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4:45 AM   [25 Dec 2016 | Sunday]

Works or Inheritance?

 At what point in our walk of faith do we turn to works?  Since when do any of us earn the benefits of the Kingdom of God?  If we are saved by grace through faith, how can one become “worthy” of healing?  The word “saved” (SOZO –Greek) is also rendered in the Bible as “healed.”  Think about it.  Do you receive gifts or do you earn them?  If you earn them, they are no longer gifts; they are wages.  Gifts from God are imparted as He sees fit, which means it’s not a question of what we do on our part to receive them, other than receiving them through faith.  However, it is a question of what we do with them once we have them.  The answer to the first question is simply this: our works are the result of faith that comes from hearing (see Romans 10:17).  We listen and obey what we hear the Lord speaking to our hearts.  In terms of healing, Jesus is worthy for us to be healed.

Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.  And if we are children, then we are heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; so that if we suffer with Him, we may also be glorified together.

Since we are joint-theirs with Christ, everything we receive of God is by inheritance. 

Your gifts and calling are not the result of what you did or ever will do.  Those who received an inheritance never earned it.  Things inherited are passed down upon the death of the testator (a person who has written and executed a last will and testament).  Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we received an inheritance that is reserved in heaven.  1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and unfading, reserved in Heaven for you by the power of God, having been kept through faith to a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (see also Hebrews 9:13-28).  It’s important to be mindful that everything you have (or ever will have) came through Jesus Christ, so you don’t get duped into dead works and faulty theology.

While it is true you cannot earn your calling, nor be good enough to receive those things given to you, God does reward obedience.

He promotes those who have been faithful with what they have.  His gifts and rewards are designed to benefit you; not destroy you.  That is why it is a good idea to leave what gifts He bestows upon you and how He rewards you up to Him.  If we are rewarded in the way we think we should be, we may wind up with things that draw us away from Him.  Everything is intended to help conform us to the image of Jesus.  Without realizing it, some desire things that may appear to be a good reward, but actually are lusts of the world.  For example, some expect great financial wealth, but do not understand how wealth fits in with Kingdom principles.  That’s why the Bible says, “But they who will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which plunge men into destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is a root of all evils (or sorts of evil), of which some having lusted after, they were seduced from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).  That’s not to say He doesn’t reward people with great finances.  When things fit His purposes and we are positioned with a right heart to receive, He will distribute them to us.

When you are faithful with what you do have, He can give you more, which is one reason you should never despise small beginnings. 

They provide for greater opportunities when faithfulness is deployed.  Faithfulness to God will cause you to be faithful with what you possess as unto Him.  We can never legally say, “Look at what my hands have done,” when everything we have, including our abilities, were given to us in the first place.  In the end, the Lord will reward everyone according to his or her works.  The question is, are they dead works, or works of love and faith?

www.perfectfaith.org

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6:19 AM   [18 Dec 2016 | Sunday]

Honoring Jesus

 Do you really want to honor Jesus?  Here is one way to do just that.  Consider 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; whereas God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and putting the word of reconciliation in us.  Notice it says, “Whereas God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them.”  Jesus said, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17).  We also know that He said to make disciples of people and nations (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15).  If we don’t adhere to the principle of not imputing trespasses to them, we will fail to properly honor Jesus and carry out the Great Commission.

If we constantly judge others for their actions and attitudes, we will have a tough time revealing the love of God to them.

Are you easily offended, disgusted, or find you have no patience with people? 

If you are, you haven’t zeroed in on love.  1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love to yourselves, for love will cover a multitude of sins.  Okay, maybe you can get past the bad behavior of others, but what about their attitudes?  What would happen if we did not even hold the attitude of others against them?  When Jesus walked the earth, He wasn’t holding people’s sins against them.  He was seeking their repentance.  It’s one thing to call someone out in love, so he or she does repent; versus, criticizing others out of self-righteousness.  Even when we don’t say anything, generally others can tell if we’re being critical of them.  As long as a person takes a self-righteous posture, he will never reach people for Jesus Christ.  We are supposed to be His ambassadors (see 2 Corinthians 5:20); not judges of the world.

While we depend on God’s grace to walk in love and not hold people’s stuff against them, it still requires a decision on our part –sometimes daily.  Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24).  We must humble ourselves enough to deny the self the “right” to be judgmental of others.  Instead of saying, “Look what they did,” we might ask, “Why did they do that?”  Yes, sinners sin, that’s what they do, they can’t help it.  Nonetheless, even believers can have less than desirable attitudes and behavior.  People, more often than not, don’t want to be unrighteous.  We have to be able to get past the stuff, and find the root of the problem.  We have to love them enough to call them to righteousness, instead of holding their unrighteous behavior or attitude against them.  How do we do that?  We love them where they are right now, and walk through life with them.  Some people have not experienced God’s kind of love, but oh, once they do, watch out!  Romans 2:4 Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, and the forbearance and long-suffering, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?  Believe it or not, by loving people and being kind to them, in spite of their stuff, goes so much farther than calling them out on the carpet.  Does that mean we never reprove anybody?  Of course not, but it does mean love better be behind the reproving; otherwise, it would be best to be still.

That love begins with our love for God, which means we will be far more interested in what He has to say about the issues, than us taking issue with someone. 

Make the decision to love people, and not hold any unrighteousness against them.  See how much more influence you may have in their lives.

www.perfectfaith.org

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6:13 AM   [11 Dec 2016 | Sunday]

All May Prophesy

 Some have of experienced prophesying or giving a Word in a church setting, while others have not.  In some churches, it appears that only a designated few are appointed to speak in such a fashion.  In truth, all may prophesy.  1 Corinthians 14:31 For you may all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be comforted.  What it boils down to is perception and belief.  Some think only certain individuals “have that gift,” so they don’t believe they’re qualified to speak.  This is one reason several believers don’t experience God speaking through them.  So let’s address a couple of issues.

Perhaps, we first need to define what is the “gift.”  1 Corinthians 12:7-11 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.  For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.  These verses reveal some of the ways Holy Spirit manifests Himself in the Church.  Since verse seven clearly says, “But the manifestation of the Spirit,” it means word of wisdom, word of knowledge and prophecy along with the rest are manifestations; not gifts.

(The) Holy Spirit is the Gift, and He manifests through believers in these ways (see Luke 11:13; Acts 2:38; Acts 10:45). 

That’s not to say He is limited to these nine things mentioned here.  In short, if you have (the) Holy Spirit living inside you, all these things are also available to you.  Keep in mind that He directs their use; not us.  It’s a question of cooperation on our part.

Chapters 12 through 14 of 1 Corinthians give instruction on how these manifestations function in a public setting.  “To one” merely means (the) Holy Spirit will choose an individual through whom He may manifest Himself at a particular moment.  Again, everything is verses 7-11 are available to every believer; as opposed to people having them as individual gifts.  “I have the gift of prophecy, what’s your gift?”  As already stated, (the) Holy Spirit is the Gift who partners with willing vessels.  Obviously, if one is unwilling or does not believe he can partner with Him, he will more than likely never experience the manifestation of the Spirit.  God intends to partner with everyone, but not everyone is in full cooperation with Him.

It may appear that the Lord elevates some above others in this regard; but that’s not the case. 

There was a point in church culture where individuals were elevated above others in similar fashion to the world’s culture of making “stars” out of people.  To a degree, this mindset still exists; however, God is tearing down the walls that separate His people.  He is eliminating the “superstar” mentality of doing things.  In certain sense, “stars” appeared in the Church, but they were not stars.  They were pioneers who were bringing biblical truth that was in a sense, lost to the Church as a whole.  Some have said, “The ‘gifts’ were for the time of the Apostles and the early church.  Once we got the Bible, they weren’t necessary anymore.”   Obviously, we need the manifestation of the Spirit now as much as they did back then.  Some would say even more so now than ever.  God is transforming the Church into a Body ministry versus “Superstar” ministries.  That means He wants to partner with you; He doesn’t want to use you.  After all, the Father does not use His children.  He longs for the relationship in which He does things with them.  You can prophesy too!

For those of you who missed opportunities, don’t beat yourself up.  Everyone goes through a learning process. 

“I felt like I was supposed to give a Word in church, but I wasn’t sure if it was the Lord or me.”  No worries, you’ll get there.  God made provision for the moment.  It does not mean you will never have an opportunity again.  If you’re willing, He’s willing.  In fact, He wants it more than you; otherwise, such things would not be available.  Talk with Him about it.  He will help you work it out.  Ask Him for clarity, and yes, boldness.  This is where grace comes into play.  It gives you the ability to do the things of God that you couldn’t do on your own.  He is faithful!

As a suggestion, sit quietly in His presence with a notebook and pen available.  Listen, and then write down those things you sense He is saying to you.  It’s a great way to train your ears to hear His voice.  No one else has to see it, but if you want to share it, or feel led to share from it, then by all means go for it.  As you learn to trust the Lord more, you will become bolder and more courageous.

www.perfectfaith.org

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6:57 AM   [04 Dec 2016 | Sunday]

Governments

 Without boundaries and borders, there would be chaos.  There would be no order, nor would there be peace in the land.  Each area of the world serves a purpose, yet each makes up part of the whole.  This is not referring to isolationism, nor does it pertain to globalism.  It is about God’s ordained governments.

Without our realizing it, governments do provide safety in the world’s system.  God’s ultimate government will only be one, which is His kingdom.  His kingdom is His original plan, hence, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).  Believers are already part of His kingdom.  Our citizenship is in heaven, even though, we live on the earth (see Ephesians 2:6; Philippians 3:20).  Essentially, our job is to disciple nations as well as individuals in nations (see Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15).  That is to influence them, so they emulate the Kingdom.  That doesn’t mean we take over like some governments that have been overthrown in coups.

Even though Jesus made us kings and priests (see Revelation 1:6; 5:10), we do not take dominion over the lives of others.  Instead, we rule by serving others well. 

We submit to the authorities whom God placed us under as we would onto Him.  Of course, that does not mean we would live or do anything contrary to His Word.  There are boundaries which we can never cross.  Disciples of Jesus Christ should be the most trustworthy people on the planet.  We do see models of this in the lives of Joseph and the prophet Daniel (see Genesis 37-50, and the Book of Daniel).

In the world, borders and boundaries keep things in order; otherwise, there would be greater violence than what already exists.  The Law was put into place for the lawless, disobedient, ungodly and the like (see 1 Timothy 1:9-10).  Laws help protect the citizenry from the impulses of individuals who would do others great harm or even murder if they weren’t in place.  Believers who walk in love would never consider such things (See Romans 13:10).  Romans 13:1-5 Let every soul be subject to the higher authorities. For there is no authority but of God; the authorities that exist are ordained by God.  So that the one resisting the authority resists the ordinance of God; and the ones who resist will receive judgment to themselves.  For the rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the bad. And do you desire to be not afraid of the authority? Do the good, and you shall have praise from it.  For it is a servant of God to you for good. For if you practice evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword in vain; for it is a servant of God, a revenger for wrath on him who does evil.  Therefore, you must be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake.  One of the things we learn in this passage is that those who live contrary to the ordinances of God should be afraid of those in authority.  Those who do well should not have to fear because they are not doing things that merit punishment.  Granted, there are unjust people who have misused their positions of authority.  God will ultimately reckon with them, which means those who bear the sword need to take care in the way they rule.  God takes a dim view of unjust and abusive governments.  There are numerous examples of this found in Scripture.

Do you realize that living godly lives, we actually promote peace in the land? 

If we did more praying for others, and especially for those in authority, our nations in which we live would experience it on greater levels.  We would see more justice prevail if we simply lived the way God ordained.    On a personal level, you would have peace ruling far more in your heart than if you took up a political spirit.  Prayers have greater influence than pickets.  Love influences others more than berating them.  Some in the Christian community would have more influence with those in government positions if they would stop publicly attacking them.  If someone attacked you, would you want to listen to him?  Do you have a tendency to shut people out who openly insult you?  What makes some believers think government officials are going to listen to those who openly criticize them?  Do we stand against injustice?  Absolutely, we do!  It’s a question of methodology.  The most effective way to see change is doing it God’s way.  Find out what that way is, and follow it.  1 Timothy 2:1-4 First of all, then, I exhort that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

www.perfectfaith.org

 
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