Monday, November 30, 2009

The Lord does not need me to “do”

The crux of religion is always “do”…it is a performance based relationship to God that always weighs a person down or as the word religion means “binds them”. The answer is simple, you can never do enough, never pray enough, never read the Bible enough, never tithe enough, never be at c

hurch enough etc. And even if you do fulfill a man-centered, self-imposed law all that springs up is a spiritual pride that smells just like a modern day Pharisee.

So what does God want? Simply You. He died for you, He lives to make intercession for you, His Spirit searches the deep things of you…He wants you! When the world looks upon someone on that “do” treadmill they must see our God as weak and feeble needing humans to do for Him and unfortunately many in the church give just that impression. They say that God is omniscient and omnipotent but have the mindset that God needs them to fulfill something. That is a lie from the pit.

God does not need us to do anything (Acts 17:25) , in fact in Him we live and breath and move (Acts 17:28) and without Him there would be less then nothing. The truth is that we get to partake in the divine life (2Pe 1:4) of Christ living in us (Col 1:27). So then with this in m

ind what does God want, what is eternal life…Union with Christ – a relationship.

Joh 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

As we spend time with Him and get to know Him and understand who we are in Him, this

born again (John 3:3) new creation (2Co 5:17) of God we begin to see the vastness of His love (Rom 8:39) and our identity in Him (Gal 2:20). As we trust in Him (Prov 18:24) by faith (Rom 14:23) our intimacy increases and thus our character becomes more like Christ (2Co 3:18). What a wonderful plan, what a wonderful Savior.

Yet what we have done is to live in unbelief and have desired to do things the world’s way instead of God’s way. We live in a world plagued by PBA (performance based acceptance) and have now brought that way of living right into the church. It falls right into line with the devil’s plan which is to steal, kill and destroy the life of Christ in us and falls right into line with our religious desires – to be accepted by God based on our performance. Even many who understand salvation is of grace and not works (Eph 2:8-9) still can find themselves back under this “law of doing good” instead of “living the life of Christ in us”. They want to do good (Rom 7:15) and willingly put themselves back on that law (Col 2:23) of performance based acceptance instead of living a life of walking after the Spirit. (Rom 7:6)

What kind of relationship would I have with my wife if all I did is to try and please her by my “doing” and lacked the personal intimacy that comes from just being with her? At first she may find it great and rewarding but over time she would just want me to sit and talk with her, to give her time to share her soul (thoughts, will and emotions) and for me to do the same…to be still (Psa 46:10). God promises that we will hear Him (Joh 10:16) and know Him (Joh 17:3) and be moved by Him (Psa 32:8) and He will cause us to walk in His ways (Eze 36:27). Too much of our activity is being done “for the Lord” instead of “with the Lord”, this in turn brings strife, aggravation, a sense of never being fulfilled instead of the promised rest (Mat 11:28) that is found in Him.

The Pharisees found themselves in this same predicament. They were the ultimate religious folks. They were much more obedient and pious then most people found in today’s church. They fasted 3 times a week, some not even swallowing their spit. They prayed 3-5 times a day, most prayers lasting at least 15 minutes. They were zealous for evangelism even having to expand the court of the proselytized in the temple. They were fundamental in their belief, pious in their acts and yet missed Jesus because of their desire to do to be accepted, instead of just resting in the finished work of Christ.

Many find themselves in this same situation that Jesus spoke about in John 5:39-40. We are so willing to “do” all kinds of things but being alone and speaking and waiting to be spoken to by God is alien. And yet without coming to Him, daily, you will not have life but a religious treadmill that will wear you and those you love out.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Working out your salvation

Php 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,Php 2:13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

This area of scripture has been used many times to manipulate people into doing all sorts of things. From walking up Mt Croagh Patrick on their knees in order to really show God they are serious to keeping a set of man-made rules and laws set up by those in religious authority. Either way it is spiritual abuse and many have felt the sting of it.

What is the work of God, if we are to “work out” our own salvation…as always the words of Jesus bring great clarity

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

In much of society, especially the West, we have come to define the word believe as just a mental ascent. And once you believe something it is not an ongoing basis yet that is not at all what the word for believe means. Let’s look at the definitions given for this important word (From Strongs Dictionary):


πιστεύω - pisteuō -pist-yoo'-o

From G4102; to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), that is, credit; by implication to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well being to Christ): - believe (-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.

It does not denote a once for all belief but more of putting trust in or having faith in…both are a moment by moment trust on the person of Jesus Christ thus the Gospel of God. Jesus even makes it more clear just another couple of verses down

Joh 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."

Look at what the will of the Father is…to have (not will have but present tense) eternal life and to live off of that life as the source for all that we do, think and say. In fact that lines up exactly with what God promised in the New Covenant, in Eze 36:26-27, that He (God) would give us a new heart (2Cor 5:17) and put His (God) Spirit within us and cause us to walk in His ways.

Last summer I was teaching my son to jump in the water off of the side of our pool. He was just starting to swim and didn’t like to get water on his face…it would freak him out as he thought with even just a little water he couldn’t breathe. Now I knew different and even showed him time and time again how getting water on your face wouldn’t hurt you and how jumping into the pool was fun. But he was still scared to get water on his face. My son had a belief problem, his incorrect beliefs were sending faulty signals to his brain thus imprisoning him from this fun activity, even though he saw his sister and other kids doing it and having a great time.

Now I could have invested in years of psychological counseling for him to find out why he was having these “issues” but instead we cut to the chase. I worked with him slowly to build up his tolerance for getting water in his face all the time holding him and helping him when he struggled. It soon got to the point that he could jump off the step in the pool and get a little water in his face but he wasn’t willing to go all the way. So, like most Daddy’s, I kept working with him and showing him over and over that he could trust what I was saying. Then the day came that he finally could do it, he was probably a bit scared but knew he could trust in what his Daddy said…and either way I was in the pool for him to jump into my arms

Now isn’t that what our “Abba” Father says to each of us? God is working in us to trust Him all the more and as we walk in the light that trust continues to grow. The unfortunate thing is many in the Christian world don’t understand that “IT IS DONE” and that we have the victory. Many are still bound in their chains trying to gain victory over sin when all the while God is saying: “Trust me it is done”.

God works in us to do His perfect and pleasing will yet taking that step of working out the salvation that he has given us will require us to take another step in faith and obedience toward Him. All the while our Father is so patient with us, even when we throw a hissy fit, to keep working with us until we are able to trust where He is taking us. The Christian life is such an adventure and full of so much fun when we believe Him for all that He is and walk out the plan that He has for each and every one of us.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

5 Reasons you are living the defeated Christian life!

Col 3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.Col 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.Col 3:3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Scripture states a very clear and undeniable fact…you have died. Who has died? All have died because Jesus Christ died for the world.

2Co 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;

Joh 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Salvation has come to those who receive His life and His payment for their sins, it is a gift of God for all who will come. When we are born again, born from the Spirit, we have the ability to partake in this divine life, but the sad thing is many born again will never take their position, their inheritance of this divine life (2Pet 1:4) for a myriad of reasons:

  1. They simply will not come to Him for divine life. They know that living the Christian life requires His divine life but they are not willing to come to Him to receive it…instead they try the old Pharisee route (John 5:39-40)
  2. They are still trying to live the Christian life by their own power. Many think that fighting sin is the main thing in the Christian life yet the new covenant doesn’t even speak of sin but life (Eze 36:26-27). The more the Christian focuses on sin the more sin is aroused in them because they are putting themselves back under law and cheating on Jesus (Rom 7:4-6)
  3. They don’t believe the Bible. Many will pick and choose what verses to believe and what verses not to believe. Or worse they filter the Bible through a set of beliefs that looks lofty and even pious yet has no power over the flesh (Col 2:23)
  4. They love Jesus and they love their sin. Jesus made it very clear that you cannot serve two masters (Mat 6:24). Many want to live just for Jesus but their love and lie of sin, usually just one or two specific sins makes them unwilling. God will not be mocked (Gal 6:7) and as such will allow greater and greater consequences as you sow to your flesh.
  5. They simply do not know the truth. Although they have been set free and have divine life in Christ they are still bound by the lies of the devil, many perpetuated within the church walls. Although they know that something is wrong with their walk with Christ they are under the assumption that more work is needed, more effort on their behalf to have victory in this divine life yet many, many scriptures have to be twisted and skewed to render that false belief (Joh 8:33)

In the third chapter of “The Pursuit of God” by AW Tozer he offers a prayer at the end. As I end this short message I think it is best to cut to the chase and offer you this powerful prayer…it is one that each of us can pray, if we are willing.

“Lord, how excellent are Thy ways, and how devious and dark are the ways of man. Show us how to die, that we may rise again to newness of life. Rend the veil of our self-life from the top down as Thou didst rend the veil of the Temple. We would draw near in full assurance of faith. We would dwell with Thee in daily experience here on this earth so that we may be accustomed to the glory when we enter Thy heaven to dwell with Thee there. In Jesus' name, Amen.”

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Their came a day that I died.

For a good part of my Christian life I was still struggling with God. I wasn’t willing to accept my place on the cross and believe that I have been crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20). I believed it intellectually and even in the religious circles I could put on the face of the victorious Christian but God knew, as did I, that I was still living the defeated Christian life. I wanted all of God but I wanted it on my terms…there is a vast gulf between being willing on God’s terms and wanting on my terms.

I had many teachings on living the “Exchanged Life” but each time I thought I could start living it God made it abundantly clear that I still wasn’t willing to receive His life by His terms. I would live 95% off of God but still held that little 5% back for myself…I was still my own idol because I would make the final decisions on everything and not God.

Some may call it “The baptism of the Holy Spirit” or “Complete Consecration to Christ” or “The Surrendered Life” doesn’t matter what you call it what matters is that you deal with God on that matter. Ask the Holy Spirit where am I not willing to be totally yours…and He is so gracious to show you. Or ask Him where am I living in unbelief…show me how to believe the truth of who I am in Christ. I remember the day before God in His eternal patience finally brought me into the fullness…it was almost 10 years after I had been saved. I wrote this in my journal:

“I find it to be at the height of hypocrisy when I bid people to “come to Christ” so that they can have life, so that their sins can be forgiven, so they can be new creatures but I am not willing to come to Him…I am not satisfied with Him. I continue in sin yet cling to my religious routine and traditions and shake my head at the world because they love their sin and want nothing to do with us who call ourselves “Christians” – Christ bearers. Life is only through Him and in Him abundant life but I am preoccupied with everything else, even my sense of duty in religion whether it be studying the Bible, praying, giving, going to church etc.

So I shake my head in disgust at the Pharisees but act just like them. Where I think I will find life and answers in the scriptures but I am not willing to spend time with God incarnate Himself…I really don’t want to know what He wants for me because I am not willing to accept it. Oh, that I would be satisfied with God alone and longing after His very presence.”

I can honestly say that since that day everything has changed…I finally got real with God and real with others and accepted my place on the cross with Him. The deceit I was under for so long was such a lie…I now know the abundant life. I believed Satan that I would hate being fully identified with Christ and that it would be a great burden but since the beginning he was a liar and his wiles were just that…trickery.

I think of the many loved ones that are so willing to do anything in their church and are being run ragged because they are not willing to come to Him for abundant Life. Don’t let Satan deceive you one more day, come to Christ and be fully identified with the Cross and nothing else…then Christ will give you His Life but only if you are willing.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What does it mean to be Crucified with Christ?

"I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Galatians 2:20

I love what Oswald Chambers has to say...(From Nov 3 My Utmost for His Highest)

These words mean the breaking of my independence with my own hand and surrendering to the supremacy of the Lord Jesus. No one can do this for me, I must do it myself. God may bring me up to the point three hundred and sixty-five times a year, but He cannot put me through it. It means breaking the husk of my individual independence of God, and the emancipating of my personality into oneness with Himself, not for my own ideas, but for absolute loyalty to Jesus. There is no possibility of dispute when once I am there. Very few of us know anything about loyalty to Christ - "For My sake." It is that which makes the iron saint.

Has that break come? All the rest is pious fraud. The one point to decide is - Will I give up, will I surrender to Jesus Christ, and make no conditions whatever as to how the break comes? I must be broken from my self-realization, and immediately that point is reached, the reality of the supernatural identification takes place at once, and the witness of the Spirit of God is unmistakable - "I have been crucified with Christ."

The passion of Christianity is that I deliberately sign away my own rights and become a bond-slave of Jesus Christ. Until I do that, I do not begin to be a saint.

Taking your place with Christ on the cross is something that very few are willing for...they will not fully identify with Christ because they still hold back something. of the world, sin or self. I remember my own struggle with willingness and although I wanted to live the victorious Christian life I wasn't willing to come to Christ for that life. I tried all the different methods and tricks in order to live a life of victory but I always failed, which was be God's grace. My act of unbelief in His finished work kept me from the abundant life and the lies of satan who steals that life (John 10:10) made me think that being fully consecrated with Christ was going to be less then desirable. I would say I was 95% His and still 5% my own yet the words of Jesus would cut me with the accuracy and truth of this particular verse.

Mat 6:24 "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can't serve both God and Mammon. (HNV)

What are you going to do today? Can you go on and on living and struggling with the skewed Christian life that many churches teach where many well meaning Pastors are still struggling with sin or are you going to come to Christ for life and live the "Normal Christian Life" where the struggle with sin is no longer a problem because you are now living in the new covenant(Eze 36:26). The New Covenant where God promised that He would cause us to walk in His ways (Eze 36:27). Take the time today to go to the Holy Spirit and ask Him why you are not willing to be fully identified with Christ...then rest in the goodness of God and stop struggling against Him and be freed from the entanglement of living under the weight of sin, self and the world's system...but only do so if you are willing.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My First Video Teaching

Here is a video that I just put together to start teaching the Bible. I am still in need of a few supplies which should be coming in the mail to make the videos look a bit more professional. Give it a view and see what you think.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Test and Trials

1Pe 4:12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 1Pe 4:13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (ESV)

It was now about 10:00 am and I knew that after the two-hour wait we should be next on the schedule. I hate waiting at All Children’s Hospital…not so much because of the time but because of seeing the different families going through a multitude of trials. It always seems worse when things are happening to a child, no matter the situation. Another half-hour rolls by and they finally call our name and escort us into the examine room.

Before I get to what happened let me explain what has already taken place. Our youngest girl has been having problems with her fontanel closing properly and as such our pediatricians have been keeping a close eye on it. At this point in her development things should have advanced at a normal rate like our other two children but our youngest seems to not be closing properly. The doctors decided to order a number of test to try and get a grip on what is going on. That takes us to ACH where we are awaiting the lab to take some blood and urine to move forward with the testing.

As we enter the sterile but inviting room I glance over at the supplies the technician has pulled out to get the needed fluids. It is always so heart wrenching to see such small IV’s and other medical devices and reminds me of the many pains these wonderful people must endure daily in the course of doing their jobs. My daughter had fallen fast asleep in daddy’s arms and I hated to wake her but knew that it was needed. As I lay this beautiful little sleepy girl down on the crackling sterile white paper she isn’t too happy, and the test haven’t even started. But all I can do is try and comfort her by stroking her hair and speaking softly to her all the while knowing what was coming.

Needless to say the nurse put the IV in her arm and started to draw the blood. All I could do is try and comfort her in the process…the test are needed and this trial for her is part of the test. I couldn’t explain to her the reasons why she must get the test nor could I draw the charts of the anterior and posterior fontanel and show her how they needed to fuse properly for her to continue growing properly…she could have never understood. Yet I comforted her during the process and did all I could to make the needed trauma less uncomfortable then it had to be. If I could have taken the pain upon myself I would have…I think most parents would do the same.

After the testing was over and we could finally make our way out of the hospital I was able to comfort her again and even make her smile. On the way home she fell asleep in the car and now a few hours later she doesn’t seem to even remember what has happened.

God cannot and will not explain the “why” we go through trials and test but He gives us His perspective to keep in mind and heart while we are going through them. Not only that He gives us His joy and His peace in the midst of the trials…if we will look to Him and receive what He has for us. Although this life will have trials and test we can rejoice knowing that not only do we have a Saviour that has felt and can understand the trials (Heb 4:15-16) we have a Saviour that transcends time and space to be there with us, stroking our hair and speaking softly to us. We know that trials and test have purpose and that it is to our benefit to go through them, if not God would not allow them in our lives. Trusting in Him for all we need, have and ever will be makes the trials a lot less burdensome to the point where we can thank Him for allowing the trials and test in our own life (1Thes 5:18). My baby girl may not be able to understand the reason she had to be at the hospital today but she can look to me and trust me that I do and that it was for her good.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Doctor Cures the Cancer of a Dead Person!

Dr. Juste claims he has found the cure to cancer in people that have already died and he has the science to back it up. Mr. John Victime died of bone cancer at 9:25 am on Friday, November 6, 2009 and his body was sent to the office of Dr. Juste immediately after his death. Dr. Juste then proceeded to take a special balm and rub it all over the body of Mr. Victime and sent the body back to the hospital where Mr. Victime died just hours earlier. The body underwent a series of test and it is confirmed that Mr. Victime’s cancer is no longer present, in fact not even a trace of it was found.

Dr. Juste has been curing the cancer of the dead for years and has become quite famous for it. Mr. Victime was at his prime in life when the cancer slowly ate away the inside of his body to the point he couldn’t even feed himself anymore. Scientist monitored him as he slowly succumbed to the deadly disease. They tested him in ten different ways to verify what was actually killing him and there was no doubt it was the deadly cancer. When the scientist tested Mr. Victime’s dead body they were amazed at the complete eradication of the cancer and every test verified that he was cancer free at his burial.

Of course the story is fictitious but it is an allegory of the modern gospel that is being preached. The modern gospel teaches that sin is the culprit and it is sin that must be dealt with and they will say Jesus came to die for your sin…that is true but not the whole truth. Sin must be dealt with and it was on the cross but so much more has happened, so much more needed to happen.

The bible says that we are dead in our trespasses and sins…dead spiritually (Eph 2:1). Sin is the cancer that is killing us (Rom 6:23). Sin is our attitude of independence from God and the results of sins is what you see because of this independence. Sins manifest themselves in different people in different ways. Sins might consist of something like adultery, lying, stealing, pride, gossiping, anger, covetousness, blaspheme, and a whole list of other things that many do in their daily life. Sin (in the singular) is the attitude towards God of independence of Him and thus dependence upon ourselves and the world’s system to get our needs met…sins (in the plural) is what happens as a result of this attitude. Jesus not only died for our sins and bore them in His body (1Pe 2:24) we died with him (2Cor 5:14) to sin and were raised to newness of life (Rom 6:6, 2Cor 5:17).

There are so many well meaning Christians that have come to Jesus to have their sins forgiven so that they can be with Him in heaven one day…but that is not the gospel. Paul said if I preach a different gospel it is no gospel at all (2Cor 11:4). What is being preached is a powerless gospel (2Tim 3:5) that has the appearance of godliness but denys its power. They are powerless against sin and have taken on the motto of the “defeated Christian” (which is not what that verse is speaking of) from Romans 7:15…the bible says have nothing to do with them.

They have gotten away from the reason that Christ came as the bread of Life, as the Way the Truth and the Life, so that we could have Life and Have it abundantly (John 10:10). What we have today is a bunch of Dr. Juste’s curing the dead of cancer and not telling them where or how to have Life. The New Covenant is all about Life in abundance not about sin (Eze 36:26)…it is about walking with our God in close relationship and being moved and directed by Him (John 10:16). We have today many frustrated Christians because they are still blind to the truth (Joh 8:32) and as such play right into what the devil desires to do, which is to steal, kill and destroy that divine life (Joh 10:10). Oh, I pray that God will continue to open the eyes of the people to His divine life that they can have by just repenting (changing their mind and understanding) and believing the gospel (John 14:20)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wonderful Gospel Explanation

Paul White gives the complete gospel message which many in the modern day church do not know and thus have never been set free (John 8:32) and are not living the restful, abundant life that Christ promised (John 10:10 and Mat 11:28)