Tag Archives: identity

Spiritual Gifts are Free, Maturity is Expensive

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         Christians follow others for many reasons. Personality, charisma, doctrine, integrity, social status, perceived success, speaking skills, etc. but the main reason people follow a Christian leader is because of their relationship with the God.

          All great Christian leaders have one thing in common, a genuine intimate relationship with God that is obvious to all. The reason Jesus did what He did was to restore man back to intimacy with God. The message of the Gospel is one of reconciliation and restoration of relationship, the removal of all barriers that stand between God and man. If a Christian is not continually growing in this revelation, walking in, and living out this truth, he/she is not qualified to lead others anywhere.

          A leader’s influence should be used to bring others into a deeper relationship with God. Deep down this is what we all want. This can only be done by example first and teaching second. It is impossible to lead someone to a deeper relationship with God than you have personally experienced. You can’t lead anyone to a place you’ve never been.

          Jesus is the example of leadership that we must follow. We can look at His life and glean many leadership principles that we can live by, but I will only address one main principles that we see Him practice in the gospels. Intimacy with God.

          There are no shortcuts to intimacy, it takes time, discipline, effort and commitment. Intimacy with the Father is the greatest investment you can make in yourself and others.

Gifts are free, but Maturity is expensive.

          Intimacy leads to maturity and intimacy is a result of continuous fellowship. Many Christians follow others because of their “Spiritual Gifting,” not understanding that gifting can easily be manifest without spiritual maturity.

          Our identity is not found in our gifting but in our relationship with the Father. Pastor, Teacher, Prophet is not who I am, it is how I serve. We must find our identity in loving and serving, not gifting.

          The goal of a leader is to reproduce themselves and nothing is reproduced without intimacy. First priority is relationship with the Father. Jesus only did what He saw the Father do. This demands a lifestyle of watching and praying. It’s not always convenient or comfortable but it is always necessary.

          A leader can easily get distracted from spending intimate time with the Lord. A common trap is to replace reading the Bible and studying with being alone with God and communing with Him. The problem is, you can only learn about God from reading the Bible and studying. To truly know Him you must spend time with Him, commune with Him, listen to Him.

          If I read your biography I can learn a lot about you but I can’t honestly say that I know you. I can only know you by spending time with you. It is the same with God. When intimacy becomes a lifestyle, reading and studying takes on a whole new dimension and bears much more fruit. While reading the written word you see them through His divine nature, you look at them with eyes and a heart of love that makes you more sensitive to His spoken word. This is when the scriptures really begin to come alive.

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          The Lord taught me a powerful lesson about who I am and I would like to share it with you.

          I pray often that God would live in me and through me in fullness. That people would see Him in me. I remember some time ago, ministering to a lady on the phone one day and she asked me if I was a Pastor. I said “No, my wife is a pastor, I have been offered ordination and refused it because I am not a Pastor.” The Lord then spoke to me and said, “But I Am a Pastor, and if you deny Me that expression in your life I can’t answer your prayer to live through you in fullness.”

          God was showing me that titles and labels don’t define who I am, He does. I was limiting His expression through my life because my words were stout against Him and I had a limited idea of who I am.

maturty3.jpg          Who you think you are must come second to who He wants to be in you at any given moment. He showed me that He is the embodiment of the fivefold ministry and if I will maintain intimacy with Him and be sensitive to His desires He will be free to move through me and touch lives in a way that I could never do through my own strength and ability.

Ephesians 4:11-16  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 (P)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.

JC

The Fight for Your Identity

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What kind of tree am I anyway?

Matthew 12:33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.

          This is an amazing formula for faith, and a great example of the faith principle in Romans 4 of “calling things that are not as though they were.”

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;

          The quotation in Romans 4:17 refers to Genesis 17:5. God spoke this over Abram when He was 99 years old and childless. At the same time God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and changed Sarai’s name to Sarah. In changing the names, God forced them to say the same thing about themselves that He had just said about them. Abraham means, (“Father of a multitude,” Sarah means, “Mother of nations.”) In the name change, God was showing Abraham and all who would follow after him, the principle of faith that God Himself operates by. He speaks things into existence.

          Let’s apply this to the good and bad tree.

          If you see a tree that has apples and avocados growing on it, what would you call it? An apple tree? An avocado tree? A hybrid? Would you just make up a name? The truth is, you wouldn’t know what to call it.

         The Bible says in Isaiah 61:3 that we are “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord.”

          When we look at ourselves and behold the fruit of our lives, we see our mistakes, our bad habits, our inconsistencies, our failures, our secret sins, and we think “I must be a bad tree.” But then we look closer and say, “Wait a minute, not all the fruit in my life is bad. I help people, I am faithful to my church family, I serve in different areas in the ministry, I love people, I am generous with my time and resources, so not all the fruit in my life is bad. I am confused! What kind of tree am I?”

          We see the good and bad fruit in our lives and gravitate towards walking by sight and living by feelings. The Bible says that we are NOT to live our lives this way.

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

          We cannot allow our physical senses to dictate our identity. We must set ourselves in agreement with what God has spoken about us and not be moved by our feelings and our fallen experience. What we see, feel and experience must never be a consideration in light of what God has said about us. Abraham, the father of faith, has set the example for us.

Romans 4:19-22 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

          Abraham refused to consider the weakness in his flesh, but was fully convinced that what God said about him, God would bring to pass.

          So the question is: What has God said about us?

Romans 5:17  For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

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.

          God says that He has made us righteous, holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight. Although we may not look like that in our sight we must not consider what we see and believe what He said about us is true.

          How we refer to ourselves, the words we say about ourselves should align in agreement with what God says about us. When we begin to speak what God says about us, the grace of God is released in our lives to transform us into what He has spoken. When we align our words with His words, the fruit of what He said will start growing in our life. This is how we make our tree good. This is how we fight the good fight of faith. This is what produces transformation in our life.

          The Old Testament is full of stories about natural battles. We must look at those physical battles and learn how to apply them spiritually to our lives. For the most part, we see two ways that God calls his people to battle.

  1. He gives His people specific instruction on what, when and how to conquer the enemy. When Gods people follow the instruction, He is with them in battle and the victory comes easy.
  2. He tells His people to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. He fights the battle for us and the victory is ours.

         When fighting to be free from our sin nature, to live righteous and holy, we tend to try and do this by our own works. We struggle against our sin, our bad habits, wrong thinking and destructive cycles of failure and disappointment. This type of behavior will only produce a sin consciousness that insures failure. The Old Testament has already proved that no one can become righteous by works.

          Submitting to the authority of the Holy Spirit on the inside of us places us in a powerful position to be transformed and overcome the sin nature. We must call ourselves righteous and holy, believing that He is at work in us to bring that to pass. We follow Abraham’s example and call things that are not manifest as though they were.

           Confess that you are righteous, confess that you are holy. Thank God for freeing you from sin and transforming you into His image. And if you stumble and fall, run to God and say “I am sorry Father that is not me! That is certainly not You in me! I thank You for the Spirit of grace that is transforming me and shaping me into Your image, removing that junk from my life and molding me into everything You have created me to be. Thank You for fathering me! Thank you for loving me, for believing in me, for being patient with me. Thank you for completing the work that you began in me. Where would I be if You didn’t father me.”   

 hold fast         This is a good example of biblical confession. This type of confession sets you in agreement with His work and His plan for your life. This will produce the fruit of righteousness and holiness in your life.

          In the battle for our identity we are supposed to follow the example of our father Abraham and set ourselves in agreement with His word, letting the Spirit of grace shape us and mold us into His image. We are not to consider the weakness of our flesh, but stand strong in faith, trusting that God is able to bring His word to pass in our lives.

So hold fast to the confession of who you are in Him and trust that He will complete the work that he began in your life.

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Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Faith To Become What Jesus Paid For

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          What are you using your faith for? To receive a blessing, or obtain your healing? To lead your family to Christ? To build a business? To get out of debt, or prosper financially? These things are all well and good but they must not be the main focus and predominant use of your faith.

          Falling into the trap of believing for “stuff” is a common occurrence in the body of Christ. We get so caught up in applying faith principles to all areas of our life that we forget, the primary role of faith is to be used in our relationship with our creator. More specifically, we should be exercising our faith to become what He paid for us to be.

We should be exercising our faith to become what He paid for us to be.”

          The primary use of the phrases, “the faith, or the gospel,” in the New Testament always refers to your imputed righteousness, and the good news that you are now free from the curse of the Law and free from sin.

           “The Gospel,” refers to the good news that Peace has been made between God and man. We can now come before God without guilt, condemnation, or shame.

          “The Faith,” refers to our belief that we are righteous sons, regardless of our past or present performance. When we present ourselves to God as holy by faith , it produces the fruit righteousness and holiness in our lives with the help of Holy Spirit. It opens us up to divine influence (grace) that causes transformation. It places us on the potters wheel so He can shape us into what He paid for.

           The Church has reduced “The Gospel,” to meaning, “good news that we don’t have to be sick or poor any more,” and “The Faith,” has been redefined as a method of getting our barns and vats full.

Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.

          Not understanding what “The Gospel” is, and believing that faith is a vehicle to get the things we need from God, is a subtle deception of the enemy to keep us focused on who we were, and not on becoming what He paid for us to be.

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Don’t get too busy dwelling on who you were

and miss believing to become what He paid for.

 

 

JC

 

 

 

The Word was God!

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THE WORD WAS GOD!

Just take that in for a minute…..

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

         So, “in the beginning was the word,…”

          What is a word? Why was Jesus called “The Word?” Why are words so powerful? Why, according to Proverbs 18:21, is death and life in the power of the tongue? We see in this first portion of John the incredible creative power that the word possesses.

WORD def:

“A word is a physical expression (by verbal, written, or other actions) that carries ideas and “CREATES IMAGES” The very nature of the word shapes the image that it produces.”

GOD def: Merriam Webster,

the supreme or ultimate reality: such as

1) the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe.

2) a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically: one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality.

         If the Word is God, then God is the Word, then both definitions should accurately describe both the Word and God. If these definitions are not interchangeable in our minds, then our understanding of God and His Word are lacking.

Make Your Tree Good!

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A Tree Is Known by Its Fruit

Luke 6:43-45  For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

          Fruit comes out of the heart, good or bad, through our words and actions. Our mouth plays an integral part in what kind of fruit we bear, for out of our mouth comes the fruit of our tree. Whatever is in us in abundance will eventually come out as fruit in the form of words and actions.

          Fruit is intended for consumption and nourishment.  We are the ones that consume most of the fruit that we bear. Our minds must be renewed so that we will be transformed into a good tree.

Matthew 12:33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.

          Make the tree good and its fruit will be good. When the fruit is good, we increase our ability to nourish, increase and sustain our spiritual health and growth.

          The key is: WE MUST MAKE OUR TREE GOOD! Spiritual growth and development is not automatic. We must cooperate with our Father to grow into the child that He paid for. We have been adopted, and that adoption came at a great price. He paid for our past and gave us a down payment on the future, the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 1:22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

Ephesians 1:13  In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

          The Holy Spirit is here as a helper, and advocate, an intercessor. To help us embrace the life and nature of God that now dwells in us as believers. It is our cooperation with the Holy Spirit that makes us good trees, bearing the fruit of holiness.

Isaiah 61:3 calls us; “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord. That He may be glorified.” We have been grafted in to the root of THE good Tree. Because of that, we ARE righteous, holy, and blameless in his sight. We have been made righteous by the blood of Christ! When we set ourselves in agreement with that truth, and believe that we are righteous in spite of our performance, we make the tree good, and the righteous tree is empowered to produce righteous fruit. Until you agree with what god has said about you, you will not be empowered to live out the righteousness that Christ paid for.

root.jpgColossians 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

          The fruit that you see is ALWAYS a result of the ROOT that you cannot see. We tap into the life in the root by keeping God’s word in our hearts and minds and being obedient to what we learn. Looking into God’s word, and obeying it, is like looking into a mirror. If you stop looking in the mirror, you will forget that you are a good tree.

James 1:23-24 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.

JC

 

Start Where Jesus Finished

          What does that phrase mean, “Start where He finished?” I heard a minister say that some months ago and the phrase stuck with me, although I wasn’t quite sure what it meant. After some meditation on it, I believe I understand.

 cross2         Jesus was on the earth for approximately 33 years. His intent and focus was singular. To restore mankind back to his original created purpose. To do this He had to show the greatest act of love ever known to man. He paid a terrible price and laid down His life for us so that we could be restored. I remembered that on the cross Jesus said, “It is finished.”

John 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

          What was finished? He still hadn’t descended into hell to pay the price for our sins. He still hadn’t ascended to the Father and presented His blood on the mercy seat. The Holy Spirit had not yet been restored to man. So what was finished? The act of love necessary to fulfill all those things previously mentioned. He laid down His life to obtain all that for us. cross

          That my friends, is where we must start, where He finished, laying down our life and picking up our cross. This is the only road that leads to full Kingdom authority. This is what it takes for our relationship with the Father to be completely restored. Jesus did his part, now its our turn.

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 

John 16:24-26 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 

To live this Christian life successfully, to its fullest, we must start where He finished, at the cross. This is the only way we truly overcome in this life.

Revelations 12:11  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

JC

Are you a Servant or a Son?

          This is a loaded question, I know. Most Christians immediate response would be an emphatic, “Both!”

          That is the right answer on the surface, however, to truly answer that correctly, you must ask yourself the question, “Why do I serve?” because your reason for serving determines your view of who you are in God’s eyes. You see….

A Servant serves FOR approval… A Son serves FROM approval.

          A servant has the mentality of owing the service. A son serves because he loves, and knows that he is loved.

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 Identity does not come from ministry, ministry flows out of identity.

DOING FLOWS OUT OF BEING. SON IS WHO I AM SERVE IS WHAT I DO.

JC

 

 

JC

~ 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

 

~ Free from a Sin Consciousness ~

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          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

 

The Significance of SAYING

          Are you a good communicator? Careful, tactful and wise with your words? Or are you one of the many people that need to carry around a roll of Duct Tape to keep you from sinning with your mouth and saying things you regret? 

          Oh, I am not pointing fingers at anyone, I have been known to need some of that miracle-working, silver sticky stuff myself.

          If you truly are a servant of Christ, you immediately feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit when you say something that hurts people or tears them down. If you go for long periods of time and don’t experience those little pricks of conviction and correction in your heart, I would suggest to you that you are not even trying.

          We all have room to grow in this department; I don’t care how mature we are. One of the most important things we can learned is to trust our heart. Our heart (spirit man) has a direct line to God’s heart and mind, and the source of all wisdom and knowledge. If we take a moment to check up on the inside before we speak, we would see an immediate change in the quality of our communication, as well as the quality of our relationships. This is a principle that Proverbs makes very clear.

Proverbs 15:28 ~ The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.

In others words, give your heart a little time to tell your mouth what to say. 🙂


          Our words carry enormous weight, and can carry severe consequences. More than we sometimes think. They have the ability to impact people for a very long time, shaping and molding who they are and influencing the direction and path that they take. The bible says that faith comes by hearing, (Romans 10:17) So we should ask ourselves; “what are my words making people believe about themselves, and how are my words shaping my own beliefs?

          Words can build courage and strength or they can discourage and weaken. They can minister grace and life, or pain and death. They can build and edify, or they can tear down and destroy. They not only communicate, they also create. 

Luke 6:45 – A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

          What treasure have you been storing away in your heart? Did you even know that you had a store? Whether you know it or not, your heart is being filled with something. The things that you give attention to, look at, and hear fills your heart, and whatever you are full of comes out when you speak. A minister once told me, ” When you get squeezed with problems, what’s inside you WILL come out.” It is so true. So, when a Christian gets squeezed Christ should come out.

          God’s Word is the obvious choice if we are to store treasure in our heart. His Words are spirit and life, they are health and medicine, they are full of grace and they are truth. When you are full of God’s Word your communications carry a part of HIM with it. Your speech becomes a tool that God can use to build you up and impart grace to others.

Ephesians 4:29 ~ Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

The best definition of grace is:

“The divine influence on the heart, and its reflection in the life.”

          There are few things more rewarding than to know that you have been used by God to influence another person for HIM. To impart His grace and leave that person better off than before you spoke to them. Man! It just doesn’t get any better!

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“Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). Every day, we are shaping reality for ourselves, and others who hear our words. The choice is ours. How will our words impact others? How will your words impact YOU and your family? Are you determined to make progress in this area? Do you see the need?

I have a little saying that I try to live by. As my wife will attest, I don’t always do it, but I’m still growing, PRAISE GOD! The saying is this:

“Before you speak, make sure it is an improvement on silence.”

          Just doing that one little thing will keep you from all kinds of grief.

          The Word of God is full of commands to keep His word before our eyes and in our mouth. It’s clear that words must be treated as a stewardship. I will leave you with two of my favorite scriptures on the importance of stewarding words. Be blessed!

Joshua 1:8 ~ This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Proverbs 4:20-22 – My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; 22 For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.