Monday, July 13, 2015

Continue in the Faith

Continue in the Faith IV (Transforming the Mind)

Proverbs 23:7 - For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”

What does “thinks in his heart” mean? One explanation could be “that which has been stored collectively in one’s memory”; another (more accurately) is stored in the sub-conscious; Understanding the man’s make up is Spirit, Soul (mind, will, emotions) and body, one could say that “thinks in the heart encompasses spirit, soul, and body. He thinks it, so he believes it; he acts it, and becomes it.

Human action/reaction generally begins in the soul (mind, will, emotions), by thoughts, whether instigated by habits (automatic responses) related to our environment, current desires for gratification and/or pleasure, or spiritual inspiration. We humans are notorious for seeking and finding the easiest path to “gratification and pleasure”. That pleasure can be mental or physical. The physical world we live in seemingly provides all sorts of pleasures, but underneath the surface, the majority of them are not conducive to developing into the spiritual beings we were intended to be.

A wise man once said, “just because you believe something doesn’t mean it is true”. We can believe a lie as well as the truth! Yet we find ourselves believing things that are simply not true, or beneficial to us.

Man once believed that the earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth. Man once thought that singing in harmony was from the devil, and later that certain musical beats were straight from hell. However, God created everything (even music) and He called it good. It is how man chooses to use it that it is considered bad or evil.

Here’s something to think about:
“Your actions confirm or deny what you believe. They determine how your beliefs make a difference in your life or how they don’t really affect it at all. Many people say they believe something but lack the faith to live a life that expresses that belief… Will you live a life that never breaks out of the confines of comfortable living? Will you let fear hold you back from even trying?”  Davis, Aaron (2015-05-01). Quantum Christianity: Believe Again 

Some people talk about their lives and what they believe, yet their actions contradict what they say, revealing what they truly believe.

So the question to ask is, “What do you believe about God? Jesus? Does God exist?
“God exists whether or not men may choose to believe in Him. The reason why many people do not believe in God is not so much that it is intellectually impossible to believe in God, but because belief in God forces that thoughtful person to face the fact that he is accountable to such a God.” Robert A. Laidlaw, writer and philanthropist

The next question becomes, “How does the degree of your belief or faith influence what you are seeing or experiencing in the moment?” I have heard it said that “perception determines reception” or “reality is context dependent”.

What do you want to believe? If God doesn’t exist, then I can do anything and live any way I want to because that is life on this planet. All humans live and die, with no accountability to anything but the laws of the land. “There is no supreme being. We live and we die, and that’s the end of it”. (Some actually believe and speak these things)

Yes, you may have heard of God, you have visited a church, possibly belong to a religion, and consider yourself a Christian or even “spiritual”. You may have seen some church goers who don’t act the way your “perception” of what a Christian should be, and decided that he/she was a hypocrite and you could never be that way. (“after all, every man (person) seems right in his on eyes”)

Or maybe you deny the existence of God or a supreme being of any kind. And declare yourself as an atheist or agnostic. Better yet, you could lean towards Buddhism or Hinduism, or even Muslim, because they seem (outwardly) to pray and meditate openly…..seemingly so religious or spiritual, as if we can “see” spirit.

This state of mind is considered unbelief, and “unbelievers”.  Here’s what one writer said about unbelief:
“Unbelief will rob you of what God desires to do through you. If you allow unbelief to get in you, it will cause you to rationalize what God is capable of doing and what you are capable of doing in Christ. Rationalism is an enemy of faith and causes people to take on a mindset that says, “If I cannot prove it, if I do not understand it, then I cannot accept it.” The reason many people do not see the power of God operating in and through their life is because they are bound in a mindset of rationalism, and rationalism facilitates unbelief because intellectually we all have different capacities; therefore we all have certain limitations. There are going to be many times in your life where you will have to understand that God will desire to do things that go beyond your intellectual capacity and you’ve just got to be willing to step in faith and go with it.” Jay Haizlip, pastor of the Sanctuary Church in Southern California,

Proverbs 21:2 - “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs and tries the hearts.”Acts 14:22

“We can so easily become attached to our own ways of doing things that we forget about God’s ways. We can get so immersed in our agendas, our ideas, our vision, our desires that we forget to say, ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done.’ For some people, the greatest obstacle to getting unstuck and beginning to make progress in life is their unwillingness to change. A new thought, a new habit, a new perspective could revolutionize their present and jump-start their future, but so many times they find it difficult to change and do things a different way.” John Siebeling, Momentum: Five Keys from the Lord’s Prayer to Getting Unstuck and Moving Forward

We are in an era now where God has revealed a little bit more about Himself, and His relationship with us. The small amount of knowledge is another brick in the foundation on which we can build more confidence in His ability to lead us into and through the process of transforming our minds. The transformed mind becoming the “mind of Christ” is the reward to submitting to God the Father, allowing Him to show more of Himself to us, and filling us with His limitless power by the entrance of the Holy Spirit.

Maybe if we truly understood this next quote, we could live the life God has purposed us to live on the earth, to live in His Kingdom while here, demonstrating the works he designed us to work. Some would call it supernatural, in the God’s Kingdom it’s normal.

You are called to enter into and engage in every earthly sphere of this world with a supernatural ability to manifest what God’s kingdom looks like. You are uniquely qualified to solve problems nobody else can solve! When you do so, you “show forth the excellence of Him” and build a platform of profound credibility from which you can teach others His ways”…. Lance Wallnau

What are some steps to begin “transforming the mind”?

2 Peter 1: 2 - 11

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith ,virtue, to virtue (add) knowledge, to knowledge (add) self-control, to self-control (add) perseverance, to perseverance (add) godliness, to godliness (add) brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness (add) love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble (fall); 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
God has already given to the believer, “the “measure of faith… all believers have the same measure. However, Peter elaborates on other attributes that we are to add to our measure of faith. 

These are attributes we have the ability to develop and keep.
·       to your faith add virtue [virtue; moral excellence];
·       to virtue add knowledge [knowledge of God, Jesus, Wisdom)
·       to knowledge add self-control
·       to self-control add patience [or perseverance]
·       to patience add service for God [devotion; piety; godliness];
·       to service for God add kindness for your brothers and sisters in Christ [affection for fellow believers; L brotherly love/affection.
·       to kindness for your brothers and sisters in Christ add love [C Greek: AgapÄ“].

Notice in verse 10, “for if you do these things you will never stumble or(fall)”.  These are pretty strong words coming from the Bible. Yet Peter, by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, writes it for all to see. Many of us have been reprimanded for using the word “never” when describing human relations or our own character assessments. But in this passage Peter uses it to relay to the reader (s) that if we practice and keep these eight God-given criteria, we will NEVER fall or stumble!!!

(While meditating on the scripture references above, I asked to give me understanding regarding what they mean to us today. He answered and I think I listened close enough to remember what he said. The question’s ultimate motive was to explain how do I and others “get” these attributes. The answer was: “you already have them; just act like a person of virtue, knowledge, self control, patience, kindness, and love. You are born again and the Holy Spirit lives in you. You have the mind of Christ. All of their gifts are yours. Believe that they are in you and take action.”)

I do believe that I, and many who read this article, could do ourselves a great service by gaining “knowledge” and “understanding” regarding the development of these characteristics in each of our lives. Maybe we could reduce the number of times we stumble and fall. When I stumble or fall, it hurts not only myself, but it could cause suppose others to stumble as well. What about you?

So we continue in faith, transforming our minds, receiving the mind of Christ!

Father God, thank you for this day and for every breath we are allowed to consume, for it is only by your presence we live and have our being. By your grace we live, by your love we know of you, by your spirit we are empowered by you, and through your Son Jesus we are saved….invited into Your Kingdom and received as unblemished children through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. No human language or tongue has the ability to adequately express how great you are, nor can they verbalize the gratitude mankind could utter that would be worthy enough for your acceptance. 

As the creator of all things, you deserve more than any human words can express, yet we feel the desire in our hearts to sing your praises, and offer a simple, heartfelt “Thank You”. Let it be that our entire being, every cell, every atom, every breath, every heartbeat lives in “Thank You”, so that we are in constant contact with you. You are all knowledge and all wisdom; all mercy and all love; all grace and power. As we receive all from you, let us share it all through a continuous life of faith, love, and virtue towards others. Your word says that “we have not because we ask not”. And, “I will never leave you or forsake you”. So Father we can enter into the rest that faith in you so generously provides, knowing that when we pray, or just ask you, we already have it by faith. 

Father, we “Thank You” and look to you for all things pertaining to life and liberty as we participate in bringing your Kingdom into this earthly realm …. In Jesus name. Amen.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Transforming the Mind II (Continue in the Faith)

Transforming the Mind II (Continue in the Faith)

Acts 14:22 Amplified Bible (AMP) “.…Stand Firm in the Faith
22 Establishing and strengthening the souls and the hearts of the disciples, urging and warning and encouraging them to stand firm in the faith, and [telling them] that it is through many hardships and tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.  

Perseverance is the badge of true saints. The Christian life is not a beginning only in the ways of God, but also a continuance in the same as long as life lasts…. The world does not object to your being a Christian for a time, if she can but tempt you to cease your pilgrimage, and settle down to buy and sell with her in Vanity Fair. The flesh will seek to ensnare you, and to prevent your pressing on to glory. Satan will make many a fierce attack on your perseverance; it will be the mark for all his arrows. He will strive to hinder you in service: he will insinuate that you are doing no good; and that you want rest. He will endeavor to make you weary of suffering. Wear your shield, Christian, therefore, close upon your armor, and cry mightily unto God, that by His Spirit you may endure to the end.   Charles Spurgeon 

Mr. Spurgeon and many of the greatest spiritual leaders of times past and today, rightfully so encourage all Christians to persevere against the attacks of our ancient enemy, who also perseveres relentlessly to destroy all who believe on the name of Jesus the Christ. Historical accounts have lamented the thousands of saints who kept “the faith” unto death. Many in modern times have died for not forsaking Christ, and we in America are beginning to see attacks on Christianity almost in every State of our Union. These attacks are from enemies within and without our great country, and we must “keep the faith”, and if not, the nation perishes. Make no mistake, even though these current enemies maybe made of flesh, they are soldiers of satan (our spiritual enemy) who endeavor to destroy the saints, any place they find an opening.

However, we have another enemy more destructive than those who don’t believe in God, or whose religion denounces Christianity. Who or what could that be? Our own selves, I’ll explain.

Let’s look to the “nature of sin” that every human is born into. Even though introduced to mankind through Adam and Eve, it is the spiritual offspring of satan; a virus that has infected all mankind; even the living earth itself inherits the cruelty of sin, for it cries out for the goodness of God to once again permeate every pore of its mountains and plains; the oceans and streams. The atmosphere (the heavens) seem to be in constant search for the return of the Son of Man, bellowing out storms and winds, seemingly in futility seeking to cleanse the earth’s surface of human corruption; preparing a world worthy of His return and His preeminent presence.

By His Almighty Grace, God provided a way out for all of mankind, Jesus the Christ. Jesus removed the penalty of sin, once and for all, and offers eternal redemption for all who will believe. Perfection awaits those who accept Him as Lord and Savior, and are born again… receiving a new nature, born of God and eternally incorruptible. Perfect in a newly created spirit, enclosed in a sin ruled body, and a soul corrupted by a nature which is completely opposite of the love of God.

So what is the problem here? Why hasn’t the world changed to reflect the presence of God? Why do people seem to be more evil and corrupt as each day goes by? Why are Christians being attacked so openly? Why haven’t more Christians grown into the exact person God made them to be?

The answer to all those questions is very simple, and can be answered in the followings statements.

Scripture Reference: Romans 12: 2
Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

(Yes, I know, I’m using the reference again. God is working on me regarding the staleness of my mind)
There was a line spoken by a so called villain in one of the Superman movies, when one of his flunkies failed in an attempt to get rid of Superman. It was, “I asked you to do one simple little thing, kill superman and you couldn’t even do that”. In that context of human existence, Superman was impossible to destroy. So that very simple request was received as impossible to achieve. I think that the statement “be transformed by the renewing of your mind”, seems to be impossible to achieve by Christians in general. Yet it reveals a command written by Paul that is alive and infused with the power of the Holy Spirit, and activated by faith.

God has not only asked us to “transform our minds”, but He has given us the most powerful force in all eternity to use to overcome any difficulties in transforming our minds…. The name of His Son Jesus! All of heaven reacts to the sound of that name. Every creature, visible or invisible, recognizes that name, and must obey any demand or command spoken in that name. Every living cell in every creature knows the power in that name. The devil and all of his cohorts, know that name and shiver in fear when the Christian acts and speaks with belief in that wondrous name! They have to obey; they must obey!!!

So do you think your body, your mind, your thoughts will react to the name of Jesus? Yes they will, nothing, not even your (so you think) circumstances are immune to the power of the name. If they are not of God, then they will leave by the power of the name of Jesus! Speak to your thoughts! Speak to you circumstances! Speak to your body, because they all MUST obey the name! Command and demand that ungodly issues and situations and thoughts leave your mind in that name!! Thus begins the renewing of your mind. The more you do it, the stronger you will be, and you’ll see amazing results!! All you have to do is ask and believe!!!

Statements 2, 3, & 4

John 14: 13-14 (Expanded Bible)
13 “And if you ask for anything in my name [C asking “in my name” means acknowledging that Jesus is the mediator between God and human beings; the name represents the person], I will do it for you so that ·the Father’s glory will be shown [L the Father might be glorified] ·through [or in] the Son.14 If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it.

 Proverbs 23:7 - “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”

Proverbs 21:2 - “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs and tries the hearts.”

Scientists and psychologist have discovered that in a human’s formative years, from the womb until about 5 – 7 years old, almost all self governing values are learned, from the environment. This means from the mother’s mental condition and experiences during pregnancy through childhood development. They also attest that those experiences become subconscious in nature, and when we have certain occurrences or stimuli, our reactions are automatic, without conscious thought. These reactions can be negative or positive. In general, children have been told “no” or “don’t” approximately 25,000 times by the time they reached 18 years of age. How does that number compare to the positive statements that are made during the same time period? Is that 5 year old person still running your life? Can’t be, can it??

Time for some serious reflection! Oh, that’s a ridiculous proposition!!!! We are all grown up, mature adults!

Add to that notion, a nature that is selfish and prone to anger, jealousy, revenge, and hate, that is the “pre-born again” nature…. a person without God, then what chance does he/she have of transforming the mind? That person’s heart, without the love of God, cannot help but suffer futility trying to deal with or control these negative traits. “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he”, AND “he is right in his own eyes”.  Without God, one cannot help but sin, but Jesus gives us power over sin.

Folks, there is no human power that provides a way out of this dilemma. It is a spiritual condition that has a spiritual answer. The only permanent solution is through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Through Him, we are transformed by the renewing of our minds, by the power of the Holy Spirit and the name of Jesus!

There’s much more that could have been shared here, but it seems too long as it is. I leave you with a familiar scripture verse that may bring, at least a bit of closure.

John 16:33I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]”

Monday, June 30, 2014

I Will Never Leave You or Forsake You

I Will Never Leave You or Forsake You

The link below lists 78 verses about, “I will never leave you or forsake you”.

Here are just two verses:
Deuteronomy 31:8     
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Hebrews 13:5
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

An excerpt from Charles Spurgeon Daily Devotions - 2 Chronicles 32-31

Hezekiah was growing so inwardly great, and priding himself so much upon the favour of God, that self-righteousness crept in, and through his carnal security, the grace of God was for a time, in its more active operations, withdrawn. Here is quite enough to account with the Babylonians; for if the grace of God should leave the best Christian, there is enough of sin in his heart to make him the worst of transgressors. If left to yourselves, you who are warmest for Christ would cool down like Laodicea into sickening lukewarmness: you who are sound in the faith would be white with the leprosy of false doctrine; you who now walk before the Lord in excellency and integrity would reel to and fro, and stagger with a drunkenness of evil passion. Like the moon, we borrow our light; bright as we are when grace shines on us, we are darkness itself when the Sun of Righteousness withdraws Himself. Therefore let us cry to God never to leave us. "Lord, take not thy Holy Spirit from us! Withdraw not from us Thine indwelling grace! Hast Thou not said, 'I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day'? Lord, keep us everywhere. Keep us when in the valley, that we murmur not against Thy humbling hand; keep us when on the mountain, that we wax not giddy through being lifted up; keep us in youth, when our passions are strong; keep us in old age, when becoming conceited of our wisdom, we may therefore prove greater fools than the young and giddy; keep us when we come to die, lest, at the very last, we should deny Thee! Keep us living, keep us dying, keep us labouring, keep us suffering, keep us fighting, keep us resting, keep us everywhere, for everywhere we need Thee, O our God!"

The author illustrates what happens to a person if and when God removes His Grace from his/her life. Those who don’t know Jesus, or who are bogged down in “religion”, will find themselves leaning towards an unfulfilled life… never quite knowing Jesus, and never experiencing His love and mercy.

Thank God that this DOES NOT apply to the born again believer!!!  Although we may fail you, stumble and fall, experience sin in our lives, God has provided the only way to forgiveness, love, mercy, and eternal life. There is no need to beg! Jesus is the answer!!!!

1 John 5: 14-15 (14) This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (15) And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him.

There is no need to think that He has left, for He has said and demonstrated numerous times that “He will never leave or forsake”. He provided His only Son to eternally pay for all our sin. It is He that we turn to in faith and His works becomes ours to behold and to keep forever. Let us rejoice that we have a Savior in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose love is so enormous that it encompasses the entire world, from the beginning to the end, throughout the history of the world, and indeed all the universe(s).

Father God, the expression of “thanks” doesn’t not seem to be enough to convey our deep appreciation for what you have done for us, and all of mankind. Your love cannot be adequately explained because of our limited vocabulary, no matter what language we speak. Our minds, wills, and emotions cannot fathom the depth of your love, nor can we speak the words worthy of your grace. We can only surrender ourselves, our complete being to you, faithfully and knowingly that it is by your grace and mercy we have “our being”. We acknowledge you immense love for us, and we thank you for coming to live with us and within us, to express your essence, and to live out the destiny you have planned for us. We praise you and love you, in the precious name of Jesus, Amen!!!