Monthly Archives: October 2017

~ Wisdom Confessions ~

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Wisdom only comes from one place, the only wise God.

Jude 1:25 ~  To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.

Proverbs 4:7 ~ Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all your getting get  understanding.

          Confession should not be a mindless reciting of scripture, but an intimate part of your relationship with God. When confession is approached properly it will enhance your 1wis1relationship with your Father and enrich your prayer life beyond measure. Confession should be lifted up to God as an offering, a statement of faith that lets God know that you agree with what He says about you, no matter the situation or circumstance. Confession aligns you with God’s thoughts, sets your heart in agreement with His plans, and affirms your identity as His child.

Here are some faith confessions for WISDOM and the scriptures they are based on:

Proverbs 3:5-6 ~ Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

CONFESSION ~ I trust in you Lord with all my heart, and I do not lean on my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge you Lord, and I thank you for directing my path.

Romans 12:2 ~ 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of  your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect,  will of God.

CONFESSION ~ I am not conformed to this world, but I am continually transformed by renewing of my mind to your word Lord, that I may prove what is your good, and acceptable, and perfect will.

Psalm 138:8 ~ 8 The LORD will perfect that which concerns me: thy mercy, O LORD, endures for ever: forsake not the works of Your own hands.

CONFESSION ~ Lord, because I am your child, and because of your great mercy, you watch after me and perfect that which concerns me, you will not forsake me, your mercy O Lord endures forever.

John 14:26 ~ 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

CONFESSION ~ Father I thank you that you have sent the Holy Ghost to teach me all things, and bring all things that you have said to my remembrance.

James 1:5 ~ If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

CONFESSION ~ Lord I ask you for wisdom. I ask in faith and I believe that I receive it. Thank you lord for the wisdom that you have given me.

John 16:13 ~ However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 

CONFESSION ~ I thank you Lord for the Holy Spirit that dwells in me, guiding me into all of your truth and showing me things to come.

Colossians 1:9 ~ For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 

CONFESSION ~ Father, I declare that I have perfect knowledge of what to do in every situation and I am filled with all wisdom, spiritual understanding and the knowledge of Your will for me. 

James 1:2-8 ~  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

CONFESSION ~  I count it all joy when I fall into various trials, knowing that the trying of my faith works patience. I let patience have its perfect work so that I may be mature, and complete, lacking nothing. Father, I ask You for wisdom to walk out the plans and purposes that You have for my life. I ask You for wisdom and understanding to walk in the authority and power that is mine in Christ. I ask in faith, not wavering or doubting. I am single minded in this pursuit and I am stable in all my ways.

 

~Is your Faith Alive?~

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The book of James speaks about two kinds of Faith, a living Faith, and a dead Faith. Obviously a living Faith is to be preferred over a dead Faith because dead things produce no fruit. The problem is, many people truly believe that they are operating in a living faith but they see no fruit, and get discouraged because their faith is dead. Here is why:

James 2:26 For as the body without t he spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
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In this passage we see that faith is likened to the body, and works is likened to the spirit. It is making the point that spirit is what gives life to the body. The word “Works” simply means corresponding action that indicates that you actually believe. So the question is: How do I apply “works” or “spirit” to my faith to insure that my faith is a alive and capable of producing fruit? The answer is found in 2 Corinthians 4:13.
 
2 Corinthians 4:13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak,
The “Spirit of Faith” is the primary way we apply “works” to bring life to our faith. It is simply speaking the answer, the end result, the desired outcome. Declaring that you have (present tense) what you are believing for is an indication that you believe you have the answer. For instance; if you are believing for healing in your body, you should be declaring “I AM HEALED!” You should be declaring the Word of God that states “By the stripes of Jesus, I AM HEALED!” ( 1 Peter 2:24)
 
This makes folks extremely uncomfortable because they feel like they are lying. It seems like foolishness to them. They don’t understand the creative power of the spoken word. There is a basic principle of faith that God has established from the beginning that calls things into existence. It took God over two decades to teach Abraham this principle. God even changed his name from Abram to Abraham so that every time he said or heard his name, he was speaking or hearing that he was a father of many nations. Abraham means, “father of nations.” God called him this before he ever had a the promise child,  Isaac. God had to get Abraham into agreement with Him before the child could be born.
We must set ourselves in agreement with God’s word if we want to see it come to pass in our lives. Here is the principle in the New Testament:
Romans 4:17  (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 
You see, God established this method of believing and speaking and He expects us to follow His example if we are to have a living faith. If we do not follow his example and be “DOERS” of THIS word … we deceive ourselves.
James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Notice that the devil does not get credit for this deception, YOU DO!

It is not enough just to know God’s word, we must be doers of the word. This is the works of our faith. Corresponding action that indicates we actually believe it.

We must take control of  our tongue and force it to do its due diligence.
 
James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
There, we see that “self deception” again. Understand that bridling and taming are two different things. Your tongue IS untamed, and the implication in scripture is that it CAN’T be tamed.
James 3:8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
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We bridle untamed horses and force them to do our bidding. We must treat our tongue in the same manner. WHY? Because the power of life and death rests in one of your members that is untamed!

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
faith1We have our hands full keeping our faith alive because we have our hands full controlling our tongue. The good news is that the number one way that you apply WORKS (spirit) to your faith is speaking the word. In many, and I would venture to say MOST instances, it is the ONLY action required for you to get results with your faith. As we declare the promises of God they become established and manifest in the physical realm.
Job 22:28  You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you; So light will shine on your ways.
 
Mark 11:23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
In the process of growing in your ability to bridle the tongue I will leave you with three rules that I try to apply to my life. It will help you stay in faith if you apply them to yours.
1) Give your heart time to tell your mouth what to say.
Proverbs 16:23 The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, And adds learning to his lips.
Be slow to speak, put a bridle on your tongue and don’t allow yourself to speak words of unbelief
2) When you speak, make sure it is an improvement on silence.
If you can’t speak words that agree with your fait…keep silent.
 
3) Make sure your mountain is hearing your voice. Mark 11:23
Throughout the New Testament we see Jesus speaking to things like wind, waves, trees, fevers, demons, dead people, etc. They all obeyed Him. He is our example. Make sure you are speaking faith to your problems and circumstances.
JC

~ Walking in the F.O.G. (Favor Of God) ~

 

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What is Favor? How do I get some? How do I know it when I have it?

It is available to everyone in the body of Christ, but not all Christians experience it. Favor is not automatic, we need to learn to experience heavy F.O.G. (Favor Of God) in our lives.

Romans 8:31 ~  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Having the favor of God in your life means that GOD IS FOR YOU! Favor makes a difference! It helps you, sustains you; it means you are “preferred,” and it’s noticeable! Webster’s Dictionary (1828 edition) defines favor as: “an advantage for success.

Have you ever heard the old saying: “If you see a turtle on a fence post there is one thing you know for sure,

  He had some help!”

The point is; favor gets you to places you couldn’t get to by yourself. The favor of God takes you places that you could not go in your own strength and your own abilities.

Our culture, and our government try to equalize everyone—everything “politically correct,” everybody’s a winner, we don’t keep score…. The reality is, everybody is not a winner. That doesn’t work in the real world. We all have different capacities, different abilities, different strengths and gifts. Yes, we all have the same created value. We all bear the same price tag; The blood of Jesus. However, we see in scripture that there are different levels of rank, authority, and capacity.(Read the Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25 )

Favor is a major theme throughout the Bible. It goes along with grace, mercy, peace, etc. We see favor in the lives of Moses, Noah, Abraham, David, Joseph, Mary and Jesus, and many others.

There is a way for us to find favor with God and with men:

 Proverbs 3 ~  1 My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands;  2For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. 3Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, 4And so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.        

Many Christians don’t experience the Favor of God because they don’t esteem the Word of God properly, they don’t put it first place and they don’t make it final authority in their lives. Being a person committed and submitted to the Word of God is THE quickest way experience favor. Not to mention all the other benefits like spiritual strength, growth, wisdom, understanding, etc.

There are two brands of favor that comes from God: unmerited (we don’t deserve it and we can’t earn it) and merited (we qualify for it). As you cooperate with God, He will put favor on you! And trustme, you don’t want to go bumping along in this life without the favot of God on you.

Psalm 5:12  ~ “For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.”

To “surround” means “to encircle,” “encompass,” or “protect.” The favor of God will protect and preserve you. We need the favor of God to surround us as a shield!

 Look at what God’s favor did for Israel when He delivered them out of Egypt;

Exodus 3:20-2220 So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. 22 But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

They exited with silver, gold and cloths—loaded up!—because God gave them favor with the Egyptians, their enemies, the ones who enslaved them!

When you have the F.O.G. (Favor of God) in your life, you will never go away empty-handed (at a job interview, at the store, on a sales call, as you travel, in a difficulty, etc.).

Psalm 41:11 ~ (AMP) says, “By this I know that You favor and delight in me, because my enemy does not triumph over me.”

Your enemy is not always a person; it may be a situation, a symptom, a diagnosis, but when you have the favor of God in your life, it means the enemy will not triumph over you!

If favor seems missing from your life, you need to check on it! If you are living without favor, or if you are assuming you have no favor, you’re not looking for favor, or you’re not cooperating with God. If that is the case then you are making it is easy for the enemy to keep you down and hold you back.

Favor is rooted in God’s grace. Everything that God has promised, prepared or provided is contained in His grace—salvation, peace, provision, and favor….

Favor is contained in the grace of God. Favor is divine influence that leads you to success. God will give you unmerited favor, but there’s a merited favor that you qualify for as you cooperate with God. By faith you release the favor that grace contains.

 Daniel 1:9 ~ Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs.

Daniel had been conquered and taken captive, but he did not fret, complain, get depressed or compromise. He made godly choices based on God’s Word. God gave Daniel favor with his captors, and Daniel ended up in a better place! He received promotion, preservation, restoration and increase because of the favor of God that got him through.

The favor of God will not only get you through but it will get you ahead. Whether it’s promotion, preservation, restoration or increase, favor will find you!

You will find repeatedly in Scripture people who “found favor.” To “find” something, you have to “look” for it. Part of looking for something means that you are expecting it. Look for favor, expect it, and cooperate with God and you will experience heavy F.O.G. in your life.

JC

Are you bound by Legalism, and a Sin Consciousness?

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  Legalism is a system of thought where rules, expectations and regulations promise God’s love in return for human effort and obedience. Legalism is an attempt by man to justify God’s Love. Under the cloak of Christianity, legalism offers salvation and God’s Love as a reward for performance. Legalism is a spiritually toxic virus, spread by religion, best treated by God’s unconditional and amazing grace.

If your heart is full of bitterness towards others and self-condemnation, could it
 be that you have been going about living the Christian life all wrong?  God desperately wants to set His people free from legalism. God loves legalists. He hates legalism.

   Could you be a legalist and not even know it? Why do Christians fall prey to performance-based religion? Are you convinced that God is mad at you and the only way you can make him happy is by being a better person? Are you convinced that your obedience and performance has some bearing on your salvation? Are you tired of trying harder because it seems that trying harder is never good enough?

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I purposely didn’t include any teaching on GRACE in this blog. That is covered in other teachings on this site. I think it important to first face the fact that WE ALL may be guilty of legalism to one degree or another.

So, If you are brave, and prepared to be honest with yourself, take the Legalist test and see how you do.

You might be a Legalist if:

1) God’s love for you depends on what you do, instead of who you are.

2) Meeting the expectations of others, especially those in your congregation or in positions of authority, are paramount.

3) You believe that if you don’t tithe, your other 90% will be cursed.

4) You try hard to obey God and it irritates you that others think they can get away with avoiding the same level of dedication and commitment that you have.

5) You fall short because you don’t have enough faith, or because you haven’t prayed enough, or because you just need to be a better person.

6) God is predisposed to be angry with you because you are a sinner and He knows that YOU know you can do better.

7) Your sense of spiritual well-being is tied to a Christian leader and their opinion, or membership in your church rather than a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

8) You tell your children not to do something in church or around other Christian families that you allow in your home.

9) You believe that what people wear, hairstyles, piercings or tattoos, is a clear indication of that person’s spirituality and character.

10) After being around Christians for a while you feel drained because you are weary of putting up a false front.

11) When you happen to miss a service or activity of your church, even if it is a valid excuse, you feel guilty.

12) If your ability to receive a blessing from God, such as healing, depends on how you have been performing.

13) If you see Christ as more of a judge than a Savior.

14) If you believe God’s love for you depends on how much love you have shown Him.

15) If you know God’s law but not God Himself.

16) If you think you MUST take a Sabbath once a week.

          So, how did you do? Did you find some of these comments describing you? Legalism has been a danger to the church from the very start. it is addressed in the New Testament repeatedly and the book of Galatians is written, almost entirely, to address this point.

          We are all susceptible to legalism and we must ever guard ourselves from falling into this trap of wrong thinking.

          God’s love is unconditional. Christ has redeemed us from every curse of the law. We are to live a life of the Spirit. laying down our lives daily and taking up God’s agenda, being an instrument of righteousness and an expression of His image….Just like Jesus. This is the path to freedom from legalistic thinking.

Freedom from legalism will only come from relationship with your Father. The greatest thing Jesus did was restore our ability to come before God without guilt or shame. He changed our identity from sinners, to sons and daughters.

          Some believers think that having a sin consciousness will help them avoid sin. If they think about their wrong doing, feel the shame of it, carry the guilt of it, then it will deter them from repeating those things. That is purely Legalistic, Old Covenant thinking. That didn’t even work in the Old Covenant. At best sin consciousness only leads to more sinning!

         What you focus on you move towards. What you are conscious of, and what you think about, is the reality you create. No wonder we struggle so much with sin. Our mind is constantly focused on it.

         Why don’t we try focusing on righteousness? On Christ’s perfect gift of righteousness that He has imputed to us. When we focus on righteousness, grace comes on the scene and moves us towards right living.

         Legalism and a sin consciousness is a result of having a law based, legalistic mind. Romans 3 says that by the law is the knowledge of sin. When our mind is law based we will live sin conscious. The focus will be on our flesh, our ability, and our self. Being “self-focused” is in direct opposition to the love of God.

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         We can’t overcome sin this way? Grace is the answer! Grace is divine influence. As we focus on Christ we open the door for God to influence us. We place our heart on the great potter’s wheel and He gives it a spin, molding us and shaping us into His image. This is faith. This is how we walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. This is how we make a draw on His ability Instead of struggling to overcome sin in our own strength.

         If we focus on relationship with Him, practice spending time with Him. Focus on how we can fill your hearts and minds with the word of God. That He has forgiven all our sins, past present and future. That He has made us perfectly righteous with His own righteousness and no sin can make us unrighteous. That He has brought you completely out of a law based relationship with Him and into a grace based relationship with Him. That His love and acceptance of us is not based on our performance but on Christ perfect performance on our behalf. That we have a new nature, God’s very own nature. That we are sons, not sinners. Our consciousness of Him, and His righteousness in us, will grow to a place that crushes our consciousness of sin and delivers us from legalistic thinking.

Our focus should always be on relationship, not works. If we can learn to make that one adjustment, we will flourish in the Kingdom of God.

 

~ How to Confess God’s Word ~

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           Confession of God’s word can be a tremendous help in establishing you in truth, building your faith, and moving you forward in your spiritual growth. God’s written word contains the building blocks of  faith. Speaking His word is the mortar that holds it all together, solidifying our identity in Him, raising us up into a holy and righteous temple, a fit dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. Speaking God’s word should be a priority in every Christians life, unfortunately for most, it is not.

          Confession should not be a mindless reciting of scripture, but an intimate part of your relationship with God. When confession is approached properly it will enhance your relationship with your Father and enrich your prayer life beyond measure. Confession should be lifted up to God as an offering, a statement of faith that lets God know that you agree with what He says about you, no matter the situation or circumstance. Confession aligns you with God’s thoughts, sets your heart in agreement with His plans, and affirms your identity as His child.

Isaiah 55:11 says this: “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

          Confession is prayerfully returning God’s word to Him, acknowledging your agreement with His will, and inviting Him to bring His word to pass in your life. It activates angels that hearken to the spoken word and puts them to work, bringing God’s word to pass in your life. (Psalm 103:20) If you could only see what happens in the spirit realm when you speak God’s word in faith, you would never go another day without doing it.

           The following are some examples of how I prayerfully confess God’s word. They are scriptures that speak to my heart. passages that the Holy Spirit has illuminated to me as being important in my life. I recommend reading the scriptures in your favorite translation and notice how the confession has been personalized for a conversation with God in relationship. Be mindful of scriptures that jump out to you, that have an unction on them, and personalize your own confessions.

Be blessed.

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Joshua 1:8 ~ Father, Your Word will not depart from my mouth, but I will meditate on it day and night, that I may observe to do according to all that is written in it. Then I will make my way prosperous and I will have good success.    

Job 22:28 ~ When I declare and decree Your word, it is established to me and light shines on my ways making my path clear.

Mark 16:17 ~ I am your disciple Lord Jesus, in Your name I cast out devils, I speak with new tongues. If I touch or consume any deadly thing it will in no way hurt me. I lay hands on the sick and they recover.

John 16:13 ~ The Spirit of truth abides in me. He guides me into all truth and shows me things to come. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit Lord.

Isaiah 54:17 ~ No weapon formed against me will prosper, and every tongue that rises against me in judgment, even mine, I shall condemn. This is my heritage as your servant Lord and my righteousness is from You.

Colossians 1:9 ~ Because of your Holy Spirit, I have perfect knowledge of what to do in every situation and I am filled with all wisdom, spiritual understanding and the knowledge of Your will for me. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. You love me so much, that You thought I was valuable enough to die for me. Thank you Father.

Acts 19:6 & Acts 1:8~ The Holy Spirit has come on me. I speak with tongues and prophesy. I have received power because the Holy Spirit has come upon me and I am a witness for Jesus to the end of the earth.

Philippians 4:6-7 ~ I do not worry and I am not anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving I make my requests known to You God, and Your peace, that passes all understanding, keeps my heart and mind through Christ Jesus.

Mark 11:23 ~ Father, because You have made me a creative being, like Yourself, I speak to things, situations, sickness, disease, and demons, and they obey all me. I believe in my heart that those things I say will be done so I have what I say. My words have power and I use that power to change situations, help people, to destroy the works of the enemy and give glory to You Lord God.

Psalm 103:2-5 ~ Lord You have forgiven all my iniquities; You have healed all my diseases; You have redeemed my life from destruction; You have satisfied my mouth with good things so that my youth is renewed like the eagles.

Philippians 4:19 ~ There is no lack in my life Father, for You supply all my needs according to Your riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:28 ~ I love You Father and I am called according to Your purpose. All things work together for my good because You love me so much.

Philippians 4:8,9 ~ Father, You have given me the mind of Christ, so I think on the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report. If there is any virtue or praise, I think on these things. I am a doer of Your word Lord, and Your peace is with me.

1 Peter 2:24 ~ Jesus I thank you for bearing my sins. I am dead to sin and I live unto righteousness and by Your stripes I am healed.

Romans 8:11 ~ The same Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in me. And He that raised up Christ from the dead also quickens my mortal body because the Holy Spirit is living in me. Thank you father for the Holy Spirit. Where would I be if You didn’t father me?

Isaiah 54:14 ~ I thank you Lord, because of Your shed blood I am established in righteousness. I am far from oppression, I do not fear, and terror shall not come near me.

Colossians 3:1-2 ~ Because I have been resurrected with Christ, I seek You Father with all my heart. I set my mind and my affections on You, not on the things of this earth. You are everything to me Lord.

Proverbs 3:5-6 ~ I trust in You Lord with all of my heart and I do not lean on my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge You, and I trust You to direct my path.

Mark 12:30-31 ~ I love You Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and I love my neighbor as myself.

Galatians 5:16-18 ~ I walk in the Spirit and I do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. I am led by the Holy Spirit and I am not under the law.

1Corinthians 13:4-8 ~ Father, because You have placed Your great love in my heart, I am patient and kind. I do not envy or boast and I am not proud. I do not dishonor others, I am not self-seeking, I am not easily angered and I keep no record of a suffered wrong. I do not delight in evil but I rejoice in the truth. I believe the best of every person. I always protect, trust, hope and persevere. I never fail.

1 Peter 1:13-21 ~ I gird up the loins of my mind with Your word Father God. I am sober minded and my hope rests fully upon the grace that is mine in Christ. I am Your obedient child, and I am not conformed to former lusts. I am holy in my conduct as You are holy. I walk in reverence toward You Lord. You are amazing.

Proverbs 3:9,10 ~  I honor You LORD with my possessions and the first fruits of all my increase. I overflow with material and spiritual blessings.

Romans 5:17 ~ I, having received abundance of grace and the gift of Your righteousness do reign as a king in this life by Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 54:13 ~ All my children are taught of the Lord, and great is their peace.

Psalm 23:4 ~ I fear no evil for you are with me Lord, your Word, and Spirit they comfort me.

Proverbs 21:23 ~ I guard my mouth and my tongue and I keep my soul from trouble. I let nothing come forth from my heart, no word or action that would defile me.

Psalm 112:1-7 ~ I am blessed because I fear You Lord and I delight greatly in Your Word. My descendants are mighty on the earth and they are blessed. Wealth and riches are in my house and my righteousness endures forever. I am gracious and full of compassion. I guide my affairs with discretion. I will never be shaken. I am not afraid of evil. My heart is steadfast, trusting in You Lord.

Romans 12:1-3 ~ I present my body as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto You Father, for Your habitation. This is my worship to You. I am not conformed to this world, but I am transformed by the renewing of my mind to Your word. I do not think of myself more highly than I should think, but I think soberly according to the measure of faith You have dealt me.

JC

 

The Balance to Biblical Prosperity

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           I have continually interacted with many different denominations and have been exposed to their various doctrines and traditions. After a few decades of this, something becomes glaringly obvious; No denomination has all the answers, not YOURS, and not MINE.

          To give you some background on myself, I am currently involved in the Pentecostal denomination but I have been involved with Four Square, Full Gospel, Baptist, Methodist and Word Of Faith. Denominational titles mean very little to me because they were all birthed out of disagreement on doctrine. I don’t call myself a “Pentecostal,” or any other church group moniker, but simply say that I am a friend to all who believe on Christ and serve Him.

          Before I was married I led bible studies and mens groups that had a diverse mix of denominations and beliefs and I was constantly challenged to examine what I believe and why I believe it. Sometimes it would serve to strengthen my belief, and sometimes I would be forced to change what I believe based on my new understanding of the Word of God. I think this is a healthy thing.

          I have come to love being around people who challenge my beliefs because it always points me back to the Word, and that is where all the answers are. I have said this many times, “If I am in a group of people who agree with every word I say, then I should probably find a new group.” Not that I am just naturally contrary, but I see the value of relationships that challenge me to be better, stronger, and clearer on what I believe.

          Over a period of 29 years I have been taught that it is God’s will for you to prosper. Over that same period of time I have been challenged just as much that the “Prosperity Message” is a false doctrine, a wrong emphasis, even a doctrine of devils. Because of this, I have continued to revisit the scriptures concerning prosperity and have come to the conclusion that people who resist the doctrine that God wants His people to prosper are completely ignorant of God’s Word concerning the matter. On the flip side, most Christians that are gung-ho about prosperity are equally as ignorant. I see both groups spending entirely too much time defending their position and not enough time pursuing the truth. So I have decided to put my 2cents worth in and I welcome any comments or insights… as long as you have scripture to back it up. Your personal opinion is meaningless if not founded on the word. So, Here we go!

The Bible is absolutely LOADED with promises concerning financial and material blessings.

          Before I prove this with the scripture, let me say this: I understand the bad taste people get in their mouth when they see abuse in this area. I also know that most Christians in the world never grow past being a spiritual toddler so they are very impressionable and easily influenced by others. They have swallowed the religious tradition and ignorant assumptions handed down by their leaders without question, without seeing what God has to say about the matter themselves. Furthermore, there is too much focus, from too many TV preachers on the topic of prosperity that are NOT teaching it the right way. Do yourself a favor, don’t take their word for it and don’t take my word for it, search the scriptures yourself.

          So lets open this up with some “in your face” scripture about YOU being rich.

2 Corinthians 8:9  ~ For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

          That’s right, RICH is a bible word. To understand this scripture you really need to read all of 2 Corinthians 8. Paul is talking about ministry and liberal giving. This is bible. One of the first principles of being prosperous is being a liberal giver. That disqualifies most Christians right there! Being a liberal, cheerful giver is the first step to enjoying biblical prosperity. If you don’t get this right, you will never have faith to receive the promises of material and financial blessings.

          The words “rich” used in this verse have been explained away as meaning spiritual blessing only. They are two slightly different words in the Greek, but look at the definition of rich in the latter part of the verse. This pertains to YOU.

RICH ~ plouteō  1) to be rich, to have abundance. a) of outward possessions.  2) metaph. to be richly supplied. a) is affluent in resources so that he can give blessings of salvation to all.

          Notice the phrase,  “is affluent in resources so that he can give blessings of salvation to all.” Does it take money to give salvation? In many cases, YES. It takes money to do ministry. Even Jesus had a treasurer. It took money to feed and equip His disciples, it took money for travel and lodging, paying taxes, etc. and it still takes money today.

          One of the greatest tragedies of our time is that ministers who have given their life to the call of God and the tending of His sheep live in poverty or struggle financially. In some cases it is the ministers fault for not embracing the gospel of prosperity, in others it is the church council, the deacon board, or the sheep in general for not thinking enough of the gift of God in their lives to insure that finances are never a concern for the minister.

         At the same time, it irks me to see so many televised preachers teach a twisted “prosperity message.” To every truth there is a road and there are ditches on each side. The predominant message on prosperity has the tendency to get people in the ditch of either excess, selfishness, and abuse, or the ditch of ignorance and avoidance. People need to find the truth for themselves so that they can stay on the road, not letting spiritually blind leaders guide them into one ditch or the other.

          On another note, I need to address the popular doctrine of:

“It is God’s will for EVERYONE to prosper financially.”

          Is this true? Yes, and no. Like any good Father, God wants only the richest and best for His kids. That being said, money may not always be the best thing for children, especially immature ones, (which make up the majority of the Body of Christ)

          If you give a ten year old $1000. and told him/her to do whatever they want, spend it however they want, they would likely go crazy and buy a bunch of electronic devices, video games, useless toys, and enough junk food and candy to put them in a sugar coma. The money would not only be wasted, but none of these things are going to do anything to help them spiritually or give glory to God, and in truth, could actually hurt them.

          I have a relative that has been in and out of prison all his life. He’s never learned any responsibility, abused drugs, and has no respect for anyone. He only thinks of himself. The worst thing that could happen is for him to suddenly come into a large sum of money. He does not have the character or restraint to keep himself out of trouble and money would just give him more opportunities to screw up and self destruct.

          He believes that if he had money everything would change, but money doesn’t change your character, it only serves to magnify it and make it more evident. Many Christians have this same mentality. They seek and pursue financial blessing far more than their own spiritual progress and live a life full of frustration and disappointment, always looking for blessings that never come. Look at a couple of verses and you will see God’s heart on this matter.

3 John 1:2 ~ Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

          This is not just a letter from the Apostle John to “the beloved Gaius”, But to ALL people, for ALL time.

          Prospering in your soul is important. The more prosperous you are in your soul is a reflection of how mature and developed you are spiritually. A maturing soul indicates a growing likeness to the character of God and an increase in spiritual maturity. Notice that John stated his desire for Gaius to prosper and be in health AS HIS SOUL PROSPERS. John said this by inspiration of the Holy Spirit and it indicates that there is an important connection between YOU prospering and being in health and the prosperity of your soul. Look at another verse that makes this clear.

Joshua 1:7-8 7Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

           In this passage we see that prosperity and success is dependant on keeping God’s Word in your mouth, meditating on it, and DOING IT. This is not just Old Testament Law, but a spiritual principle that we see throughout the bible and still applies to us today. This causes you to grow spiritually, prosper in your soul, and develop strong Godly character, and when you do this, God said THEN you will make your way prosperous, and THEN you will have good success. Why is it that so many believers that are hot on the prosperity message choose to ignore this?

          That being said, just because you are a Christian doesn’t mean you have good character. Just because God has an inheritance for you does not mean He will give it to you knowing it will hurt you. He is a better father than that. You may be thinking of the prodigal son mentioned in Luke 15, how he asked for his inheritance, the father gave it to him, and then he wasted it and brought himself to total ruin. What you need to realize is, the son was a grown young man not a child. He was mature enough to leave home on his own. This is a warning to mature Christians.

          I have three boys from the age of 12 to 18 years old. Everything I have, they will inherit. If my 12-year-old asked me for his portion of the inheritance now, should I give it to him and let him go and do as he pleases? I would be a terrible father if I did that. He has a lot to learn and a lot of maturing to do yet. I have to believe that God is at least as responsible as I am.

          This raises another issue that most Christians are completely confused on. Spiritual maturity and just how mature people THINK they are. I will just say this point-blank; If you have been a Christian for only a few years, say, less than ten, regardless of your commitment and how much you have learned, you are not a mature Christian. On the other hand, if you have been a Christian for 60 years, that does not mean that you are mature spiritually. Spiritual growth does not happen automatically.

          The point is, just because you have grown some spiritually and prospered in your soul a little doesn’t mean that you can handle the responsibility that comes with money. Regardless of that, the promise of prosperity is STILL yours.

           Another twisted belief we see prevalent in the  Church is that IF someone is blessed financially, they are mature and understand biblical principles concerning prosperity. This is a huge problem in the church for many reasons. One mistake  I see Pastors make continually is putting a person in a position of authority based solely on the fact that they are prosperous, and are big givers to the ministry. Pastors feel that because of big financial support, a person should have some influence and a voice about the workings of the ministry. Or they allow them a title and position to insure their continued financial support. You will find that NO WHERE in the Bible. This is a recipe for disaster, and more Church splits and other hardships have come from this mistake than any I can think of.

          Rarely will you see prosperity come all at once. When it does, it is usually followed by destruction. Just look at most of the young entertainers in our culture.

“Prosperity is a journey that is travelled in the vehicle of faith, navigated by wisdom, and fueled by love for God and His people.”

          The purpose of the journey is not prosperity in itself, but to ever be maturing into Christ-likeness. All of the experiences, the ups and downs, good and bad times, the rich relationships, the successes and failures, are all tools to help shape and define the character of God that is just aching to rise to the surface and show up in our life.

          It is the life of the Spirit in Christ, and adherence and commitment to God’s word in all these circumstances that prospers our souls and insures our prosperity.

2 Corinthians 1:20 ~ For all the promises of God IN HIM (in Christ) are yea, and IN HIM Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

          “If your focus is prosperity and not the journey of living the Spirit filled life in Christ…you may never arrive at your destination.”

          In a nutshell, I think this is a balanced understanding of the prosperity message as God intended it, and I will leave you with this one thought that will help put it in perspective;

“If your primary focus as a Christian is health and wealth for yourself, you have reduced the gospel to a self serving, powerless theology that brings a reproach on Christ.”

          That being said; Here are some rich promises from God’s word to show you what God thinks of prosperity.

Psalm 84:11 ~ For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

Hebrews 11:6 ~ But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Proverbs 3:8-10 ~  8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. 9 Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

Deuteronomy 8:18 ~ But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

Luke 6:38 ~ Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Psalm 35:27 ~ Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.

Proverbs 22:4 ~ By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.

2 Corinthians 8:9 ~ For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

Matthew 19:29 ~ And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

JC

~ Free from a Sin Consciousness ~

sin1

          Why are good, well-meaning Christians still bound by old habits, and old thought patterns, unhappy, depressed, fearful, and full of unbelief? That shouldn’t be!Why are the promises of God seemingly illusive and hard to obtain?

          Why are we so acutely aware of our faults and shortcomings? What is it that makes us focus on the fallen nature and distracts us from focusing on our new, redeemed nature?

          This is not a prayer problem, its a truth problem. We suffer from a lack of understanding of who we are, and what we have become because of the blood of Christ. We are a sin conscious people, lacking a revelation of the magnificent gift that has been given to us by our Heavenly Father.

          Our ignorance comes, primarily from a weak relationship with our God. Most Christians are satisfied to come to church once or twice a week and leave the praying and the heavy spiritual lifting to the pastors and other ministers. After all, that IS their job, their calling, right? WRONG!

sin11          There is NOTHING that can replace your own personal relationship with the Lord. Something amazing takes place when YOU, all by yourself, when no one else is looking, worship God and spend time with Him. This is your primary expression of faith. 

James 4:8a Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…

          The greatest of all the benefits of salvation is our ability to have intimate relationship with the Lord. The thing that was standing in the way of our relationship (SIN), has been removed, abolished, taken away. Jesus Christ became our sin so the He could give us His righteousness, that we could stand before God without any sense of guilt, condemnation, or shame.

Guilt – Is a belief that you are not forgiven.

Condemnation – Is belief that your life is worthy of judgment.

Shame – is a belief that it is still who I am.

          The Old Testament Law is a belief system, and that belief system is based on the premise that “what I do determines my level of righteousness.” This thought process comes natural to the fallen man.

          God sent His Son to free us from the old belief system; the Law of Sin and Death. He abolished sin in His body (Eph 2:15) to fulfill the Old Testament law, so He could establish the new belief system, The New Testament. God made us righteous so that we would be free from that old way of believing, but the only way to be free from it, is to die to it and embrace the new belief system of the New Testament. It is the new law, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that embraces the identity that we ARE the righteousness of God, holy and blameless in His sight.

Colossians 1:21-22 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—  23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard,…

       Some great revelations in this passage of scripture:

          According to verse 21, we should no longer be enemies in our mind because ofsin12 sin (wicked works) because we have been reconciled. Even if we stumble and fall into sin, it doesn’t change the way He sees us, which is holy and blameless in His sight. What happens is, if we sin, we tend to revert back to the old belief system and we become “enemies in our mind” because of the sin, and become a landing strip for guilt, condemnation and shame which alienates us from God. We revert back to the law of sin and death and abandon our true identity which is based solely on what God says about us according to the gospel.

          What does the gospel say? I’m glad you asked!

Romans 3:24  You are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 

Galatians 4:7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Ephesians 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

sin14          These are only a few scriptures that describe how God sees us. God always sees our potential, He sees the end from the beginning, He doesn’t look upon our weakness, He sees us for who we are created to be, He believes the best of us even when we are at our worst.

          He makes us right positionally FIRST, so that we have the ability to become right in our behavior. If we first believe what He says about us is true, it empowers us to become what we believe. We must first believe that we ARE righteous, then works of righteousness and the fruit of holiness follow, delivering us from the sting of sin, the pull of sin, and even the acts of sin.

Romans 6:20-22  For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.

          This is what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 12 when He said, first “make the tree good and the fruit will be good.”

Matthew 12:33  “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 

          Sin consciousness makes the tree bad, and therefore it continues to produce bad fruit, sin3bad thought patterns, cycles of repeating sin, and constant struggling with the old belief system of sin and death.

          Righteous consciousness makes the tree good, enabling the transforming power of God’s grace, bearing righteous fruit, producing holiness without us struggling to be holy. This way God gets all the glory and we can’t boast about being a “Super Christian.”

Defining a Sin Consciousness

          To be conscious of something is to be very aware of it. Many believers think that the awareness of sin, (having a sin consciousness) will help avoid sin. If we think about our wrong doing, feel the shame of it, carry the guilt of it then it will deter us from repeating those things. What New Covenant scriptures is that based on? That is the old belief system, Old Testament thinking. The problem is, that didn’t even work in the Old Testament. At best sin consciousness will only lead to more sinning!

          Sin consciousness is a result of having a legalistic mind. It’s the Old Testament belief system. Romans 3 says that by the law is the knowledge of sin. When our mind is law based we will live with a constant awareness of sin. The focus will be on our flesh, and our abilities. How on earth are we going to overcome sin this way? We can’t keep doing the same thing year after year having the same failed results and stay convinced that it’s the answer! No, grace is the answer! Grace will lead us to focus on Christ.

          Grace is all about His ability! Grace takes the focus off ourself and puts it on Christ. This is how we live by faith and not by sight. This is how we walk in the Spirit. This is how we step into His ability. Instead of trying to overcome sin, rather focus on how we can fill our hearts and minds with the word of God and the grace of God that declares He has forgiven all our sins, past present and future, that He has made us perfectly righteous with His own righteousness and no sin can make us unrighteous.

         What we focus on we move towards. What we think about all day is the atmosphere we create around ourself. Do we really want a sin atmosphere around us all day? And we wonder why we struggle so much with sin. It’s because our mind is constantly focused on it.

          If we meditate on the grace of God and fill our heart with Christ consciousness and righteous consciousness, even if we do sin, keep the focus on Christ, and we will see the desire and pull of sin diminishing in our life with very little effort, and the life of God expanding in our life! When we think right and believe right, living right will follow.

I will leave you with these thoughts:

Doing is the second step, and Being is the first.

What we do is determined by what we are.

Acknowledge what we are, and the corresponding actions will follow.

Make the tree good, and it will eventually bear good fruit.

Believing we are righteous and holy causes righteous and holy fruit to grow in our life.

The fruit will be true to the tree, so make the tree good and the let tree do its thing.

          JC