Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Persistent Purpose

My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.  Isaiah 46:10

 If we would allow the Holy Spirit to guide us we would know our Lord came to give us a quality of life without corruption.  He didn’t come to redeem us only, but to give us life that exists forever.  What is our destiny and how do we get there?  How do we step into our destiny? Our Lord came into this world to fulfill the will of our Father and to show us the way. He came to reveal the desires of our Heavenly Father’s heart.  Every step our Lord took had divine purpose.  He was born of the Spirit, grew in wisdom and grace, and through His life has revealed to us how we should walk as sons of God.

Mark 1: 10 Jesus comes out of the water after being baptized in the Jordan River.  Mark 1:12 KJV reads, “Immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness.”  The New American Standard version of Mark 1:12 uses the word ‘impelled’ meaning; Force: Make someone feel the need to do something. Mark’s gospel presents the Lord as a servant.  A servant obeys the commands and the desires of His master’s heart.  Here Jesus is being driven, impelled into the wilderness by the will of God the Father. As the pattern Son, Jesus is revealing to us how we will conduct our lives on this earth under total submission to the Holy Spirit.  He had no doubt as to the outcome of the forty days in the wilderness.  By this, the Holy Spirit reveals to us our outcome in any trial or situation when we are absolutely controlled by the Father’s will.  He overcame the wilderness experience for us; he did it for the love of His Father.  This was a display of absolute selflessness and holy love; the love that God shed abroad in our hearts. 

Two examples of Gods servants in the Old Testament will help us see important principles and keys to our walk.  One example is David who was a type of our Lord. In 1 Samuel 17 David’s father sent him with food to his brothers who were settled on one side of the valley as the Israelites were at war with the Philistines.  Israel was paralyzed the minute Goliath stepped onto the battlefield and began cursing them.  Spiritually relate this same scenario to many in Christ who are not advancing into spiritual maturity.  In their individual circumstances they aren’t confident of the outcome.   Saul who was the leader of this great army was paralyzed.  Much of our spiritual leadership is the same today.  What a tragedy when we don’t know our God.  David knew what needed to take place in order to release the army of the Lord from this paralysis; from this state of death.  David knew in whom his confidence was. Witness David’s spirit, courage, and confidence as he hears the voice of Goliath defying the army of the Lord with curses. When Goliath started to attack, David quickly ran to meet him; no hesitation (I Samuel 17:48). He was about to deliver Israel from spiritual paralysis.  That same spirit is in us.  How is it possible for us to see much of the church in this limited and weak state and not sense the urgency in our hearts to find a way to deliver them?  Leaders are given the responsibility to lead and bring maturity.  Our Lord gave His precious life for this glorious cause of deliverance from death.  The Lord will bring us into situations where we will discover the root cause of the limitations, hindrances and fears that paralyze us. He purposely does this until we submit to the Spirit. He has given promises only He can fulfill in order for us to partake of His divine nature.   This is one truth I see in David.  He didn’t hesitate, he ran towards the enemy.  After that, Israel destroyed the Philistine army.

 Our Lord was immediately driven into the wilderness; no hesitation. Wilderness represents death, lack, no resources to sustain physical life. I remind you, He knew the outcome.  He knew what He was going to release into the church; confidence and a trust in God the Father, which is something human nature cannot produce.

Jesus knew the outcome of the wilderness experience.  He knew what He was going to release into the church; confidence and a trust in God the Father, which human nature cannot produce.

Abraham is another example. Dissatisfaction was stirring in his spirit and God revealed Himself to him.  Acts 7:2-4 reveals God calling him out of his home land, Ur of the Chaldeans.  Abram did not live in a little village hidden away somewhere, it was a metropolis. Ur was a city thriving with wealth, religion, and idolatry.  Abraham was raised in that environment; God appeared to him and called him out.  Genesis 11:31, “And Terah took Abram his son. . . ” God didn’t speak to Terah, He spoke to Abraham.   He speaks to us the same way when we hear the gospel. He calls us out of the world system to go into our inheritance. When Terah, a type of the old nature, took the lead Abraham was hindered and finally stopped.  Abraham stayed in Harran for approximately twenty five years until Terah died.  Until we realize and experience the power of the cross, the old nature will always want to take the lead.  Experience the cross, know the old nature is dead and begin your journey! Abraham left his old life and he reached the Promised Land, Canaan.  Genesis 12:8-10 reads, “And he removed from hence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Ai on the east: and there he built an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south. And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was grievous in the land.”  Notice that Abraham comes into the land God promised and the first test he confronts is the necessity for life’s sustenance.  The enemy of our soul uses necessity to paralyze us. He wants us to focus on the natural and forget the spiritual.  He deceived Adam and Eve this same way. Our Lord had needs in the wilderness but He was not deceived by the temptations put before Him. How many of us have come into this new spiritual life and suddenly circumstances seem to change for the worse.  Perhaps you lose a job, there is no food on the table, there is sickness in the family or a child runs away. Why? The answer is only found in Christ Jesus.  Too many times we make the same mistake Abraham made. When the old nature begins to take the lead again, Abraham’s problems are compounded. Hagar comes on the scene and oh what problems she presented to Abraham. We allow the need or crisis to overwhelm us and we search for a solution without asking if it’s the Lord’s will.  We must know exactly what God is doing. He’s stripping away all the things we once relied on and He’s bringing us into the fullness of Christ. This is the eternal cross of God the Divine Rule of Action.

Until we discover the purpose for our existence, our lives will be meaningless.  Our purpose is only found in Christ.  After forty days in the wilderness our Lord was so consumed with fulfilling God’s will He did not hunger.  Take note of His nature that we now possess; His character that is being formed in us. The devil is tempting our Lord with the things that will satisfy His natural life. Hunger is not a sin, God created it in us.  Jesus was being tempted to fulfill His hunger by using his own will, turning the stones into bread was an option for Jesus; the stones were close at hand. Returning to Egypt was an option for Abraham.   Egypt was close at hand and Abraham was deceived by what he saw.  Be aware the visible will always deceive us; we must see the invisible. II Corinthians 4:18 “So fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Our Lord has promised never to leave us nor forsake us. He has promised to always be with us. Our Lord knew He was being tempted to fulfill a hunger using His own will.  He accepted the possibility of the Father’s will for Him to die.  Notice in Matthew 4:4 Jesus confronts satan with, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’.”  He did not say, The Son shall not live by bread alone.  He confronted satan as a man. Our Lord knew who He was and knew what He had to do.

There are three important lessons our Lord revealed in the wilderness.  First: Allow God to have His perfect work in you. Don’t take matters into your own hands. Second: Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you through the process.  Don’t rely on your own abilities.  Third: Always let God vindicate.  Don’t allow others to dictate your actions.

There is a promise for every circumstance you come into. Don’t be hasty and be deceived by the visible. Know that your Father God is there with you.  Our Lord said He delighted to do the will of the Father.  That should be our confession.  My dear brothers and sisters, it’s time you and I allow the Holy Spirit to lead us as instruments in God’s hands to bring deliverance from paralysis and death to His children.  The Lord had no fear.  We should have no fear. Confidence comes through our intimate relationship with our Lord. If we know our Lord we know our Father. How do we arrive at our destiny?  The answer is within you; Christ. I rejoice in the Lord and I am grateful for the trials that draw me closer to the Lord and my destination.  I’m grateful for the love that was shed abroad in our hearts.  Be not deceived. God will guide you into the fullness of Christ with every word He speaks to you. We cannot reach our destination until we know where we are going.  We cannot expect any sense of satisfaction in fulfilling our divine calling if we don’t have a clear understanding of what it is.

I pray the Lord gives spiritual understanding as to the glory He has made available to all His children.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Being Led

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. John 16:13

‘Unity in the Spirit’ is a glorious revelation that can come to you and me. I Corinthians 6:17 reads, “But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.”  When we are led into the truth and fullness of Christ by the Holy Spirit our thinking is revolutionized, we begin to see our surroundings and the world through the eyes of God our Father. Only then can we comprehend the purpose of adversities, and the antagonism and hatred towards Christianity. These are the same challenges our Lord Jesus Christ encountered when He came into this world. We begin to understand what was in His heart and mind that gave purpose to every step He took and every word He spoke.   

It is important to see ourselves as individuals chosen by God before the world began, but more importantly to see that we are a part which makes up the whole Body of Christ.  This is the work of the Holy Spirit.  Our Lord came to reveal the heart and desire of our heavenly Father.  Matthew 3:16-17 reads, “After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. And there came a voice from heaven: “This is My beloved Son I take delight in Him!”  After Jesus receives this word of approval from His Father, Matthew 4:1 states, “Then Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” This verse emphasizes the immediate progression of the steps of Jesus.  Remember we are in his heart; God is love.  There is nothing taking place that is not controlled by the eternal love of our Father God.  Once we allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to us our unity in Christ all fears, questions, and doubts begin to vanish, and we come into the truth of what is really taking place.

 After He came out of the water, the Holy Spirit descended on Him. God audibly declared delight in His Son. There is no doubt that the first 30 years of our Lord’s life were years of temptation and testing.  Remember Hebrews 2:17-18 says, “For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested.” Jesus overcame the attacks, temptations and the tests in His private life.  For the Father to open the heavens and declare approval of his Son, we know He was pleased with the first 30 years of His life.  Now He is about to enter His public ministry, but first He is led by the Holy Spirit to face the enemy of the human race.  This is the ultimate test where Jesus meets evil in all its strength and hatred in the personality of the devil. If we identify ourselves with the death and the resurrection of our Lord, the Holy Spirit is showing us what to expect.   Matthew 4:1, Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”  An important fact to realize is that Jesus was led into the wilderness.  Our Lord Jesus Christ had just come from a glorious manifestation of the satisfaction of our mighty God. He was surrounded by family, friends, and other people being baptized.  Then He is led into the wilderness.  What does the wilderness represent?  As human beings we live in two worlds; the natural and the spiritual.  Jesus goes from being surrounded by family and friends, to the wilderness where He is isolated from the people and things that bring contentment to the natural man.  He is now being tempted and tested by the devil and comes out victorious. Our Lord is bringing forth a new humanity, taught by the Holy Spirit, who will be an expression of the divine ideas and thoughts of God.  Isaiah 53:1-2 gives us a better understanding of who the true source of our life is, “Who has believed what we have heard?  And who has the arm of the Lord been revealed to? He grew up before Him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground.  He had no form or splendor that we should look at Him, no appearance that we should desire Him.” I repeat a “root out of dry ground.”  The Holy Spirit is using a young plant and root out of dry ground as a type of our Lord to show us that the life our Lord lived did not have its source here on earth.  His source came from above.  John 8:23, “…. You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.” How can a plant grow out of dry ground? It needs water and moisture.  Where was the power, the life source, the fountain that our Lord lived by?  It was not in the natural realm.  He is always teaching us that man’s life does not exist in the abundance of things he owns.  It is written in Luke 12:15, “Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed: a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” The source of our life our existence is not in what this world has to offer.  Our new life is Christ Jesus.  Our new life source is God.  Colossians 3:3 reads, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”  Romans 6:11 and Romans 8:9 also confirm that we live by Him and for Him. This is why as Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness He is being separated from all His natural resources.  I recall a time when a friend lost his job; he began to lose his house and his vehicles. I witnessed this brother trying to hold on to his possessions by borrowing money and using other world strategies. The Holy Spirit showed me this was similar to a drowning man who sees his life vanishing before him. His life’s work and money spent for security were now vanishing.  Things that we possess represent the natural life.  Jesus spoke of this in Luke 12:16-21 in the form of a parable. Things do not give us life; Christ is our life and our satisfaction. I would strongly suggest you read Ecclesiastes with an open heart and a submissive spirit to God’s Word.  You will clearly see what this world has to offer; “Absolute futility, everything is futile.”

The Holy Spirit is using a young plant and root out of dry ground as a type of our Lord to show us that the life our Lord lived did not have its source here on earth.  His source came from above.

We are seeing tremendous changes taking place in this world.  Our Lord predicted wars and rumors of wars…. nation will rise against nation. Read Matthew 24:4-13. This is all a result of fallen man.  Many think America will be exempt from persecution.  Judgment is coming. God is separating and purifying His people. Hypocrisy within the individual and the Body of Christ as a whole is being purged out. The Holy Spirit is convicting us of those things we presumed were harmless.  No more compromising with the world, God is purging the Body of Christ.  God is helping us understand His ways by bringing us to His Word.  The Holy Spirit is revealing His plan and His purpose to us.  I hear Hebrews 2:3 very clearly, “how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” 

The Spirit probed a question into my heart.  Who occupies the greatest measure of your day? This question enters the depth of our consciousness, because God knows our heart.  He is omniscient. He knows the minute your eyes open in the morning and the minute your eyes close at night. He knows your last thought before you sleep and your first thought as you wake.  He knows your dreams and the thoughts that control you during the day.  Because He knows everything we cannot hide. In Ecclesiastes 12:14, “For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” We have to say “Thank you Father that your grace and your mercy are renewed every morning.” It is by grace that we are saved not by works.    

Our Lord came into this world with a mission. He came to do the will of the Father and He fulfilled that mission on this earth.    He gave us His Spirit and His power. God knows our limitations, our frustrations and our disappointments.  However, He has made provision for everything through Jesus Christ.  Christ is not only our death, but our resurrection, our life, our victory and our salvation. He is our wisdom, He is our sanctification, our justification, our righteousness, everything.  He is all in all. How shall we escape judgment if we neglect such a great salvation offered to us by a loving God?   In the beginning was God and God is love.  He is still in control and his plan continues to unfold. He will receive everything that He desires.

I received an answer to the question ‘who occupies the greatest measure of your day?’  If we want to know God’s presence we must be occupied with his Son.  This is how we know we are being led by the Holy Spirit, John 16:13-14, “But when He the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, He will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify Me because it is from Me that He will receive what He will make known to you.” Whatsoever you do, do it as unto the Lord.  Live unto the Lord no matter where you are; in school, work, or at play.  This is what satisfies our Father.  Come to him with an open heart.  Our submission and our honesty please Him.  It pleases our Father when we acknowledge, ‘I can do nothing on my own.’ (John 5:30, John 8:28, John 14:30-31).

Before I close, I leave you with this truth. Every action of our Lord Jesus Christ spoke clearly to us of His purpose in coming into this world. Hebrews 1:1-2, “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also He made the universe.” Amen.