Strength in Weakness

The Butterfly

I am fragile. I am slow. I float from flower to flower. The currents carry me along and the sun heats my wings so I can fly. I follow the fragrances that capture my senses. My beauty lies in the strength of my Creator who gives me life.

Strength in weakness? How can I be strong in weakness? That’s nonsense. 

Weakness can be defined as flawed, lacking, inadequate.

With people we tend to hide our weaknesses and display our strengths, don’t we? However, counterintuitively, acknowledging and accepting our weaknesses (Ps. 51:6) allows God to meet us there in His power.

Why do we hide our weaknesses?

butterflyHow does that benefit us?

Does it feel like a form of protection from people?

Unlike them, God sees every weakness we have ever concealed and loves each one. Why? Because weaknesses are a part of what makes us who we are. They are part of our lives. They are part of our stories. They are a part of our hearts. And He is all about the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).

Did you ever imagine that you could be walking more in agreement with God if you acknowledged and surrendered your weaknesses to Him? If you do, your relationship with Him will definitely feel closer and more trusting.

As unpopular as it may be, helping someone to become stronger in self is in direct contradiction to the Word of God. Faith teaches us that we are to come to a place where we acknowledge and embrace our inability to live out God’s directives (Rom. 7). Weakness is intended to drive us to the point where we learn to live out of God’s strength, not our own.

At Pentecost, God sent the Holy Spirit to empower the disciples (Acts 1:8). This is still our directive today to receive that power and live in it. The problem is that we can’t…when flesh stubbornly sits in the way.

What does weakness mean to you? What is the Holy Spirit’s role in your life?

Are you too strong or too weak? There are two ends to the bell curve of fallen flesh, the codependent/independent and the codependent/dependent.

The codependent/independent sees himself as extremely capable and strong, and relies only on himself. He says, “Hello! Ask me anything. I have all the answers.” He needs no one.

The codependent/dependent sees himself as weak and incapable, and relies only on others to get through life. He says, “I can’t do it.” Like an infant, he lives continually in learned helplessness.

Neither of these types does any good for the kingdom of God. Relying only on oneself is just as imbalanced a life as one relying only on others. What each of these codependents needs is to move closer to the center of the bell curve where he will find interdependence; that is, relying on himself some of the time and relying on others some of the time.

Interdependence is illustrated beautifully within God’s intended design in the body of Christ as the members each use their gifts in turn helping one another and filling in the gaps all around. We are interdependent one on another as a whole.

Codependent/dependents often have an easier time learning to rely on God than the codependent/independents because they know well that they are weak. Contrarily, codependent/independents often live barricaded from weakness until God extends His merciful hand leading them to a place of brokenness.

So God says the way up is down. His economy operates in contrast to the world system.

What are we to do with His seemingly oxymoronic ways?

  • The religious, boasting, murdering zealot, Paul, experienced brokenness on the Damascus road.
  • At Peniel Jacob was broken.
  • God first spoke to Moses as he walked in brokenness at his lowest point in the desert after losing his power and kingly lifestyle.
  • Peter fell broken when they took Christ prisoner.
  • David encountered brokenness after his sin entanglement with Bathsheba and Uriah.
  • God exalted Joseph only after he was broken.

These faith heroes, and many others, were used mightily by God. But only after they experienced brokenness.can't

Is it time for you to give up “trying to live the Christian life?”

When we reach an out-of-control place in our lives, God desires for us to give up on living the Christian life and trying to fix ourselves. That “giving up” is called brokenness.

Brokenness means reduced to fragments; fragmented; ruptured; torn; fractured; not functioning properly; out of working order; changing direction abruptly; fragmentary or incomplete; infringed or violated.

Brokenness is a requisite for being used in God’s kingdom. Why? Because God has no interest in the flesh.

Have you experienced brokenness? If you have, believe it or not, that’s good news. You might be on your way down the Damascus Road of spiritual transformation. In brokenness, our human strength is left behind for a new and supernatural strength, the strength of God Himself. Spirit strength is born through broken flesh.
 ♥
Can you say from your heart, “I am weak and inadequate, and I am still loved by God”?
Through accepting our inadequacy and brokenness, God’s strength manifests in us.

Do not fear the valley of brokenness. The LORD will carry you through it. And out of the valley you will emerge with a supernatural spirit to overcome.

butterfly 2

Brokenness is the spiritual crucifixion of the flesh.

Brokenness opens the cage door to flying on wings as eagles.

Brokenness is a fractured pot with God’s light beaming brightly through the cracks.

Brokenness is a fragile butterfly resting in the strength of the breeze.

Brokenness is exchanging your very life and desires for Christ’s.

Brokenness brings freedom.

Brokenness is Godliness.

Brokenness brings strength in weakness.

LORD,

Please help me to trust you enough to bring as a living sacrifice all of my weaknesses so that you may work mightily through them bringing glory to yourself and to Your kingdom.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.


 

1 Samuel 16:7 the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 

1 Corinthians 1:27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;

James 4:10 Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose].

John 19:30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and [voluntarily] gave up His spirit.

Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard this, He said to them, “Those who are healthy have no need of a physician, but [only] those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners [who recognize their sin and humbly seek forgiveness].”

Zechariah 4:6 Then he said to me, “This [continuous supply of oil] is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel [prince of Judah], saying, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit [of whom the oil is a symbol],’ says the Lord of hosts.

Psalm 103:14 For He knows our [mortal] frame; He remembers that we are [merely] dust.

Romans 7:24-25a Wretched and miserable man that I am! Who will [rescue me and] set me free from this body of death [this corrupt, mortal existence]? 25 Thanks be to God [for my deliverance] through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Matthew 5:3-4 “Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit[those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].

“Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn [over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted].

John 6:63a It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing

Psalm 51:6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me; but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for[My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me. 10 So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].

Philippians 2:13 For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.

Isaiah 53:10 Yet the Lord was willing To crush Him, causing Him to suffer;

James 4:6 But He gives us more and more grace [through the power of the Holy Spirit to defy sin and live an obedient life that reflects both our faith and our gratitude for our salvation]. Therefore, it says, “God is opposed to the proud and haughty, but[continually] gives [the gift of] grace to the humble [who turn away from self-righteousness].”

Ephesians 3:16 May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality],

John 12:24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

Isaiah 53 Who has believed [confidently trusted in, relied on, and adhered to] our message [of salvation]?

And to whom [if not us] has the arm and infinite power of the Lord been revealed?

For He [the Servant of God] grew up before Him like a tender shoot (plant),
And like a root out of dry ground;
He has no stately form or majestic splendor
That we would look at Him,
Nor [handsome] appearance that we would [a]be attracted to Him.

He was despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and pain and acquainted with grief;
And like One from whom men hide their faces
He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or esteem Him.


But [in fact] He has borne our griefs,
And He has carried our sorrows and pains;
Yet we [ignorantly] assumed that He was stricken,
Struck down by God and degraded and humiliated [by Him].

But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our wickedness [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing];
The punishment [required] for our well-being fell on Him,
And by His stripes (wounds) we are healed.

All of us like sheep have gone astray,
We have turned, each one, to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the wickedness of us all [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing]
To fall on Him [instead of us].


He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth [to complain or defend Himself];
Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before her shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.

After oppression and judgment He was taken away;
And as for His generation [His contemporaries], who [among them] concerned himself with the fact
That He was cut off from the land of the living [by His death]
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke [of death] was due?

His grave was assigned with the wicked,
But He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

10 
Yet the Lord was willing
To crush Him, causing Him to suffer;
If He would give Himself as a guilt offering [an atonement for sin],
He shall see His [spiritual] offspring,
He shall prolong His days,
And the will (good pleasure) of the Lord shall succeed and prosper in His hand.
11 
As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He shall see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge [of what He has accomplished] the Righteous One,
My Servant, shall justify the many [making them righteous—upright before God, in right standing with Him],
For He shall bear [the responsibility for] their sins.
12 
Therefore, I will divide and give Him a portion with the great [kings and rulers],
And He shall divide the spoils with the mighty,
Because He [willingly] poured out His life to death,
And was counted among the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore and took away the sin of many,
And interceded [with the Father] for the transgressors.

Excerpts taken from Ending the War with Myself, Loving Myself as God Does by Micky Land (Amazon).

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His Wonders

His Wonders, a chapter from My Journey Through the Cross p. 272-276:

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Have you ever experienced such darkness and despair that you pleaded with the LORD to take you home?? I have. And guess what? I’m still here.

Instead of an express ticket to glory, He gave me a mind-blowing show of wonders (Ps. 81:7) and thereafter, His daily presence (John 6:69).

He answered my desperate cry with unforgettable supernatural grace and generosity. We both knew only that would suffice for my stay here (Matt. 6:8).

Ours is the God of Wonders!

God gives us what we need (Phil. 3:10) when we believe that He exists and rewards our seeking Him (Heb. 11:6), especially with the whole heart (Jer. 29:13).

The wider your receptor, the more of Him you can receive (Ps. 81:10).

Sometimes believers make the mistake of limiting the way they hear from the LORD (Matt. 13:16).

“Only from the Scriptures,” they say sternly. Indeed, the Scriptures are an excellent way to hear from the LORD. But did we forget that ALL THINGS were created by Him, and ALL THINGS are held together by Him (Col. 1:16-17)?

Meditate on that, and allow your lens to widen.

Because our God is supernatural by nature, it seems silly (to me, anyway) to limit Him strictly to natural answers to prayer.

Do you have a need? Are you limiting the way God will speak to you?

He is the same today, yesterday and forever (Js. 1:17, Heb. 13:8).

“Open up” to His wonders (Dan. 4:3). Cast your unbelief behind you (Matt.16:23).

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He is real. His wonders are real (Eph. 3:19).

If you have eyes to see (Matt. 13:16) and a childlike heart to believe (Matt. 18:3), you can experience Him just like I did, and still do. In times of blind despair or crippling desperation, when the wonders of creation aren’t enough, He just might surprise you (Jer. 31:34).

Hallelujah to the God of wonders!

 

Psalm 81:7 In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud

Psalm 71:17 O God, You have taught me from my youth, And I still declare Your wondrous deeds.

Psalm 72:18 Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who alone works wonders.

Daniel 4:3 How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.

Mark 13:26 At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.

Psalm 104:3 He makes the clouds his chariot

Daniel 7:13 In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son
of man, coming with the clouds of heaven

Revelation 1:7 Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see … Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven.

Psalm 96:3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

Psalm 40:5 Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.

Joshua 3:5 Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”

Psalm 118:23 This is the LORD’S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.

Colossians 1:16-17 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Psalm 81:10 I am the Lord your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it. 

Matthew 6:8b for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

Philippians 3:10 Amp. And this, so that I may know Him [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection

Ephesians 3:19 Amp. and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].

John 6:69 Amp. We have believed and confidently trusted, and [even more] we have come to know [by personal observation and experience] that You are the Holy One of God [the Christ, the Son of the living God].”

Matthew 16:23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Matthew 13:16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.

Matthew 18:3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Jeremiah 31:34 Amp. for they will all know Me [through personal experience],

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Truth Wins

Have you noticed the politically correct slogan, “Love wins”…?

Oops. Supporters of that half truth forgot to do their homework. The expression is only partially true due to misapplication.

What is love?

Love is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29, John 15:13). Love accomplished His appointed work the moment He took His last breath (John 19:30).

Love won. Past tense.

Looking back at Calvary, we see that Love already won (John 15:13, 1 John 4:8) in and through the crucifixion. It is finished (John 19:30).

All that’s left to win now… is Truth (John 14:6, Matt. 5:18). Scripture tells us that in the end, truth wins!

Matthew 5:18 states, “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”

God had the first word and, no doubt, will have the last.

Instead of a half-baked slogan, the Biblical version declares,

“Truth wins (Matt. 5:18).”

 

truth-008John 19:30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

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

John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

1 John 4:8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:16b And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Matthew 5:18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

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The Power of Thought

Proverbs 23:7 says, As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

Our thoughts are important. They define us. They direct us.

~As a child when I had blood drawn, I required lying down so that I wouldn’t faint.

“I need that blood. They are taking important blood that my body needs,” my little mind figured. “I will be weak without it until my body makes more.”

Little did I know that I fainted then simply because of my thoughts, not because of the blood loss. I fainted because I thought “fainting” thoughts.

As an adult, I no longer faint when having blood drawn because my thoughts have changed. I know that my body makes plenty of blood and can spare as many vials as the lab may need.

“They’re taking extra blood that my body doesn’t need,” I tell myself. Now, while having blood drawn, I think non-fainting thoughts so I don’t faint.

My focus and thoughts guide my actions. I think the way I want to go.

~My husband, Thom, races dirt bikes (motorcycles) in the woods for fun. He knows that his focus determines his direction. He knows that if he mistakenly focuses on the trees lining the trail, he will crash into one of them. Instead, he chooses to focus only on the trail ahead of him so that he will stay safely on it.

His focus and thoughts guide his actions. He thinks the way he wants to go.

We, as Christians, must focus on and think true thoughts. When we call ourselves sinners, we are not agreeing with God about who we are or what He has done for us. This is not only rude, it is ignorant, disgraceful and blasphemous to Him. Christ did not die to leave us sinners! He died so that we could be like Him in the new nature He has given us (2 Cor. 5:17).

When we decide to agree with God and call ourselves the new nature as He does, then we slowly begin to act like the new nature. Over time, the repetition of telling ourselves the truth will act as the tiny rudder that turns the whole ship around. During the process of learning who He has made us, we give ourselves grace, truth and time as first our identity, then our character gradually transforms.

So, what does this look like in real life? In my case, self talk sounds like this, “If I am the new nature which I am because God says so-  then what would the new nature do in this particular circumstance? She would walk in agreement with God because she is one spirit with Him.” Then I find out what His word reveals about the reality of the situation and my appointed path in it.

If the situation seems foreign or awkward to me, I prayerfully imagine myself repeatedly walking on the appointed path according to His Word to lay down the pathways in my brain for me to actually walk in it. Then I ask God for wisdom, courage, strength and peace to follow through on it.

If I struggle to follow the Lord, I ask Him to show me the blockage. If necessary, I get help from a friend, relative, therapist or whoever can help me break through.

And sometimes in my weakness I just pray, “Lord, I cannot do this! But I fully surrender to you and trust you, and ask that you lead me and do it through me.”

He always honors my weakness!

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Cor. 12:9).

The old nature faints. The new nature stays conscious.

The old nature crashes into trees. The new nature rides on the open path.

The old nature feeds on lies. The new nature feeds on truth.

Focus on Christ and the new nature He has made you.

Every Scripture points you to the Glorious Christ, and your glorious new nature in Him (John 5:39)!

Our thoughts are important. They define us. They direct us.

Think the way you want to go.

 

Proverbs 23:7  As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

John 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 12:19 My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

 

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Transformation Prayer Ministry (TPM)

Spirit beckons
Holy hosts
Hurting hearts
Come trust
Come exchange
One rope
One chain

Take dominion
Remember the knot
Feel the pain
Surrender your belief
Crucify the lie
Receive relief
Vanquish the pain

Truth heals
A new story
Heart healing
Freedom found
Lightness of Spirit
Lie by lie
Glory to glory

Via the power of the Holy Spirit Transformation Prayer Ministry (TPM), founded by Dr. Ed Smith, is shattering lies within the hearts of men and growing globally to over 150 countries at no cost to the recipients.

TPM operates out of the truth that “the only power (territory) the enemy has over you is the lies that you believe.” TPM replaces lies with truth. Truth is power.

Christ was into healing in His earthly ministry, and still is today. He gave us TPM to facilitate for His body rapid healing and empowering.

I call TPM “healing in the HOV lane.”

TPM is not something new or something Ed created. Rather it is simply a means by which we can intentionally cooperate with God in doing what He has done all along. It is the difference between knowing the truth with the logical mind and knowing it experientially with the heart. When the Lord supplies His healing perspective, it moves beyond the intellect and becomes experiential.

If you’re not familiar with TPM, educate yourself. We want to be into what Christ is into. Christ is very much into TPM.

Please contact me (ashleydwille@gmail.com) if you need healing.

Matthew 4:23
And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.

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Stewardship of Your Mind

How to successfully steward your mind? Let’s review the basics.

Firstly, God owns you inside and out, head to toe. He has gifted you with a powerful feature of the new nature: your mind. Your mind is holy just as the rest of you is holy, set apart for God’s purposes. God has given you -and only you- full stewardship over your mind. You have an instruction manual and maintenance guide for your mind in the Word of God.

Living inside you is everything you need for a godly life and mind (2 Pet.1:3). Believing (John 6:29) and seeking (Matt. 7:7) what is already there (2 Cor. 5:17) is all that is required for a lifetime of transformation (John 3:7, Luke 17:21).

Secondly, the LORD will show you what to allow in and what to discard. Unique to every individual, His ways are always consistent with His truth. He will teach you to guard your eyes and ears which are doorways to your soul, and lead you in meditations to heal and strengthen your mind. He will teach you how to take authority over your thoughts as His mind becomes yours, more often than not.

The mind is fluid and plastic, able to repair, change and transform to your liking. Linked with the heart, the mind is part and parcel of the soul. Ideally, your mind can be used as God designed it according to your unique temperament, gifts, skills and history.

Because all of our minds are damaged from the Fall and from growing up in dysfunctional families, healing of the mind is an integral part of stewardship. Believing lies comprises the majority of damage inflicted on our minds by the world system and our broken receptors. Extracting these lies heals our minds. Healing can be accomplished through various means, including Transformational Prayer Ministry (TPM), individual/group therapy, meditation, brain mapping and biofeedback, spending time in nature, and so on.

Again, your mind is a gift. It’s not a garbage can, which is what the world would have you believe. Lovingly protecting your mind and filling it with pure thoughts and meditations glorifies God. Just as important, reaching out for help with the dark places in your mind and soul glorifies God as well.

“Taking out the trash” issue by issue is “cleaning house” internally. Purifying our minds is a crucial factor in gaining spiritual maturity. Consider the condition of your physical house  if you never took out the trash or cleaned it-??

Finally, Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “As a man thinks, so is he.” Decide with the LORD how you want to be, then shape your mind in that exact way. What you think is who you are, and your reality. Your mind can be fully aligned with the LORD. It all depends how much time, attention and surrender you are willing to devote to it, which is determined by how critical a pursuit you believe it to be.

Think of your mind as a house that you can decorate, arranging furniture inside and even landscaping outside. Have fun with it! God will show you what your unique and precious mind was meant to be and do in His economy.

In the learning curve, grace stays in place. Always give yourself grace and truth, and in that order. Never condemnationJesus Christ = Grace + Truth (John 1:14). Grace is always first, unless dealing with a Pharisee. In that case, skip the grace, deliver truth.

If you’re interested in maximizing the use of your mind for your blessing and God’s glory, here are some tips. Start at #1 and proceed through to #7. Return to any of the steps as often as necessary and as you are led. Habits become practices.

1) SURRENDER your mind

Our minds are not our own. We have been bought in full with the precious blood of Christ.

Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

2) FILL your mind 

Inclusive in the process of filling of your mind is taking authority over your mind. Remember this: No one in the whole world has any authority over your mind -except you. This is so important. Believers don’t grasp the divine power of a renewed mind connected closely with the LORD (Matt. 11:28, Ps 23:1). This is what we were designed for and how we are meant to live.

mind-of-christ-picOne point we sometimes forget is that we HAVE BEEN GIVEN the MIND OF CHRIST at salvation. That’s the gift of God. Our stewardship involves believing it and maintaining  proper care of our minds. Stewardship of the mind is not meant to be a stressful process, only a learning process, just like the “mail in/mail out” boxes on an office desk or laptop.

Become aware that you already are the new nature, and that you were designed purposefully to live rejoicing in your salvation, meditating on, thanking and worshiping the LORD.

Ephesians 5:20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Philippians 2:5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Hebrews 12:3 Just consider and meditate on Him who endured from sinners such bitter hostility against Himself [consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Psalm 143:5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that You have done; I ponder the work of Your hands.

Psalm 63:6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate and thoughtfully focus on You in the night watches,

2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto God.

3) RENEW your mind

renewOur minds can fall back into the gutter if we’re not paying attention. Renewal is the only way to set the mind straight and keep it straight. Renew your mind as a way of life. Meditate to transform your mind. Apply James 5:16 as necessary.

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Philippians 4:5-7 The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.

Ezekiel 26:36 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.(Future reference to Christ’s death and resurrection -which is past tense; you have this now!)

Proverbs 23:7 For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

4) SET your mind

Setting your mind is like choosing a TV channel for your mind. The remote is in your hand. You always have the final say in what channel you select or frequency you receive to dwell on and operate out of. God’s perspective always trumps your own. You are in Him.

remoteColossians 3:1-2 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.

Isaiah 26:3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “[You say to Me,] ‘If You can?’ All things are possible for the one who believes and trusts [in Me]!”

Hebrews 10:35 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!

5) PROTECT your mind

protectAvoid exposure to points of entry for the enemy (Prov. 25:28). This is common sense. Have a simple plan of action to take when it occurs. Get help with your weaknesses so that the enemy doesn’t have an unfair advantage over you. He planted your childhood wounds and has definite plans for them.

Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 25:28 He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

Romans 1:28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

2 Corinthians 10: 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Ephesians 4:22-23 regarding your previous way of life, you put off your old self [completely discard your former nature], which is being corrupted through deceitful desires, 23 and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude],

Luke 21:34 But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.

Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

6) FILTER your mind.

We can’t always determine what enters our minds, but we can certainly determine what stays there. Humble yourself. Let that dark ball bounce on out. Replace it with truth. Reframing can help. Apply James 5:16 as regularly as necessary.filter

2 Corinthians 10: 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,

Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want

2 Peter 3:18 but grow [spiritually mature] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

7) REST your mind

Media continues screaming its relentless virtual reality. When television was first introduced, the public didn’t call it the “idiot box” for no reason. Media saturation numbs our minds and hearts to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

2 Chronicles 20:12b We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.

mind-of-christBeginning stewardship of the mind with a black and white mentality (Gen. 2:17, 2 Cor. 3:6) is common, but not helpful. In time, as you walk with Christ and grow in His grace and knowledge (2 Pet. 3:18), the struggle between black and white will naturally give way to the simplicity of grace and truth (John 1:14) in all things (Rom. 5:20).

A process detailed in My Journey Through the Cross, spiritual growth can resemble a child making the landmark move from riding a tricycle. The wobbling and toppling he initially experiences on the new two-wheeler slowly give way to smooth, balanced riding, which becomes second-nature, and quite enjoyable. This easing (Matt.11:30) evidences that you have graduated from dining on the tree of knowledge to feasting on the tree of Life (Gen. 2:9, 3:7, Rev.22:2), and hopefully are headed toward the Sabbath Rest (Heb. 4:9-11).
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.

2 Corinthians 3:6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

Roman 5:20 And the law came in besides, that the trespass might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly:

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

John 6:29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

James 5:16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 3:17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;

Revelation 22:2 also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:30  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

John 3:7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’

Luke 17:21 neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, There! for lo, the kingdom of God is within you.

Genesis 2:2 On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work.

Hebrews 4:9-11 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.

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NDEs

Near Death Experiences (NDEs) are commonplace these days. However, the Thomas’s in the faith remain full of doubt.

I know one leader in our church poo-poos them. Even John Piper struggles.

Why so skeptical?

~Do they not “see” what Scripture reveals?
~Do they lack discernment?
~Do they mistakenly attempt to put Almighty God in a human-sized box?
~Are they afraid of what they don’t understand in the spirit realm?
~Are they unaware of parallel universes?
~Do they dismiss all NDEs because some of them are deceptive?
~Are they so concrete, they walk more by sight than by faith (2 Cor. 5:7)?
~Are they so detail oriented that they miss the big picture (John 20:27)?

2 Corinthians 12:22 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know–God knows.

If you do your research, you will find that many NDEs are consistent with one another and with the multitude of verses describing heaven and hell.

With the Word of God and the spirit of discernment, we can see plainly that human experience often lines up with God’s truth. A recent sampling:

To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal

Imagine Heaven by Pastor John Burke

Face to Face with Jesus by Samaa Habib

Heaven is Beyond Your Wildest Dreams by Sid Roth

 Routine Surgery Opens Door to Heaven  Dean Braxton’s testimony about heaven when his body died for 1:45 minutes at cbn.com or charismanews.com.

Daily we witness the world spinning faster and faster into chaos as we approach the end of days. In His perfect timing, the LORD is showing off on a global level creatively bringing souls into His kingdom. Among many venues, He’s using NDEs to do so.

Although NDEs have occurred throughout history, in these days for His purposes the LORD is dialing the dark glass (1 Cor. 13:12) from opaque to slightly more translucent.  We see this in the dreams, visions and numerous testimonies (Luke 23:43, Joel 2:28) of the spirit realm and afterlife which are consistent with the Scriptures, notwithstanding those that are deceptive (2 Cor.11:14, 2 Thes.2:3, 1 Tim. 4:1) promoting Universalism and so on.

As such, with the Holy Spirit moving, more souls have come to Christ in the last decades than in the history of the world. Do we seriously need to review the milky fact that Satan never leads people to salvation in Christ alone? Come on.

The Scriptures relay many aspects of heaven, but less details. If NDE heaven testimonies reveal more than Scripture reveals, yet remain consistent with it, I am happy to consider discerningly each one of them.

Furthermore, John 21:25 tells us that, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” 

If “the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” about all that Jesus did while here, could the Bible possibly contain all there is to know about heaven? If the whole world would not have room for all the books written about Christ’s ministry, then all the universe could not contain all the books that would be written about heaven.

The many things that Jesus did here reflect, but surely can’t compare, to the awesome vastness of heaven’s glory. So, John 21:25 affirms for us that the Scriptures can’t and don’t reveal all we might consider about our true home.

Thus, vertical NDEs.

What a radical thought! –Let’s consider all of the Scriptural evidence that the LORD provides for us about heaven (Eph. 4:14).

 

John 20:27 “Then he [Jesus] said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.

On the topic of NDEs or any other for that matter, Thomas’s in the faith will always be with us (John 3:13). So let’s continue to walk by faith speaking the truth in love to them, just as Jesus did.
What Happens When We Die

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

2 Corinthians 12:22 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know–God knows.

Joel 2:28 And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.

Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

John 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

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

John 3:12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?

2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way

1 Timothy 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

Ephesians 4:14 We are not meant to remain as children but to grow up in every way into Christ.

Ephesians 4:15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

Acts 7:56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

2 Corinthians 12:3-4 And I know that such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, [only] God knows— 4 was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words which man is not permitted to speak [words too sacred to tell].

Luke 16:19-31  “Now there was a certain rich man who was habitually dressed in expensive purple and fine linen, and celebrated and lived joyously in splendor every day. 20 And a poor man named Lazarus, was laid at his gate, covered with sores. 21 He [eagerly] longed to eat the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. 22 Now it happened that the poor man died and his spirit was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s [e]bosom (paradise); and the rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades (the realm of the dead), being in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom (paradise). 24 And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in severe agony in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things [all the comforts and delights], and Lazarus likewise bad things [all the discomforts and distresses]; but now he is comforted here [in paradise], while you are in severe agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you [people] a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to come over from here to you will not be able, and none may cross over from there to us.’ 27 So the rich man said, ‘Then, father [Abraham], I beg you to send Lazarus to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—in order that he may solemnly warn them and witness to them, so that they too will not come to this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have [the Scriptures given by] Moses and the [writings of the] Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30 He replied, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent [they will change their old way of thinking and seek God and His righteousness].’ 31 And he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to [the messages of] Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”

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Nullifying Grace

The enemy delights in nullification of the perfect and final work of Christ (Heb. 8:13, 10:10, 2 Cor. 3:6). All day long… he tempts us to add to or take from grace.

Adding to grace nullifies grace.

The enemy knows that adding to Christ’s finished work nullifies grace. If we add to grace, we fall from grace (Gal. 5:4). If we add to grace, the enemy laughs watching us puff ourselves up only to fall and be humbled.

Jesus Plus…are you falling for it?

Jesus plus circumcision

Jesus plus baptism as an infant

Jesus plus immersion as an adult

Jesus plus belonging to a particular denomination

Jesus plus worshipping on Saturday

Jesus plus being on duty as a servant at all times

Jesus plus daily Bible study and prayer

Jesus plus confessing your sins

Jesus plus regularly witnessing

Jesus plus tithing

Jesus plus not wearing pants, make up or jewelry

Jesus plus not drinking, smoking or dancing

Jesus plus centuries of traditions of man

Jesus plus a certain level of obedience

Jesus plus going to church every Sunday

Jesus plus taking communion

Jesus plus “renewing” the covenant…

Taking from grace nullifies grace. 

The enemy knows that removing grace by replacing it with condemnation (Rom.8:1) nullifies grace, and incapacitates us. That’s why he uses it, and God doesn’t. Condemnation is the enemy’s sharpest tool of manipulation. If we receive his condemnation, he chuckles watching us try to “fix” things between us and God. As if we could. And, as if God hasn’t already. (Spiritual tip: He did because we can’t. 2 Cor. 5:21)

Well acquainted with the vulnerability of our flesh, the angel of light hovers in the background of our minds. His whip stirs harshness, guilt and condemnation within.

Viewing God through this lens, the flesh then strains for a gold star marching to the beat of workaholism. Meanwhile, flesh naturally obeys the voice of condemnation, believing straight away it must now compensate with some kind of penance because the Sacrifice is

Insufficient.

Trapped within the enemy’s game of cat and mouse, we live blinded to God’s tsunami of grace, nullifying the triumphant victory we praise Him for. 

Galatians 2:21 says, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” Nullify in the Greek is athetō, meaning “to do away with what has been laid down.” Grace has been laid down for us to walk in moment by moment. We must never do away with it by adding to or taking away from it.

If we nullify grace by seeking righteousness through our own actions, then we must ask ourselves if our lives show clearly that Christ died for a purpose (Gal. 2:21). 

Receiving Grace If We Sin

Just as adding to grace nullifies it, receiving condemnation nullifies grace. If we sin (1 John 2:1), we are not condemned (Rom. 8:1), but commanded (Js. 5:16) to confess our sins to one another and pray for one another so that we may be healed. If we sin, God’s plan for us is not condemnation, but healing. (Think about it…was Christ into healing?)

If we sin, God is not angry with us. This is counterintuitive. That’s why He gave us His Word to straighten our broken intuition from the Fall. His unconditional, unilateral covenant cannot be broken by those who believe. If we slip up and sin, we are not breaking the covenant if we still believe Him. Believing Him is the only condition on which the covenant is unconditional. Believe means to trust in, to rely on, to adhere to.

That teaching, “our sin breaks fellowship with God,” is nonsense and unbiblical (1 John 2:1). Christ paid for all sin forever so that He could have a relationship with each of us. Period. The truth is that NOTHING can separate us from the love of Christ (Rom 8:38-39), not even sin. That’s why the cross was a perfect and eternal victory!

Think about it… Christ BECAME sin (2 Cor. 5:21). Hello. He’s obviously well acquainted with sin and can certainly help us escape and heal from it. He’s our friend now at all times (Heb. 4:15-16). Christ very much wants to heal all of our personhood, including the sins and wounds in our hearts (Ez.36:26) that cause us to hurt ourselves, others, and dishonor Him.

Think about it…God KNOWS Christ took all the punishment for all sin for all men for all time -that’s past, present and future. Christ said Himself that the sin issue is finished (John 19:30). He will not even deal with sin when He returns (Heb. 9:28b).

Anger? No. Mercy? Yes. God wants to help us (Heb. 4:16) if we sin… to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18) so we can live in freedom (Gal. 5:1) as the new nature (2 Cor.5:17) He has made us. Freedom is why He came.

If we sin, are we in need? Yes! So, along with James 5:16 we can also apply a need verse:

Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of NEED. There you have it. The secret to victory is receiving mercy and grace from God, not performing for Him (Is. 64:4b) or boasting in ourselves (1 Cor. 4:7).

(1 John 1:9 is not a command, but a conditional salvation verse. See 1 John 1:9 Info and  Confessing Sin)

In conclusion, for us humans, God’s grace is just counterintuitive. There is a day and night difference between wanting to walk humbly in agreement and intimacy with God (Amos 3:3), and believing pridefully that we must perform certain activities or receive condemnation. The more we believe we “must do” for God to measure up to His heights, the more we reveal identification with the enemy (Is. 14:13). Our striving to measure up simply flies in the face of grace.

We can talk truthfully about the self-focused generation of today all day long, but we unknowingly join in the parade of selfishness when we make our salvation about ourselves, even a little. In our arrogance we might assume we’re helping God save us (as if He needs our help), but the truth is that we are stealing God’s glory by nullifying His grace (Eph. 2:8).

His grace is His glory (John 1:14; Eph. 1:6, 2:8; 2 Cor. 4:15)!

If we could only see the reality of all Christ has done for us, we would rejoice in high spirits continually with deepest thanksgiving and wondrous relief! The dark thoughts of adding to  or taking from grace would never even enter our minds. We would see clearly that His abundant flow grace is MORE than enough for absolutely everything (2 Cor. 12:9).

He gives grace. We receive grace. God’s New Covenant of grace is unconditional, unilateral and cannot be broken by those who believe. That’s why it is a perfect and eternal covenant. That’s the glory of grace.

Humans are not the performers, repairers or sustainers of God’s unconditional, unilateral covenant. It’s just not possible. Bowing to humbly receive His grace 24/7/365 positions us properly as the recipient of the New Covenant of God’s grace (Heb. 12:2a).

All day long… let’s bow and receive.

“Let me feel that love come over me
  Let me feel how strong it could be”  

(Steve Winwood, Higher Love)

Reflective prayer:

-LORD, show me why and how I am trying to add to Your perfect, finished work.
-Show me why and how I am taking from grace by allowing condemnation in my life.
-Please open my eyes to see ALL You have done FOR me in your death and resurrection.
-Reveal anywhere my calloused hands have attempted to manipulate the Gospel nullifying Your grace (Gal. 2:21).
-Expose my fear and pride (1 Cor. 4:5). They are not who I am (2 Cor. 5:17).
-Empower me to throw these behind me (Matt. 16:23).
-Extract forever every claim the enemy has on me (John 14:30).
-Please humble me and teach me to walk whole-heartedly in step with you as the new nature you have already made me (Col. 3:10).

Hebrews 8:13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

Hebrews 10:10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

2 Corinthians 3:6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Galatians 5:4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Isaiah 64:4b  all our righteous acts are like filthy rags

1 Corinthians 4:7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 19:30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

 Hebrews 9:28b and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Ezekiel 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Isaiah 14:13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

2 Corinthians 4:15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 4:5 For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Matthew 16:23 Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.

John 14:30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me,

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Hebrews 12:2a fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Galatians 2:21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him

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Renew the Covenant?

The idea of renewing the covenant is blasphemy. Let me explain.

The New Covenant is Almighty God’s covenant. It is not ours.

The New Covenant is an unconditional or unilateral covenant. That means we have no part in it. This is in contrast to the conditional or bilateral covenant where both parties have duties to fulfill. (See link below.)

As fallen humans, we could not make a covenant with God if we tried. (In fact, the only one we could make successfully is, a covenant of failure.) We seem to have trouble accepting the fact that we have absolutely no bargaining power at all with God. Zero.

Our only choice is whether we choose to believe His covenant. That’s it.

God initiates, performs and fulfills the New Covenant (1 Thess. 5:24). We simply believe (John 6:29), confess (Rom. 10:9) Him and walk by faith (Heb. 11:6).

I fail to understand the idea of covenant renewal because nowhere in Scripture are we instructed to renew the covenant. It is impossible for us to do since we did not, and could not, make the covenant.

Furthermore, the idea of renewing the perfect and eternal covenant of Jesus Christ is blasphemy. Why? Because in its very nature, a perfect covenant is never renewed or repeated. That would put Christ to shame (Heb. 6:6, Gal. 6:7).

The New Covenant is final (Heb. 13:20). It is finished (John 19:30). That’s exactly how it is perfect and eternal, and cannot be broken by those who believe.

We are never instructed to renew the covenant. However, Scripture instructs us repeatedly to renew our unbelieving minds (Eph. 4:23, Rom. 12:2) so that we can live by faith (Heb. 11:6) believing God, who made the covenant.

And right in line with that, in the communion sacrament, Christ instructs us to, “Remember Me (Luke 22:19).”

That’s the whole point, isn’t it?

In summary, renewing our minds and remembering the unbelievable victory of Christ for us in the New Covenant are both good and acceptable and pleasing to God.

The silly, and blasphemous, idea of renewing the covenant must die.

1 Thessalonians 5:24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

John 6:29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.

Hebrews 6:6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

Hebrews 13:20 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,

John 19:30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Ephesians 4:23 be made new in the attitude of your minds;

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God,

Luke 22:19 He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.”

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Do Not Nullify Grace

Do not nullify the grace of God. 

In Galatians 2:21, Paul states, “I do not ignore or nullify the [gracious gift of the] grace of God [His amazing, unmerited favor], for if righteousness comes through [observing] the Law, then Christ died needlessly. [His suffering and death would have had no purpose whatsoever.]”

How do we nullify or ignore the grace of God?

By condemning, accusing, and berating ourselves. And others.

This energy blocks God’s ongoing tsunami of grace to us.

Search high and low. There is no condemnation (Rom. 8:1-2). It’s just not there.

Learn to walk in agreement with God (Amos 3:3).

He has affirming and encouraging thoughts toward us.

He has made us like Him in our new nature in Christ.

Let God work in you through your circumstance.

Listen to yourself. No condemnation. Ever.

Take a new path.

Agree with Him giving yourself grace.

Breathe. Cry. Receive it.

Allow Him to complete what He started in you.

It’s not your job to do the work.

It’s your job to listen and follow, and agree.

That includes receiving His grace continually.

The work and the results are up to Him.

 

Meditate on these truths about your adoption into Christ.

 

Galatians 2:21 I do not ignore or nullify the [gracious gift of the] grace of God [His amazing, unmerited favor], for if righteousness comes through [observing] the Law, then Christ died needlessly. [His suffering and death would have had no purpose whatsoever.]”

Amos 3:3 Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Romans 8:15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”

James 1:2-4 Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. 3 Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.

Romans 8:1-2 Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior]. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

Hebrews 12:1-2a Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, 2 [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity],

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RE: Union

Midline cracks
Rupture
The ancient barrier
Between us
Chunks and pieces tumble
Stirring clouds of dust and debris
Clouding my vision

The barrier arose
Stone by stone
With rain and strain
Reinforced
With pain and disdain

As billows settle
A lost dream
I recognize
That handsome figure
Holding
Chiseled features
Sable tresses
Tender eyes
Brawny chest
Divine handiwork

He steps to lay
With strong hand
On the crumbling rubble
His forgotten covenant
Of charity
To his bride

A foundational fracture
Ruptures
My unsentimental heart
I remember my vow
Before high festivities
Of Ritz and Rolls
A veil floating behind
New gold
On intertwined fingers

Then unaware
The rocky vertical path
Ahead
Traversed apart
Hands long released

I step to lay
With delicate hand
Upon the ruins
My tattered covenant
Of love
To my groom

Initiating renovation
He covers my gold with his
Breaking ground

A new foundation
Accommodation
Restoration
Intimate relation
Acceleration
Contemplation
Of oneness

FullSizeRender-9

Psalm 126:3-5
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
4 Restore our fortunes, Lord,
like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.

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Unity

Unity once endured as a benign topic for true believers. Not anymore.

Here and on my YT channel, in “The Coming Division,” I addressed this issue.

In review, as you probably know by now, the Pope has called for one world unity under a one-world religion and one-world government. But there have been some significant developments with the teachings of some leaders that I feel the need the point out.

For reference, have you seen the bumper sticker, COEXIST?  That’s the vibe. Peace and Love —without Truth. You need to understand it. This world religion combines Islam, Buddhism, Science, Judaism, Taoism, the occult and Christianity. And it’s growing.

Remember that if you’re walking in the dark, you don’t know it (Prov. 4:19, John 11:10). But for those of us who live in the light, we see clearly, while the spirit of Christ living within us convulses at this Anti Christ movement.

Many popular “Christian” leaders are calling for world unity.

With that in mind, I want to warn you of the dangers and the idolatry of learning from any leader without your own close and personal relationship with the LORD, and regular,  Holy Spirit-inspired study of the Scriptures.

I want to warn you also of becoming emotionally attached to any leader or receiving from them blindly with the false assumption that they could never err or misinterpret through human understanding.

Be careful to place the cross of Christ between you and the leader and ask the LORD to reveal any error to you. Be open to His leading. With discernment, take the good and leave the bad. One more thing, be aware of staying with the same leader too long, which will limit you to growing only as far as they have grown.

…This may sound extreme, but have you noticed that we are living in extreme times?

The gift of discernment is a must-have at this time in history. Ask God for it, and use it (1 John 4:1).

The seductive game is called “match and lead.” They match your faith perfectly through years of teaching you and gaining your trust and admiration. Then they gradually lead you astray. The teaching tactics are perfectly consistent with the Gnostic teachings which plagued the early church. They use the same words as the genuine faith does: “body of Christ,” “unity,” “the heart of Christ,” and so on.

Rick Warren appears to be a head honcho in this deception with his millions of followers from the Purpose Driven Life. James Robison has also met with the Pope concerning the issue of religious unity. Beth Moore has appeared numerous times on his lifetodaytv. She has also visited repeatedly the Joyce Meyer Enjoying Every Day Life show, agreeing whole-heartedly with Meyer on the specific issue of “across the board” unity.

Moore shares her dreams of “God showing her” that Roman Catholicism is Christian. She also teaches (paraphrasing) that she doesn’t know what “it” will be, but that God is going to do something “really big” concerning unity in the “body of Christ.” When He does, she says, there will be many “scoffers” who will oppose this unity, and that the “true believers” must be ready for this and not let it rattle them.

Hmmm…

To me it sounds like she is preparing her followers to submit to world unity. IF that is the case, then she is is a wolf in sheep’s clothing cleverly deceiving many people.

These are only a few. Investigate and research others for yourself. Examine closely their actions and associations, not just their doctrinally correct public statements and longtime popular teachings.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits,” Christ said (Matt. 7:15-16).

If you believe you could never be deceived, remember that the very angels in heaven, and Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, were carefully deceived by the angel of light (Gen. 3:1, 2 Cor. 11:13).

The sheep hear the Shepherd’s voice and follow (John 10:27, Matt. 10:16). The Good Shepherd is leading His sheep in His will and purposes to enjoy eternity with Him in heaven. He is laughing at the Anti Christ global peace and unity agenda leading to destruction (Ps. 37:12-13).

See also, Satanists Posing as Christians YouTube post.

If you’re sleepy, wake up! If you’re off course, steer straight! If you’re distracted, focus! 

The LORD will show you the way because He is the Way, and lead you into all truth because He IS the Truth (John 14:6)! Press in!

 

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made.

Proverbs 4:19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.

John 11:10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.

John 14:6 I am the way, the truth and the light. No man comes to the Father except through Me.

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

Matthew 10:16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Psalm 37:12-13 The wicked plot against the righteous
and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he knows their day is coming.

Matthew 7:15-20 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

2 Corinthians 11:13 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

1 John 2:26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.

1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

1 John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Revelation 21:27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who practices idolatry or deceit, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

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