EFFECTIVE PREACHING MAKES THE PREACHER MAD…

Spiritual Blog - Grace

Jonah 4:1-4 – “But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD and said, “Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. 3 “Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.” 4 The LORD said, “Do you have good reason to be angry?”  NASU

 

The story of Jonah is one of the funniest, most encouraging, and yet tragic stories in the Bible.  When a prophet or a preacher is instructed to do something by the Holy Spirit they have two choices, do it or resist.  Jonah initially chose the latter and we find out why in the latter part of the book of Jonah.  He knew the mercy of God and didn’t want to bring a message of destruction because he was afraid God would extend mercy and his message or prophecy would prove to be incorrect.  Either he suffered from too much pride or he failed to understand the purpose of preaching and prophesying.  He definitely failed to grasp that the basic purpose of God is always redemptive and that God will extend mercy whenever and wherever possible.  It’s a sad commentary but preachers through the ages have been Jonah’s in preaching “hellfire & brimstone” and almost getting excited about it happening.  I’ve believed from my early days in ministry that preaching judgment must be done with a broken heart and a deep hope that repentance will transpire.

Every Sunday school student knows the story of Jonah and the whale (or whatever the fish was) but how many really understand the story as it relates to the heart of God and His desire to pardon rather than condemn!  I can’t help but laugh when Jonah like Elijah begs to die when things don’t go as expected or opposition surfaces.  I find the humor of God displayed in the plant that shaded Jonah being destroyed by the Lord so that he wallowed in his self-pity and had to suffer the heat of the sun.  God was trying to get his attention and get his thinking right as He does with us on more occasions than we’d care to admit.  He engineers our situation to the uncomfortable to bring us into His Pavilion of Peace and Purpose so that we can walk in His Mercy, Love, Power, and Grace.  Yet we so frequently resist when we should be as the Angels, rejoicing when people repent.

I find God’s description of the people of Nineveh most interesting – “120,000 people who do not know the difference between their right and left hands or many of the animals.”  Apparently not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier but people that heeded the warning of the prophet/preacher and repented crying out for the mercy of God and received it.  The Lord asked me a couple of years ago, “If Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the leading Democrats repented and turned to me with a whole heart would you rejoice or be angry?”  That took me off guard and I’m still meditating on it.  I’d like to say, “I’d rejoice and believe that I would!”   I truly desire that ALL PEOPLE come to know the Lord Jesus Christ and follow Him with a whole heart and if my prayers are answered regarding that rejoicing would be a delight!

So, if God gives you an assignment and you bring a stern warning or prophecy of impending and imminent destruction keep in mind that God’s purpose in the warning is to bring about repentance.  Therefore, if that takes place don’t get upset because it somehow affects your image regarding the correctness of your prophecy or preaching.  Wasn’t that the true purpose of your message?  You didn’t really want destruction, did you?  If you did, then you need to repent because you certainly weren’t speaking with the heart and mind of God.

I really don’t know why I felt directed to give this as a devotional but have a strong sense from the Holy Spirit that it is a message that someone or more than one needs to hear at this very moment.  God is up to something in the spiritual realm and if we truly believe that Restoration, Renewal, and Revival is coming in this Last Days Harvest we need to be prepared to see the positive response to the message!  REJOICE – it’s God’s purpose coming to pass!

Today will be a good day for you, I know it deep inside my heart and you will see the hand of God move in ways you’ve not expected although you’ve been crying out for.  Be prepared to get excited in, what God is doing in these last days!

I pray that the rich and bountiful Blessings be upon you powerfully this day!

THE ELEMENTS OF VICTORY – – CONCLUSION

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Ephesians 6:10-19 – “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,” NASU

 

Without further ado let’s dive right into the next application of looking at the Armor of God or the Armor of the Believer that is given by God and applied by the Holy Spirit.

THE ARMOR.

  1. The Helmet of Salvation.

If we were looking at the pieces of armor in one sitting I would think that we would be rejoicing by now.  We are “saved”, “born-again”, “members of the Family of God”, and “equipped” for battle!

Knowing who you are in Christ Jesus allows you to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  It allows you to recognize the lies of the enemy and lift the Shield of Faith whereby you quench or stop the fiery darts or flaming arrows of the wicked one before they have the opportunity to do harm!  This piece of armor protects our thought life and enables us to think Christ’s thoughts!  It is a vital piece of the Armor of God!

  1. The Sword of the Spirit.

There should never be any question as to the Power of the Word of God and its effect in our lives on a daily basis.  I speak not only of the logos but also of the Rhema of God.  I like what the Psalmist had to say in Psalms 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” NKJV Likewise the writer of Hebrews declares “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  (Hebrews 4:12 NKJV).

This is a most formidable piece of our armor and weaponry.  It is one of the weapons used by Jesus in the time of His temptation or testing by the devil in Matthew 4:4 – “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.” NASU

The Word of God Always defeats the enemy!  Remember Israel in the wilderness?  David in 2 Samuel 22:32-51 gives us a picture of the power of God’s Word saying, “I have pursued my enemies… and beat them as the fine dust of the earth.”

Sadly, too often we do not spend time in the Word so as to get the Word in us.  We quote passages and use proof texts, but too frequently we have not allowed the Living Word of God to become such a part of us that we are one with the Word.

  1. Praying Always.

According to the Word of God, if I put on the Whole Armor, Stand my ground, Resist the devil and Pray Always… I Will Overcome!  Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 – “…pray without ceasing…” NKJV The idea is that of living in a state of prayer and communion with the Lord at all times.  Oh, I’m not speaking of what most of us think of as prayer but a mind that is fixed on the Lord at all times and a heart that is sensitive to the direction and leading of the Holy Spirit at all times.

In bringing this to a conclusion it is my firm conviction that the first order of business for every believer is close the door on the devil.  Begin by receiving the covering of the blood of Jesus.  Begin the process of getting in spiritual condition by developing a consistent and daily habit of prayer.  Get into uniform with the Whole Armor of God through the Holy Spirit.

On a daily basis, allow the Holy Spirit to effectively have the Whole Armor of God working and operational in your life.  Use the Shield of Faith to stop all those fiery darts or flaming arrows of the devil that are hurled toward us by the enemy of our souls.  Search the Scriptures to know the promises and provisions of God for you. Be well armed with the Word!  Then on a daily basis remind yourself that you, as a believer and diligent student of the Word of God are Well Armed in the Lord’s Army.  Allow the Holy Spirit to teach you how to use the Weapons of Spiritual Warfare to pull down the devil’s strongholds and enforce the victory that Jesus purchased through His own blood on the Cross.

It is my sincere hope and desire that each of you walk in Total Victory in Christ and that your Christmas celebration be the best you have ever enjoyed with the Lord as the focal point and centerpiece of your celebration.

God bless you richly and keep your hearts in perfect peace!

 

THE ELEMENTS OF VICTORY – – Part III

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Ephesians 6:10-19 – “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,” NASU

Now, as promised, let’s take a look at the Full Armor of God or as we might describe it, the Armor of the Believer which is given by God and administered by the Holy Spirit.  I trust that the Lord has begun to stir your heart as you see the warfare and that you have been provided “weapons” to defeat the enemy in your life!

THE ARMOR:

  1. Girdle of Truth.

Jesus is our Truth!  No, Jesus is the Truth!  This is an unmistakable declaration of Scripture as seen in John 14:6 – “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” NKJV 

It is very important that you grasp the fact that this is a loin covering.  Why is that important?  The Loins – – Reproductive organs and organs that dispel waste.  As you appropriate truth you also dispel waste [falsehood, lies, deceit, deception, etc.] out of your life.  You appropriate truth to be ready to reproduce yourself in God and bring others into the Kingdom and Family of God!

Therefore, I appeal to you to invite Jesus to become your “Covering of Truth”.  Allow Him to be what He is – THE TRUTH!  To cover your life so that you can eliminate all spiritual waste and be ready to reproduce the Life of God!

  1. The Breastplate of Righteousness.

We find in Deuteronomy 12:23 – “…the blood is the life…” KJV This is true naturally and spiritually.  We have our vital spiritual vital organs covered with the Righteousness of God.

This is not struggling for Righteousness through any form of “legalism”.  It is resting in the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  He covers us!  So, I urge you to invite Jesus to become your “Covering of Righteousness”.  My prayer daily is, “Lord you gave me as a free gift, righteousness.  This righteousness is through the Blood of Jesus.  So, Lord I ask you to BE MY RIGHTEOUSNESS today and every day!” 

  1. The Gospel of Peace.

This is speaking of our “Spiritual Walk”.  Jesus lives on the inside in the innermost part of our being.  He lives in our heart of hearts and dwells in the part of us that makes us, us!  He is ready to enable us to walk after the spirit rather than after the flesh.  He is ready to adjust our walk to conform to His image and desire for our lives.  We can begin living a “Directed Life” in Jesus!

The good news is that when you have on this armor you are Never caught off guard and unprepared!  Jesus is Never unprepared!  This is not a pump yourself up or a crash course in positive thinking it is resting in the Righteousness, Peace, and Joy of the Holy Spirit!  It is being “Clothed in Jesus!” 

  1. The Shield of Faith.

I would suggest that this could be viewed as a door shaped shield in our lives.  Why do I say that?  Who is the door biblically speaking?  Jesus!  And I find the words of Paul in Galatians 2 to be most comforting and encouraging where he says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” KJV 

The New American Standard and the New King James render it faith in whereas the King James Version has it the faith of. It really doesn’t matter to me which, you prefer because both identify the foundation and basis of our faith to be JESUS!

This piece of armor has a specific purpose.  It is to quench or dispel the fiery darts or flaming arrows of the enemy.  This armor protects us from the schemes, devices, and strategies of the devil to bring us down and mortally wound us, spiritually.  What are some of those arrows or darts?

  1. Your sins are not really forgiven is a thought that the enemy likes to continually attempt to plant in our thinking.
  2. You are not really filled with the Spirit.
  3. You will never receive healing because of your past, your present, or some failure on your part.
  4. You will never prosper and will always struggle because God doesn’t really care about your well-being or situation.
  5. You will never be a winner before God or a conqueror in this life because you are only human fighting supernatural foes.

The Bible counters all those darts:

  1. I am saved for I have believed on Him – – [John 3:16]
  2. I am filled for I have repented and been baptized – – [Acts 2:28]
  3. I will be well. God does want me healed.  He is my healer – – [Exodus 15:26; 1 Peter 2:24]
  4. I will live in biblical prosperity. God does want me to prosper in the same proportion and depth that my soul prospers – – [3 John 2]
  5. I will be a conqueror because God says that I am more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ my Lord – – [Romans 8:37] 

You have a choice to make!  You can lift up the Shield of Faith and stop the fiery darts or flaming arrows of the enemy or allow them to come without any resistance.

Lest I weary you I will stop there and allow you time to digest this portion of our view of the Elements of Victory in Christ and this present spiritual warfare that we are engaged in.  

So, until tomorrow it is my prayer that God watch over you and guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus!  Blessings to you!

THE ELEMENTS OF VICTORY – – Part II

Spiritual Blog - Victory

Ephesians 6:10-18 – “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,” NASU

Now let’s move to the next essential element in this attempt to understand our part in the Victory that Jesus purchased and won at Calvary.

  1. THE CONDITIONING – – – “The Life of Prayer.”

The more I study Scripture the more I am convinced that we cannot become All that we can be and God wants us to be Until we learn the secret of Conditioning!

Prayer is the Christian’s “first order of business.”  This is the means whereby we not only get “fueled” for the journey but where we receive our marching orders for each day!

Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” NKJV

It is imperative that we make the Kingdom of God first priority in our lives, the first look of our hearts, and pursuing the Kingdom our top priority in life.  The Scriptures declare that everything else falls into line when we do this!  Everything we need: Health, Strength to make it through the day, Wholesome Relationships, Money, Direction, and Wisdom, etc. all come through this venue.  All are a result of this action!

Truthfully, without prayer, we are like automobile engines without fuel!  We literally become nothing more than robots going through the motions of life rather than Living Life!

III.      THE CLOTHING – – – “The Whole Armor of God.”

It is most interesting to listen to what Jesus said in two separate passages concerning the Kingdom.  In Luke 12:32 – – Jesus says, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” NKJV  Then, in Matthew 11:12-13 – – The Lord tells us, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” NKJV 

It does not take a great military mind to figure out that if we are going to have to take the Kingdom by force, we need something!

  1. We are COVERED by the Blood of Jesus.
  2. We are CONDITIONED through a Life of Prayer.
  3. But, if we are to engage the enemy in literal combat WE NEED ARMOR.

The Armor is to be worn daily!  Literally, “Put on (an action you take) the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand….”  If that is true then the converse is also true – “If we Do Not put on the whole armor we will not be able to stand.”

Dress for Success – – That is a phrase that has been bandied about for years in the business community and even the Church world it is a truth here.  If we are not Dressed right we will not be able to Fight Right!  This is incredibly important.  We need the Armor of God and I submit to you that Jesus wore it while on Earth!

Isaiah 59:15-18 – “…Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice. 16 He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him. 17 For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as a cloak. 18 According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, Fury to His adversaries, Recompense to His enemies; The coastlands He will fully repay.” NKJV

This is a prophetic word from Isaiah about Jesus.  He was the first to wear The Armor of God!  He did so as our example:

Philippians 2:7-8 – “but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” NKJV

As a man, Jesus chose to be clothed with this armor of God both to live a life of victory and as our example and teacher!  We Need This Armor!  Additionally, not only was Jesus the first to wear the armor, He Is The Armor!

I want you to spend some time thinking about that last statement concerning Jesus being The Armor of God and allow the Holy Spirit to write it on the tablet of your heart.  I want this to begin to get in your spirit and become a part of your system, thinking, and your very being. So until tomorrow we will stop there and pick up with the Armor by looking at it and the function of the armor.  

Until we meet again on the morrow may God be gracious unto you and guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord!

THE ELEMENTS OF VICTORY

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Ephesians 6:10-18 – “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,” NASU

I have frequently voiced the warning and called attention to the fact that we are in a War spiritually.  It is a conflict that could easily carry over into the natural.  But, the fact that as believers we are in a war must be understood if we are to become all we can be in God and walk in total victory!  If the Church is to become the Glorious Church that Jesus declared He was building we Must realize that We Are In A War!  Knowing that brings several issue to the fore and must be considered.  We absolutely must know what our weapons are but there are three things in particular that I want to call your attention to here.  They are vital and without an understanding, on these points, we will Never reach our potential in God and enjoy the fullness of His Abundant Life!

  1. The Covering “The Blood of Jesus.”
  2. The Conditioning “The Life of Prayer.”
  3. The Clothing “The Armor of God.”

None of those can be omitted if we are to be successful in our spiritual warfare against the enemy of our souls!  So let’s consider them one at a time.

  1. THE COVERING – – – “The Blood of Jesus.”

Revelation 12:11 – “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives to death.”

Please consider two words that are essential here:  “Know” and “Do”.  It is not enough to know about the Blood of Jesus or about the devices of the devil, we must do something.  For example, You can “know” all about aspirin.  You can recite commercials, sing the jingles, quote the lines, and even know from past experience what happens to your headache when you take one or two.  However, unless you do something with that knowledge, nothing will happen.  It will do you absolutely no good with regard to a headache you are having.  If you are to get rid of that headache using the aspirin you have to get it down inside of you and allow it to become part of your system.  The same is true with Scripture quotation – – It must become internalized not just verbalized!

Isaiah 53:4-5 – “Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” NKJV

The Blood Sacrifice of Jesus has made it possible to be Saved, Healed, and Delivered!  That Blood Sacrifice has placed us in a position of peace and freedom from Guilt, Sorrow, and Affliction!  But, you must get this in your spirit that new life didn’t come by teaching alone.  It did not come by good deeds!  NO, it happened by The Blood of Jesus!  It is through the Blood of Jesus that the devil’s power has been broken and destroyed.  The devil has No Power over any part of our lives if we are In Christ because our lives are under the Atoning Power of the Blood of Jesus Christ!

Through the Blood of Jesus:

  1. We are FORGIVEN.
  2. Satan’s LEGAL HOLD over us is broken.
  3. We receive the very PRESENCE of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  4. We are made COMPLETE in Jesus.

 That is one element of the three vital elements involved in our rising to the Fullness that God desires for us in Christ on Planet Earth!

I will pause here today and pick up with “Element Number Two” tomorrow.  Hopefully, the Holy Spirit will begin to get this in your spirit today and tonight and then on the morrow we can move into the next element and grow even stronger and bolder in our efforts for the Kingdom of God.

Until tomorrow may the God of Peace guide you in His Peace and guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus!  Blessings!

THE PLACE TO START ALL DISCUSSIONS…

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Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning God…” NKJV

From time to time I have people challenge something that I do and demand a specific biblical reference.  I refuse to get into contentious discussions and splitting hairs regarding things in life but try to answer objections and questions.  I was once a very good Pharisee, but the Holy Spirit convicted me of my legalism and since that time I have refused to live the life of a Pharisee and have my lists and sets of regulations that everyone must follow and that I can use to compare myself with them.  I usually go to the aforementioned passage and say this is where we must begin our discussion.

IN THE BEGINNING GOD!  He is the Alpha and the Omega.  He is the first and the last and truly everything in between.  He is the glue that holds it all together and without Him, we would not only, not be we would not be able to survive.  I like what Paul said 1 Corinthians 6:12 – “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” NKJV I realize the context of that passage but also believe the larger application covers life.  When Jesus was accosted by the legalist about his disciples eating grain on the Sabbath day His response can be seen in Mark 2:27-28 – “And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.  28 Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” NKJV

It is God’s desire that we Love Him supremely above all else and dedicate ourselves to pleasing Him and fulfilling His purpose for our lives in our generation.  We will never all agree on every point regarding holidays, feasts, celebrations, activities, dress, etc.  But, we can all agree that “In the beginning GOD…”  We can all agree that Jesus Is The Christ, the Son of the Living God.  We can agree that He came, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, gave His life on the Cross as payment for the sin of whosoever will accept His sacrifice, rose on the third day, and is ascended to heaven now making intercession for us.  We can agree that He promised to return and that where He is we will be with Him for eternity.

If we can agree on those things we have common ground for fellowship.  If we split hairs over a particular day, particular mode of dress, particular activity, etc. we will separate ourselves and destroy any basis of fellowship and thereby lose not only the benefit of our fellowship together we will demonstrate to the world that the Church is a divided sectarian group of ideologues and lose our effectiveness and appeal to them.

The Love of God shed abroad in our hearts should be our rule and our guide.  He should be most important not our pet doctrines or thoughts regarding a particular idea or event.  There are many things that others do and believe that I do not understand but we agree on the foundational principles and thereby I can accept them as my brother or sister in Christ.  It is those cases where someone denies Jesus as the Christ or denies God as the only true God that I find that there is no basis of fellowship.

We are entering the Holiday Season and while I don’t say “Happy Holidays” for Christmas I say, “Merry Christmas.”  I realize that some believers have a problem with even celebrating Christmas on December 25th each year.  I would suggest to you that it is not the day that is important as the reason for celebrating.  I celebrate to Honor Jesus and give thanks for Who He Is and What He Has Done!  I celebrate to Honor Jesus for my Salvation.  I really don’t care if He was born in October or July I do care that He Was Born!

Since I do not have a specific date given to me I use this one to give Him honor.  If that is a problem for you, then I am so sorry but ask that you please forgive me and not judge me a heretic or something worse as a result.  I won’t argue with you over it but will continue to honor the Lord by celebrating this day as recognition of The Fact Jesus Was Born!  Hopefully, you will be able to continue to love me and find our own way to honor His birth and I will love you and support you in that decision.

May God be with you as you go through your day in Him!

THE PROBLEM OF THE WILL OF GOD…

Spiritual Blog - Will of God

Romans 12:1-2 – “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” NASU

The will of God is not a problem but becomes a problem for many as they seek to know it for their lives.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “How can I know God’s will for my life?”  Most of those asking are sincere and truly want to know the answer to the question but sadly most want a simple formula that will automatically tell them each time and in every situation what the will of God is in that particular moment.  I cannot give that!

However, I believe that Romans 12 gives us a clear picture of how to begin the process of Knowing the Will of God in or for our lives.  Let’s consider what the apostle tells the Roman believers regarding this matter and life in general:

  1. Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

Paul is identifying a problem area that many have in finding the will of God in any particular situation.  They have not given themselves wholly to God.  He begins with the physical body because it is the house in which we live and is the part tempted and touched the most by sensual pleasures and appetites.  He identifies this as an act of spiritual worship.  He is addressing the need to bring the body in subjection to the Lord and treat it as the temple of the Lord.

  1. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

He moves to the mind because it is the area where our thought life occurs and out of our thoughts come actions and beliefs.  We are to change our way of thinking from that of our former self to our transformed self which is In Christ and begin to think the thoughts of Christ or think with the Holy Spirit being the guardian of our thoughts.  This will transfer our thoughts from, “what’s in it for me?” to “Thy will be done, Oh Lord.”  It will move us from an inward focus on Self to an upward focus on GOD and cause us to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness In All Things!”

  1. This he advises will enable us to prove or “discern” – [dokimazo] what the will of God and walk in the confidence that that will is good, acceptable and perfect.

The apostle has led us down a path whereby, in prayer, we can set aside the things that distract and focus on the “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit when He whispers, “this is the way, walk in it.”

I cannot nor can anyone give you a formula for “knowing the will of God” in every situation but I can suggest as does the apostle Paul a method by which you can clear the path to find the will of God more readily and clearly.  I would suggest that you take Romans 12:1-3 and meditate on it, muse on it, examine it, and allow it to get deep within your spirit and I believe that you will find that it opens the door to finding the will of God in whatever you are facing and the result will be an infusion of God’s Perfect Peace in your life as you walk out of your prayer closet into action.  You will be able to go into that action with confidence that you Are walking in the will of God.  There is no sweeter and more secure place than the confidence that you are Doing what God wants When God wants it.

May you walk into your day in the Peace of God that passes all understanding and be richly blessed!