John 15:12-15 - "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you."
Jesus says, "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you." It is easy to take this verse and maybe take a more "robotic" approach, thinking, "Oh, I need to go look at the 10 commandments." But actually, what Jesus is saying here concerning His commandments is in an ongoing tense.
He is calling them to continue in intimacy through hearing His voice, following His directions and yielding to His Spirit. Through this sensitivity and yielded life comes the ability to follow after His heart.
John 10:27 - "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."
Here is His command for His friends – those who walk with yielded lives to Him in God's PURPOSE for their life (their CALLING in Christ). He has brought His disciples beyond the point of operating in a slave system and taken them into an organic, living relationship.
God has taken us out of a slave-system having brought us into His family as sons. Our hearts have the cry of His Spirit bringing us into an intimate communion with the Father. The same picture can be seen in that we are now saints, not sinners. The old life is gone and the new life has come.
Joshua 6:2 - "And the Lord said unto Joshua, See. I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king therof, and the mighty men of valor."
When the children of Israel entered the Promised Land ten cities stood as obstacles in their way. The first of these cities was Jericho. Israel was not yet an army -- they were simply a group of desert wanderers with a promise. They had no army. Their resources had worn thin from years in the desert.
THEIR ONLY WEAPON OF WARFARE WAS THEIR OBEDIENCE TO GOD
Joshua 6:20 - "So the people shouted, and priests blew the trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city."
The Church stands in a similar posture. We are facing a Jericho that is standing in the way. The world systems are unstable. Financial fear is trying to lure the people of God into its fear. There a lot of walls standing in the way of promise. God is positioning His Church to bring down those walls just as He did in Jericho.
Those walls will not fall by human wisdom and reasoning. Another church program will not do it. Only the shout of grace will bring it down. The shout of grace in obedience to God was the weapon of supernatural warfare for Israel. When we shout "grace" we are making a statement that unless God shows up we won't be able to move ahead.
STANDING BEFORE OUR JERICO WALLS
Today as we stand before the walls of our Jericho, we shout out loud the word, "Grace." With that shout of grace will come the dismantling of the walls of those encampments that stand in the way of the promise of God:
Gather your mounting bills and shout grace over them. Shout grace into your future. Shout grace over a wayward child. Shout grace over every obstacle that stands in the way of your vision and calling. Stand on the high places of your city and shout grace over the broken and lost.
Once we shout the grace of God -- we walk straight ahead and see the glory of God. Under our feet will be the remains of fear and impossibility.
Zechariah 4:7 - "What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of 'Grace, grace to it!'"
Luke 1:28 - "And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women."
Ephesians 1:6 - "To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."
The word "freely given" or "accepted" in Ephesians 1:6 (The Greek word - charitoo) is the same word used for "Highly favored" in Luke 1:28.
Mary was the one person on earth who was chosen to "bring forth the Son of God"; and she was called highly favored and beloved of the Lord. Ephesians 1:6 is talking about every born-again believer being accepted in the beloved.
Just as Mary was used to bring forth the Son of God, so also, we will be used to bring forth the Son of God in all His Glory
Luke 1:35,38 - "And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And Mary said, 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.' And the angel departed from her."
We need to ask Him for a release of divine hunger that will drive us deeper into Him. Like Mary it is simply through intimacy, engaging the realm of heaven, and declaring what we see and hear that brings heaven to earth.
The deposit of heaven that will rest on us after engaging the revelatory realm will simply overflow and people will be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Romans 12:2 - "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind."
That word transformed is translated from the Greek word from which we get the term "metamorphosis." It's used in Scripture in two other places - when Jesus was transfigured on the Mount as He spoke with Moses and Elijah - and in 2 Corinthians 3:18. It says, "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
Changed, transformed, transfigured! Those are powerful, exciting words, and they describe what will happen to you as you spend time beholding the Lord in the Word and in prayer. As you spend time renewing your mind, your outer being will be transformed in much the same way as a caterpillar is changed into a butterfly.
INSTEAD OF CONFORMING TO THE IMAGE OF THE WORLD I BEGIN TO CONFORM TO THE IMAGE OF THE REBORN SPIRIT WITHIN ME WHICH IS CREATED IN RIGHTEOUSNESS AND TRUE HOLINESS.
I PREFER TIME IN THE WORD OF GOD TO COMMUNION WITH THE WORLD BECAUSE GOD IS DOING A NEW THING IN ME.
Proverbs 29:18 - "Where there is no vision, the people perish."
Vision makes suffering and disappointment bearable.
Vision generates hope in the midst of despair and provides endurance in tribulation.
Vision inspires the depressed and motivates the discouraged.
Without a Christ-inspired vision, life would be a study in cyclic frustration within a whirlwind of despair. Vision is the foundation of courage and the fuel of persistence.
I MAKE A QUALITY DECISION TO RECONNECT WITH THE VISION GOD HAS PUT IN MY HEART.
I SEE BEYOND MY EYES AND LIVE FOR THE UNSEEN.
MY VISION DETERMINES MY DESTINY.
MY FUTURE IS NOT AHEAD OF ME - IT LIES WITHIN ME.
"But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh..." Acts 2:16-19 Joel the prophet, speaking forth the Word of God, promises that this outpouring of the Spirit would bring about a dramatic release of revelatory gifts: dreams, visions, and prophetic declarations. This anointing is for every Believer, female as well as male, and young as well as old.
Christ Jesus declares without Him we can accomplish absolutely nothing (see John 15:5). However, with Christ and through Christ we can achieve all things (see Philippians 4:13). This flow of God's power was promised and prophesied in the Scriptures (see Joel 2:28). If we are to do the works of Jesus, we must walk in the anointing of Jesus.
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father." - John 14:12
The promise of power and purpose is almost unbelievable yet these promises come from the lips of our Lord.
Don't be timid! Share your faith in Christ Jesus and let your light shine bright as you demonstrate His love and power to the world.
2 Corinthians 11:3 -- "But I fear...your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."
The problem is that we mistakenly strive for information when in reality we need revelation.
Ephesians 1:17,18 -- "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened....."
The Holy Spirit within the believer ministers truth by revelation. In other words, it is revealed, not figured out. God does not talk to our brains! He speaks to the spirit of man. Jesus never said that water would flow out of your head, but that,"Out of your innermost being would flow rivers of living water." John 7:36
1 Corinthians 1:20 -- "Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?"
Luke 10:21 -- 'In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight."'
One way we can be convinced we've heard from God is that the answer is simple. Jesus took complicated problems of blindness, leprosy, and paralysis, and simplified them into obedience -- 'Go wash.' ' Go show yourselves to the priest.' 'Take up your bed and walk.'
Hearing God's voice doesn't mean we understand all the mysteries of the world. It means that God will articulate a word or command that will simplify, heal, and deliver us in our situation.
This is the ultimate Christianity -- communication and communion with the Holy Spirit, knowing more and more about Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
AS I STUDY, AFFIRM, AND MEDITATE ON THE WORD OF GOD, I SEEK WISDOM AND REVELATION FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT.
AS I ENDEAVOR TO HEAR THE VOICE OF THE LORD, I PAY ATTENTION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT INSIDE OF ME -- HE HAS THE KEYS TO UNLOCK ANY SITUATION.
Luke 10:38-42 - "As Jesus and his disciples went on their way, he came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed Him in her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the feet of the Lord and listened to His teaching. Martha was upset over all the work she had to do; so she came and said, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me!'
The Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha! You are worried and troubled over so many things, but just one is needed, Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her.'"
Mary chose to sit at Jesus's feet while Martha chose to work in the kitchen. Mary sought to please Him by being with Him while- Martha tried to please Him through service. When Martha became jealous, she asked Jesus to tell Mary to Help her in the kitchen.
Most servants want to degrade the role of the "FRIEND" to feel justified in their works-oriented approach to God. Jesus's response is important to remember: "Mary has chosen the better part."
Martha was making a meal that Jesus never ordered. Doing more for God is the method SERVANTS use to get God's attention that they might increase in favor. A FRIEND has a different focus entirely: they enjoy the favor they have and use it to spend time with their master.
To say we need both Marys and Marthas is to miss the point entirely. And it simply isn't true. It has been said that nothing would ever get done if we didn't have any Marthas. That too is a lie. That teaching comes mostly from Marthas who are intimidated by the lifestyle of Marys.
Mary wasn't a nonworker. Rather she was beginning to be like her Master, who only did what He saw the Father do (John 5:19). Jesus was talking, so Mary set aside other distractions and sat down to listen. She didn't get caught up in making the food that Jesus didn't order. She was learning that working FROM His presence is much more effective than working FOR His presence.
AS I SIT AT THE FEET OF JESUS I LABOR FOR THE MEAT THAT HE GIVES ME WHICH ENDURES UNTO EVERLASTING LIFE.
I AM BECOMING A PASSENGER IN THE VEHICLE OF HIS WILL, A VEHICLE IN WHICH HE HIMSELF IS BOTH CAPTAIN AND NAVIGATOR.
Psalm 138:7,8 - "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies and Your right hand will save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me."
God has promised to revive you in the midst of trouble. He promised to perfect that which concerns you. That means your recovery from your adverse circumstances, from the schemes of the devil, your victory, and all that God has destined for you has been planned out in heaven. Pain is merely a passage to a miracle. Failure cannot happen in your life without your permission!
SINCE I DO NOT ACCEPT WHAT I KNOW TO BE TRUE IN THE NATURAL AND ACCEPT WHAT I KNOW TO BE TRUE IN THE SPIRITUAL, THE NATURAL CHANGES.
I DO NOT DEPEND ON WHAT I CAN DO, BUT ON WHAT THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD WILL DO THROUGH MY SITUATION.
Zechariah 4:6 - "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts."
Isaiah 43:18,19 - "Do not remember the former things; neither consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
Your enemy is anyone who would rather discuss your past than your future. When Jesus stood at the scene of the woman caught in adultery, revelation exploded. Men were present, obsessed with her mistake, ready to stone her. But, Jesus was looking at her future. With one single stroke of mercy, He removed her past: "Neither do I condemn thee" (John 8:11). Then in a masterful stroke of the Master Artist, He painted a portrait that would lead her to Her Kingdom future: "Go, and sin no more".
John 5:19 - "The Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever He does, that the Son does likewise."
Jesus told us the secret for His life -- "I only do what I see my Father doing." Our attention is on what God is doing or has done. If we dwell on what God hasn't done we create an occasion for offense. If we dwell on what God has done we create an occasion for thankfulness.
A kingdom mindset doesn't accuse God. A kingdom mindset doesn't gain information to support accusation against God. Because it burns with the conviction that He is good. With that as the cornerstone of our theology, we work from there towards the issues of life.
Anything that you think you know about God that you can't find in the person of Jesus, you have reason to question. Jesus Christ is perfect theology -- He is the exact image of the Father. That is our message. He is not part of the message -- He is the message.
To be effective we must minister according to His energy, or His power in our lives.
"Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us...and put his Spirit in our hearts..." - 2 Corinthians 1:21,22
The more we release His presence upon others—the more we DISPENSE the anointing He has given us -- His warmth, His love, His joy, His light—the more He pours in. It becomes a CONTINUOUS CURRENT and generates LIFE, restoration, momentum, and fruitfulness. Because freely we have received, so generously we will give! His oil is so incredibly abundant. Do you want to go deeper into the Lord's heart? Then release His Spirit on others. Seize those opportunities to share His heart with your world. Declare and decree His words of life and blessing around you. Give and it will come back to you FULL MEASURE, pressed down, shaken together and RUNNING OVER! "That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.....that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." - Ephesians 3:16,19
True salvation is the deliverance from self-will and our self-life in exchange for His life.
Ask the Lord to get you out of the old place. Question your own thinking. Is your thinking in alignment with man's accepted way, or does God have a better way? Then, what are you willing to lay down for a fresh blueprint from Heaven?
Proverbs 3:5-6 - "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST I TAKE AUTHORITY OVER THE ACCUSATIONS THAT THE DEVIL HAS BEEN SPEAKING IN MY MIND. HE'S BEEN TELLING ME ALL THE REASONS THAT I SHOULDN'T HAVE ANY HOPE. EACH ACCUSATION IS MET WITH "IT IS WRITTEN."
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS OPERATING IN ME RIGHT NOW TO GET ME OUT OF EVERY MESS I HAVE CREATED, BOTH INTENTIONALLY OR UNINTENTIONALLY. MY HEART IS REPENTANT, THEREFORE I AM FORGIVEN. BY AFFIRMING AND MEDITATING ON GOD'S WORD, GOD IS HELPING ME WALK OUT OF THE PROBLEMS THAT HAVE TRIED TO GRIP MY MIND AND MY LIFE. I DECLARE THIS BY FAITH IN JESUS' NAME.
There are those who feel they are in a valley experience. Many times, a valley refers to the Valley of Decision (Joel 3:14). Many of us are being required to make firm decisions to follow God no matter what the cost. We can often become very dry and weary during this process, but God promises to release a fountain of strength and refreshing as we press through this narrow place. Isaiah 41:17-20 speaks of God pouring out such a mighty flood that it OVERFLOWS from the high place, down into the valleys and then waters the desert. In this fashion, when God sends the mighty floodwaters of His Spirit, it touches all of us, no matter what phase we are in.
Never tell a person something can't be done, because God may have been waiting for centuries for someone ignorant enough to believe that the impossible could be possible.
Matthew 13:22 - "....the worries about this life and the love for riches choke the message, and they don't bear fruit." All the things that we think are important or even the things other people tell us are important makes us wonder--"Just how important are they?" Most of them probably are not, but are just anxious thoughts that are sabotaging our spiritual life in Christ. You cannot retire too much from the mindless chatter of the world. You don't need much time to tell God that you love Him! Lift your heart to Him. Worship Him in the depths of your spirit.
Hebrews 3:7 - "Wherefore, even as the Holy Spirit says, TODAY, if you shall hear His voice, harden not your hearts."
The Holy Spirit says, TODAY!
That means that He who is the mighty power of God is Himself ready to work in us the CALLING He has on our individual life and asks; it is He who is each moment pleading for immediate surrender, for a present trust, because He bears with him the power of a present salvation.
There must be an experiential quality to our walk with the Lord. Not only do we experience Him in a tangible way but we also exude the SPIRITUAL LIGHT that has been deposited within us to reach out and take a spiritual interest in the lives of others.
"You are the light of the world...Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house...Let your light shine before men..." - John 5:14-16
The Holy Spirit is WITHIN us for our benefit, and UPON us to help others. (John 20:19-22, Acts 2:1-4)
God doesn't call us to earn money, but to change lives (disciple others). If we will remain concerned about lives and doing the will of God, He will take care of the finances.
Romans 1:1 - "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ called to be an apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God."
Many are called, but we are never separated. That separation is a threefold thing:
FIRST: The New Creation separates us from the old life.
SECOND: As the Word is built into us, we are separated unto Christ. First, there is a separation from the world; now there is a separation unto the Master. Jesus becomes the Lord of our lives. His Word dominates us.
THIRD: In our walk then, as we are separated unto Christ, we come to believe that God has a PURPOSE for our life (our DESTINY). We ask, seek, and knock(Matt. 7:7,8) until we understand what that purpose is.
As we receive revelation of that purpose through the Holy Spirit we separate ourselves from those things which are not sinful in themselves but unnecessary. This separation continues year after year as we pursue our DESTINY in Christ, walking in the fullness of His fellowship.
QUESTIONS TO ASKMYSELF:
Am I completely sold out to the Lord Jesus Christ?
How much time per day do I spend meditating on Jesus and His PURPOSE for my life vs. participating and thinking about society (it's demands, requirements, and pleasures)?
What is my plan to increase my Christ consciousness?
Psalm 17:15 -- "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness."
Many read the Scriptures simply to reinforce their current beliefs. Although they read the entire Bible, their mind only sees certain doctrines. Instead of believing what they read, they merely read what they already believe. Rarely do they find new truths in the Word.
Baptists see from their perspective, Pentecostals and charismatics each have theirs, while Catholics and other denominations often have a completely different emphasis.
The same way the Jews were "baptized into Moses" (1 Corinthians 10:2), so Christians are often baptized into their denomination. When they are fully indoctrinated, their minds have been immersed into a pool of teaching that leaves them more conformed to the image of their sect than to the likeness of Christ.
John 8:31,32 --"So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, ' If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples. And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.'"
As I study the scriptures I submit my spirit to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
I am open to different truths in the Word of God that may conflict with my present understanding.