Monthly Archives: November 2017

What is Grace?

When you think of God’s grace, what immediately comes to mind? God’s unmerited favor? His salvation, love or kindness? I am not going to argue those points, they are all true, but I will say that grace has a broader, deeper meaning and I want to explore that in this teaching. Grace is one of the most important words in the New Testament and yet it is not well understood and even taken for granted.

Luke 2:40 ~ And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

The grace of God was upon Jesus and to understand New Testament grace we should consider what was upon Him so we can understand what is upon us, for we are in Him. One of the greatest definitions of grace that I have found is:

 “The divine influence on the heart of man, and the reflection of that influence in the life of the man.”

 If you look at grace from the standpoint of divine influence, it automatically broadens your idea of what grace is. When reading the bible and you see the word grace, replace it with “divine influence,” or “God’s influence”. You will see that it fits and it will provide a deeper understanding of the scriptures.

 We really need to stretch our understanding to even begin to grasp the full meaning of grace and what it means to us as believers. The Greek word for grace is “charis,” In addition to charis, there is the word charismata, which is a word related to charis, but it is only used in reference to what have become known as the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. I don’t think that anyone could argue that the those nine gifts are manifest by the divine influence of the Holy Spirit and the believer allowing that influence to reflect in his life.  

Acts 11:23 ~ When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.

This scripture refers to Barnabas SEEING the grace of God on others. This implies that grace should be evident. That God’s influence in your heart should be manifest in such a way that it could be seen outwardly by others. We have a world full of believers that have no outward evidence of the grace of God on their lives and therefore are not a witness of the grace of God to the world. Why is that? A part of the reason is legalism. Legalism is a belief system that attempts to establish your own righteousness by following laws, rules and religious traditions. The more we allow ourselves to slip into legalism, the farther we fall from grace and deny God’s influence in our life.

Virtually the entire book of Galatians addresses this problem of legalism.

Galatians 5:4 ~ You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Another important aspect of grace is that God uses people to impart it to His body.

2 Corinthians 8:6 ~ So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well.

          We see from this verse of scripture that the divine influence (grace) can come from other believers. Titus was urged to complete the grace that he started. His influence on these people was obviously of a divine nature, God influencing people with people. This is seen clearly in the fivefold ministry gifts described in 

         When I came to the conclusion that grace is God’s divine influence in my heart and its reflection in my life, I was forced to consider my definition of God. The book of James says that “God is love.”

1 John 4:8 ~ He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

With that understanding I was left with this thought; Grace is an expression of God’s love, and any time He endeavors to influence a person, it is because He wants to impart His very nature into that individual. Look at the first part the verse above, “He who does not love does not know God”. I believe that the main purpose of grace is so that we may know Him. To know Him we must yield to the divine influence of love (grace) and allow that love to be reflected in our lives.Jesus was the express image of God (love). He is our example. To yield to divine influence is to yield to love. Jesus said:

John 5:19 ~ Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.

 I think we can all agree that Jesus was completely yielded to divine influence. He only did what He saw the father (Love) do.

 

 Grace is the manifestation of the influence of God in you, with the intention that the influence is reflected in your life.

Gifts vs. Graces

This brings us to Romans 12 that most Christians interpret as “motivational gifts”. Paul is not talking about gifts, He is talking about “graces”.

Romans 12:6-8 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

There are 7 GRACES mentioned here: Prophecy, Servant (ministry), Teacher, Exhorter, Giver, Leader, and Mercy Giver.

 Look at Ephesians 4, where Paul starts talking about the 5-fold ministry gifts to the church.

Ephesians 4:7-12 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

You see how the order of grace and gifts are flipped in these passages?

Romans 12:6 says: gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,

Ephesians 4;7 says: grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

It is clear that Paul is talking about ministry gifts in Ephesians 4, and graces in Romans 12. Many have called them motivational “gifts” having a limited understanding of how they work. But when we understand that they are graces we begin to better understand who we are, and why we do what we do.

What I believe Paul is talking about in Romans 12 is the differences in our gifts produced by the grace (divine influence) that is on our life. In other words, our gifting looks different because the divine influence in our heart is different. Look again at the text, and pay close attention to the wording.

To understand what a GRACE is and how it affects us, let us view them as glasses with colored lenses. When you are looking at life through those glasses, everything you see will be tinted with that color, and your actions and responses will be influenced by it. Your GRACE affects how you see things, how you deal with problems, and how you express yourself in your gifting.

For instance, if you have the GRACE of SERVANT, you see the world through that “colored lens” (GRACE). Maybe your gifting is an Evangelist. So it would be natural for you to engage in “Servant Evangelism.”

Your Grace determines how you think about things, how you approach things. For example: If your GRACE is a GIVER, and you are ministering to someone who needs healing, you automatically think of what you can GIVE to help them. Like buying them some books on divine healing, or sending them to a healing crusade and paying for the whole thing.

If your GRACE is EXHORTER, you may encourage them in faith, read some healing promises from the bible, tell them “this is nothing for God, you can beat this thing easy.”

If your GRACE is TEACHER, you think that all they need is to understand and learn more about divine healing and faith principles.

Look at the rest of that passage in Romans and notice how Paul starts the dialogue.

Romans 12:3-8 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry (servant), let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

When Paul says that he speaks “through the GRACE that is given him,” he is talking about the divine influence upon his heart. When he teaches, that influence is reflected in the life.

Grace is a big subject, and these are just a few small observations. However, grace is one of the most important words to us in the New Testament. We should endeavor to get as much understanding on it as possible. I hope this helps.

JC

 

Old Testament Law – Made to be Broken

law

          Understanding the purpose of Old Testament Law is the beginning of understanding your imputed righteousness in Christ.

          I’m going to make a statement that may be foreign to most Christians.

 “God never gave man the Law to keep, He gave man the Law to break!”

          Does that sound contradictory or confusing? It shouldn’t. No man in history was able to keep the Law, except Jesus Christ. Never has any man succeeded in making himself acceptable to God by keeping the Law. Didn’t God know this? Of course He did. So why did God give us a Law that we are unable to keep? So that we would come face to face with the fact that we are incapable of doing anything right or just apart from His grace.

Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.

          The Law exposes our true nature apart from God. It teaches us that we need something far greater than our own strength and will to please God. The Law helps us to see our inadequacies so that we can be honest with ourselves and say: “I am a sinner through and through, and of myself I can do nothing to please a holy God.”

          The Law was not given with the expectation of us keeping it. It was given in the full knowledge that we would break it; and when we have broken it so completely as to be convinced of our absolute need for a Savior, then the Law has served its purpose. It has fulfilled the role of a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, so the He may Himself fulfill it.

Galatians 3:24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 

          We are all sinners by nature because of Adam’s transgression. The Law makes that sinful nature manifest. When a holy Law is applied to a sinful man, then that sinfulness comes out in full display making the fallen nature of that man manifest.

          God knows who we are. the trouble is, WE don’t know who we are. The Law brings us to a place where we see who we are apart from Him and shows us our utter helplessness under the Law, and our need to be saved from it. If not for the Law we would never see how weak we are apart from Christ. We would continue in the futile pursuit of trying to please God with our own righteousness.

          The Law was given to make us lawbreakers, to expose our sin, not to the world, but to ourselves.

Romans 7:7-9 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.

          We need to have our weaknesses proved to ourselves beyond a shadow of doubt. It is at that point we are able to understand our need for deliverance from the Law. We must be delivered from the Law to receive the free gift of the righteousness of God.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

“The Law shows us our need to be free from it. Free from our own works of righteousness so that we can see our need to embrace the grace of God and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.”

Law vs. Grace

          In a nutshell, Law means that I do something for God. Grace means that God does something for me. If Law means that God requires something from me for it’s fulfillment, then grace means that He no longer requires it from me, but He provides it for me Himself.

          Where we fall into trouble is our tendency to live by Law. We are far more comfortable with a “quid pro quo,” mentality. Do this to receive that, receive something for doing something. This is rational and easy to wrap our head around, but it is not faith. Faith doesn’t come natural because with faith, we don’t have the ability to understand everything. We feel the need to do something to earn what we have been given.

Galatians 3:19-25  What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

          Once faith in Christ has come, we no longer have need of the Law. We then must transition from operating under the Law of sin and death, to the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

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. 

          Old habits can be hard to break. We are born and raised under the Law of sin and death. Faith in Christ, in His imputed righteousness, in our change of status from slaves of sin to adopted children of God takes a concentrated effort. Learning to live by the new Law of the Spirit is a process. We are born into this new life as infants, and for us to mature properly and thrive under this new Law we must reckon ourselves dead to sin, and alive to God by what Jesus did on the cross.

Romans 6:11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

          So why do we continue to try and live by the Law? Because we don’t understand that the Law was never intended for us to keep. It was intended to show us how futile our efforts are to keep it, and to expose our fallen nature to such a degree that our only option is to believe in our Savior.

JC

~ Spiritual Ears ~

111ear1

John 10:27 ~ My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they
follow Me.

          One of the greatest days of my life was when I discovered that God speaks to His people personally. I thought I had “arrived” at that point, because I had already made up my mind to do what God said. Unfortunately, I found that when you learn to hear God’s voice you then become a genuine threat to the Devil and he goes to work on you to disrupt and confuse the hearing process.

          Before we dive into some of the things I have learned to fight this attack on our spiritual hearing, I want to share a brief testimony on when and how I discovered that God speaks to His people. This is important, because before you learn to hear from God, you must first be absolutely convinced that He will talk to you.

The Day I Heard God

          It was November 1988 and I had been saved about two weeks. I had almost no interaction with other Christians for those two weeks because after I was saved, I left town on a job. During those two weeks I had read a little paperback New Testament at night in the hotel room where I was staying. It was the only Bible I had ever been exposed to and I was reading it like a starving man.

          When I returned home I sought out the people who had prayed the prayer of salvation with me and I had a million questions. I wanted to know more about this wonderful thing that happened to me called salvation.

          They invited me to a bible study that night and I when I showed up, the house was full of people who were engaged in this discussion about how God had spoken to this one individual a few days ago. As I listened skeptically, one by one they all related stories of how God had spoken to them. I thought they were ALL NUTS!

          My Idea of God was somewhat shaken by all this conversation and I wanted some answers. I had to know if this was real or just a bunch of weirdoes that went off the deep end, so I politely asked, “what exactly do you mean by God spoke to me?”

          A woman named Diane explained to me that God does speak in our hearts, and that we can learn to hear His voice. She went on to add that every night for one whole year she would lay in bed at night and pray, “God, you are my father and I am your child, and I should know my father’s voice, so I am asking you to speak to me.”

          Many more words were said and a lot of instruction was given, but what she said stuck with me and I could not get it out of my mind. To help me in my new faith, the group gave me a brand new Amplified bible. I was so excited! I had never seen the Old Testament before and was looking forward to exploring it.

          On the long drive home I was wrestling with all this new information about how God speaks to people and I just couldn’t bring myself to accept it. So when I got home, I went to the bedroom, dropped my new bible next to the bed, kicked off my cloths and laid down staring at the ceiling.

          With arms crossed, laying there in the dark, I decided to put this woman’s method to the test. So I prayed, “God if you really do speak to people I have to know it for myself. So I am going to lay here until You talk to me if I have to lay here until daylight.” I was dead serious!

          I was not prepared for what happened. Immediately I heard this strong voice inside me say “Samuel 3.” I sat up on the edge of the bed and turned on the light. I can’t explain exactly how I felt. I was a little shaken, a little scared, but I knew one thing for sure, that did not come from me because I did not know what “Samuel 3” meant.

          As I was sitting there on the edge of my bed, wondering if that was God that spoke or just my overactive imagination, I looked down on the floor between my feet and saw the new Bible. At that point in my life, I had never read one word in the Old Testament, but I picked it up and turned to the table of contents thinking this might be a scripture. When I saw the books of first and second Samuel, I was completely shocked! I felt like my heart was about to pump out of my chest. I asked the Lord, “which one?” and that same voice came again, only this time it was not a strong inward voice, but a still small voice, and it said, “First Samuel 3,”

          You may know the story. The prophet Samuel was just a boy. He was laying in his bed one night, (just like me) and the Lord came and spoke to him (just like me). The boy ran in to the priest because he thought the priest had called him. You see, Samuel did not know God’s voice either (just like me). This happened to Samuel three times until Eli the priest had to tell Samuel that the Lord was talking. God brought me to a place in the bible that I was experiencing at that very moment! He affirmed that He was my Father and that He wanted to speak to me!

          It was at that point that I stepped over the line from believing that God is real, to absolutely KNOWING that God is real, alive, and speaks to His people. I was on top of the world! The creator of the universe had just spoken to me in such a personal way that even my pea brain couldn’t get confused about it.

          For weeks I was in this euphoric place where I was constantly talking to, and listening to God. He was fathering me, and I was doing my best to be a good son. Then I realized that it was getting increasingly harder to discern God’s voice. I blamed it on not praying enough, not reading enough bible, sin, etc. and this is where most Christians miss it. Like me, they believe all of that garbage and fall into the enemy’s trap of deception and confusion. In this lesson we will look at some things that impede your ability to hear clearly from God.

The Frequency of God

 111ear9         When you tune in to a radio station you have to adjust the dial to a specific frequency on your radio if you want to have a clear reception. If the frequency is off  by just a little bit, the reception becomes distorted with static and hard to hear. God has His own frequency that allows you to hear a clear, strong reception. That frequency is PEACE.

          Your heart is the radio, but that radio has to be tuned in to the right frequency to pick up the reception. If you drive your car to the radio station and park it so the bumper is touching the radio tower, you still won’t pick up a reception unless you tune the radio in to the proper channel.

          Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you go to church and park your keister in a pew twice a week that you are going to be tuned in to hearing God’s voice. Your heart must be “tuned” to hear God’s voice.

1 Kings 19:11-13 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. 13 So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

111ear3        Just like a radio frequency, storms can interfere with your reception. In the verses above we see that God was not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire. This was not an “act of God,” but an attack of the enemy to take Elijah out. To keep Him from hearing from God and make him continue down this pity party road that he had started on. Elijah even asked God to let him die. This was right after his famous showdown with the prophets of Baal where God consumed 400 false prophets with fire.

          It doesn’t take long to go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, but as Christians we are called to shine through it all. The enemy knows that if he can cause enough static he can keep you from being clear on God’s plan for your life. The more he can disrupt and interfere with the communication between you and God the less successful you will be in fulfilling your created purpose. That is what Satan is after, your purpose.

          Your created purpose is son-ship. In the Garden of Eden, Peace with God was lost, and therefore the father child relationship was broken. Jesus restored Peace, and through Him we now have the Father son relationship restored. When we begin to walk in the fullness of our son-ship the enemy is rendered powerless. This relationship between you and God is ALWAYS Satan’s main target. If he can keep you from being Fathered, he can keep you from becoming like your Father.

Many Voices

          When trying to hear from God, we must be able to filter through all the other voices that are speaking to us. If you have ever been in a crowd of people where everyone is trying to talk to you at once, you know that it is very difficult pick out and hear just one voice. That is when you raise your hands and yell “ONE AT A TIME PLEASE!” Often we need to do that spiritually. We take one voice at a time, one thought at a time, and bring it into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

          Cutting through all the thoughts, bad reports, symptoms, and strongholds of wrong thinking is the spiritual battle that we are engaged in. This never stops. The enemy, your carnal nature, memories of bad experiences, and just life in general are constantly speaking to you. You must learn to find that quiet peaceful place in the presence of God that His voice can be clearly distinguished above all the clamor.

111ear8

          Worship is the best way to make this happen. I’m not talking about your worship service at church once or twice a week, although that is important. I’m talking about you, all alone in your bedroom, when no one else is looking, worshiping God from your heart. Desiring Him enough to spend time with Him alone, telling Him how much you love and appreciate Him. Pouring out your heart and being open and vulnerable. No effort you make toward God will ever go unrewarded. If you draw close to Him, He will draw close to you.

James 4:7-8  Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

          Christians tend to focus too much on resisting the Devil. Constantly praying about the devil, binding, loosing, rebuking. Don’t spend time resisting the devil, spend time submitting to God. This is the best, and only way, to resist the devil. By submitting to God, you have automatically resisted the devil. You now fight in His strength and not yours. You acknowledge that Satan is a defeated foe, that the victory has already been won. Now take your stand and enforce the victory by submitting to your Father.

STOP FIGHTING A FIGHT THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN WON FOR YOU!

Willingness to Obey

 111ear4         One of the biggest thing that prevents people from hearing from God is unwillingness to obey what He says. If you ask God for something and you are not willing to hear a “no,” He may not even talk to you about it because He knows your mind is already made up.

          There is a popular teaching that’s been around for years called “The five love languages.” It teaches you to identify and recognize your spouses needs so that you can better meet those needs and prevent tension and strife in your relationship. Well, God has a love language, and that love language is obedience.

John 14:16  If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever

John 14:21  He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.

          These three passages are from one chapter in the Bible. Jesus is trying to prepare His disciples for a life in the Spirit. He is giving clear instructions about how our love for God is to be expressed. He is also teaching them that this is the key to having God manifest in your life.

Isaiah 1:19 If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land.

          Willingness and obedience are a cornerstone of the Christian faith. It is the number one way to express love for your Father. Love is the fulfillment of the Law. It is THE New Testament commandment. (Mark 12:30) It is THIS love that makes your faith work.

Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

          Read more about how to develop your spiritual ears Here

Loving God, What Does That Look Like?

lov3        

When was the last time you came to God  just love on Him and be close to Him?

          I have three sons of varying ages who are completely different from one another in their personalities, likes, and interests. Each one is unique and I thank God that, He made them that way. I love each one equally and show no partiality to any one of them. They all know that I love them and I know that they love me. This is an understood fact and we all express that love to each other all the time. We live with an awareness of that love and we are conscious of the fact that the love we have will never change. There comes a time though, as they walk through their day-to-day life that the knowledge of that love is not enough.  They need to experience it.

          They need one on one, face-to-face interaction. They need a loving touch, they need to share thoughts and emotions and spend intimate personal time with me. They need to know that they are special to me and that my love is for them is real. There is a wonderful exchange that takes place in these times. I become sensitive to their needs and desires and reaffirm my love for them. It solidifies our bond and their faith in me as a loving father. It enriches and strengthens the relationship that we have.

          Each of my children likes to experience this love in different ways. As they age and their interest changes, our time together begins to look different also. My 13-year-old likes to go to the gun range and I teach him about shooting techniques, safety and responsibility, preparing him for manhood and the challenges that are ahead of him.

          My 10-year-old likes swimming, nature  and art. We enjoy each others company and I see the joy in his face when we are alone together. I encourage him to develop his gifts and artistic talents. My youngest, the 6-year-old, likes to crawl up in my lap and play silly little games. These games may seem insignificant to some, yet to this child it is one of the most important parts of his day and if we miss that time together he tells me about it. This time together is very important to him … It is also very important to me.

 lov2         As believers we need this intimate time with our Father, God. It is not enough to walk through life just knowing about the Love of God, we must experience it. The most important relationship that we have is with our creator. If we invest in this relationship, it pays dividends in all other relationships, making them richer and stronger.

          These times I described with my kids are all very important to me. Your personal time with God is very important to Him too. Is it important to you? As you grow as a Christian these intimate times with God will change and evolve to match your level of maturity and the life lessons that God knows are important to you at the time. No matter where you are in your walk with God, always approach Him as a child. Don’t take for granted that the most amazing thing available to you through Jesus sacrifice is your ability to stand before God like a child with no guilt, condemnation, or shame. Jesus made fellowship and intimacy available through His shed blood. His sacrifice was made so Father – Son relationship could be restored.

Luke 18:17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.

         lov5 I think we tend to get in rut with our “devotional” time and make it mechanical and impersonal. We come to God with a list of prayer needs and a plan to study, or read a certain amount of scripture and we never connect with Him personally. We go through the motions with a legalistic, works mentality, believing that its the right thing to do in order to be a “good Christian.” The truth is, very little fruit comes from actions like these. This is not relationship, and it does not promote growth and change, instead it perpetuates a legalistic mentality which quenches the grace of God and hinders the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

~ Is your Mountain hearing your Voice? ~

11speak1

One of the most important aspects of faith is speaking what we believe. Jesus demonstrated this principle throughout His earthly ministry, giving us an example to follow, as well as a blueprint of how true faith actually works. Even with all of His examples, the church still struggles with this particular part of the gospel message.

Let’s look at some of Jesus examples and make sure we understand how faith works.

Mark 11:12-14 ~ And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: 13And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 14And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.

          In today’s society people who talk to trees run the risk of being put in a straight jacket and labeled a lunatic. In fact, there were many that thought Jesus was a lunatic so this shouldn’t surprise anyone.

          The Bible records Jesus speaking to many things throughout the New Testament. In every case, the things He spoke to obeyed Him. His words always had an effect on what e was speaking to. What most people don’t realize is that He did this as a man, not as God. Jesus walked this earth and ministered as a man anointed and filled with the Holy Spirit, just like you and I are supposed to be.

          Jesus was born of the incorruptible seed of God. That seed was placed in His virgin mother and He was born a man, completely void of any heavenly powers or privileges.

Philippians 2:6-8 ~ (NIV) ~ Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! 

          What we must grasp is that the same incorruptible seed that was in Christ is now in us if Jesus is our Lord.

1 Peter 1:23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever

          This understanding is essential if we are to function in Kingdom authority and power. When Jesus spoke to things and exercised His Kingdom authority He was not doing it to show off, He was setting an example for His Church to follow. He was demonstrating what could be done as a man so that we would know how to function as a new creation in this fallen and corrupt world.

Knowing who you are IN Christ is one of the most important revelations in your Christian walk. If you don’t know who you are, you won’t believe you have the authority that goes with that identity.

Lets look at another instance of Jesus exercising His authority.11speak2

Mark 4:38-40 ~ But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

          Now this one really freaked the disciples out! They were fighting for their life while Jesus slept. I wonder how long this went on. I can see the disciples bailing water, tieing down everything that was loose, fighting with the rudder and the rope rigging. All the while, stealing glances at Jesus every few minutes thinking “when is He gonna get up and DO something?” Keep in mind that some of these guys were professional sailors and fishermen, they had been in bad storms before, so this must have been a real doosey!

               
As bad as it must have been,
the truth is, they didn’t need to wake Jesus up. They should have been able to take care of it themselves. In fact Jesus rebuked them for being afraid and having no faith.

Mark 4:40 ~ And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

      11speak3    Jesus rebuked them for having no faith, then He showed them what faith looks like by speaking to the current circumstances. His faith was in His heart, and it was released with speaking words. If Jesus expected them to exercise that kind of faith and authority before He went to the cross, how much more does He expect it from us as born again believers? The real question is, why don’t we expect to operate like that? Although the disciples had the power to do just what Jesus did, they were waiting on Jesus to do something. This seems to be the condition of the church today, Waiting for God to do something He has given us the authority and power to do.

          Many prayers seemingly go unanswered because God has already done everything that He is going to do about the situation. He has given us the authority and power to do something about it ourself so we need to stop waiting on Jesus to wake up and calm our storm. We need to begin exercising our faith and speaking to our circumstances, our problems, our mountains!

Many times we make the mistake of praying for a mountain to be removed when we should be speaking to the mountain. The truth is, mountains don’t get removed by prayer. The understood method of mountain removal in the Bible is speaking.

Mark 11:22-23  So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 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.

There is a time to pray, and there is a time to say. Simply knowing which to do in any given situation will produce greater fruit in our life.

          What else did Jesus talk to? We have the account of Peter’s mother in law being healed of a fever. Notice what Jesus does.

Luke 4:38-40 ~ And He arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. 39And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them. 40Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.

          Notice that Jesus did not pray for Peter’s mother in law, He spoke directly to the fever, rebuked it, and she was healed! He exercised His kingdom authority over the fever and the fever had no choice but to obey. Many times Christians are praying when they should have been SAYING.

 When you come up against mountains of sickness, bad reports, financial difficulty, trying situations, make sure that mountain is hearing your voice!

          Here is an interesting account of Jesus speaking to a dead person.

John 11:42-44 ~ And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

          This is an amazing account of Jesus demonstrating His kingdom authority by the power of His spoken word. There have been many confirmed, recorded accounts of people being raised from the dead in Jesus name. 14 accounts in the life of  Smith Wigglesworth alone. This is available to us today!

          So we see that He spoke to trees, to the elements, to sickness, and even to dead people. So ask your self this;

“Can a tree, a fever, a storm, or even a dead person hear?” Obviously they can because they obeyed His voice!

          These were just some of the mountains that Jesus had to move in His earthly ministry. What mountains are you facing in your life? If you don’t have faith enough to move your mouth, you will never have faith enough to move your mountains.

Your Mountain Should Be Hearing Your Voice!

11speak4

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.

          The signs and wonders that followed Jesus should be following us if we truly believe. Notice the last words He spoke before He ascended into heaven.

Mark 16:17-18 ~ And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

          The truth is, we should be seeing greater works than what Jesus did. That is what He told us in His Word.

John 14:12 ~  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”

The greatest thing available to us is not the power to cast mountains into the sea, or heal the sick, or even raise the dead. But to have relationship with the Father. To be close Him, not having sin as wall that separates us from His presence. To express our love and devotion to Him with an unveiled face, with no guilt, condemnation or shame.

          Why am I bringing this up? Because faith like this will come easy if you are madly in love with God.

1 Corinthians 13:2-3 ~ And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Galatians 5:6 ~ For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

JC