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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Daily Devotional January 31 - The apathy of God's people - James 2:1-4

"My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;  And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:  Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?" James 2"1-4

Bottom line - Too many Christians judge others by their looks.  There are countless stories where this kind of prejudice takes place.  It's parishioners, pastors, priests, ministry leaders, deacons and lay leaders.  They are still having a hard time getting past the skin, the dress, the hat, the beard.  It makes me wonder if the Church really has the answers anymore.

I believe that the Church has fallen to an all time low as it pertains to true holiness and godliness.  Oh, anybody can go through the motions and act like they love Jesus and "praise the Lord" and "come on in brother."  But meaning it from their heart and practicing true Christianity is altogether a different thing.  I admire those who have broken through the awful barrier of prejudice that our forefathers and in some cases our parents put into place.  Most young people are not nearly as prejudice as the generation before us.  But still stereotyping and profiling a man or a woman based on what they look like, that is not the Christian way.

If you are one of these people that claim Christ but have many rules and regulations about appearance, get over it.  You are not following the protocols of Jesus. 
You have become a judge instead of a brother or sister.
You have become a ruler, a pharisee of sorts and not an advocate.
You have taken the throne away from God and sit there comfortably as the all-knowing.
You have taken on a job title that doesn't exist in God's vocabulary.

When you look at someone and judge them, you lesson their ability to reach you.  God may be using them to bring you a message and you turn them away before they even speak.  What a travesty. 
I know many people that have made sure judgements about so and so on TV, even though they have never met them, nor have they ever walked with them a mile or two or listened long enough to get past their own predjudices.  Christians mocking Christians in the name of Christ.  Is this what we have become?

In most cases it would be best if you kept your opinion to yourself, but if you have to pass judgement, I'de be careful to go easy.  God is not pleased with such behavior.  Why is there no fear in your heart that what you are doing doesn't please God?  How can you run a family or a church with such a poor view of your children or parishioners.  No wonder they rebel and/or move on.  They are tired of being tormented by someone who thinks they are something they are not.  Pride is an awful friend and relentless if there is even a notion that you will change the way you think.  For most people of prejudiced opinions, this post will only fuel the fire.  I am hoping for the few that believe Jesus.  I didn't write the Bible.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Daily Devotional January 30 - What I Claim to Know - 1 John 3:2

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."  1 John 3:2 What I claim to know

Could it be that Jesus has a plan
Worth more than we could ever see
Because He knew the end
Written before eternity

Could it be that Jesus planned all along
To see you through your life
That Jesus already knew
What you would face - and at what price

Could it be that Jesus really knows about future
And that yesterday he rolled away the stone blocking your tomorrow
Could it be that Jesus came to earth to demonstrate
That you don’t have to carry your sorrow

Could it be that Jesus sees with ancient eyes
Knowing all that was and is and is to be
So that when we find our self, unknowing what to do
He is there to show us how and to see us through

Could it be that Jesus looks into our day, and not to judge
But to clear us from what we should surely reap
So that we don’t have to pay the price
For living life as wandering sheep

Could it be that Jesus took upon Himself
The shame that surely should of been our own
Just so that we wouldn’t have to give up
Our place in His heavenly home

Could it be that Jesus knows your very pain
That there is not a hurt that Jesus has not felt
Having borne it all upon Himself
Without as much a one speck of sin or guilt

Could it be that Jesus wants to take us home
As friends and not as those who know Him not
As those who know Him well and tell the world
About the One whom Jesus bought

Could it be that Jesus is alive and well
And spends each day drawing us closer still
And as we lift our ears to hear
He speaks to us the Fathers will

Could it be that Jesus sees
Our pride and how we go about our own way
And yet He stands before the Father
Our advocate and defense, despite the way we spent the day

Could it be that Jesus made the days ahead
So that you and I could see His plan
And so we wouldn’t be without hope in the future
He also gave us vision in our inner man

Could it be that Jesus knew
That when you and I would sin
That if He had not died for us
There would be no way to win

Could it be, that Jesus knows
That what we think is who we are
And that is why He sent His Spirit
So we wouldn’t drift too far

Could it be that Jesus’s love
Covers more than sin and shame
And because of what He’s done
We can even call His name

As I ponder all He did for you and me
The question comes to mind, why would he set us free
Knowing, all of us at times, would turn the other way
Knowing at the garden, just one hour we could not pray

It came to me, that what God did
He did because He loved me so
So very much, He died for me
And that is what I claim to know

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Daily Devotional January 29 - Principles of Power - Isaiah 40:29-31

"He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:  But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."  Isaiah 40:29-31

Principles of power:

1st principle of power: Making a decision to spend time alone with God.
2nd Principle of power: Making a deliberate, firm and irreversible (YES) decision to do what God says prior to going to God in prayer.
 If you really want power in your life, you will have to do it God's way.  God does not issue His power to those whom He knows will throw it away, not His power.  There is other power available and some of it looks good, but God's power is easily recognized:
 God's power doesn't require a certain setting like when all the cameras are on or when the right people are present.
God's power is not performed by slight of hand. God works through yielded vessels, not self-proclaimed spiritual iconoclasts.
God's power does not require confirmation from the general assembly.
God gives His power and His gifts severally as He wills, not as 'we wills'.
The power of God cannot be arranged to be captured on film at 9:00 p.m. EST.
God's power proceeds forth from God at His will, on His timing, and the only thing that moves God is a yielded vessel with a YES on their tongue.  YES I will - YES I can - YES, Lord, YES

What moves God is a praise of His glory. 
What moves God is a right view of His Son.
What moves God is a follower of the leading of the Holy Spirit.
What moves God is a prayer of thankfulness, thanking God with real zest for life.
Thankful for who God is.
Thankful for His revelation
Thankful for what we have
 If we spent as much time thanking God for what we have, as we do complaining to God about what we do not have, we would have what we don't have.

What moves God is an act of compassion:
A gift to the poor
A word for the lonely
A song for the weary
What moves God is a heart of worship.
Someone willing to bow the knee.

Submission to His wooing.
Recognition of our powerlessness apart from Him.
A yielded vessel.

The power of God is given to those who have stepped aside and lifted up the name of Jesus above their own. You can tell when a man or a woman is full of themself or yielded to God. The power of God is through the yielded and never wielded.

Those who are still full of themselves may have charisma and charm, authority, position and sometimes fame. They may be educated and informed. But the power of God is manifested in weakness and humility.

God pressed on me to search this word out, faint, because I always thought it meant the weak-willed, the helpless, those who were despondent and without, but I found out differently.  The word faint as used in the scripture comes from the Hebrew word, (yaw-afe) which means fatigued or utterly exhausted. The faint are not the despondent or weak-willed, but those who are utterly exhausted from their labors.

The power of God is given to the laborers of God to perform the will of God.

The power of God doesn't stop and land on someone, as if, they could then wield the power of God at their own discretion. The power of God flows through a yielded man or woman to produce God results at God's discretion.

God is fed up with the modern prophets and so-called Apostles, some pastors and teachers who are puffed up with pride and self elevation and make a mockery of God's Holy and incorruptible power.

Galatians 6:3 says, "For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself." 

Those who are still trying out God to see if they really have any interest in continuing with God are not awarded the power of God.

Those in whom God works His mighty power through:
They have stopped testing God.
They are done fighting God.
They have submitted to His will.

It's not that God does not work through others. God works through the ungodly and the unaware. The difference is, that those who adore the Lord - those who are yielded and submitted - they know when God is working in them and through them.

The power of God and the anointed life is for those who have made up their mind that God is who He says He is in the scriptures.
No other kind of faith will do:
Only faith in the Father as revealed in Holy scripture, the Holy Bible.
Faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God as revealed in Holy scripture, the Holy Bible.
Faith in the Holy Spirit as revealed in Holy scripture, the Holy Bible. (period)
  • Seeker faith will not do.
  • Show me first faith will not do.
  • I love you Lord, but not enough to do something about my situation faith will not do.
  • Sunday faith will not do.
  • Extra-biblical faith will not do.
  • Your spouses faith will not do.
  • If it goes my way faith will not do.
  • As long as I can believe what I want to faith will not do.
  • As long as You don't test me faith, will not do.
  • Don't ask me to give up what is mine faith will not do.
  • As long as I can continue in my sin faith, will not do.
  • As long as I can have control faith, will not do.
  • As long as You don't bother me faith, will not do.
  • As long as You don't tell me what to do faith, will not do.
Today, even born-again believers and especially young believers are in rebellion to God's Holy Word.
Where did the body of Christ and our teenage believers hear that when we get saved, we get to keep?

Our old self
Our former inclinations
Our unsaved behaviors and attitudes
Where did the body of Christ hear that when we get saved, we get to keep?
Our old ways and
Our old habits
Who was it that taught that it's OK to struggle with the same old habit for twenty-five years?

I hope that you never placate your peers, your friends or your family with a 'feel good because I don't want to hurt their feelings gospel'.

The main reason that most Christians are living below their calling is because they have been taught that it is OK.  It was never OK, nor will it ever be OK, for you and I to think that God saves His people so that they can continue to live the way they used to live. God forbid. I believe that if we were careful to give the gospel, without apology, new believers would seek God's heart and learn of His ways and make every effort to find God and serve Him.

If we were teaching people that YES is the only appropriate answer to our call from God and that YES is the only appropriate answer to the call to His ways, more people would be believing God with unswerving faith - And we wouldn't have to drive to Orlando to get healed either.

Here's the problem. Most people that go to God to get alone, first make a pack with themselves, that if God directs them in something that they don't want to do or go to a place they don't want to go, then they will renege.

They don't mind going to God to get alone as long as God comes through and meets their own particular requirements:
As long as God answers their prayer the way they want it answered.
As long as they aren't kept too long.
As long as God doesn't put them on the spot.
As a matter of fact, for some, as long as God just keeps His place, everything will be alright.

Some people go to God to see what God is going to say, and if God says the right things, they will consider it.  But God is likely to say the wrong thing, if the right thing, is that thing, that we have already made up in our mind about.
If we've already made up our mind that:
We aren't going to go to where God says to go.
We aren't going to be what He called us to be.
We aren't going to do what God tells us to do.
We aren't going to say what God told us to say.
If we've already made up our mind, that what we hear from God, must echo of our own mind........

The only way to hear God clearly is to go to God with an open heart and an open mind and let God place into us, His will.

If we go to God with and open heart and an open mind, God might tell us to rest.
If we go to God with and open heart and an open mind, God might tell us to go.
If we go to God with and open heart and an open mind, God might tell us to give.
If we go to God with and open heart and an open mind, God might tell us to go to the mission field.

Some of us still think of missionaries as a small group of people who had nothing better to do, but give up everything: they had to move to a remote area to teach the unteachable, while earning their own substance, because they really couldn't get a job anywhere.  No way. Missionaries are simply those who said YES, before God told them what they would be doing.

One night ma and pa were sitting at the edge of the setee and they knelt down to pray and they made the mistake of praying like this, "Oh God, why is this burden on my heart? I feel you tugging on me. What is it you are trying to tell me. Make it clear and I will obey."
"Go to Nairobi"
"Go to Sri Lanka"
"Go to Bangledesh"
"Go to Frankfurt Germany"
"Go to Tajikistan"
"Go to Sydney Australia"

And sometimes God calls us to more familiar places.
"Stay where you are for five years. Be faithful and serve in this place."

People go and needs are met when we go to God with a YES, fixed in our heart and on our lips.

If we go to God with and open heart and an open mind, God will use us to accomplish His good pleasure - and sometimes His good pleasure is to intercede for others or to go and do what others have left undone.

Those who are still listening for God to say what they want to hear, have not read the Word, nor do they know the heart of God.

We put too much emphasis on me, myself and I. We sing to God to take us and mold us but we end the song with "as long as it is my way."

Personal fulfillment
Creature comfort security
Financial independence
Material satisfaction
Immediate gratification - take precedence over the call of God.

Too many people are going to God in prayer, primarily for personal fulfillment. There's nothing wrong with expecting God to move on our behalf and to bring to pass what we cannot or to infuse His supernatural power in our natural situation, but personal fulfillment is only a part of the whole truth.

God does want His people fulfilled. God has proved that to each of us.
God provides for us and sustains us apart from our own works and abilities.
God directs us to go this way and that and leads us to follow Him.
God heals our bodies and heals our emotions.
God takes away the pangs of the past and gives us hope for the future.
God fills us with blessings and makes us to prosper.
God wants His people fulfilled, but personal fulfillment without intercession for others and integration with others is shallow and ultimately un-fulfilling.

God has made available His power for you to operate in, but power isn't always measured in overwhelming success, sometimes there's more power in restraint than misguided action.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Daily Devotional January 28 - Nine stages of spiritual growth - stage 9 (anointed) - Hebrews 4:9-10

"There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. (Now get this down in your spirit.) For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His." Hebrews 4:9-10

While you are reading this, make sure you let go of everything that is distracting you. Get comfortable and hold on. Don't rush the reading of this message. Allow it to deposit in your spirit.
 The nine stages of spiritual growth are: Called - Washed - Strengthened - Prepared - Filled - Empowered - Inspired - Authorized and Anointed.

God thinking proposes that you do what God says and rest in the results. But when you are unsure of what God says you wrestle with the results. And the reason is: Only those who do the will of God, by allowing God to work in them, by them and through them, can rest from their own works. Your belief, if embraced by God, brings you to a place of rest, where unbelief brings you to a place of unrest. Your belief brings you to a resting place and your unbelief brings us to a restless place. Further, your belief brings you to a place of resting within and your unbelief brings you to a place of unrest without. Unbelief is the greatest sin of all.

The anointing is available, but it is only found in God's rest.

The true power of God is found in knowing and practicing God's ways. The idea of universal power that is equally available to any and all recipients, despite what they believe or how they operate in their belief, is not scriptural. There is a spiritual power apart from God and that power and that realm is owned and operated by satan. Don't be fooled by the "all paths lead to God" proponents. They make claims that cannot be supported by scripture, nor by the indwelling Holy Spirit - False claims are made to elevate self and God is sickened when the beauty of His ways is compared to the reckless behavior of the disobedient.

We are a generation, not too sure about God's ways, because religions/denominations have been doing our Bible study for us. The call to personal revelation by regular reading of the scripture and time alone with God to commune with Him, has been exchanged for a quick fix and a short sermonette.

The preaching of a holy and sovereign God that has already layed out the framework for your life by principles for living, found in the scriptures, and daily guidance by the indwelling Holy Spirit, has been exchanged for private interpretation of God's will that better suits a comfortable and far less challenging way of life.

God is holy and will not tolerate our consistent and frequent ignorance of His ways.

How long will God have to wait for you and I to take God as serious as we take ourselves? How long until we seek to apprehend His pleasure as much as we do our own?

Just how much unbelief does it take to spoil belief?

To enter into this rest - this place where even God entered into - this place where we rest from our works is also the place called rest. Let us labor to enter into that rest, just as God labored six days and then entered into His rest.

When we have labored to enter in - when we are prepared - when we have matured into the fullness of who we are in Christ - we enter into the rest of God, where we cease from our own works and the Spirit of God works in us, by us, and through us, as we rest from our own labors, but it is not that we cease from work or cease from labor - we cease from our own work and our own labor.

Again I ask, just how much unbelief does it take to spoil belief?

• How much doubt does it take to keep us from believing God this morning that God will take us out of debt?
• How much doubt does it take to keep us from believing for good health?
• How much doubt does it take to keep us from believing for healing in our body?
• How much doubt does it take to keep us from believing for our dream to come true?

God is calling us to a place of no doubt.

 No doubt about so and so coming to the Lord. We will rest in our belief and God will work His will through us to do what we could not do.
• No resistance to God.
• No doubt holding us hostage anymore.

The anointing requires that you cease from your works and rest in God.
There were many that God showed Himself to.
There were many that knew the scriptures from back to front.
There were many that claimed to be of the seed of Abraham.
But they were not all anointed.

They were not anointed, because they did not believe what God said about Himself.

They did not enter into the rest of God, nor could they because to enter into the rest of God, requires that they rest from their own works, and they would not.

They did not enter into God's rest even though they knew the right words to say, because the right words are not enough to enter into the rest of God.

They did not enter into God's rest because of their birthright. God made it clear that Abraham and His seed are heirs by faith, not by blood.

No one come to God by default - only by belief that what God says about Himself and His Son is true.

To be anointed God must have all of you, not only is there no resistance, but there is a genuine, inner compunction to serve God, despite any and every circumstance. But many cannot come in to this place of rest, because of unbelief and doubt, consent to unnecessary, unhealthy and sometimes ungodly sentiments for this worlds system. Those sentiments don't start out as a path away from God. Most, harmful relationships with illegal drugs, prescription drugs, gambling, smoking, or people don't start out with the same level of detriment as they end up with.

Most harmful relationships grow from casual acquaintance to full blown affairs over time. Over time, worldly sentiments produce fruits of their own:
Territory is lost to the enemy.
Your body is damaged.
Your liver is damaged.
Your heart is damaged.
Your mind is corrupted.
Your reputation is tarnished.
You make light of the price God paid for your salvation.
Your emotions are demoralized.
Your motives become skewed.
Your faith becomes religious.
Your witness becomes void of efficacy.
You start to rely on everything but God to get you through.
You become an expert at rationalizing.

Worldly sentiments interfere when you hear the Word of God, you are not convicted in your heart to make a change, the conviction is turned into vindictive behavior, and you fight back, sometimes even at the ones you love the most. Again, no one starts out with the intentions of messing up their life. Little by little indiscretions turn into inclinations and inclinations turn into ungodly behaviors and ungodly behaviors turn into sins.

But just the same as the way you go astray - you can come back. But different than straying away where you are fighting against the leading of the Holy Spirit and you have to forge ahead fighting God, operating in your own power, when you are coming back you are in agreement with the Holy Spirit, God is pushing you forward and supporting you along the way and you are no longer operating under your own power. Whatever satan has taken from you, whatever territory has been given up, God has an ample supply to replenish your life. Whatever ground was lost in the battle can be and must be taken back. God is on your side and if you are willing to turn it over to Him and believe God, you will enter into His rest.

Unbelief is what holds you back and unbelief is what keeps you from the anointing.

To question God is not a sin
To ask God why things have to be
To search to find the answers, the truth
God sets a man and woman free

We are free to knock and seek and find
To dig real deep with open mind
To ever press for truths that bind
God will not hinder such a find

It’s not the rebel that can’t be changed
Or the one who made mistakes
It’s not the sinner that will be blamed
Not even the one who drove the stakes

For our sins can be forgiven by the price Christ paid for them
Our rebellion can be changed to serving God from within
Our mistakes can be forgotten because salvation is sure
But for the sin of unbelief - there is no cure

When we all stand before our God
What sin we’ve done will not be named
For our transgressions all are covered
And all in Jesus’s name

For God so loved the world
That He gave His only begotten Son
That whosoever believes in Him
Will never come undone

God did not leave faith to chance
He sent His only Son
To make sure that not even sin
Could keep a man from entering in

But to the unbelieving world
Whose blinded eyes could never see
For those who found another way
Other than the rugged tree

Those who stand in unbelief
After all that God has done
The best of speeches will not avail
If they deny God’s Son

• Unbelief is why Cain slew Able.
• Unbelief is why only eight were spared in the great flood.
• Unbelief is why the nation of Israel did not recognize the Messiah.
• Unbelief is why the nation of Israel does not recognize the Messiah today.
• Unbelief is why the Muslims and Hindus cannot find rest.
• Unbelief is the nagging nemesis of this millennium too.
• Unbelief is what keeps the seeker from finding the truth when it is right in front of them.
• And unbelief is what keeps you from uniting with God in will and purpose.

Why so much discussion on unbelief when we are discussing being anointed by God? Because it is unbelief that keeps you from finding the rest of God and it is in this rest that you are anointed. The anointed are committed. And the committed are anointed.

I want you to get a real feel for what committed is. Committed - is that point in time when you move forward with such agreement and/or momentum, that you cannot turn back - you cannot turn back without, at least a serious degrading or perilous outcome.

Ex: You are a batter and the pitch comes to you. You are committed to the swing when the swing goes across the plate - even if you balk, at the point where you went over the plate, you will be charged with a strike. That is committed.

Ex: You are an airline pilot and everyone has boarded the plane. All checks have been processed and everything is O.K. You taxi down the runway and you receive the word that you are a go for takeoff. You accelerate to flight speed. You reach that point when you cannot turn back and if you do, the plane will run off the runway and there will be damage or fatalities. That point is committed.

Ex: You are playing golf and you set the ball on the tee. You position your feet and take a practice swing or two. You rear back and swing. There is a point in time when you have committed to that swing.

And yet, in our experience with the ways that God has set before us - when we think of committed, we think more in terms of trying something out than we do emptying ourselves into it. One of the reasons that we don’t experience more of God’s fulfilled promises in our life, is because in what we believe we have not committed ourselves to it, yet. We are still trying it out. Can you see how the whole concept of commitment has been watered down in our society?

There’s no way you can receive anything spiritual from God if what you call commitment doesn’t meet biblical criteria, i. e.:
No more turning back.
No stopping in the middle of
No conditions after the fact
No trying out God’s promises and provisions to see if God meets your expectations.
No more leaving a job half done.

Why, today if someone gets a little discouraged, they bail.
If someone gets offended, they quit.
If their needs aren’t getting met, they walk.
If you aren’t bending over backwards to make them comfortable, they complain and eventually leave.

What about the call?
What about the commitment to God in spite of the circumstances or difficulties?
What about conforming to God’s call instead of trying to conform God’s call to meet your own personal agenda?
What about serving for decades?

The Church is full of people today that won’t get involved if they have to commit more than a few weeks or a few months.

Here’s the final analysis:
You have been conditioned, to operate in, and be satisfied with, less than a biblical understanding of God’s call to your commitment to the things of God.  And for this reason, there is great lack in the body of Christ today.  God is not conditioned to accept whatever offering we bring to Him. No, I’m not talking about money, but it could be money too. I’m talking about how we bring to God what part of our self that we don’t mind giving up. But unconditional surrender....

Over time, and due to our lack of commitment to placing and keeping God in the center of our life, there has been a falling away from sound doctrine. We have the uncommitted teaching the uncommitted how to be committed. The results are two-fold:

1 God is grieved, because the kind of commitment that God demands of His people is not what has been preached, taught, nurtured and believed in the Church in our generation.

2 The Church is living with less than what is available, because the blessings and provisions of God are accessed by commitment and delivered in God’s rest.

It is this place of God’s rest where the anointing is imparted and there is no rest where there is no commitment. Why are we so satisfied with less than what is available?

Are you willing to ask God to take you deeper than ever before? Are you willing to find God’s rest? Are you willing to be in the center of God’s will even at the expense of............. everything? There is nothing worth not trading in for the anointing.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Daily Devotional January 27 - Nine stages of spiritual growth - stage 8 (authorized) - Romans 8:29-30

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Romaqns 8:29

God Thinking promotes the idea that when you grow and prosper in accordance with God foreordained parameters for each stage of your development, two things happen:
  1. You fulfill the will of God for mankind, in that you bring to pass what God foreordained, (you fulfill prophesy by responding to what God declared you would do.)
  2. You fulfill the will of God in your personal life, in that God brings to pass what you ordain, (God fulfills what you declare or desire so that you will be fulfilled.)
When we are living out our experience with God in a way that reflects Christ in us, we are authorized.
  • You don't need authority to say no to God.
  • You don't need to be authorized to pick on the few who are doing all the work.
  • You don't need to be authorized to practice unbelief.
  • You don't need to be authorized to watch.
  • You need to be authorized when you see that the enemy is about to make some headway in your sister's life or your best friends job.
  • You need to be authorized if you want to speak the words that move people to make a decision for the kingdom of God.
  • You need to be authorized to cast out devils and to be God's man or woman for the hour to speak a word of faith that brings about healing.
The disciples first needed to be called and washed and strengthened and prepared. Jesus filled them and empowered them and inspired them through constant example and impartation of His Spirit, through teaching them and performing miracles.  Jesus didn't send them out empty handed, (spiritually). The men and women that were sent out with authority were experienced in spiritual matters.

They have spent some quantity time and quality time with Jesus.
They are not afraid of challenge and ridicule and hardships.
They are not practicing for the purpose of being seen anymore.
They are mature in the faith, not moved by disputations and silly arguments, devils advocate questions or the naysayers poison darts of doubt.
The authorized know the Master.
The authorized understand God's ways.
The authorized follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
The authorized make it happen.
The authorized are past changing their mind about Christ.
The authorized are given authority to accomplish the will of God, under the understanding that there will be seasons that they might not necessarily be personally fulfilled or be comfortable.

Are the authorized blessed? Of course.
Are the authorized happy? Yes.
Are the authorized fulfilled? Yes.
Are the authorized at peace? Absolutely.
But the reason that the authorized does what they do is not to be fulfilled in what they do, (although they are fulfilled in what they do - being fulfilled in what they do is a byproduct of serving God in this capacity.)  The reason the authorized do what they do is because they are called, washed, strengthened, prepared, filled, empowered and inspired.

They have been groomed to do the will of God by listening to and following the leading of the Holy Spirit, accomplishing the will of God through obedience to God, in spite of personal gain, personal notoriety, personal advancement, or personal fulfillment.

Some are called to give their life and when they make up their mind that this is an acceptable end for the sake of the gospel, they will be authorized to handle the Word of God.  The people rejoice because there is justice and safety when the righteous are in charge. But when the wicked and indiscreet are in power, the whole nation bows their head in shame.

Authority or authorized as used in scripture means - privileged - competent - mastery - delegated influence.  Authorized as expressed by God for man is - to be privileged to exercise the will of God, and to provide authentic representation of the mind of Christ, for a given task, as delegated by the Holy Spirit.
  • To be authorized is not to receive the stamp of approval to operate freely of sound scriptural doctrine, or to move on our own will, or to operate apart from the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Those who are authorized have ample biblical knowledge to represent what God is doing among His people at the time they are in service to God, while on this earth.  The knowledge that they have obtained by study and obedience has been transformed into wisdom, by God.
  • To be authorized is to finally reach the place where the one authorized is at peace with the way that God deals with man.
  • To be authorized is to set aside our own direction for that of the will of God.
  • To be authorized is that place of no resistence to God's leading and to God's ways
And yet all of us are already authorized in so many ways.  I believe our potential for living under the leadership and guidance of the Holy Spirit far exceeds our current usage of our inner resources.
Here's why:

We are already authorized to have dominion over a great many things and the way we handle the usage of those things determines what other things we are given Godly charge over: Genesis 1:26-30 says, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion (authority) over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."

And in Galatians 4:6-7, "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.  Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."

We have been authorized to do a great many things already.
When God made us in His image and likeness, He pre-authorized us to have dominion over all the earth and every living thing in it.
We are all authorized to follow the scriptures in our life.
We need no further blessing to answer the call to come to God and God authorizes all who have heard the Word to answer the call to come to God.
Those God saves He authorizes to inherit His kingdom - to become heirs of every gift of God that God so deems fit to impart.
Those who have been filled with the Holy Spirit are authorized to operate in the gifts, the talents and skills that we have acquired and developed and received from God.

At each phase of growth of your whole being, physical - emotional - mental and spiritual, God authorizes (releases) the necessary building blocks to operate successfully at each God ordained stage of growth.  What that means is: that if you are walking in the glorious light that Jesus gives to you - at each stage of your development - God sees to it - God imparts - God does the placement of each particle of light that you need so that you can fulfill the will of God and at the same time live out your life with inspiration and assurance of destiny.

It's only when you get out of sync with God ordained times and seasons that things go awry. It's not that things won't go wrong and it's not that things won't happen that are out of your control and it's not that others won't infringe on you or misuse you or abuse you and it's not that nature won't cause events to take place that bring about an undesirable end - But how you deal with each of these events in your life determines whether or not you are authorized to complete certain tasks.

God allows negative things to happen to you, but what comes out from you is to be holy.
God allows bad things to happen to good people, but good people are not to allow bad things to come out from them.
God allows nature to kill and maim, but the righteousness of God is served by you and I.
God allows evil to operate, but God has raised you up to stand against it, not to participate in it.

To be authorized as it pertains to this eighth stage of spiritual growth is to understand that no longer can you operate under your own will. You must yield to the will of God, not in one or two little things that don't really matter - but in everything.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Daily Devotional January 26 - Nine stages of spiritual growth - stage 7 (inspired) - 2 Peter 1:21

"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved (inspired) by the Holy Ghost."  2 Peter 1:21

Before I discuss this stage of spiritual development, I want you to think for a moment about what inspired means to you.  

If you are a musician, inspired means being given a song that you feel came from outside of yourself, or in some cases from deep within, a song that was beyond your self.
 If you are a pastor, being inspired means receiving revelation from God that you can put into words and share with others. An inspired pastor can move and challenge the hearer and impart what God has revealed.

As a writer, to be inspired means that you penned something that you couldn't even dream of on your own.
As an entrepreneur, inspired might be the way you feel when you start a new venture.

As an inventor, inspired is that moment when you think you will develop something that has never been developed before.
As a homemaker, inspired is that moment when you can see beyond the mundane routine of things and see the future in it. It's that moment when you realize the long term effects of the every day motions.
Inspiration comes to all of us at different times, from different perspectives and personally gift-wrapped just for us.  What inspires you might not inspire me. Would you agree with that? Does it seem to you that when you are inspired, it is special and personal - and that when you are inspired it is exactly what you want to see or to do or to be.
  • Inspiration is spiritual and God uses inspiration to help us make sense of it all.
  • Inspiration is to lift us up and give us hope and a reason.
Inspiration as used in the old testament is from the Hebrew word n'shamah, nesh-aw-maw, which means, a puff of wind, a vital breath. Kindle, prompt, provoke, excite, encourage, embolden, lift, move, impel and stimulate.

Inspiration in the New Testament is the word theopneustos, (theh-op-yoo-stos), divinely breathed in of God. This word inspiration comes from the root word Theos, (God).

Think about this, When God would appear as an angel of light in old testament times, that encounter with God was called a theophony, (the physical manifestation of the LORD) and this word inspiration (theh-op-yoo-stos) is the internal manifestation of God within.
 Inspiration is divine intervention in the lives of men, women and children for the purpose of exciting the individual to reach higher and think further than ever before - but, while it serves the individual, as to enhancing their life, broadening their horizons, lifting their spirit and giving them extraordinary reason and hope - it also serves the whole of mankind at the same time, in that inspiration is used by God to bring about the days and the times in accordance with His perfect foreknowledge, (fulfillment of prophesy).

God inspires mankind for the purpose of bringing mankind through life's journey, by God breathing into man what God wants accomplished for this hour, this day, this millennium, and man receives this direction as inspiration, thereby accomplishing the will of God for the season of life as it is written in the scriptures.

I see inspired as God breathed direction, available as God so sees fit.

God is no respecter of persons and God sends His inspiration to the whole world to move them, to provoke them, to inspire them, but inspired as pertains to a stage of spiritual growth is that point in time when what you are inspired to do is what God has prophesied that you would do.  God trusts you to inspire you to do something that doesn't just benefit yourself.  Your love and devotion to God has transferred into helping and benefitting God's people.  You get the point of it all; to be inspired by God to do something wonderful for man.
  • To see God through nature - how many roses have inspired the eye of the beholder?
  • To see God through the stars - how many people have looked up to the stars and been inspired?
  • To see God through the humble acts of another - every time we see someone give of themselves in a selfless act of compassion, we are inspired to seek a deeper walk.
  • To see God through the love of another - sometimes we are looking for some noticeable spiritual experience when the simplicity of love for the brethren is God at work.
  • To see God through a smile - Why are we always looking for something unfamiliar when we think of something great and wonderful from God. The deepest things of God are clearly seen, the invisible things of God are revealed in the inner man by the Spirit of God, and sometimes a smile is (God at work).
God has designed the whole universe to be an ever-present inspiration, to provoke us to come to know Him and fulfill His plan for the ages.

God inspires everyone, in that everything that God created has within it inspiration, but the inspiration as a stage of spiritual development is when the divine nature of God is more than a brief encounter with an (outside of) or (deep inner source). Inspiration as it relates to the seventh stage of spiritual growth is when we are moved by God's breath, God's Word, God's Spirit. We are moved and we know we are moved and we are desirous of being moved and we know we will be moved as it pleases God to work in us and through us.

When we are inspired by God as it relates to this stage of spiritual development, God weaves His plan with our life as a weaver weaves a seamless shawl.
God inspires those whom He empowers.

I was concerned that this study would be more of a teaching lesson until I got to this part - The impartation part. Are you ready to receive a fresh Word for you that moves you?

If you read a word that moves you - If you are inspired or moved, please don't hesitate - don't doubt.  Allow God to have the pre-eminence. You are here by divine appointment, so if God speaks to your heart - make up your mind to do what you are inspired to do, and you will be fulfilling God's plan for your life - while enjoying the calling in your life.

Today will you allow God to inspire you?

  • It could be that God will inspire you to make a decision that you have been putting off.
  • It could be that God will inspire you to take charge of something in your life that has been running amuck.
  • It could be that God will inspire you to reach higher than ever before - to start a new venture - to start a new relationship - to start a new ministry in your life - to start tithing - to start spending quantity time with your kids.
  • It could be that God will inspire you take a new look at your spouse.
  • It could be that God will inspire you to live holy - to take a second look at the way you live out our daily life.
  • It could be that God will inspire you to do something that you have never done before - something daring or something that you put off because you didn't think you would ever have time to complete it, but now you are inspired - and what would have taken ten years can be cut down to two years, because you are empowered by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
  • It could be that God will inspire you to work on that invention you were thinking about and to take it to the next level.
  • It could be travel or adventure or rest in the tropics that God inspires in you.
Whatever it is, let go and let God. Let God fill you with good things, good dreams that come true, good times and good hope for the future.

Life was not meant to be a series of disappointments, tragedies and uncontrolled circumstances - but the people of God have found it easier to whine and complain about their circumstances than to move on the inspired Word of God and turn things around. You are blessed and God has an abundance of everything, spiritual and material for you.

But I have seen the body of Christ try everything except to receive the Word of God unconditionally and to live under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

  • God inspires you as a puff of wind.
  • God inspires you as a vital breath to your soul.
  • God inspires you as a kindling fire to get you burning with passion for something again.
  • God inspires you by prompting you to take a second look at your situation and realize you can win with the wind of God's breath under your sails.
  • God inspires you as a provocation to not put off what you can do to get closer to His perfect will in your life.
  • God inspires you by exciting you with direction.
  • God inspires you through the encouragement of another. Can you be a person of encouragement?
  • God inspires you and makes you bold.
  • God inspires you and lifts you up.
Are you ready for a fresh breath of God on your life?  Open up to Him right now and let God inspire you and take you higher than ever before.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Daily Devotional January 25 - Nine stages of spiritual growth - stage 6 (empower) - Acts 1:8

"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:"  Acts 1:8

We learned that the first step in our spiritual growth is to be called.
We learned that God takes the one who was called that answers the call and washes them clean.
After God calls us and we are washed, God begins a work in us, by strengthening us.
We learned that God strengthens us in the inner man so He can prepare us.
And what God strengthens and prepares, He fills.

Why does God fill His people with His Spirit?
To empower them for service.

In the nine stages of spiritual growth that we have been discussing, being empowered comes after being filled.  This power that we receive cannot be taken lightly, because God does not give power that is separate from the giving of Himself.  If we get this one point straight, we will be positioned to be empowered. See, God does not empower you to make you powerful, God empowers you to fulfill His will in you, by you and through you.  God does not empower you so that you will have power, God empowers you so that you will yield your power to His power.

As a matter of fact, there is no power given to you apart from God working in you, by you and through you. God doesn't give you power and then you go and wield it. You go and God wields His power in you, by you and through you.

Does it really make any difference how we look at it? This sounds like semantics. Yes it does make a difference how we look at how the power of God works in your life.  God takes His power seriously.  It amazes me that there are still people that think that God let's people get His power and that they can misuse it.  No way. God knows the end from the beginning and God does not allow those who will turn away to be empowered.

God doesn't try us out to see if we can handle it or to see if we will be faithful to Him. God doesn't give us His power and then after we misuse it, take it away.  God doesn't change His mind, (the Bible word is immutable), nor does anything go out from God that returns void.

Too many Charlatans are operating under 'simulation' power, the imitation power that satan uses to defraud the real power of God. This mimicry of God's holy power is cloaked under the disguise of an angelic presence.
God does not empower frauds.
God does not empower those who are going to use His power for self aggrandizement.
God does not let His Spirit be used to corrupt, or manipulate, or abuse, or discourage, or defame, or to harm or defraud.

satan disguises his power in an attempt to emulate God's power: to confuse, disorient, harm, cause hard feelings, discourage, elevate, cause doubt, uncertainty, cloud the issue.  satan makes his spiritual power look like it is from God to:
circumvent the right time - There is a time that is right. There is a time that is pre-mature.  And there is a time that is too late.

satan wants to circumvent your entrance into your place with God.
satan wants to circumvent your children's entrance into adulthood and bring them in early.
And satan wants to circumvent your acceptance of the things of God so that your ability to be empowered by God will be stripped from you. It's true, even today satan is trying to hold back those who want to move forward with God, but satan has convinced them that they are not worthy, it's too late - you've made too many mistakes.

satan makes his spiritual power look like it is from God to: circumvent the right passageway.  The bible says in John 10:1, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber."  Even Christians are trying out other paths. This is a travesty and those who are dabbling with other paths to God, shall find at the end of that alternate path, the god of that alternate path. satan has developed more than 4,000 other paths to keep us off of the one true path.

satan makes his spiritual power look like it is from God to: circumvent the right decision.  How many times did we make a decision contrary to what we knew was best for our lives? Just once? The influence of satan in our lives is far too great, and if you think about it, you know it is true.

satan makes his spiritual power look like it is from God to: circumvent the truth with philosophy.  satan is a liar. God is truth. There is no correlation between them. There is never agreement between them. There is never cohesion between them. Philosophies that steer us from a right view of God are to be shunned, not entertained.  A man or a woman embedded with a little of this philosophy and a little of that philosophy will not be empowered by God. To receive the power of God, we must lay aside foolish philosophies, fables, myths, illusions, distortions, fantasies, notions, and writings from romantic spiritualists.

These writers write of dreams, as if dreams were the stuff real life is made up of, when it is the other way around: Real life is the stuff dreams are made up of.

To honor and entertain the foolishness of vain and ill-informed philosophers will only hinder and impede the journey to that place of spiritual enlightenment that we are seeking.

The Word of God contains the truth and the life and the light that we are seeking. All other writings can only reflect the truth at best and completely distort it at worst.  satan makes his spiritual power look like it is from God to circumvent the truth with philosophy.

satan makes his spiritual power look like it is from God to: circumvent proper authority guidelines established by God with his authority structure: Like to:
Take the authority away from Christ as the head of the Church and give it to a religious leader.
Take the authority away from your pastor and give it to other institutions. (Counseling and advise)
Take the authority away from the husband in the household and give it to whomever is the strongest.
Take the authority away from the biblically authorized marriage and give it to the sexually perverse. (Same sex marriage)
Take the authority away of a parent over their children and give it to the government. (abortion)

satan will circumvent what God has for you every time you give place to him and you do that not only by commission (making decisions contrary to the will of God) but also by omission, (not making decisions that should have been made long ago).  Really, how much ground do you really want your adversary to have in your life? It is easy to say none, but to exercise the disciplines necessary to bring that statement to fruition is much more difficult. As a matter of fact, it is impossible. That's why you need to be empowered.

God empowers you for many reasons and God's empowerment helps you to develop your skills and talents - All this so that you can fulfill the will of God for your life, while you are being fulfilled in your calling in life.
Let me ask you something.
Is there power in the name of Jesus?
Who is that power for?
Is there power when you can sense the presence of God?
Who is that power for?
Is there power when you read or hear a new truth from the scripture?
Who is that power for?
Is there power in knowledge?
Who is that power for?
Is there power in our assurance of salvation?
Who is that power for?
Is there power in prayer?
Who is that power for?
Is there power in obedience?
Who is that power for?
Is there power in the blood?
Who is that power for?
Is there power in the cross?
Who is that power for?

In everything that God reveals His power through; In everyone that God gives His power to;
God empowers you to fulfill His will in you, through you and by you.

I want you to sense the connection between God empowering you and your operating in and of the power of God, and that the two become one; in that, God does not empower someone in whom He knows will not use the power for His purpose, nor can that someone operate in the power of God apart from God giving them the power to operate in, because the power of God is not separate from God. 

God intricately weaves His will with your will, and that is what it means to be empowered.

When God empowers you it is to empower you spiritually so that you will be more aware of the spirit realm and less aware of the physical realm, but primarily for the purpose of accomplishing something in the physical realm.

You are not empowered to receive the gifts of the holy Spirit, because the gifts of the Spirit are given. You are empowered to operate in the gift.

You cannot operate in a gift of the Spirt on your own power.

You can however, appear to operate in a gift of the Spirit in your own power, but the results are not spiritual, but carnal.

In this life, you and I will always be faced with two choices:

You have the choice to receive and operate in the power of God.
You have the choice to receive and operate in the power of satan.

There is a third group that thinks that what they do they do under their own power.  There is no truth in this, because in the spiritual realm there are two distinct powers, and two powers only, the power of God and the power of satan.

The reason I am teaching this particular truth, is so that you will fully understand that in the decisions that you make, youe either are in agreement with and endorse the power of God or you are in agreement with and endorse the power of satan.  This idea that it doesn't matter is not scriptural. 
  • God empowers you to discern, that's why mature Christians often have more discernment than new Christians.
  • God empowers you to overcome the wiles of the wicked.
  • God empowers you to love one another like Christ loves you.
  • God empowers you to stand up and speak with boldness the Word of God.
  • God empowers you to go.
  • God empowers you to take charge of your future.
  • God empowers you to build up the kingdom of God.
  • God empowers you to individually build up the body of Christ.
  • God empowers you to complete what you started.
  • to wait for/on Him.
  • God empowers you to do what cannot be done without the supernatural intervention of the Almighty.
  • God empowers us to take back territory.
  • God empowers us make us more like His Son.
It takes the power of God working in you to pull out of the attraction to the world system, and God warns you what happens if youe continue to deny God His place -i. e., to work in you, by you and through you.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Daily Devotional January 24 - Nine stages of spiritual growth - stage 5 (filled) - Acts 4:31

"And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness." 
Acts 4:31

And who God Calls He washes, and who God washes He strengthens and who God strengthens He prepares and who God prepares, He fills.  And that is what we are looking at today, being filled

Can you imagine being filled without being prepared. It would be like filling up a clay pot before it was cured. The filling would break the vessel.  When God prepares us and we respond positively by preparing ourselves, we are then filled.

The reason that it is so important to understand how God fills us is so that we will be able to recognize the real from the fake. There is a real and there is a fake.  Let me give you a biblical definition of being filled with the Spirit. 

Being filled with the Spirit is the receiving of an increase by infusion of the Spirit of God, abundant and sufficient, (more than our regular supply), to meet the task at hand with ample provision.  Filled as used in the scriptures in every verse where the phrase "filled with the Holy Spirit", is used, is the words (pletho) and (pleroo), and it means:
Imbue - permeate or invade
Influence - a power indirectly or intangibly affecting a person or cause of events.
Supply - To make available for use; to furnish and equip with what is needed or lacking.
Replete - Plentifully supplied; abounding.
Finish a task, (but not finished, as the end of all tasks)
Make full
Perfectly supply

  • Being filled with the Spirit is not being full of the Spirit as if there were no more Spirit to receive. 
  • Being filled with the Spirit is not a second work of grace, but it is a second work and a third work and a fourth and a fifth and so on.
  • Being filled is to receive an increase (of the Spirit of God that we already have).
Unlike we may have heard in times past, being filled with the Spirit is not the kind of filled, like as if we take a cup and fill it up with water and when the water reaches the top the cup is full and we cannot put any more in it, and if we do it is wasted.  The filling that God does is to empower us to meet whatever circumstances come our way or what circumstances that we are in, in the name of Jesus Christ.  The filling that God gives us, can best be compared to using our strength to accomplish a particular task, like moving a pile of wood. For the little logs we need little strength and for the big logs we need big strength, but for the logs that are too heavy to pick up, we need supernatural strength.

And that is what it means to be filled with the Spirit. God gave us a portion of the Spirit of God at the moment of salvation and that portion of the Spirit is always available for use and to operate in and through - but the filling of the Spirit is for the specific purpose of accomplishing the impossible, or accomplishing specific tasks associated with building up the body of Christ or expanding the kingdom of God or for the glorification of God.

God indwells our being in the person of the Holy Spirit and God does this at the moment of salvation.  Being baptized with the Holy Spirit is to be empowered for service and being filled with the Holy Spirit is when God imparts unto us more of His Spirit for a specific purpose or for specific purposes.

When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, our propensity for sin is not eradicated as some teach, however it is subdued and controllable, because we have been strengthened and prepared to stave off what used to rule us and control us.

The truth:

When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you are filled up with the Spirit of God for use and that as you operate (walk in the Spirit) you are continually filled as you follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

But to think that the believer is filled in the sense of not being able to be filled more is to believe an erroneous truth.  Filled as used in scripture is more akin to a continuous infilling that takes place over and over again than a one time event that takes place and makes us more heavenly than those who have not been filled.

Baptism into the Spirt

Water baptism is the outward expression, (public profession) of an already existing inward work.  It is true that in some cases when the non-believer becomes a believer, that they are baptized into the body of Christ, baptized in the Spirit, and filled with the Spirit of God at the same time. One of these times was at Pentecost after Jesus had ascended - And there are at least three other occasions mentioned in scripture where this phenomenon took place.

But in all other scripture references, these experiences happened separately. In some cases the Holy Spirit was poured out onto believers before they were water baptized, like in Acts 10:44-48. 

In Acts 9:17 Paul is filled with the Holy Spirit and the blindness from his eyes was removed and then he was immediately baptized in water.  This was in A.D. 34

God does not leave His people to handle the tough times on their own, He fills them with Himself for the occasion, for the moment, for the tasks at hand or for the tasks ahead.

Every believer has received the indwelling Holy Spirit, but not every believer is baptized in the Holy Spirit or filled with the Holy Spirit, because not every believer has determined in their heart to make full use of their time, money and energy for the purposes of God.

Being filled with the Spirit is not complicated and it is not for one group and not another.
Being filled with the Spirit is for you and for me.
Being filled with the Spirit is a work of God for the prepared man, woman, teen or child.