Personal Relationship

What has God revealed about himself to you? I feel like this is an important question because it transcends what we logically know about God. It then moves towards what he has made us to understand about himself through a personal relationship. It asks what has transferred from a head knowledge to a heart knowledge. This can only happen through a personal relationship sealed by the Holy Spirit.

As of the evening of 10-5 we just passed Yom Kippur which is a Jewish holiday in which the people of Israel would set aside a day of fasting and self-reflection while intercession and sacrifices are made on their behalf by the high priest. Now we understand that the true high priest who was the propitiation of our sins sits in heaven making intercession on our behalf. (Romans 8:34,1 John 2:1-2) To me it is important to consider the point of it all. To renew man’s personal relationship with God.

The moment of Christ death was the most powerful moment in all of history.

[Mat 27:50-54 NKJV] 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit. 51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

The important visual I would like to highlight here was the veil that was torn. This wasn’t any normal veil but rather it was the veil separating everyday people from bearing witness to the Holy of Holies. A placed that concealed the very presence of God. Only the high priest was allowed to go in there for the very purpose of offering sacrifices during Yom Kippur. However, the veil was ripped in two granting everyone who believed on his son access to a new Holy of Holies, our own hearts.

Because of this we now have access to a personal relationship with God who desires abide with us, guide us, teach us, and even sometimes chastise us. Even today he can and will guide us to truth just as he did with Peter (Matthew 16:16-18) and just as God revealed to his prophet Ezekiel that he would do. (Ezekiel 34:17)

So here we are, with the God of the universe within our own hearts. Not a far away God but an ever-present God who seeks to enjoy every moment with his creation. So, I ask again what has God revealed about himself to you?

[Rom 8:38-39 NKJV] 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Climb to Grace

In the beginning God created all things. He saw that it was good. His grace covered the land, and his creation could rest in his grace. Then man took hold of a forbidden knowledge that changed the course of this world forever. To know what is good and evil. With this, man struggled to understand the Grace of God seeing their unrighteousness before them.

Choice lay before mankind to pursue good or to pursue evil. Yet it is not possible for our flesh to obtain righteousness because we did not understand the grace of God. Lawlessness abounded in those who sought evil, and men dealt foolishly with the knowledge of what is good. God sent his son to shine his grace on all those who were broken, and his anger kindled by all who call themselves holy. Only those who surrender their unrighteousness to the grace of God can know peace in the righteousness of Christ.

We are now gracefully called into the holiness of God with our sin always laid out before us, constantly covered by the Love of God. While we sin God still loves us and by the knowledge of his Love we are changed.

Revival in Fairview Cullman Alabama

There was a young youth pastor in a small town of Fairview Alabama. He was a prominent man and full of stature. While in High School he was known among his peers as a great Football player. His name was Brady. I won’t pretend to know his whole story and how God touched his life. However, what I will say is that his life was indeed touched supernaturally.  It was evident. Every where his feet touched was indeed claimed in the name of Jesus Christ. He spoke truth and life in the name of Jesus to countless teenage and adult individuals.

When I met him it was in his late hour. I was in my youth and ignorant in the things of the Spirit. He had been battling cancer by going through radiation treatment. I recall seeing pictures of him during his Highschool experience and was bewildered because now his arms were small enough that I could wrap my index finger and thumb around it. Even in this late hour he knew that he had to keep preaching and teaching. He gave up his permanent youth pastor position and moved in as an interim at a Church called Etha Baptist Church. Here he left his mark on my life.

He had a woman by his side and they were indeed married. They worked as a team and she would cover for him in the days of his recovery from treatment. You could tell that they spent so much time in the Lord. Despite the weight of the world that was upon her shoulders seeing the end come close yet in her eyes were strength and power from God. A strength that can only come from someone empowered by the Holy Spirit. A team whose life song sang, “Whatever my lot thou has taught me to say ‘It is well…’”

I began to see something magical and holy take place. What started as a small flicker of hope grew into raging wild fire of prayer and supplication. Not just one church but every church in town began to pray and fast with every inch of their being. It began to spill over into the schools as students began to come together in fasting, prayer and supplication on behalf of Brady and his family. A bright light was cast out and even those who did not believe began to enter into fasting and prayer. The entire town came together in unity for fasting, prayer and supplication. I don’t know how far it went, but it certainly went further than my young eyes could see.

After a time of this, something happened. Young Brady passed and went to be with the Lord.

However, this is not the end of the story. Now, when we die, we all want to hear that famous scriptural statement “Well done thy good and faithful servant,” but you know I don’t think that’s what the Lord said at all.  At the day of his funeral, I feel like the Lord took him by his shoulders and pointed out at his funeral and said, “Look at what I was able to do through you!”

I remember Fairview actually letting School out early for folks to go to his Funeral. When I got there, there were not too many seats left and had to sit near the back. When funeral started I saw that there were people standing since there were no more seats left. A typical funeral is a time for remembrance and people will mourn what they lost. That is not what this was. This became a worship service and celebration that led into a Holy Revival. I saw hundreds of people raise their hands to receive the Love of God that they had witnessed during the time of prayer and fasting.

A few weeks ago I feel like the Lord prompted me to remember this. I am blessed to have been a witness to this holy moment and will testify the good works of God.

My question is this What is your life song?

Spirit Vs Truth

Last week the Lord was showing me his sovereignty over the eyes of our understanding. How he can open our eyes to certain things according to his authority (not our own).  If you haven’t read it, I certainly recommend it because this builds off it.

However, throughout this week I was considering what it means and the manner in which we address truth in others. Sadly I don’t feel like this is spoken of much in todays church but there is a powerful truth in understanding this and it centers around the heart of God. There certainly is a place for correction in many situations but it is a VERY fine line. One toe across it and we sit in the seat of satan.

[Rev 12:9-11 NKJV] 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

It’s a very dangerous place to be, bringing correction because one small slip in our hearts so easily will allow us to slip into the seat of the scornful.

[Psa 1:1 NKJV] 1 Blessed [is] the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

Most of the time we just need to rely on the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit to bring the correction to keep ourselves from sowing discord. I think Romans 14 gives us the best visualization on what this looks like. It really was a time of turmoil between the Jews and Gentiles. Its an old argument that occurs even to this day. To set the stage here the argument is in regards of eating pork. Jews having followed the law of Moses somewhere close to 4000 years are now dining with Gentiles who didn’t have understanding of the Law but followed the Spirit’s convictions as it works in us its precepts.  A classic Law vs Spirit debate that occurs even to this day.

The reality is Jesus even said that there will come a day when we will worship God in Spirit and in Truth and I don’t believe they are mutually exclusive.

[Rom 14:1-23 NKJV] 1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, [but] not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats [only] vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. 5 One person esteems [one] day above another; another esteems every day [alike]. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes [it] to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe [it]. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written: “[As] I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in [our] brother’s way. 14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that [there is] nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him [it is] unclean. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of [your] food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things [is] acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 Therefore let us pursue the things [which make] for peace and the things by which one may edify another. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed [are] pure, but [it is] evil for the man who eats with offense. 21 [It is] good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor [do anything] by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. 22 Do you have faith? Have [it] to yourself before God. Happy [is] he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because [he does] not [eat] from faith; for whatever [is] not from faith is sin.

Here we see that Paul didn’t take a side on this debate but rather exalted that which would bring life to the situation pursuing unity in Christ.

This is hard for the ones who God opens their eyes to knowledge and truth because pride so easily sets in and then a desire to bring correction regardless of the fruit that the Holy Spirit has brought forward in them. However where does this lead? Ultimately division and discord. I believe King Solomon understood this when he revealed 6 things the Lord hates.

[Pro 6:16-19 NKJV] 16 These six [things] the LORD hates, Yes, seven [are] an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness [who] speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

So what’s the end of this. We understand that we are ultimately responsible for the knowledge and truth that God has granted us. How do we dispense truth in love the way Paul describes to us?

[Eph 4:14-15 NKJV] 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ—

I think it is greatly determined on what we are focused on. Are we more focused on making right that which is wrong, or are we partnered with the Holy Spirit to bring life from death. Two perspectives certainly have places where they intersect

[Eph 4:29-32 NKJV] 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Unity

Unity- It’s been the word of the week for my household. I’ve been showing my children different scriptures and defining what it means to be unified. Then providing demonstrations to show the beauty behind it and how it can operate.

Some of the scriptures that capture this are:

[Ecc 4:9-12 NKJV] 9 Two [are] better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him [who is] alone when he falls, For [he has] no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm [alone]? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

[Heb 10:24-25 NKJV] 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as [is] the manner of some, but exhorting [one another], and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

[Act 1:12-14 NKJV] 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. 13 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James [the son] of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas [the son] of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

[Act 2:1-4 NKJV] 1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and [one] sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

I feel like these are some pretty powerful references as to what can happen when we begin to operate in unity. However, I can’t help but recognize the division among the church as a whole. Seeing folks hole up on one side of the isle regarding one particular thing, because of this, it creates division in the Church. This happens in individual churches and this also happens across the board in the church as a whole. But you know it really doesn’t make sense that we, as Gods children, are under different coverings.

One of the things I feel like the Lord has been teaching me over the past few years is that regardless of how right or wrong we feel like certain churches are, that the Holy Spirit operates how it wants. Having full authority over granting revelation to specific understandings of his teachings. That the Lord can open our eyes to see and understand a biblical concept and just as easily shut our eyes from understanding these concepts it all truly is under the authority and sovereignty of God.

To show this in the scripture is going to require digging into some of the meat of the word so those without teeth go ahead and grab your dentures its time to dig in.

[Rev 5:1-7 NKJV] 1 And I saw in the right [hand] of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. 4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. 5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” 6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

Now the imagery I want to look at is of the Lamb that looks as though it was slain. This showing us Christ, having all 7 Spirits of God or rather characteristics of the one Holy Spirit. These being represented as both 7 horns and 7 eyes. There is revelation in this. However, we must ask ourselves why to represent these as horns and eyes? 

In other prophetic scriptural references from both Revelations and Daniel ,Horns are used to represent kings and individuals with power and at times indicates the direction and how their authority spreads. I don’t want to get too far in the weeds so I’ll reference Daniel 8 and Revelations 13 for you to mull around. However looking at these in totality I believe makes it clear that can represent authority.

Now looking at the symbolism of Eyes when doing a search through the scriptures the word “eyes” is used 501 times throughout the NKJV bible.  Below is a quick link to every reference.

However, something you can see quite a few times is in reference to our spiritual eyes being opened to new understandings sometimes good or bad.  

[Gen 3:5-7 NKJV] 5 “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make [one] wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they [were] naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

[Psa 13:3 NKJV] 3 Consider [and] hear me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I sleep the [sleep of] death;

[Psa 19:8 NKJV] 8 The statutes of the LORD [are] right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD [is] pure, enlightening the eyes;

[Psa 69:23 NKJV] 23 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see; And make their loins shake continually.

[Isa 33:15 NKJV] 15 He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, He who despises the gain of oppressions, Who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes, Who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, And shuts his eyes from seeing evil:

[Isa 42:6-7 NKJV] 6 “I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles, 7 To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the prison, Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.

[Jhn 12:40 NKJV] 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with [their] eyes, Lest they should understand with [their] hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.”

[Rom 11:8 NKJV] 8 Just as it is written: “God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear, To this very day.”

So I threw out several references here and some indicating where I’m going at the end of this. However at the end of the day what are our Spiritual eyes? They are the manner in which we take in spiritual information.

So lets put the two together Christ having eyes of the Spirits of God fully opened and the Horns of authority over them.  Meaning the God head has authority over whose eyes are open and what they are open to continually. Wow that’s some Sovereignty.

The next question is what are the 7 Spirits of God Mentioned here.

[Isa 11:1-3 NKJV] 1 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. 3 His delight [is] in the fear of the LORD, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears;

So how do I wrap this back around to unity.  Put simply the Lord can open some individuals spiritual eyes to some things while keeping them closed to others. Just because we see a group of believers operating under a different understanding doesn’t mean that the Spirit isn’t operating in the manor in which God desires within that congregation or individuals. Rather their eyes have not been opened and the authority rest on God and the Holy Spirit alone to do this.

When we understand this, and to be honest I’m still working on it, we can then begin to work side by  side with others to obtain a common goal. Which is serving others and giving Glory to God.

Breakthrough

A lot of people are looking for breakthrough right now. Breakthrough in what? Well, Relationships, fulfillment in their life, their calling ect… you fill in the blank. The reality is breakthrough is always one turn away from becoming real in our lives. I guarantee you the that the Lord has the breakthrough you need but the problem is our ability to receive the breakthrough is stunted. We say we want breakthrough, but we are not willing to do what it takes to receive it.

Sometimes when we say we want breakthrough that’s not really what we want. We just want God to step in and take away all the things that seem wrong right in front of us according to what’s right or wrong in our own eyes.  We look to God and ask him the same question Joshua asked, “Are you for us or are you for our enemies?”

[Jos 5:13-15 NKJV] 13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “[Are] You for us or for our adversaries?” 14 So He said, “No, but [as] Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” 15 Then the Commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand [is] holy.” And Joshua did so.

Look, I’m tired of seeing the enemy go unchecked in our lives and the fruit of it is so evident. We literally get pushed around but we are so wrapped up in our causes that we can’t even see what the enemy is doing blatantly under our very noses. How do we know it’s the enemy? Well, it’s pretty simple, what’s the fruit of it? We chase our own causes, and some even try to convince themselves and others that its Gods will, but the fruit shows it’s lie.

[Mat 7:15-20 NKJV] 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor [can] a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

So what am I saying here? If your wrapped up in a cause and you’re seeing more Fruits of the flesh in your life than you are the fruits of the Spirit there is a pretty good chance that the cause your chasing is not the cause of God! Regardless even of how true some of the premises might seem.

[Gal 5:8-9 NKJV] 8 This persuasion does not [come] from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

[Gal 5:13-25 NKJV] 13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not [use] liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told [you] in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those [who are] Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Some folks at this point are thinking I thought there was breakthrough in this and there is. However, there is something still holding it back. To put it bluntly its our pride. Our pride will keep us wrapped up in our causes so that we seek that cause and forget that the target is really God not our cause.

[2Ch 7:14 NKJV] 14 “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Are you hearing me now? Lets break this down.

“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves”

Put the cause away and recognize that we are broken, All of us. That every person would humble ourselves recognizing ourselves as the problem behind the lack of breakthrough in our lives.

“and pray and seek My face,”

Seek the face of God, again put the cause away. Its all about God. He’ll show you what’s holding back the breakthrough in your life.

“and turn from their wicked ways,”

Repent! What in your life is causing the fruit of the flesh to be evident? Repent come back to the truth, and Spirit of God!

Then breakthrough!

“then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

There is nothing else holding your breakthrough back. This seems simple and its because it is, but its not easy. Many times, we want to be filled but we show up to God with a full cup of bitter water expecting fresh water after our encounters.  Come empty, come ready to receive, and you’ll get that breakthrough.

Pray for your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, [Mat 43-44 NKJV]

This scripture while being so simple it one of the hardest calls to action in the scripture. Many who read this might say “hey I do this”. The question is do we bless out of spite? If we do, then have we loved our neighbors?

In the interest of aligning ourselves with the spirit of God given this truth it is important in all things we do to do them in Spirit and in Truth. This is so that our actions match our heart which is to mirrors Gods heart. However, from a practical perspective how do we do this?

Step 1

We must recognize the reality that we live in. That our carnal selves are not all that exist. That there is a very real spiritual battle constantly raging around us. This must become real for us to understand who the real enemy is.

[Rom 8:5-6 NKJV] 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those [who live] according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded [is] death, but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace.

[1Pe 5:8 NKJV] 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Step 2

We must be able to separate what people do from who they are that God created them to be. We are all broken individuals with hurts and pains with wounds on our hearts. These wounds on our hearts can be footholds(a place of attachment) of the enemy used to influence to cause pain in others creating even more footholds.  In performing this separation, we understand that that it is the enemy that we are fighting not the person and what this person really needs is healing.

[Eph 6:12 NKJV] 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual [hosts] of wickedness in the heavenly [places].

Step 3

Ask God to show us what he see’s.  What is it in them that God put there? What talent or gifting did God grant this person? Who is it that God created this person to be. Also, from a compassion standpoint what wounds are there that the enemy is using. In seeing things from Gods perspective seeing the plans that God has for them is truly amazing and it becomes much easier to love someone who intends to do harm to us. Knowing this, now you can love your neighbor as God Loves them and pray in such a way to bring healing to their lives. By doing so you might receive healing as well.

[Luk 23:34 NKJV] 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.

[1Jo 4:7-11 NKJV] 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Fighting Normalcy Bias in Church

Something sad and rather infuriating that I’ve ran across in the time of being involved with several different congregations is something called normalcy bias. Now the context that I learned normalcy bias was primarily in a self defense manor. It describes our as human’s natural tendency to want to maintain a status quo regardless of what clear and present threat exist around us. It’s highlighted to show us that it is important to keep a vigilance than when we see something out of place that is waving a red flag so to speak to act on it.  An example of this that John Correa at Active Self Protection Youtube highlights in many of his videos is when a bystander will be going about their business when something begins to escalate around them. Instead of acknowledging that “hey this isn’t Normal I should do something to either protect myself or others” they will try to turn a sudden blind eye up to the point that the danger is on top of them. Of course, by then it’s too late for any real practical action that can keep them from being hurt. Unfortunately, this is a problem in today’s Christian churches even though the scripture tells us specifically to remain vigilant and spiritually aware.

[1Pe 5:8 NKJV] 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

The reality is that not only should we be vigilant to the plans of the accuser/enemy but also to what the Spirit of God wants us ever vigilant to see what he is doing so that we can align with Gods flow to quickly repent or follow into the will that God has for our lives.

[Jhn 16:13 NKJV] 13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own [authority], but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

However, many in our congregations are conditioned to exalt the word that is spoken to them [by man] rather than that which is written to them in scripture or spoken [by the Spirit] in parallel with the scriptures. This is a hard word for many because we have spent so much time thinking we’ve got it figured out but when we see a scripture verse that exalts itself above what we already thought we know we will try to reason around it instead of acknowledging that either we, or the church is in error regarding a thing. Of course this is the very opposite of what should be happening.

[2Co 10:4-5 NKJV] 4 For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

But none the less It happens. Just picture the sheer number of different denominations in existence and each having clear doctrine that is contrary to the scriptures.  Each of the congregants having access to the same scriptures as the other. No doubt the Holy Spirit raises the red flag so to speak and even brings the scriptures forward. When this happens, it is our job to respond to it and in responding to it we can walk more in the fullness of Gods promises and will for our lives and the life of the bride.  Making full use of the tools God thought necessary to grant us to in turn bring glory to him.

[Rev 2:17 ESV] 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

However, we must fight normalcy bias to do this. So be mindful and vigilant, listening to the Spirit of God when it comes to warn and instruct. If we are to walk in Spirit and in truth it must be the whole truth according to the scriptures. If we see any try to reason away from Scriptures or minimize scripture make no mistake that is a huge red flag.

Slippery Salvation

The other day I was at a Bible study and a curious question followed by a short exchange ensued. It really led me down the rabbit hole a bit to understand the confusion.  The question was, are we as Christians punished for sin at the judgment seat of Christ? For those unaware, yes there will be a moment when we as Christians must give an account for the way we followed Christ.

2nd Corinthians 5:10

10. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

However, most interpretations of this scripture are that this is the time in which our works are brought into question regarding receiving rewards or not in the Kingdom of heaven.

1st Corinthians 3:11-15

11. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,

13. each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.

14. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.

15. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

So as we do works in the body, the heart in which we do it is a determining factor as to whether the work is “Burnt up” or not.

Ultimately it was acknowledged that there was no punishment and I further explained (Paraphrased) what it means to wear Christ righteousness as described in the whole armor of God through the sacrifice and grace of Christ. (Ref. Ephesians 6:10-20) In the day of Judgment, having believed and trusted in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our grace and righteousness, the sins that we have committed are not seen and brought into question. If they were still seen then there would be no point in the redemptive sacrifice of Christ and we would all be found guilty. However, we know this not to be true.

Romans 8:1

  1. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

The man then made the statement that this doesn’t give us a license to sin and of course I chuckled and said it sure doesn’t. However, in my mind I was screaming “GOD FORBID” just as Paul did when considering the dichotomy of living a life of grace and freedom in Christ while also not condoning sin.

Romans 6:15

15. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

After pondering and praying I had a revelation of the confusion this individual was having, and I believe it has to do with the way we have been led to believe salvation works. Let me start by saying that I don’t think that this was intentional, but it is lazy and is easy to package up and distribute on mass.

Before I came to understanding and allowing the Holy Spirit to help me understand these concepts, I too fell into the trap that the “Sinners Prayer” was the 1 stop shop to salvation. Its not that that initial prayer we all follow along with is incapable of providing salvation. The danger is thinking that it stops there. Salvation as its written in scripture is much more slippery than many would like to believe. If it were not then the concern in the early church to “Make sure your election” would not have been there.

2nd Peter 1:10

10. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things, you will never stumble;

There are plenty of scriptures that support that there could be error in believing in a one stop shop view of salvation. Rather, it is in the total transformation done in us by the Spirit of God under the power of the Holy Spirit. That is a continual rooting out of sin and a heart change that when sin confronts us, having a new mind and heart, we will want what is good and just according to Gods righteousness. The reality is we are not ever going to be perfect and that’s why Christ grace is there but as a people who are who are truly saved and filled with the Holy Spirit it is the nature of them to constantly grow in the fruit of the spirit.

Matthew 7:21

21. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

(speaking of the end of days)

Matthew 24:12-13

12. “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

13. “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

Romans 8:1

  1. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

2nd Peter 1:5-11

5. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,

6. to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,

7. to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.

8. For if these things are yours and abound, [you] will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;

11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2nd Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore, if anyone [is] in Christ, [he is] a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Romans 12:2

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Ezekiel 36:26

26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do [them].

Fear of Rejection

In my experience, it never fails that when the Lord brings revelation into your life and brings a newfound healing to your heart; shortly after a burden for the people dealing with the same issues will come on your heart. I feel that I’m entering that season now and I think the Holy Spirit will build on this as a foundation for a ministry as a way for the Holy Spirit to begin this same work in others. Right now, I feel as though the Lord is calling out a revival with this revelation. Not just to the people of God but to those who are estranged from God all together. That we should all enter a time of faith, through healing, and sanctification. He desperately wants to bring life into areas of our hearts that we have long since considered dead. Because these dead areas in our lives take us down a path of rebellion and deception.
The Lord takes Joy in all his creation. Having created them for a divine purpose. It saddens God to have a people who are constantly caught in a cycle of hurt and pain followed by sin. It blocks the perfect will of God in our lives and keeps us from the joy and peace he has for us. He has a plan in the works for us. A plan to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. (Ref. Jeremiah 29:11)
As we go through this life its impossible not to receive wounds on our hearts. Depending on how we choose to heal from these wounds they can impact our ability operate in the fullness that God has for us. These wounds can be as simple as a childhood sweetheart turning us down. Maybe a childhood bully. Some of us look at these things as trivial but those moments leave a serious mark. Then we move forward to more serious forms of rejection in our lives. We all have them, fill in the blanks. Where do you face serious rejection, hurt or pain in your hearts?
How do we react to these forms of pain in our hearts? Probably not too different than how people in the scripture reacted to it. Really we can look at just about any moment of sin and trace it back to an issue with our hearts. Take Peter for example in Galatians 2:11-13

  1. But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong.
  2. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision.
  3. As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.

As we can see in this scripture when it says that Peter was “afraid of Criticism” is that not the same as a fear of rejection? Then how did he react? He rebelled against the Gentiles in a subtle way. However, the rebellion was in his heart. Paul had to call him out on it. This subtle form of rejection was getting in the way of him being able to love the way God wanted him to love.
I thank the Lord that he brought this revelation to me because he showed me where areas of rebellion in my own life were rooted in rejection. These rejections that caused me to hide behind walls of deception while I chose to rebel against what I felt was the source of the pain of rejection in my life. I saw this in relationships, the church, even at certain times God himself. The reality is that there is no way we are going to avoid rejection in our life. Jesus himself faced rejection. However, God is calling us out from the deception we hide behind as we worship him in Spirit and in Truth (Ref. John 4:24) and in the process he wants to heal the wounds of our hearts. The wounds that have turned our hearts to stone he wants to replace our hearts with a heart of flesh.(Ref. Ezekiel 36:26)