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2:50 AM   [28 Aug 2016 | Sunday]

Freedom of the Spirit?

 Some cry out for the freedom of the Spirit to prevail in the churches; nevertheless, they themselves do not give Him the freedom to reign in their hearts.  They want to churches operate the way they interpret “freedom of the Spirit.”  Essentially, they’re saying, “I want the churches to accommodate me.”  That’s not to say they don’t desire Holy Spirit to have His way, but they haven’t relinquished control to Him.  They let Him rule in the areas they’re conformable with, but fail to yield those other areas.  How can you honestly criticize others for not allowing Holy Spirit to have His way, when you don’t do it yourself?

So many want to see signs, wonders and miracles, but they don’t want to give up those areas of their lives that are contrary to the nature that brings them. 

Holy Spirit is holy.  After all, He is God!  Can you fully expect Him to have His way if you refuse His holiness?  By the way, those signs, wonders and miracles are not necessarily God’s stamp of approval of someone through whom they may have operated.  Consider Matthew 7:21-23 if you’re not sure.  They are a manifestation of His glory and they confirm His Word.  This may sound a bit harsh, but it’s grounded in love.  God doesn’t want people destroyed by their ignorance.  All these things are designed to follow those who believe (see Mark 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11).  None of it is based on works that we do, but what Jesus did.  Don’t chase after signs and wonders; chase Him!

To whom or what are you a slave?  Whom or what do you serve?  Scripture tells us, “That when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness” (Romans 6:16).  If you submit to (the) Holy Spirit, His holiness will prevail in your life.  Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.  We are exhorted to put on the new man which, according to Ephesians 4:24, after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.  Again, because He is holy, we are to be holy.  The Bible also says that without holiness we cannot see God (see Hebrews 12:14).  If you want God to have His way,then do not resist His will.

So, how do we walk in holiness, and thereby allow the freedom of the Spirit?  Walk in love.  What is the greatest commandment?  Love the Lord your God will all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.  Do you want to walk by faith, and do it well?  Galatians 5:6 says “Faith works by love.”  Obedience flows out of love.

Our ways are vital to our works of faith.  You cannot put works of faith ahead of love.  That’s backwards.  Everything God does for us is based on His love.  At the same time His throne is established in holiness, and He reigns with righteousness.  These all work together.  Your value is not based on what you do; it’s based on His love for you.  You have value because you are His son or daughter.  Those who are His, are led by (the) Holy Spirit (see Romans 8:14).

It really gets down to this: love God and love people, then all these other things will manifest the way He intended.

www.perfectfaith.org

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Special Announcement: "The Unity of the Spirit Conference" is coming to the Cincinnati area on March 11th, 2017.  There will be more information made available in the upcoming weeks.  Please be in prayer over this event, as we desire to see God's perfect will accomplished.  It's primary objective is the unity of the Spirit; therefore, it will not promote any particular ministry, including this one.  God's agenda is all that matters.
 
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3:58 AM   [21 Aug 2016 | Sunday]

Hope and Intimacy

 Overwhelming evidence not only shows the existence of God, but His great love toward mankind.  Nonetheless, a large number of people are willingly ignorant, which is beyond mere ignorance of the truth.  It’s one thing to be naïve and lack understanding.  It is quite another when one makes the decision to never acquire knowledge and understanding.  Obviously, a good many do not want to be held accountable for their lifestyle choices, so they choose to disbelieve in God.  Unfortunately for them, they’ve also chosen to live a life without hope.  A worldview that excludes God is void of hope.  Why do you think the devil fights so hard against the truth?  He doesn’t even care if people don’t believe he exists; in fact, it gives him an advantage.  If he can keep people in a state of unbelief, he already has stolen their hope.  Not only that, but their purpose for living.

Any purpose a person may have apart from God is artificial. 

He or she will never be satisfied with achievements and accolades.  Without a relationship with God, it’s impossible to be truly content.  Some might scoff at that statement, but without Jesus Christ there is no peace; therefore, experiencing contentment to the fullest extent will not happen without Him.  How can someone be satisfied with a void that only He can fill in their life?  This for the believer and nonbeliever alike: try sitting still for an hour with no outside stimuli.  No electronics, books, people or anything that can occupy your mind.  See if you will be able maintain peace or if you will become anxious or antsy.  This is going somewhere, so hang with me a moment.

Do you find a lack of peace when you’re not doing something, or least entertaining your mind?  Do you find yourself feeling worthless when you’re not doing something “productive?”  Do you find your worth attached to doing?  Can you sit quietly for extended periods of time without feeling guilty?  Do you find hope eluding you if you’re not doing “Kingdom business?”  If you find yourself saying yes to these questions, you may be experiencing an identity crisis.

Let’s be clear, it’s normal to feel unsettled when you’re sitting around doing nothing when you actually should be doing something.  Not to be confused with fear and anxiety which counterfeit the Lord’s prompting in such cases.  The point is to focus on your relationship with God.

Even believers can struggle with hope sometimes.  Those times of struggle may be an indicator of their intimacy level. 

Simply put: the more distant from Him you are, the more likely hope will become somewhat elusive.  Your confidence is not near as strong as when you’re in intimate place with Him.  Everything flows out of the relationship when things are in order; not by our striving.  Even our earthly relationships with each other reveal this simple truth.  The more intimate the relationship, the more boldness people have with each other.  It’s a place of trust that you cannot find on an acquaintance level.  If you are only an acquaintance of God, you will lack boldness with Him.  If you feel like a mere acquaintance, remember you are far more than that if you have received Jesus Christ.  Romans 8:14-17 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.  15.  For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"  16.  The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17.  and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.  Don’t base your hope and intimacy on feelings, but on His sure Word.  If you find yourself distant, remember this simple truth as well: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you . . .” (James 4:8).

www.perfectfaith.org

The Perfect Faith Podcast

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4:03 AM   [14 Aug 2016 | Sunday]

Emotionalism

 Some have confused emotionalism with spirituality.  They’ve learned to filter their experiences through their emotions, because they serve them instead of the other way around.

Emotions were designed to serve us, and when they take a position they’re not supposed to have in a person’s life, they wreak havoc. 

They have a way of distorting reality; especially when they are used as filters.  Those who rely on their emotions find it difficult to make healthy decisions, at least consistently.  In fact, a number of them tend to sabotage themselves because of making emotional decisions.

Having an experience with God will most definitely cause an emotional response, and that’s a good thing.  It’s part of our design.  After all, we’re created in His image and are meant to have a relationship with Him.  The sticking point is when someone starts chasing the “warm-fuzzies,” instead of God.  True worship does not depend on feelings to glorify God.  Jesus said, “true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.  God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24).  That means worship doesn’t depend on how it makes us feel.

This leads to another point, just because someone doesn’t feel emotional when others do, it does not mean he or she is not glorifying God.

Tears streaming down someone’s face is not necessarily an accurate sign of spiritual worship.  As a matter of fact, offering praise in the absence of desire or emotional exuberance is absolutely an act of worship.  It’s about Him; not our exuberance.  Obedience doesn’t require us to “feel like it” in order for us to be obedient, nor is it an indicator of our love.  Love is not self-centered; therefore, it acts on the recipient’s behalf in spite of what you may or may not feel.  More often than not, the emotions come into play after the fact.

To illustrate this point, I’ll use a personal example I’ve used before.  There was a time in my life that was very challenging.  On a particular day, I was feeling depressed.  Even though it was literally a sunny day, it felt dark and cloudy.  Out of the blue, I felt the Lord speak to my heart, saying, “Praise Me!”  My first thought was; I don’t feel like it.  He repeated Himself, “Praise Me!”  I answered the Lord, “This feels phonier than a three-dollar bill; but because You said so, I will do it.”  I pulled out my guitar and started to praise the Lord.  Before I knew it, the heaviness lifted and the darkness left.  My emotions lined up with His Word.  Before long, I had a smile on my face.  The tears I felt streaming down my face were that of joy; not sorrow.  I could feel the Father wrap His arms around me.  (The) Holy Spirit comforted me.  All this came when I denied myself, picked up my cross and followed Jesus (see Matthew 16:24-25).  Obedience places things in order.  What is obedience?  To believe God with the intent to submit to His desires out of love.  It has nothing to do with emotional decisions.

It’s important to discern by which spirit you are being led.  That discernment comes much easier when you decide to follow (the) Holy Spirit, instead of your emotions.  When you make a conscious decision to be Spirit-led, you will filter your desires through the will of God.  It will never depend on convenience; rather, you will chase after His will regardless of how convenient it may or may not be.

If you’re going to be an obedient worshipper of God, His Word has to be paramount in your life.  It is spirit, truth and life.  His Word is the ultimate reality, unlike your emotional points of view.  Since the Word of God is true, you must base your reality on it, and not what you feel.  For example, “I don’t feel saved right now.”  It doesn’t matter what you feel, you’re save by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (see Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9).  The Word trumps your feelings.

Scripture tells us that the Father allows us to go through trials and afflictions in order for us to learn obedience.  If Jesus went through it, why wouldn’t you?  Hebrews 5:8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.  Such experiences are never pleasant to the flesh; but then, God likes to kill the flesh; not coddle it.  People who are led by emotions tend to initially hate those experiences, but become grateful on the other side of them.

When a person becomes Spirit-led, their emotions no longer impede the joy of the Lord. 

Without righteousness, there is no peace.  Emotionalism doesn’t always walk righteously, which is why some lack the peace they’re supposed to have.

www.perfectfaith.org

The Perfect Faith Podcast

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4:22 AM   [07 Aug 2016 | Sunday]

Life Filters

 We all know that the decisions and choices we make affect our future.  That being said, what you decide to believe affects your future as well.  Your worldview influences your thought process, which in turn, influences the way you make decisions and choices, which includes the way you believe.  What filters do you use as you look at life?

Obviously, your desires play a role in your choices.  What do you want to see happen in your life?  What you desire and what you actually see happen may be two different things in the end.  Here’s why.

If your belief system doesn’t support the desire, chances are you will not make the appropriate decisions and consequent actions necessary to fulfill it. 

For example, if you don’t even believe it’s possible, you will have no real hope of seeing it come to pass.  More than likely, you’ll do nothing to bring it to pass.  Any effort you might make, would probably be halfhearted at best.  Somewhere along the line, you may find yourself sabotaging any progress, because you will act according to your belief.  Basically, your desire would be nothing more than wishful thinking.

New question: why wouldn’t you believe it is possible?  Let’s be clear, if the desires are contrary to the will and Word of God, that’s a no brainer.  But, what about those that are appropriate for disciples of Jesus Christ?  Here’s a hint.  The way you view yourself affects your desires.  Please don’t confuse this with “self-help” or mere “positive thinking” apart from the Spirit.  So yes, your view of your worth influences them; however, what spirit you cling to influences that viewpoint.  If you latch onto (the) Holy Spirit, you will gravitate to the correct view along with proper life choices.  If you hang on to the spirit of the world, you’ll have a wrong prospective.  The New Age movement has its spirit-guides which are demonic, and that’s nothing new at all.  Likewise, there’s the religious spirit that’s made its way into people’s lives.  That thing has ravaged more lives than you can count .  It attacks a person’s sense of worth because it’s based on performance.  It entices people into self-righteousness by attacking their identity.  People equate their actions to being good; but in reality, it’s in appearance only.  The heart remains unconverted, or does not become fully converted.  People want to look right before others, and if that’s their goal, their heart is still dark.  That’s called hypocrisy.  Hypocrites will always feel unworthy, because they’ve not received the righteousness of Jesus Christ.   2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (NASB).

The things you possess, the relationships you have and so on, still depend much on your belief system. 

For example, if you filter things through a religious spirit, you will not feel free to possess expensive material things.  Never mind the fact that the Father may want to bless you in that manner.  As long as what you have doesn’t possess you, it may be more okay than you think.  This in no way endorses materialism.  As parents, we found we like to lavish things on our children.  If they have some expensive material possession, especially if it’s something we gave them, the object did not separate us.  They didn’t lose their relationship with us as their parents.  One might say, “The money spent on that, could have been used to help the poor.”  Fine, sell everything you have, give it all away, and don’t you dare accumulate anything.  No car, no extra clothes, no eating out, nothing!  How far can the religious spirit take things?  As far as you let it.  How far can (the) Holy Spirit take you?  Material possessions is not the topic here; however, it is really simple.  If you get a check from (the) Holy Spirit, don’t’ buy it.  That requires an honest and sincere heart.

Whatever spirit or attitude you filter your thought process through influences your demeanor.  If you lack peace, chances are you’re not being led of (the) Holy Spirit.  Wisdom from above produces peace (see James 3:17-18).  If you love feeling depressed or melancholy, you’ll find reasons to be depressed or melancholy.  If you thrive on anger, you’ll find reasons to become angry.  In one sense, you’ll also choose what kind of day you will have, based upon the disposition you hold.  A dark cloud can follow you around, even on the sunniest of days if you wish.  If you embrace rejection, you’ll look for the rejection.  You’ll even behave in a way that causes it.  God’s grace enables us to choose what spirit, attitude or worldview we embrace.  Prior to Jesus Christ, you didn’t have a choice.  Your only option was the spirit of the world.  Jesus came to set you free from that mess, but if you want to hang on to it, you can.  It’s up to you.  Circumstances only have as much power to dictate your attitude as you give them.  You can submit to the Lord, or the spirit of the world.  The spirit of the world says circumstances dictate whether or not you have peace; whereas, the peace Jesus gives surpasses understanding.  Many have been trained to base their peace, or lack thereof, on circumstances.  Perfect peace is foreign to most at first, which is why they wrestle with it.  However, perfect peace is the will of God for you.  Jesus said that we are supposed to pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done in earth as it is in heaven.”  Question: do you suppose fear and anxiety exist in heaven?  Of course not, perfect peace resides there.  Jesus also said that the Kingdom is within you (See Luke 17:20-21).  The fruit of the Spirit includes peace (see Galatians 5:22).  Does He live inside you?  Doesn’t that mean His peace dwells there too?  If you grant yourself permission to receive it by grace through faith, it’s yours for the receiving.  You choose!

www.perfectfaith.org

The Perfect Faith Podcast

iTunes Podcast Garden / Stitcher

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12:10 PM   [01 Aug 2016 | Monday]

Repentance from Division

 This is something I feel the Lord dropped in my heart, and that I was supposed to share it:
(07/31/2016; Sunday; 12:43 PM) I am calling My people to repent of their divisions and join the unity of the Spirit. It is high time to allow My Spirit to unify the Body. Stop trying to unify by your own ways, strength and measure. It’s not going to work by trying to unify through doctrine. You must make the decision to love, regardless of another’s view of the scriptures. As long as people try to unify through doctrinal stances, there will be division. Even if you could unify in this manner, too much time would be lost.
If you desire to see unity of doctrine, you must be taught of the Holy Spirit. The first lesson you must learn is how to love each other well. Quit insisting that others have to see things your way, that is not love. What if your viewpoint doesn’t match Mine? If My doctrine is not your doctrine, you have the wrong doctrine. Selah!
If you are not in agreement with Me, you are not in the unity of the Spirit, even if you “see eye to eye.”
I am calling those who are called by My Name to forsake and denounce their doctrinal pride, and humble themselves before Me. Apart from humility and love, you will never be in agreement with Me. Repent and draw near to Me, and I will unify you by My Spirit.

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