Saturday, June 21, 2014

Kingdom Living

Imagine traveling to some exotic location filled with interesting people and places to visit. You check into a very luxurious hotel that caters to your every need. Fresh flowers await you as you enter your very private hotel suite. There is a mint on your pillow and a large balcony with a perfect view of the setting sun. Three delicious gourmet meals are delivered daily to your door. You enjoy hot coffee on your balcony every morning and soak in the oversized jacuzzi every evening. You relax in your bed at the end of each day reading a really good book. It sounds like paradise, and I suppose that it is.  But consider staying in that room, alone, for a month, a year.. or even a lifetime!  What if you never ventured out of your hotel suite to encounter the people and culture surrounding you? What if you never contributed to the well-being of another person? What if you never shared your life or experiences with anyone else? This, sadly, can be compared to the spiritual life of many Christians today. 

How many times have you heard it said that spirituality (or religion) is a personal matter. That statement is almost always made to suggest that talking about or practicing your faith in public is distasteful. This culture of intolerance (i.e. discomfort with the name of Jesus) has caused many a Christian to withdraw from the culture that surrounds them. Christians may attend church services and Christian gatherings, read their Bibles (and sometimes read other Christian literature), and they may listen to Christian music and watch Christian TV programming, but do they do these things in presence of non-believers?  How do they interact with others in our culture?  Do they even really share their own spiritual condition with believers around them?

The saddest cases are Christians who live in family of non-believers who seclude themselves from their families. A woman who is a devout believer married to a non-Christian, with children who do not know the Lord. She may hide away in her prayer closet daily, but is she able (or willing) to step out of that closet to witness to those around her?  ...to encourage her family to experience the love of God?

All of this is by design. The enemy knows that the worst thing that could ever happen to his plans for your destruction is for you to wake up one day and realize that you are a soldier in the Kingdom of God. Your special talents and skills are all there for a single purpose ... To walk after the Spirit of God and help accomplish the perfect plan that God has ordained for your life and in His kingdom for those around you. Jesus wants you to know Him and to introduce Him to all you encounter.
Colossians 1:27-29: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 
Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 
Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
God could have sent his angels to earth to proclaim the good news of the Gospel.  He could have written it in the sky. He could have rained down fire from heaven. But, instead, he chose you. He wants your life to be His witness in this earth. Not only in word, but also in deed. How you live and what you do will play a part in God's kingdom purpose around you.  He will accomplish His purposes whether we participate or not; but, if we want to truly appreciate kingdom living and the power of God working in and through us, there is nothing better than to submit fully to the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Ephesians 1:17-23: That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
#BeTheFew
--Susan

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Walking after the Holy Spirit

Romans 8:2 - "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death."

I have often pondered the legalism that I've witnessed among people who genuinely believe in the supernatural work of God. How is it that so many structures and rules are put in place (over and over) by those who left the mainline churches to follow a more peculiar path with ‪#‎Jesus‬ ... only to find themselves adhering to an even stricter code of religion? It seems there is some sort of trap that ensnares believers of every type.

We must do it this way. We must say it that way. This is heresy. That is idolatry. We must be 'covered'. We must pray this way. We must worship that way. You can't do that. All of these statements are uttered again and again by sold out Christians (including me!). Why are we doing this?

Because we don't want to abide in His presence always. We fear living in the unknown. Where are we going? What will we do? How will we survive? We don't want every single step we take to be ordered by HIS voice. It's so much simpler to just check the box of religion than to 'take no thought for tomorrow'. Living by faith isn't just believing you'll wake up tomorrow morning. Living by faith is being willing to walk away from anything at a moments notice, go anywhere, and do anything (no matter how silly or scary) just because God told you to do it. Do we REALLY desire to live by faith?

Below is a excerpt from a book by Watchman Nee - Communion of the Holy Spirit. I encourage you to read if it you are ready to be challenged to walk after the Holy Spirit daily. I am still learning, and this book was one of the tools God used to open my eyes.
" All that is not according to the living guidance of the Holy Spirit is the law. How frequently we use our past guidance of the Holy Spirit as today’s guidance. Yet we need to learn that past guidance used today turns into a matter of the law. Do not imagine that since the Holy Spirit led once before, He will necessarily give the same leading today."
#BeTheFew

Susan

Friday, April 18, 2014

Jesus' Love is Selfless



The fall of man resulted from one selfish act.  
Genesis 3:4-6 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 
But selfishness is the opposite of God's will.
Matthew 22: 37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Every sin emanates from selfishness.

The first sins were committed by satan who wanted to elevate himself above God.  Here are the Five 'I Wills' of satan in Isaiah 14:12-14 It is frightening to hear similar language coming from some Christians!
  • "I will ascend into Heaven." This is the third Heaven, the Throne Room. I'll take God's place.
  • "I will exalt my throne above the stars of God." "I will rule angels." Job 38:7, Jude 13,Rev. 12:3, 4.
  • "I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north." This is Earth as a place. Psalm 48:2 "I will rule mankind."
  • "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds." "I'll be supreme." He wills to displace God as the Sovereign of the universe.   
  • "I will be like the Most High." I'll be like God. This is power lust.
Every commandment is summed up in just two commandments because every sin is summed up in one simple concept.  Every sin is committed because of selfishness.

Here are just a few Biblical examples.  All of these acts are rooted in selfishness.
  • Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery because they were jealous. Genesis 37 
  • The children of Israel crafted and worshipped a golden calf idol because they were tired of waiting on Moses to return.  Exodus 32
  • David lusted after Bathsheba and then committed adultery with her and murdered her husband. 2 Samuel 11
  • False prophets lied to gain favor with the people Jeremiah 5:31
  • Ananias and Sapphira lied to keep money for themselves Acts 5:1-11
There are many, many more. We see it all around us. Why do people lie, cheat, or steal? They are selfish. We are all selfish. We need a savior to deliver us from the power of sin and death.  
  • Satan tempted Eve by by appealing to selfishness: 'and ye shall be as gods'.  
  • Satan tempted Jesus by appealing to selfishness. Matthew 4
Nothing has changed. Satan still does his work by appealing to our selfishness. When is satan powerless? When we are selfless and operate as a living sacrifice for Jesus Christ.

If you want victory in your life, if you want to see the power of God moving in your family, community and world, give your life fully to Jesus.  
Philippians 1: 20-21 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 
Jesus had to abandon his divine power and die to give you eternal life. If Jesus had yielded to satan's temptations and had used His divine power to feed Himself, comfort Himself or save His life at Calvary, we would not have redemption for our sins. We would be eternally damned.  

Jesus paid it all. We owe it ALL to Him.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A lie from the pit...

I have recently started to become aware of how the enemy has a grip on the lives of Christians. Here is what I have for you today...

Often, when a person accepts Christ, they go through a honeymoon period. During this time their zeal for the Lord is high, and their desire to do good works makes it easy to continually walk in the presence of God. Other believers are inspired by their walk with the Lord, and generally, even when a new believer faces adversity in their life, they lean on Jesus as the Holy Spirit flows in and through them to live a life of grace and strength in Christ.

Later on, the spirit of revival in a new believer's life begins to wax cold as they spend more and more time in this world. They begin to lose sight of their zeal for Jesus as they fellowship with lukewarm or backslidden Christians. A few worldly television shows or movies, a couple of nights hanging out with unbelievers, a day of listening to secular music and worldly messages, and soon, the new believer begins to forget their first love and longs to return to bad habits, and a life that is no longer directed by the Spirit of God. The enemy sends these messages:
  • Don't you want to have any fun? 
  • You don't need to be such a fanatic about Jesus.
  • It's okay to believe in Jesus, but you need to fit into society
  • You are going to be miserable if you give up the things of the world
  • Going to Church is okay, but religion needs to be personal and not public
It is the biggest lie from the pit, and it is contrary to the Word of God. Misery does not exist when we are in the presence of God, but misery abounds when we are separated from God. There is no joy in this world apart from a relationship with Jesus, there is no joy that that can compare to the blessing prepared for those called of God... Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Matthew 6:33 ESV "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you"

2 Peter 1:4 "By which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire."

I could list many scriptures (many that are often skipped over in our modern church institutions) that talk about how living for Jesus leads to victory, but I will allow the Holy Spirit to direct you to the passages He has for you.  I encourage you to start a regular Bible reading plan.

Here are some Words of encouragement:
  • Living a life of surrender to Jesus IS worth it. - Matthew 11:29
  • Being sold out to Jesus is a blessing - James 4:10
  • Everything the world has to offer is folly and leads to your destruction - Proverbs 14:12
  • You can't love both Jesus and the world 1 John 2:15-17
  • Jesus is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE - John 14:6
Remember the parable of the prodigal son...  Luke 15:11-32.  The world will drive you into a pig pit as you search for fun, happiness or purpose apart from Christ.
John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
The enemy will destroy you and your family.  Don't believe the lie from the pit, but rather, feed on the Word of God, accept His salvation and escape the misery of life apart from God.

His call on your life is real. Don't neglect it. Don't deny Jesus. Nothing is more exciting than being used by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to advance the Kingdom of God on this earth.
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Susan
#BeTheFew

Thursday, December 19, 2013

#StandWithPhil





Tonight we discussed the Phil Robertson controversy on A&E.

Here are some topics we talked about:

Jesus Was or Jesus IS???

Something has taken the media by storm recently and it boils down to Relationship with Jesus.

In Matt 7:21-23 and other verses we can see that relationship with Christ is of paramount importance.

There are a couple of people in the headlines recently for discussing Jesus.

Megyn Kelly says "Jesus was a white guy"  and says Jesus was a historical figure as was Santa.  (see video around 1:45 ).

Now we have Phil Robertson getting slammed for his biblical  comment.  When I hear Phil Speak he usually talks about Jesus in present tense.   Read this article where he talks about how "Jesus is the answer"  or he talks about how people can currently live "without Jesus".

I am not slamming either person.  Sometimes we may simply misspeak.  I do quite often.  But this got me to thinking.

Megyn talks about Jesus like He was a historical figure and she keeps her job.  Phil talks about Jesus in the present tense, quotes scripture and he loses his job.

Lets ponder this verse for a bit.

2Co 13:5  Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

or this one.

Rom 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Clearly if Jesus is dwelling in us this is an ongoing current relationship.  A real time present relationship .  This relationship may cost us our jobs.

So with Jesus in the headlines let's take the time to examine ourselves. When we talk about Jesus do we say Jesus Was? or Jesus Is?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Is this real?

One question that often plaques the mind of Spirit-filled Christians who encounter those operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit is ...
Is this real?
Could it be that prophet or healer is fake?  Did that word of exhortation come from God or was it crafted in the mind of man?  Is that person actually speaking in tongues or just babbling nonsense in the flesh? How many times have you asked yourself those questions? I think if we are honest, all of us have asked similar questions at some point in our Christian walk.

1 Corinthians 12:10-11

Knowing the answer to the question "Is this real?" is only made possible through a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit and through His gift of discernment.

Philippians 1:9-10

Our Lord often allows us to know and see His good work through His body and to discern when He is operating and when He is not.  Today I am compelled to write this post because I discern that someone who reads this blog is struggling with doubt and confusion because of gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Perhaps this is you or someone you know, so please take time to read (including linked scripture references), reflect and share with your friends as you are led by the Lord.

Acts 17:11

Here are a series of questions you should ask when you are in doubt about a spiritual gift...
  • Is the person glorifying themselves instead of God? 
  • Are people being manipulated?
  • Is there a spirit of condemnation?
  • Is there an appeal to the lust of the flesh?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, it is likely the person is not operating in a gift of the Holy Spirit.
1 John 4:1 "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."
2 Corinthians 11:14-15 "And it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light; So it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. [But] their end will correspond with their deeds." [Amplified Bible]

The gifts are given to edify and to minister to the needs of the body of Christ and to glorify God. If those three things are not occuring, you may be witnessing someone operating in the flesh or worse; they may be operating in a spirit of witchcraft. Acts 16:16 When this happens, pray and ask the Lord about how He would have you handle the situation. Seek counsel from the Word and from a spiritual mentor who is grounded in the Word. Consult your pastor, and continue to pray for direction from the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 4:11 - 16 "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
God has given us spiritual gifts to accomplish His work on this earth and in His body. We should not forsake the gifts, and we should be good stewards of the gifts He has given to His church.

-Susan
#BeTheFew #aglow