Born of the Spirit

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” – John 3:6-8

Jesus reminds us in John 4:24 that God is a Spirit, and those that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. The Kingdom of Heaven is also Spiritual. Therefor to see (or discern) the things of it we must be born into the realm of the Spirit.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” – John 3:3

Flesh births flesh and flesh only sees what is fleshly or carnal. It seeks after that which feeds the flesh trying to keep itself alive. But when a man is truly born again of the Spirit, he will began to see that which is of the Spirit and seek after that which feeds his Spirit. To the man who has not yet had this new Spirit birth and had the spiritual eyes of his understanding opened to this whole new realm of reality, the actions of those who have seem foolish to him. He hears their words but cannot tell where they are coming from with what they speak. He sees there actions but cannot understand where they are going with what they are doing. He is leaning on His own understanding, on what he can see with physical eyes which cannot comprehend the capacity of what God is revealing to those who are walking in the Spirit.

“But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.” – Jude 1:10

“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” – John 8:47

Do not expect men who are carnally minded to understand spiritual actions. They oppose each other. Scriptures says to be carnally minded makes you an enemy of God because it will cause you to always be in opposition to what the Spirit is doing. Don’t bother trying to make them understand what you are doing in obedience to the flow of the Spirit for they cannot see what you see, hear what you hear, feel what you feel, or discern what you discern. Instead pray that the eyes of their understanding be opened, which will only happen when they are truly born again of the Holy Spirit. Not when they make fleshy claims with no fruits of the Spirit to evidence it, but when they have truly been born into a realm of Spiritual revelation and impartation of sight bringing insight into the things of God and the Kingdom of God that goes far beyond the physical carnal world and their mundane daily interactions with it.

To those who have tasted of the deeper revelations of the Spirit Of God, the silly, shallow, meaningless task and distractions of this life become bland at best and often quite repulsive. Don’t judge too harshly the man that does not understand your operations of obedience to a realm that he does not really know, even if he thinks he does. Pray for him. Pray that he be born again so that he can enter in and then he will begin to see what you have been seeing. Deliver not the deeper revelations of the mysteries of the Spirit of God and expect him to discern the truth in it. He is not led of that Spirit but of the flesh who wars against that Spirit. Determine, as Paul did, to give him only the good news of Christ and Him crucified until his flesh dies and the Spirit Of God be born in him… even if he already thinks it is. No matter what they say or think, until their eyes and ears are open to the Spiritual world, they have not yet been born into it. Keep giving them Christ and Him crucified. Once that a baby is born, immediately are their eyes and ears opened and they begin to learn how to hear, see, and discern the things of this new world that they have been born into, not before. So judge the fruits and determine what you should say and how you should pray, believing in faith that the lost will be saved.

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” – 1 Corinthians 2:12-14

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Passion Prioritizes

If you are more drawn to the things of this world then to the glory of God’s presence then you either never experienced the Glory of God’s presence or (like Adam) you are listening to the lies of the devil meant to rob you of what really matters in exchange for a temporary piece of bad fruit that looks good in the moment but rots away in the next. Don’t be so easily tricked. Set your priorities and prove your preference.

If exercising your body takes priority over exercising your faith. If entertainment draws you more than intercession. If the pleasures of the flesh pull harder than the joy of the Lord’s presence. If what you want outweighs what the Lord wants. If you give more of your time to that which is carnal than to that which is spiritual, and more of your energy to that which is temporary than to that which is eternal, then your priorities expose your passion and declare that you are a friend of the world and not of God. To which I say that anyone who would choose to prioritize the things of the world over the things of God is either horribly deceived, inexplicably foolish, or has never truly experienced the things of God.

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also, and home is where the heart is. If God is truly your treasure and love, then you will only feel at home with Him and will prioritize your time and service to Him. If you prioritize your time and service to the world then it’s because that is where you feel the most at home because that is where your heart determines that the greatest treasure really is. If so, then it’s time to repent, set some priorities, get into God’s presence, and fall in love with the right treasure.

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” – 1 John‬ ‭2:15-17‬ ‭

“Purged”

“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:” – Psalms 66:18

That’s a tough pill for us all to swallow. Everyone thinks that God hears us at any point and time, but the truth is if we harbor sin willingly in our heart, God turns a deaf ear.

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” – Isaiah 59:1-2

And here’s John’s account affirming this theological truth:

“Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, AND doeth his will, him he heareth.” – John 9:31

Sin is not only intended to be forgiven of but removed and abandoned or we can say purged. “To Purge” simply means, “to remove.”

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth AND forsaketh them, shall have mercy.” – Proverbs 28:13

“Forsaking” your sin is what it means to “repent.” Not just a “change of mind,” but also a change of heart or lifestyle. Pretty hard right? Well, that’s what being born again looks like. It’s more commonly referred to as us becoming a “new creation”

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

This is also what God’s grace is for. Its not just a fancy religious word or a hymn we sing, but it’s to help us walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” – Titus 2:11-12

Simply said that when we choose to repent as a declaration of faith, God’s grace will come in to forgive, purge us of sin, and impart His divine influence (grace) to equip us for this “good fight of faith”

“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” – 2 Peter 1:3-4

Why is all of this important? Because there is a great number of people in the church today that are deceived into thinking they do not have to choose to turn away from their sinful lifestyle. “I’m only human.” you hear. Yes we are, but that’s why Jesus said we “must be born AGAIN” or we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Confession without repentance is dangerous theology to stand upon because it is abundantly clear in scripture that if you stay in willful sin, God not only does not forgive us, but he also does not hear us.

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,” – Hebrews 10:26

In summary, if this day you find yourself living in willful sin, it’s time to repent! It’s time to (as I was told as a child), “recklessly abandon” your sin for His grace! Choosing God’s grace also means rejecting our sin.

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” – James 4:8

Prayer:

“ Lord I realize that the only prayer you hear from a sinner is the prayer of confession of faith and repentance. I’m asking you now to forgive me of my sin and give me your grace that equips me to overcome it day to day! Give me a new heart, and a new mind that serves see you for the rest of my life! Lord, I realize that you are faithful, but help me to be as faithful to you as you are to me. In Jesus name, AMEN!”

A Liberation Generation Rising Up

“Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lord. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. Is Israel a servant? is he a homeborn slave? why is he spoiled?” – Jeremiah 2:11-14

I whole heartily believe that God is once agin saying these words. This passage expresses the astonishment and bewilderment of the Lord over what His people had done. It made no since why a people who had access to a God of power and victory, a God who can do all things, a God who overpowers the enemy in every way, would choose to adopt the bondage’s and mindsets of the unbelieving and adapt them to their view of god, causing them to create a powerless, god of their own making. A work of their own hand and imagination.

“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” – 2 Timothy 3:5

The God of scripture is all powerful, nothing is impossible for Him and therefor, nothing is impossible for those who believe in Him. After all, we are made in His image, His likeness, His glory, His Sonship! The people of Jeremiah’s time however, had looked upon the fallen state of the people’s around them and taking their sin and the bondages of it upon themselves then created a god after their own fallen image and likeness. One who had no victory over sin, no power over the enemy, no way, no truth, no life, no deliverance, no healing, no salvation, no hope.

God marveled at the people who had actual written accounts of His greatness and all that He was capable of, yet they chose to make up this weak powerless self serving god that was not at all Him and serve it as though it was. Why trade the glory and majesty of the God of scripture for this faithless powerless fake that is unable to deliver you from the powers of the enemy?

God continues to explain the depths of this problem when He states that they have given up the fountain of living water that flow freely for all who are willing to ask Him of it (which Jesus Himself says is the Holy Spirit). Instead they created for themselves broken cisterns that could hold no water. Because that they justified sin and created a god of their own making who had no victory or power to deliver them from it, they created a state for themselves where even in the midst of a spiritual down pour, an outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit when even a cistern would normally be filled up, still they could hold no water (Holy Spirit).

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” – John 7:37-39

Jesus said that His Spirit was this freely given fountain of cleansing, refreshing, and overcoming power. Scripture says, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” It is an all powerful, liberating Spirit. It saves, it heals, it delivers, it liberates! Yet many live in defeat today because, though having a form of Godliness, they have denied the power thereof and in doing so have rejected the Holy Spirit, the liberator! They then create a helpless, hopeless, powerless, victory-less, god of their own making and serve that bringing shame to the true God’s Name and stirring wrath against themselves on the day of judgment. Their lack of faith and faithfulness has driven them to make themselves into broken cisterns that cannot hold water. The Spirit Of God is not with them, neither His power, nor His authority, nor His liberty. And that is the sad state of much of the church today.

In the last line of this passage God ask, “are My people meant to be slaves to the enemy? Then why do they let the enemy spoil them?” It’s because they do not truly believe in the God of scripture and it’s high time that a people rise up who do. Read the Word of God, believe the Word of God, receive the God of the Word, ask to drink of His Spirit, let it set you totally free from your captivity, then carry it forth and cause it to flow out upon others that they might be set free as well. If your God brings no healing, no deliverance, no victory, no overcoming power, no liberation from the enemy, then it is not the God of the Bible, you are serving a god of your own making. Repent and cry out. There is hope, there is help, there is victory, and His Name is Jesus. It’s time to stand in faith in who God really is and raise up a liberation generation.

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” – Luke 4:18

“Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods? Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is The Lord.” – Jeremiah 16:20-21

Endorsed By Heaven, Hated By Hell

“And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice. And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul.” – 1 Samuel 18:11-12

For all the cultures, classes, races, and people’s, in the world there are actually only two kinds of people in God’s eyes. Those who do His will, and those who do their own will. Peter talks about the evils of those who are “self-willed” among the church in 2 Peter 2:10, and in Matthew 7:21 Jesus talks about the few who actually do follow God’s will even among the church while boldly speaking the uncomfortable truth that most, do not do God’s will at all.

Saul and David are clear examples of this. Saul was self willed, Saul trusted in his own rule, while David trusted in the Lord’s and submitted himself to God’s will when it was presented to him. When we come into agreement with God’s will, His Spirit, His anointing, His grace (favor, power, and influence) shows up to manifest that will through you. When you trust in your own will, your own plan, your own logic, your own feelings, like Saul did, you come out of agreement with God’s Will and actually come into agreement with the enemies and that grace, power of the Holy Spirit, the anointing itself departs from you.

This is what happened to Saul and he knew it. He knew that the Lord had left him, yet he recognized the favor and power of God upon David and he became envious. The Bible says that where envy is, there is strife, and contention, and every evil work. This is proven in the story of Saul and David, as Saul is driven by envy to pride, hatred, lies, slander, plotting, manipulating, oppressing, and even attempting to murder David all because David had what Saul wanted but did not possess.

The Lord was with David because that David submitted himself to God’s will, the Lord had departed from Saul because that he would not and rather then place the fault where it was due, humble himself and cry out to God in true repentance, commit to submit, and realign himself with God’s will, he instead continued to work in his own will, strength, and ability against God’s will by trying to kill David. You see, he couldn’t change God’s will to his own, so he instead tried to prevent God’s Will from coming to be by fighting against those who walked in obedience to it.

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” – 2 Timothy 3:12

There is a high cost to pick up the cross and follow after Jesus. Yet there are also great rewards. Therefor, just like Christ, for the promise of the glory we are to endure the hardship that must first come to prove the faith that releases the grace that brings the testimony that overcomes the lies of the devil. However, those that won’t submit themselves to the pain of Passover (obedience, sacrifice, crucifixion, death of self will, faith), they often become envious of those who did, come time for Passover (glory, outpouring of God’s Spirit in power, sings, wonders, and grace).

Then come the attacks against those who lives, manifesting power of God, proves the absence of it in the lives of the self willed. The favor of God manifesting as the power of God to win battles through David proved the absence of God in Saul who saw little to no victories over the enemy.

We see this again in what we might term, a “Pharisees Spirit” that rose up against Jesus Himself. It was not the heathen that opposed Christ, but those who claimed to stand in the place of God yet had they not the supernatural endorsement of God but only the natural endorsement of themselves. Yet the more the people saw the real power of God manifest through the one who was willing to lay down self will and say, “not My will, but thy will be done” the more it proved the absence of this all powerful God from the selfwilled who claimed to represent Him, and they hated Him for it.

“Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered Jesus to be Crucified.” – Matthew 27:17-18

The many that Jesus claimed where selfwilled, will always move with envy and hatred against the few who submit themselves to God’s will. Yet if you will choose to be among this few, though great is the suffering of it, greater still is the reward and glory of it. For many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord Himself delivers them out of them all and miraculous is the deliverance of the Lord, every single time.

Getting the endorsement of heaven will surly get you the fury of hell, but if God be fore you, who can be against you? You want to see miracles? Come into agreement and alignment with God’s will, stand in faith as the self-willed rise up against it, and watch how the Lord parts seas to deliver you. In this does He prove His approval of you when His favor and power pour through you to accomplish what He sent you to do. Those who just talk the talk are only discredited by those who actually walk the walk, not by more talk.

“For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.” – 2 Corinthians 10:18

“And these signs WILL follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” – Mark 16:17-18

“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” – 1 Corinthians 4:20

The Rewards Of Righteousness

We read of great exploits throughout the scriptures preformed by righteous men and women of God. We also read many marvelous promises of God, nearly all of which, again are contingent upon righteousness.

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” – James 5:16

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” – 1 Peter 3:12

“The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry…The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles…Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” – Psalms 34:15,17,19

“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” – Psalms 37:25

So what exactly is righteousness and how do we attain it that we might walk in these blessings and power? First we must come to terms with the truth that God is no respecter of persons, if He did it for Elijah, Abraham, Peter, and Paul, then He will do it for you if you meet the same conditions they did.

“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” – Acts 10:34-35

“… The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” – James 5:16-18

So we see that according to James (the brother of Jesus), everyone has equal opportunity to walk in righteousness unto miracle working power. We also see according to Peter (the disciple of Jesus) that God is no respecter of persons picking certain people out of favoritism. Instead He will use anyone (are as the Bible often puts it) “whosoever” will fear and reverence Him and walk righteously. Peter also makes it very clear that if we do not walk in righteousness then we are not only missing blessings, we are missing Jesus all together because only the righteous “are excepted by Him”. So how then do we walk in righteousness?

The first thing you have to come to terms with is that you cannot do it apart from God. Not by good deeds, or intellect, or strength of man. Doing what you think is right is self righteousness and God says that your righteousness is as filthy rags before Him. However, doing what God says is right is walking in God’s righteousness. Even if one claims the Name of Christ yet does not do His will, then he is self righteous just like the Pharisees.

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 7:21

“And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” – Matthew 12:49-50

Therefore, believing and doing what God says is right is true righteousness, and what is this but faith? Real faith. Not just empty faith professed but true faith expressed! This is why without faith it is impossible to please God and without righteousness you are not excepted of Him. You see true faith is believing what God says because scripture says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. You seek, God speaks, you believe, trust, and obey, which will cause you to be in right-standing with Him and He will count you as righteous. For the word “righteous” literally means “to be in right standing with God.

So this means that in order to be righteous then we have to hear from God so that we can then choose to believe what we have heard. Hearing comes by God’s Word, either logos (His Written Word) or Rhema (His present personal spoken Word). Therefore, in order to walk in righteousness we have to believe both the scriptures and what He speaks to us personally in the place of prayer. Therefor, if you are not personally hearing from God daily through His word and in prayer and personal communion then you cannot walk in righteousness because you have not heard His instructions and only have your own righteousness to lean on.

“And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.” – 2 Chronicles 12:14

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Your own plan, your own idea, your own logic, your own agenda, your own ministry, your own words, your own understanding, your own strength, your own tools, your own skills, your own wants, your own wisdom, it all equates to your own righteousness which equates to filth to God. Therefore, if you do not seek God for His words to give you His wisdom, His plan, His insight, His instructions, His strength, His power, His promise, His will, His righteousness then by default what you do will be your own will and that is evil in the sight of the Lord.

“For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” – Romans 10:2-3

“…Presumptuous are they, selfwilled…And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;” – 2 Peter 2:10, 13

So we see that it takes both humility and faith to walk in God’s righteousness. It takes humbling ourselves to recognize that we need to seek God to hear His voice, and once we have heard it it takes faith to trust and obey it. However, man in his natural fallen state cannot hear God’s voice, for his sins have separated him from the righteousness of God. So if you don’t hear God’s voice then there is something you must do first.

You must humble yourself, confess your faults unto God, and repent. Then by faith you must call upon the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and ask Him to wash you clean with His blood and fill you with His Spirit so that you can go boldly before the thrown of Grace where you will then have direct access to God, His voice, and His righteousness.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

By faith it can be yours. God is no respecter of persons. If you believe what He said enough to do it by faith then you will gain access to the very thrown of God and being reconciled back unto the Father, He will then begin to minister to you, to teach you how to hear his voice and be led of His spirit into all truth.

However, once that He has begun to speak to you and instruct you, you must then daily humble yourself to hear what He is saying and have faith to believe it no matter how difficult it may seem. Remember that He truly is God, that nothing is impossible to Him, that He gives more grace unto the humble, and that nothing shall be impossible to those who truly believe because He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Remember that it doesn’t matter who you are, it matters who He is, and what He says.

If He says it, you believe it and walk in it, and that will position you in right standing with Him. Submit to this and you will be standing right where He wants you so that when the time comes and the curtain is drawn you will be in position to play your part in the destiny that He has planned for you and it will be counted unto you as righteousness.

“And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.” – Romans 4:21-22

“Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” – Genesis 18:14

“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” – Matthew 17:20

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” – Jeremiah 32:27

“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” – Numbers 23:19

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” – Matthew‬ ‭5:6‬ ‭

He Calls Me Beloved

“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” – Matthew‬ ‭10:22‬ ‭

“I am incredibly blessed by knowing that the way we are valued and understood by man is not at all how we are valued and understood by God.

I may be thought a million things by my peers, but God knows my absolute heart and there are no misunderstandings.
That really comforts me in this world of tiring labels. Mainly because I am nothing when measured by the world. Nothing. (What an honor!) Yes it is an honor to be measured nothing by a world of proud self worshippers. Hear me out….

I am measured entirely different by the Lord. Beloved, chosen, friend, more than a conqueror, salt and light…one little bitty sheep who is completely loved and adored by her shepherd, a daughter of the most high, the one who breathed into man a living soul when he formed him from the dust of the ground, and His hand is tightly gripped upon her, completely secure.. as though She were the only one.

All of that measures so much higher than any name/s on earth I could ever make for myself.  Let the world think what it wants of you and me, let peers think you’re
Immature, weird, unintelligent.
Let them even hate you. Jesus says they will. For his names sake. But, be glad, in fact.

It doesn’t matter what the world thinks, or what it calls you. Those things are not, and never will be what God calls you.
They are not what He sees when He looks at you. He sees His name draped over you, a crown upon your head, you are deemed royal, because He shed his blood for you and it covers every inch of you. You just remember, you don’t make your own name here, and the world doesn’t make your name. God has called you so many things and none of them measure high to the world. In fact the world doesn’t even count them.

Be proud to stand apart. You are peculiar, you got that right, but you are peculiar in the Lord. And you are measured so differently by Him! You are measured higher than any opinion by peers. So let people think whatever they want. God already values and understands you totally and completely, and has so many other names for you. Of so much more worth then any that the world would ever label you with, even theirs are all fading by the hour.

“As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.” – ‭‭Romans‬ ‭9:25‬ ‭

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” – ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:9‬ ‭

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:14-16‬ ‭

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” – Psalms‬ ‭139:14‬ ‭

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” – ‭‭Jude‬ ‭1:20-21‬ ‭

Submitted by Amelia Barr

Faith Tested is Grace Proven

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” – Romans 8:16-17

2 Timothy 3:12 tells us that “ALL who live Godly WILL suffer persecution.” They will be rejected, lied on, slandered, cursed, hurt, and hated at the least, while many will be beaten, in-prisoned, tortured, and even put to death. Yet we are told that though the severity may very, persecution, trial, and tribulation is not some remote possibility for Christians in an other country or of an other time, but that ALL true believers will face it and have to endure it if they are truly led of God’s Spirit because the first place the Spirit will lead you is into a wilderness where the faith you claim will be tested so that you can come out testifying to others of the faith you have and the grace it manifested to you in your wilderness when you stood upon it and where not shaken from it. In this will you then be proven fit for the masters use in the greater works that He desires to entrust you with. For they will surely stir up a far greater persecution against you then the former, yet will you have learned to trust God with this giant on the battle field because that you have already learned to trust Him with the lion and the bear in the wilderness, for the purpose that the impossible feats of faith preformed by you may glorify God even as Christ did.

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” – Matthew 4:1

Even Christ Himself had to endure rejection and persecution for the sake of obeying the Father’s voice and will, and it is no different for us, for the servant is not greater then His Master. If they did it to Christ, they will do it to us. So away with this false notion of an easy Christianity, a painless Pentecost, a Passoverless salvation, a sacrificeless death, and a powerless resurrection. It’s high time the modern church put down their pacifiers, their passive liars, their useless muses, their petty excuses, and pick up their cross and follow Christ down that straight and narrow path that so few are willing to walk because it’s not the easy road, it’s the broken one. It cuts the feet with every step, yet for love we ought to walk it. We will walk the wide road being cut to the heart with every step for the love of the world but we won’t walk the narrow one for the love of God.

Selfishness! It’s all rooted in selfishness. “Oh make me known like Christ but don’t make me known for what Christ was known for. Don’t make me too unconventional. Don’t make me too uncomfortable. Don’t make me too unlikable. Don’t make me too unconformable. His yoke is easy and His burden is light, I don’t really have to carry that heavy cross”…

Oh my friend of little faith, you miss the point completely. Because of love the true believer will pick up the cross in faith, then being yoked together with Christ will He then bare the burden with you and you with Him. In this will His strength make the burden light and easy to bare as His grace is shared with those who love Him enough to except the burden in faith. Once picked up in faith then and only then will His grace (which is favor and power) be poured out that you be able to carry it as a witness and testimony to others of the impossible love, strength, power, faithfulness, and glory of our God granted to us and manifested through us that it might prove us in faith and the strength of our God through us in grace. Yet none of it will come but by trusting God when you are led of the Spirit into a wilderness that no one else will understand and everyone else will reprimand.

So lay down your desire to please anyone but God, set your eyes on things eternal, set your heart on Him alone, yoke up with Christ Himself, pick up your cross in love and faith, and go in fearless grace, because that love for God cast out the fear of man. The fields are ready, the Master is calling, do you have eyes to see and ears to hear? Or will you forfeit the Kingdom in the name of comfort, doubt, selfishness, and fear?

Yes we are saved by Grace through Faith but understand that faith must be tested for grace to be proven. In this is the tree proved by the fruit that it bares, and those that be proven only, Jesus says… “the Kingdom is theirs”.

“So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:” – 2 Thessalonians 1:4-5

“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” – ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭24:13‬ ‭

Prayers for All Men

“And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.” – Acts 22:4-5

Paul (at this point called Saul) had been a very hard man, hunting, imprisoning, and even murdering the followers of Christ in an effort to eradicate them completely. Yet as he recounts his journey to Damascus where he had an encounter with Jesus, repented, and got saved, he makes an interesting statement that the Lord is drawing my attention to this morning.

Paul stated that he was going to Damascus to take those who were bound there to Jerusalem to be punished. No doubt he was referring to Christians that had been imprisoned for their testimony of Jesus. He was literally on his way to gather them and bring them to the priest in Jerusalem to be tried and most likely executed.

We all know what happened to Paul during this trip, but today my mind goes to the persecuted Christians who were in Damascus waiting for him to get there and rip them from their homeland to face execution in Jerusalem. How they surely prayed such fervent prayers for God to deliver them, yet I wonder if they (having so fresh Christ’s teachings and example) prayed for God to deliver their persecutor? Will, when we all stand before God on the day of judgment and the account of every man’s life be read, hear the story of how the prayers of these few nameless believers set on course these events that would change the world forever?

The early church and many believers around the world today face the dangerous of wicked men like Saul was, yet though they may have to keep a separation for safeties sake their prayers for them can infiltrate the most dangerous places and hearts if we will but be faithful to send them. It was too dangerous for a believer to walk up to Saul and speak the gospel to him, yet the prayers of the saints from a distance went where no man should and did what no man could. So never stop praying.

Though surely many more did, we do know for sure that at least one of Saul’s victims did indeed pray for him even while Saul aided in his death. As Stephen was martyred by stoning, Of which Saul was present, he prayed this prayer.

“And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” – Acts 7:59-60

Jesus commands us to pray for those who hurt us, use us, and persecute us. How much more does He expect us to pray without ceasing for those who just don’t agree with us or listen to us? Sure, God could have poured out wrath and sent a bear to devour Saul on the road to Damascus and delivered the believers that way. But it was far better that God pour out mercy and send Jesus to deliver Saul on the road to Damascus that he, the believers in prison in Damascus, all the thousands of lives that Paul’s preaching reached, and all the millions of souls that his writings have since reached would all be delivered through this one act. This is why God delights in mercy. Mercy is better then wrath. Pray for mercy with a merciful heart. Pray for all men, pray for the ones that need it most, for the Saul’s. After all, it’s the Saul to Paul testimonies that have the greatest impact in proving the limitless ability of the life transforming power of our Jesus. So pray, even when it’s too dangerous to get close to a person or situation, still pray. There is no distance that prayer cannot span, no heart it cannot pierce, no terrain it cannot infiltrate, no enemy too fierce. So pray, everyday, for all men.

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;” – 1 Timothy 2:1

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” – Matthew 5:44

“Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” – Matthew 18:18-20

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;” – Isaiah 61:1

“Cleaving Without Motive”

“And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept. And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me. And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.”

Ruth 1:8-17

Naomi having two daughters-in-law that lost their husbands, entreated them to return to their people and land because there was nothing she had left to offer them. You can feel the emotion in this passage that it was a hard thing to do. They all wept, Oprah had kissed Naomi, …but Ruth did not let go; she cleaved. She was clinging to love, not personal gain. I really want to see this picture pretty clearly. After having expressed that there was nothing left that she could offer Ruth and Orpah, Ruth still held on because of the deep love she had for Naomi.

While I realize that God himself has so much to offer, and already offered everything in the form of His only son who became flesh and an atonement for our sins, I want us to take an assessment of our hearts and see if (Naomi being the type of Christ; us being one of two daughter-in-laws) we could respond to God in the same way Ruth did; without carnal motives. Choosing to cleave with no expectation or even desire for personal gain!

In the gospels, you’ll find that after feeding the 5,000 with the loaves and fishes, many continued to follow Jesus, but only because of the food. It’s sad, but true that many people pursue a relationship with God for selfish motivations other than a sincere relationship. You can find the evidence of this all throughout tel-evangelism in modern “American Christianity” using God as a means for wealth, success, and notoriety. This however, is “doctrines of devils” and a complete blasphemous usage of the Word of God. Biblical standards teach us to take the lowest seat, to go without script or purse, to not seek after worldly gain but Godly gain, to lay up treasures in heaven, not on earth.

In reading this passage, I feel my heart cry, “Lord give your church the heart of Ruth!” A heart that says, “Lord, even if you don’t do anything for me, I will still cleave to you!” I heard a pastor years ago say something that really stuck with me. He said, “Lord, if you don’t do anything else for me, you saved me!” And that really got me thinking to focus in on the appreciation of my salvation, that if God ever grants any other blessing outside of that it is just a bonus! If you are saved, and have escaped the fires of an eternal hell, it’s time to cleave without any other motive than love!