He? They said to Him, The Son of David.” Mt 22:41-42 AMP

There is almost no greater question in the world to ponder, than this:  “What do you think of the Christ?  Whose Son is He?”

To be reading the Word of God, is to be connecting with the thought of God.  And when your venture into the Word, and your connection to His thought, leads you to a question that He poses, it is a launching point of discovery … an excavation of divine mystery! Don’t go screaming past it … just trying to check off your reading for the day! Don’t just give the pat answer which has no anchor or platform in your own heart!

Stop!  Slow down!  Hear the Spirit as He elevates issues to ponder and explore! This is how you grow!

My desire is not to give you an exhaustive answer here – that would require more skill than I have, and would become itself a book!

But I want to present some reasons and lines of pursuit, for why this question is so provocative; Why it absolutely must be considered at length!

First, in becoming clear on “the Christ – whose Son is He”, you will find the underpinnings of truth for the most basic claims that Jesus Christ is 100% God and 100% Man, and how that could be…

Romans 1:3-4 reveals that Jesus has both a human nature, and a divine nature.  How can He be called the Son of David (from his seed), and still be the Son of God?  Jesus’ lineage in Luke is traced through Nathan (a son of David) to Mary the mother of Jesus.  Because sin is traced through the paternal line, having Mary as His physical birth parent did not present that sin nature issue. That is, Jesus was without sin, even though He had a physical birth.

You may recall, Joseph was assumed to be the father of Jesus, but the Word assures us over and over that the real Paternal line tracked from God the Father, Himself: Mt 3:17; Mt 17:5; Jn 3:16.

Interestingly enough, during the first century (85-95 A.D. when the Books of John were written), there were two false theories concerning Christ that were challenging His deity and human nature as coexisting.  The first, Docetism, regarded Jesus as only a ghost and claimed that He only seemed to have a physical body.  The second theory, Cerinthianism, claimed that Jesus was sometimes human, and sometimes divine – but didn’t allow for both simultaneously and continuously as is true.

Second reason why this is provocative, when the truth about Jesus Christ is settled in our hearts, we will not be subject to the sway and error of whatever is the current philosophy. We will have the truth for instance and the assurance that Jesus was 100% God and 100% Man. The impact of that certainty will not only mean we will fully lean on the Lord, but we will also fully apprehend His promises.

The structural integrity of our entire Christian faith can be at risk unless these truths are settled within us. They are foundational!

If I don’t understand that Jesus was 100% Man, I won’t understand the grandeur, cost, or perfection of His being a sacrifice for my sins.  But also, if I don’t understand that He is 100% God, I will fail to perceive and believe and apprehend that Jesus gave me a new nature, a new spiritual man that is heavenly-minded, and that is to be walked out in me instead of my old-man nature of the flesh that is fallen and cannot please God. (1Jn 3)

It is paramount that the Word dwells in us richly and brings us to a full understanding. As believers, you have the nature of God (His principle of life, the divine sperm) abiding in you!  On the day you received Jesus as Lord and Savior, you owed your birth neither to bloods nor to the will of flesh (physical impulse), nor to the will of man (that of a natural father), but to God – for you were born of God! (Jn 1:13) God’s principle of life remains permanently within you! This is why you are a new creation, the old is gone, the new has come! (2Cor 5:17)

Now as an agent of truth, The Lord does not fear anything. So when the Pharisees, the local experts, who should have known the truth were brought the question (by Jesus), What do you think of the Christ, whose Son is he? They didn’t think. They gave the answer that Scripture provides … but with no forethought. So Jesus continued His probing … asking them how could King David (who is His Father after the flesh) call Him Lord? 

This question was intended to shake them out of their rote stupor.  It was to provoke them to really consider.  In their Patriarchal society, no Father would call a son “Lord,” as David did.

Jesus didn’t want their mindless response. Yet He wasn’t afraid of the answer they would come to.  Nor is He afraid of the answer we will come to, as we give honest pursuit to finding truth. So go for it! Bring what you think are your hardest questions to Him!!! He is not afraid. But do bring them! And while you are there…meet at all costs the full presence of the God of the Bible.  Meet Him in quandary, meet Him in awe, meet Him in honest need, meet Him in love. But realize … He has All the answers!

 

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“But whenever a person turns [in repentance] to the Lord, the veil is stripped off and taken away.”  2Cor 3:16 AMP

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Part of the walk of a believer in Christ is becoming increasingly mature in Him.  This requires putting off things that obstruct seeing in clarity.

Perhaps our greatest adversary in this can be our own preconceived ideas, notions of truth that have taken anchor in our hearts which are neither true, nor easily dislodged.

Like seeing with rose-colored glasses, everything is tinted because of that heart-attitude.

You may wonder, “Where is what she is referring to in the Bible?”

Slide over to 2Corinthians 3.  In this chapter the Apostle Paul gives us a stark contrast between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant of the Bible. Between the Old Testament and the New.  Between what he calls the “dispensation of death’’ (or the Mosaic Law), and the “dispensation of the Spirit” (The Gospel – Law of Spirit of Life).

Moses, in fact, had chosen to wear a veil to obscure the diminishing glory of God from upon his countenance which he obtained upon the mountain as he received the Ten Commandments from God. This becomes important! Moses, the most humble of all men, in fear and pride chose to wear a veil so the diminishing glory on his face wouldn’t be detected. But that glory had to decrease!

The Glory of the Mosaic Law and all its importance is always superseded by the Glory of the Gospel! Even though the dispensation of the Mosaic Law was attended with great glory, it pales in significance to the Glory of the dispensation of the Spirit (where men obtain and are governed by the Holy Spirit).

This was the bias that was created and still exists today. When the Old Covenant is lifted up and read as preeminent, that same veil that was upon Moses lies upon a person’s heart – it is not lifted away to show that in Christ it is made void and done away with!

Head over to Hebrews 9 for a second.  Hebrews 9:8 gives insight into this same phenomenon. 

By this the Holy Spirit points out that the way into the [true Holy of Holies is not yet thrown open as long as the former [the outer portion of the] tabernacle remains a recognized institution and is still standing,”

Don’t lose the point here now:  as great and wonderful as the Mosaic Law was – and while it was delivered to man by Angels, it must make way for the greater work of God – the work of Jesus in the Gospel and the life in the Spirit.

So where the Old Covenant hasn’t been superseded by the New, the way is not yet opened to new life, new understanding, new relationship, and new leading by the Holy Spirit, and certainly new and greater glory!

The point is God doesn’t give us all insight at once, and the ground you are standing so confidently on today as “all truth” may very well be the thing in God’s crosshairs to move you further along. So be vested fully in God, not simply your understanding!

Where we tend to park our hearts in dogmatic ways, we are in danger of falling short of going on in our journey with the Holy Spirit. It is in this place that we have placed a veil upon our heart giving superiority then to teachings and understanding that only validate our position.

Watchmen Nee says we become like lawyers whose first thought is to refute a revelation and dismiss it as nonsense even when much Scripture validation is provided. Don’t let this be your posture!

This posture is like wearing rose-colored doctrinal glasses: I only now will receive further understanding that tracks along my current sacred cow thinking.

This is how denominations came into being, and it is how we get into very deep trouble, presuming that we hold the 411 on a particular understanding.

Why is this critical to see? We are deep into the last days. This is a time when the enemy is trying and already working great deception, and his favorite target is not the lost, but believers.  He cannot thwart your salvation, but he can derail you into a sidling path of error and deception taking you captive by the very veil that you have chosen to defer to and make the singular truth.

The point is:  THIS DAY ALLOW THE HOLY SPIRIT TO DISSASEMBLE AND OBLITERATE STRONGHOLDS OF THINKING THAT ARE NOT FULL TRUTH!

We are so apt to allow our greatest confidence to be in our own thinking, instead of in the Lord. Our greatest loyalty should be towards Him, and not our own understanding. Our leaning should always be in trust upon Him, and not our own plan.

We should always stay in a place where in humbleness the Holy Spirit can minister greater truth.

We should always remain tentative in trusting even our own template for assessing:

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Ps 139:23-24

Remain in the posture by faith where the greater work God desires can have its way in you!

Acts 5:38-39, a wise Pharisee of the Sanhedrin who taught Paul weighed in concerning the plans of God:

…if this doctrine or purpose or undertaking or movement is of human origin, it will fail (be overthrown and come to nothing); but if it is of God, you will not be able to stop or overthrow or destroy them; you might even be found fighting against God!”

What then should be our course? Be vessels for God’s use. Do not elevate your plans as the assured thing! They may get modified, or taken out altogether. But rather set apart God in your heart as the Preeminent One, letting everything flow from faith in Him!

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