Thursday, July 28, 2016

Fearing God and Not Man

Matthew 14:5 - "Although Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded John as a prophet."

Our flesh, that old man that often refuses to die within us, is like Herod of old. The sin nature's character is one of self-serving and fear of everything else besides God. However, like the old saying "when push comes to shove," the flesh will always struggle to survive when faced with submitting to God or dying to its selfish will. In similar manner, Herod sought to save face when he murdered John the Baptist. His fear of the crowd eventually won out over his minimal fear of God.

The Holy Spirit, or the prophetic voice of God within, will never bow to the will of our flesh. That is why the old self must die within the life of every believer. Shall we be as Herod this day and behead the Son of God within, disallowing Him to reign? Or, shall we humble ourselves and fear God rather than the crowd of this world? Our choice will determine our destiny this day, the day after, and for all eternity.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Embracing Our Destiny

Genesis 35:18 - "It came about as her soul was departing (for she died), that she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin."

It is significant that directly after Jacob's name is once again confirmed as Israel (Striven with God) from Jacob (Deceiver), Rachel then dies. She was the love of his heart and the desire of his eyes.  Interestingly, Rachel named her son Ben-oni, which means "son of my sorrow." Yet, his father named him Benjamin, "son of the right hand."

Often, when God does a paradigm shift in our lives, it is to redefine our legacy. Then, it is our responsibility to not allow the death of the old life to distract us from our new destiny. We must not look with sorrow at what God could have done, or should have done through us before our sanctification. Instead, we must rename our outcomes in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, taking hold of all in which He has called us to be. Change, beloved, is difficult and especially if we have grown fond of our old ways. However, God desires to rename the "Benjamins" in our lives and make these outcomes prodigies of the strength of His right hand.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Siding With Jesus

Matthew 12:30 - "He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters."

Jesus' "either or" statement is in context with His explanation regarding the unpardonable sin. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is simply rejecting God's great salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. It is the only sin that becomes unforgivable and only applicable upon death. Those who reject Jesus throughout their lives are a foe of God. If we are not entering the kingdom as a son or daughter of His, then we are accessories to the crime of rebellion against God.

Every religion in the world other than Christianity is Hindu or Eastern in its tenants. They all seek to work their way up to God, rather than God through Jesus Christ working His way down to us through the cross. The former, according to this and other scriptures, are enemies of God that scatter rather than gather into the kingdom. It is important to understand that our works mean nothing to God outside of a loving heart that is devoted to Him. If we are moved to do for God out of religion, then we have missed the whole point of relationship.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Aromatic Ministry

II Chronicles 29:11 - "My sons, do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before Him, to minister to Him, and to be His ministers and burn incense.”

There comes a time in every believer's life when he or she is faced with going on in God. The truth is that we are either moving toward Him or away. However, when we come to that place where we stand – no matter what – then we begin to experience the life that abides in Christ. No longer are we negligent about the word of God in our lives, but we have denied ourselves and have moved into a place of seeking His face and not merely His hand. When we come to a place of desiring to be a child of God rather than what we can get out of God, then we have begun to learn the true place of ministry.

The outward demonstration of this spiritual paradigm shift is whether we have begun to "burn incense" to the Lord. Is our life a sweet fragrance to others, an aroma of the Lord? We cannot burn for the Lord if we have not first allowed Him to burn up our old life and the things that would compromise our relationship with Him. May we all become the fragrance of Christ that burn brightly for Jesus.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

How Clean Are Our Hands?

Job 22:30 - “He will deliver one who is not innocent, and he will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”

What a tremendous responsibility we have to those who are too weak and unknowing to rescue themselves from sin! God has commissioned all who say they know the Lord Jesus Christ to be the expression of Himself upon this earth. Even as He is the Savior of this world, he has called us as His ambassadors to reflect His salvation. Jesus desires that we represent Him in such a way as to attract others to His salvation. This will only work if we are living a life of love with the Savior.

None of us are innocent. However, Jesus Christ has made a way for us all to be righteous through His blood and accepting His great gift. We must allow the Holy Spirit to live through us in such a way as to make others yearn for that place of innocence once again. Paradise lost will once again be Paradise regained through Christ's righteousness. While Adam's innocence can never be regained in this lifetime, we can help bring others to redemption through Christ's justification.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Lack of Restraint

II Chronicles 28:19 - "For the Lord humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had brought about a lack of restraint in Judah and was very unfaithful to the Lord."

A "lack of restraint" is the same thing as empowering those around us to sin. We can either humble ourselves through the fear of the Lord, or God will allow our enemies to rise up all around us and defeat us at every turn. In so doing, we license those who look up to us to become accessories to the crime of rebellion against the Lord. They likewise will be dragged down by our infidelity.

What is our heritage as leaders in our church, youth groups, bible studies, families, work, etc? What are we modeling for others to follow? If we are not restrained by the love of God, we will be unrestrained to lie, cheat, gossip, engage in promiscuity, or any other sin of the flesh. While some may not see our outward behavior, a spiritual dynamic works unseen to the physical eye, empowering these strongholds in our lives and those of others.

May our lives reflect the fear of the Lord, for this will build a mighty fortress for both ourselves and those with whom we lead.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Righteous Compassion

Matthew 9:13 - "But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Has the Lord ever told us to "go and learn?" While this may sound harsh, it is God's remedy for those with a stubborn heart. Religiosity can often make us legalistic and unbending. Yet, Jesus tells this sort to head back to spiritual kindergarten and learn the basics of His message – compassion and mercy that are powered by love.

Do we feel like we have given up much for God and that others should do the same? Possibly our sacrifice is not the same as the next fellow's. Perhaps God has for them a different cross to bear that looks nothing like ours. Our position is to be positionless regarding their position and their walk with God. We should not judge a man unless we are also willing to grant them mercy in our judgment. Our appraisals should always be based in righteous, humble thinking (John 7:24). This is our safeguard against haughtiness, beloved.