Category Archives: Truth Pressure

Restoring God’s Community

Some of the most important relationships we have are with “the five-fold ministry gifts.” Every ministry gift teaches but has a different expression, function, and assignment. Still, they all have the same purpose: Equipping the saints for the work of ministry. When we do not have healthy relationships with the ministry gifts of Christ, we are hindered from being adequately equipped for God’s work.

All believers have within them a measure of the five-fold ministry gifts. Our relationship with other believers allows us to benefit from those giftings and is one source for equipping us. However, there are those among us whom God has ordained to stand in the “office” of the five-fold ministry. These leaders in the body of Christ are uniquely anointed to equip us in ways that others cannot. These believers are the gifts Christ has given us to prepare us, strengthen us, and equip us for spiritual warfare. We need some level of relationship with all five of these anointed gifts.

One of the reasons we don’t see the level of signs and wonders we see in the Bible is that we have moved away from God’s ordained structure of community. When God’s community is out of order, and we don’t have much-needed exposure to apostles, prophets, and evangelists, we become well equipped to teach and pastor but ill-equipped to function in kingdom authority. Without a relationship with all these five gifts, we will likely not be well equipped to represent the kingdom of God with demonstration and power.

Ephesians 4:11-16 (NKJV) 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, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

For those hungry for God, we know in our hearts there is so much more power available to us than we are experiencing. The Church has been ill-equipped and powerless. Could this be from not understanding the function and importance of our relationships? Could this result from not understanding God’s plans for community and not holding to His original design? We must be exposed to all five ministry gifts because they equip us differently. 

It is no accident that many denominations no longer recognize the ministry of the apostle and prophet. Apostles and prophets help equip the church with power and prepare her for what is coming. The last thing the enemy wants is for his plans to be exposed in advance and for the Church to be equipped to foresee those plans and destroy his works.

Satan deceives the Church with denominational preferences, racial divisions, political differences, and doctrinal disagreements to keep us weak, ill-equipped, and ineffective. He attacks the body of Christ to damage the joints, straining and breaking relationships to cut off our supply of the Spirit. The unity of the faith is what the devil is trying to prevent. (Ephesians 4:13)

All relationships are meaningful, even the ones that challenge us. Every relationship is a gift, a garden, and an opportunity to sow and reap.

Remember this; The garden we sow into may not be the same garden we reap from. We are so interconnected as a body of believers that our prayers can affect the body of Christ on the other side of the planet. We are more connected than the molecules that make up water. It is crucial to nurture and protect every relationship, retaining our influence and connectivity by preferring the other parts and protecting the joints. (relationships)

Quoted from the book, The Spiritual Warfare Manifesto

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

Video

The Gospel

For more videos by The Bible Project, CLICK HERE.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

Spiritual Warfare #26 Eyes That See

          Now that we understand how to develop our spiritual ears, let’s focus on what causes us to have eyes that see.

For many years I prayed that God would help me see things, people, opportunities, and situations the way He sees them. That sounds like a pretty good prayer, don’t you think? I did too, until the Lord interrupted my prayer one day and said, “Jack, I don’t want you to pray that way anymore, instead, pray that you would see things the way I want you to see them.”

At first, I thought, “Isn’t that the same thing?” But He quickly showed me that it wasn’t. Man is not capable of seeing the way God sees. His ways and thought are so much higher than ours.

1 Samuel 16:9 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

  There is a way that God wants us to see everything and everyone. We are not capable of seeing how God sees because we are viewing life from the filter of two natures. The fallen nature we inherited from Adam, and the nature of God that we received at the new birth. Living in this incredible paradox demands that we adapt to seeing things from a very specific perspective called faith.

Faith is a perspective, not a tool to get our needs met. Faith is a very narrow way of seeing, thinking, believing, and speaking. Faith is the perspective that fills our entire being with light.

Matthew 6:22-24The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good (single), your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad (evil), your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

          The word “good” in verse 22 is the Greek word “haplous.” It means single. It is used only one other time in Luke 11 in his account of this same passage. The word “bad” in verse 23 is the Greek word “poneros” and is always translated “evil, wicked, or wicked one.” Why is this important? Because anything other than having a single eyed, faith perspective is evil.

Paul said in Romans 14:23 … whatever is not from faith is sin.

          If we are not seeing from a faith perspective, we are seeing things from an evil, or wicked perspective. What we look at illuminates our entire being with what we see.       

          Look at Matthew 24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

          It is significant that this statement comes right after the instruction to have a single eye. How we see determines who we will serve.

          Mammon is often defined as money. But a more accurate definition would be avarice, or selfish desire. We don’t have the ability to serve money, but we can serve our selfish desires and lust for money, and other earthly things. There are only two masters available to serve. God and self. To serve self is to serve the Devil. It has always been that way.

            The only influence Satan can gain in our lives is through our selfish desires. In the garden of Eden, Satan deceived Eve into yielding to selfish desires. It all started when she looked at the fruit and found it desirable to eat and make one wise.

Galatians 3:6-7 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

          Satan did not ask her to bow down and worship him. He tricked her into being selfish and doing what she felt was good for herself. He caused her to look at and consider the wrong things and it led to her disobedience.

          We only need to see and know very little if we are living by faith. We are to walk in love believing the best of every person. If we saw what was in the hearts and minds of everyone it would be hard to believe the best of them. We only need to know the next step, the rest we walk out by faith, trusting that God knows best and that He only wants the best for us.

The Word of God gives us plenty of instruction on how we should see things, and if Gods Word abides in us, it filters everything we see with spiritual insight.

I believe now that asking God to help me see things the way He would have me see them is another way of asking for His wisdom. It also removes a huge burden to understand every detail. If God gave us every detail of every situation we would have no need for faith, and it would be impossible to please Him.

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. 

Just knowing that God is pleased with faith should give us comfort when we don’t know all the details. Faith will always consider the unseen realm no matter what is seen with the physical eyes. Faith is a perspective anchored in trust.

Paul gives a powerful lesson in Philippians about living with this perspective.

Philippians 4:6-8 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

If we practice verses 6 and 7, we qualify for supernatural peace. We need this supernatural peace to wage supernatural warfare. In verse 8 it gives us the instruction on what to do while we are trusting God and waiting for the next step. We fill our thoughts with believing the best, thinking the best, and expecting the best. It keeps our faith alive and makes our walk pleasing to God.

We don’t need to see how God sees. We only need to see enough to take the next step. Sometimes that step may look like the wrong one in the natural. Many times, that step will go against our natural understanding, but that is why supernatural peace passes our understanding. We must learn to recognize, and be led by peace.

Peace is to be the arbitrator of our lives, sitting as ruler over everything and every decision.

Colossians 3:15 ~ And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

To walk by faith, to have eyes that see from a supernatural perspective, we must understand the peace of God and its function in our lives. The more we walk in peace, the less we will feel the need to know all the details, and we will be better equipped to live our lives with a single eye.

For more teaching on Spiritual Warfare, CLICK HERE.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

The Pruning of the Lord

If it isn’t producing Life it needs to be pruned, and pruning hurts! God prunes us as we incline our hearts toward Him, but HOW does He prune us?

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

        God is the great Vinedresser and His Word is used to help prune us and shape us into His image.

His Word is sharp, cutting clean and deep when we incline our heart to it. It is a discerner of our thoughts and intentions, separating light from darkness, exposing things in us that need change. The Word challenges what we think and believe as it exposes us to God’s will for our lives.

The carnal man’s response is to run from the Vine Dresser and try to heal himself from the cutting…. Because pruning hurts! The New Man’s response is to run to the Father and hide under His wings. We can’t consummate our marriage to Christ while our “old man” is still alive.

 In Exodus 33:20 God said to Moses, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.”

        Our carnal, fallen nature (“old man”) cannot look into the face of God and live.

          Spending time with our Father and His Word is our Old Man’s face to face encounter with Him. It is the surest way for dead things to get pruned out of our life. 

          If we are constantly in His Word and don’t practice intimacy, we will try to DO the Word in our own strength instead of becoming the Word by His grace.

           Embracing intimacy will always lead to a healthy dose of the Word, and develop a Father consciousness. The more we see Him as a Father, the more we see ourselves as sons. When we have intimacy, coupled with the Word, our perspective changes about everything and everyone, including ourselves. Our identity is formed in intimacy. Without intimacy we will never bear the fruit of who He is.

          Our perspective of the Word will change as we pursue intimacy with God. We will find ourselves “reading” the Word less but digesting it more. The Word will become so alive it will be as if one phrase is speaking volumes and we will naturally, purposely slow down to thoroughly digest it, letting it cut us deep and clean, knowing that His embrace causes it to be less painful. The cutting is for our good, the pruning is needed for growth and health.

          Long-term exposure to only the Word without an intimate relationship will produce self-consciousness and self-righteousness. Exposure to only the Word cuts us and cuts us and cuts us, with no relief in sight. The cutting exposes darkness, weakness, and sin. Intimacy is one way God becomes strong in our weakness.

           Cutting off those things in our life that aren’t producing good fruit is HIS responsibility in this relationship, not ours. He is the Vinedresser, we are the vine. Vines NEVER prune themselves. He is the great potter and we are the clay. Clay NEVER shaped itself into anything, but that is exactly what we will gravitate to if we have only God’s Word in our life with little or no intimacy.

           Knowledge of the Father without intimacy will puff us up and make us think we know what to do and try to please Him with our own human efforts to “do better.” Without intimacy we become legalistic, frustrated, and sin conscious.

Sin consciousness is the fruit of being exposed to the Word of God and not pursuing intimacy with God. Sin consciousness is easy to identify. If we are constantly seeing sin in others and judging them, thinking about what they need to change, what they should do, and how they should behave, this indicates knowledge of God’s Word but ignorance of who we are. We must not try to do what we learn without learning who He is. Our identity is formed in intimacy. Without intimacy we will gravitate toward Old Testament law and never fully understand or embrace New Testament grace.

We are in the last days and we we all need to aspire to become everything Jesus paid for. We must embrace the pruning and the correction of the Lord in this season.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

Keep your Finger in the Sand.

John 8:6-8

This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 

          Two key phrases in this verse; “they said to test Him,” and “He bent down and wrote on the ground.” How are they related? What was Jesus doing when He bent down to write on the ground? What is the Lord saying to us through this encounter?

          Testing will always come because that is the way God has chosen to strengthen our faith in Him. The closer we get to Him, the greater our testing will be. Our true heart is revealed through testing. What comes forth from us during testing and trials indicates what we believe and who we trust. Testing is an essential part of the gospel. When we get squeezed by life, what is inside us comes out.

          They were testing Jesus, putting pressure on Him. They were trying to squeeze Him until something came out of Him that they could use against Him. Being slow to speak is just one of the many valuable lessons to learn here.

James 1:19-20

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 

          When Jesus got squeezed, what did He do? He bent down and wrote with His finger on the ground. Giving us a living example of how to deal with tests and pressure, and how to find the answers we need when our feet are being held to the fire.

          I doubt that Jesus was writing anything significant in the dirt. I believe He was checking on the inside with the Father to see how He should answer, how He should respond, and what He should do.

          We know that in Jesus’s mind, He could do nothing of Himself.

John 5:30

“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”

          So, instead of answering out of His own understanding, He bent down, focusing on what the Spirit has to say about this. They continued to ask and pressure Him. We don’t know how long, but when He stood up the Spirit gave Him the words to say. Then once more, He bent back down and wrote on the ground, waiting for further instruction.

Luke 12:11-12

 And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

          Jesus consistently modeled the gospel that He preached. If we can’t find what we are practicing in our churches in the life of Jesus, it doesn’t belong.

          May times throughout the gospels Jesus separated Himself in between times of ministry to connect and fellowship with the Father. Without this component in our lives, we will not be strong enough to keep our finger in the sand when difficult situations are thrust upon us.

Nothing is reproduced without intimacy. If we are not intimate with the Father, we will not produce the fruit of who He is.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC