Saturday, October 31, 2009

Colossians 2:8

"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

Just feel like breaking this down...a little word study

Captive - held, bound, controlled, no freedom to chose...stronghold

Hollow - without real or significant worth; meaningless, empty, fruitless

Deceptive - tending to deceive[bent towards it; intentional] or perceptually misleading[seems like the right way but, in reality its not]

Philosophy - a system of values by which one lives; a set of ideas or beliefs relating to a particular activity

Tradition - a continuing pattern of cultural beliefs or practices; a long established or inherited way of thinking or acting; custom, practice or habit

So-to bring in some of our definitions - for practical application sake, we could say:

~See to it that you are not bound to fruitless values, beliefs and practices that depend on continuing patterns of culture and the influence of the flesh- bent toward leading you down the wrong path; albeit subtly, taking your attention and affection away from Christ.~

Father, would you empower us to rise up and fearlessly walk in the way you have set before us as right. For your glory, fame and renown -In Jesus Name!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Salvation Secure - Part 6: More Confidence

A firm foundation is key to walking free and confident so, here are some more faith building passages to tuck away...

Joel 2 :32 - " And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.... there will be deliverance."

Psalm 49:15 - " But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to heaven."

Isaiah 43:11 - " I, even I. am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior."

Isaiah 45:17 - " But Israel will be saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation..." [if you are a believer, this applies to you... as believers we are grafted in... Romans 4:16; ch. 11]

Isaiah 51:6 - "... my salvation lasts forever..."

Jonah 2:9 - "... Salvation comes from the Lord."

2 Timothy 3:15b - "... salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."

Habakkak 2:4 - "... the righteous will live by faith."

Mark 16:16 - " Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved..."

John 3:15-16 - "... that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

John 3: 36 - "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life..." [ no mention of deeds or works being a requirement for salvation- just belief]

John 5:24 - "I tell you the truth [Jesus speaking], whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. " [upon belief, we are granted eternal life/ effective immediately- never to be condemned - God is incapable of lying and salvation can't and won't be taken back].

Acts 4:12 - " Salvation is found in no one [or thing] else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. [Jesus is it! ]

Ephesians 1:7-8 - " In him [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. "

Ephesians 2:4-5 - " But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved."

Philippians 2:12b-13 - "... continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to is good purpose."

Philippians 3:8-9 - " What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things, I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes form the law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. "

I John 5: 11-13 - " And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life."

Colossians 1: Jesus is redemption and forgiveness of sins...

James 2: Faith and works are married; they do not function apart from one another according to scripture...

May your hearts be greatly encouraged as you meditate on God's truth and the awesome work He has accomplished for us to be restored unto Himself...

We have an amazing God who loves us lavishly!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Salvation Secure -Part 5: UNTO "Good Deeds" not THROUGH...

1 Timothy 6:18-19 - " Command them to do good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."

We are commanded to do good and be generous as a foundational principle of a life lived by faith. When we are generous and willing to share we store up " treasure...for the coming age" -that's the heavenly reward part mentioned in an earlier post...

The ability to do good and be generous comes out of a heart work that has already been accomplished by the Holy Spirit dwelling in us -apart from Him we are incapable of it. 
The cornerstone of that foundation is Jesus Christ and His redemptive work- death on the cross, burial and resurrection. 

We don't work backwards to salvation...i.e. good works brings Holy Spirit sanctification which in turn brings Jesus to the cross and salvation and reconciliation to Father God...

It is the reverse:

Father God desired that fallen man be reconciled to Himself so, He sent Jesus to die on a cross for every mans' sin (Roman 6:23). Once  the new covenant was established through Jesus' blood, anyone who [repents, believes, confesses, receives] calls on the name of the Lord Jesus shall be saved (Romans 10:13). At the point of salvation, the Holy Spirit is given to every new believer [in full measure] as a gift from Father God to guide them into all righteousness -HE is the one who sanctifies. Through the process of sanctification -the working out of salvation- one becomes an imitator of Christ and good deeds are the product of genuine heart change and the obedience of walking in the "newness" of life in Christ.

At first glance, the final portion of that verse - "...that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." could be misinterpreted as "that they may take hold of salvation" but, really salvation[albeit absolutely essential] is only the vehicle by which we take hold of life...salvation isn't "the Life" it is how we enter into LIFE...

So, LIFE comes through salvation and the experiential aspect of that LIFE, lived out in Christ;
is made richer, purer, and more intimately satisfying through doing the good deeds the Father sets before us to do. As we seek Him, know Him, pattern our lives after Him, and become doers of His word;  we begin to have that "Abundant LIFE" he prayed we would have.

Salvation UNTO Good Deeds!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Salvation Secure - Part 4: More Grounding Scriptures

Ephesians 2:8-10 - " For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -not by works, so that no one can boost. For we are God's workmanship, created in Jesus Christ to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  [MORE ON THIS NEXT POST]

1 Corinthians 6:11 - " And that's what some of you were [ Paul is referencing the believers' old lives]. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God." 
The Spirit does the work...WASHED = blood of Jesus; SANCTIFIED = the process by which we are purified and set apart by God for His purpose - we no longer operate on our own authority; JUSTIFIED = made right, done! And the Spirit does it all buy the Father's authority through the blood of Jesus!

2 Thessalonians 2:18b -"...because from the beginning GOD CHOSE YOU to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth."

Something to note here, we were chosen by God and the Spirit does the sanctifying but, we have to participate in the work by believing. Our choice of belief or unbelief- as evidence through our actions, words and attitudes- can either help or hinder the sanctification process. If we chose unbelief then we effectively grieve the Holy Spirit and block his ability to work in and through us (1 Thes. 4:3-8; Eph. 4:30).

Friday, September 18, 2009

Salvation Secure - Part 3: Key Grounding Scriptures

Hebrews 6:17-18 - " Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, [if Jesus is your Savior -you qualify here] he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged."

Hebrews 7:22; 25 - " Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. ...therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him..."

Hebrews 10: 12-18 - " But when this priest [Jesus] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy...' Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.' "

Romans 8: 1-4 - " Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the spirit."

Romans 10: 9-11 - " That if you confess with your mouth, ' Jesus is Lord' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the scripture says 'Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.' " (Isaiah 28:16)

John 10:28 - " I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand." [Jesus speaking]

Romans 4: 7-9 ="' Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered [by the blood of Jesus]. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will NEVER count against him. '"

As far as the East is from the West; he remembers our sins no more - because of Jesus; nothing we do or don't do past the point of believing in him as Savior can alter our state of salvation or snatch eternal life from us...everything past tense is forgiven and wiped clean! We are new creations (2 Corinthains 5:17) from the point of receiving Father God's free gift on...the scripture references heavenly rewards as being connected with the fruit from our lives and works we do for the kingdom but, not our salvation (Matt. 16:27, Rev. 11:18; 22:12). 


Monday, September 14, 2009

Salvation Secure - Part 2: Repentance

DON'T MISS PART 1 BELOW....Blessings!

Father God offers salvation to anyone who is willing to receive. It requires that we not only believe and confess that belief but, first REPENT. Belief is neccessary and there must be a confession of belief but, without repentance there can be no salvation. The bible says in James 2:19, that even the demons believe and tremble... but, their belief is not unto salvation because, there is no act of repentance linked to their belief. It's the same with confession...

Repentance is the recognition that we are a sinner in desparate need of a Savior and choosing to turn and walk away from sinful lifestyles, behaviors, habits and attitudes in order to pursue God and His righteousness. This act of repentance opens the door of the heart to accept God's free gift of salvation. So, we come to a place of repentance and then are in a position to believe and confess that belief...we are drawn by God's kindness and the Holy Spirit's leading but, it isn't until a heart of repentance is present that the transaction can be made and salvation secured for eternity. 

Peters response those in the crowd on the day of Pentecost:
" Peter replied, " Each of you must REPENT of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the gentiles- all who have been called by the Lord our God." ~ Acts 2: 38-39

" The time has come, " he said. "The Kingdom of God is near. REPENT and believe the good news!" ~ Mark 1:15

" I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." ~ Luke 13:3

"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, " ~Acts 3:19

" I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. " ~ Acts 20:21

" First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.[out of a repentant heart comes the fruit of the spirit and the genuine turning is visible through action]" ~ Acts 26:20

"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regrets, but worldly sorrow brings death." ~ 2 Corinthians 7:10

" The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. " ~ 2 Peter 3:9

So the order is:

Receive..... SEALED!!!

Salvation Secure - Part 1: God's Word

As believers, the security of our salvation is tied up and completely sealed up in the cross of Christ and His resurrection. He paid the price for our sin; He brought redemption and became for us the bridge to restored relationship with Father God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Apart from him there is no way to even come into relationship with the Father (John 14:6). He is alive and seated at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 1:3). My debt of sin is fully paid and because I have called upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ - I AM and ALWAYS will be saved. This gift of salvation is available to anyone who will receive it and its FREE - no earning required!

The first thing to establish is the understanding that the Bible is the Word of God and therefore every part of it is relevant to our lives- the whole of it's counsel is true. One can not take a piece of the Word and live by it while disregarding the other parts. It must be adhered to in its entirety.

" All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 
~ 1 Timothy 3:16-17

" Your Word, O Lord, is eternal, it stands firm in the heavens." ~ Psalm 119:89

" For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow: it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." ~ Hebrews 4:12

This being established as our foundation we are ready to receive the truth of what God's Word says concerning our salvation and eternal security as believers...

In the next few day we will dig through scripture and uncover the grounding principles by which we can declare; " My Salvation is eternally secure! " and from there begin to walk in that freedom and knowledge in a way that brings glory to God and "feet" to the Kingdom...


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sow, Break up, Seek...

Hosea 10:12
"Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord until he comes and showers righteousness on you."

At first glance this verse feels something like a "works unto salvation" doctrine but, in actuality it's not...

The Amplified version states it this way:

" Sow for yourselves ACCORDING to righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God); reap ACCORDING to mercy and loving-kindness. Break up your uncultivated ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, to inquire for and of him and to require his favor, till he comes and teaches you righteousness and rains his righteous gift of salvation upon you."

This verse is about active participation -a surrendered; passionate pursuit of the Living God. Fully aligning ourselves with His intentions. Digging into His very heart and walking out His word in obedience... it is the essence of who we are as believers.
Recognizing,first, that it is He alone -through Jesus- at work within us that accomplishes anything of righteousness. God is the initiator and power source from which all righteousness comes:

"For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." - Phil. 2:13

"And [God] who provides seed for the sower and bread for the eating will also provide and multiply your [resources for] sowing and increase the fruits of your righteousness [which manifests itself in active goodness, kindness, and charity]." - 2 Corinthians 9:10

Don't miss the "-through Jesus-"part (its key)...

The Scripture says: " God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." - 2 Corinthians 5:21

It also says... "[God] who has saved us and called us to a holy life-not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,..." - 2 Timothy 1:9

So, Father God, through Jesus, sealed our righteousness and we must respond to that by actively participating with Him in the process of becoming holy as he is  a life and lifestyle that brings glory to Him in every way.

Seeking His kingdom(Matt. 6:33; Isa. 55:6; Amos 5:4), setting ourselves apart(1 Thes. 4:7) in our choices, attitudes and the way we relate to others- always being mindful that the way we conduct ourselves is a reflection to those who observe us...

we are a living map...WE WILL; through the purest most subtle example of our lives either lead people into God's presence or the polar opposite.

SOW right living so, that what you reap will produce life in you and others...

BREAK UP your unplowed ground- ready your heart and mind -be hearers and doers of the word...[be careful what you allow as influence in your life]

SEEK the heart of God -he desires genuine ; on-going relationship...

And as you do this you will begin to see the Righteousness of God shine through your life and spill out onto others...

Colossians 1:19, James 3:13

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Whole Thing-quite simply... reflect His glory in the everyday ebb and display His splendor in the mundane live life in light of the extraordinary even in the ordinary... maybe this is what it's all about...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Faithful Response of Our God...

Malachi 3:10-12 says:

" Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my temple. If you do, says the Lord of Heaven's Armies, I will open the windows of heaven to you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough to take it all in! Try it! Put me to the test!" 

This truly is an if you will, then I WILL kind of moment and one in which the Lord says "prove me"...its almost as if he's saying "I dare you! Go ahead see that I am true to MY WORD and my character" He does what he says he will do! Try it!

Give out of your abundance or out of your need...just give expecting God to show up...this is not a prosperity thing...this is a life thing...

money, time, talent...heart, mind, soul...thoughts and actions...

He says if you are faithful to my house and to do what my words says to do then my hand of favor, provision and sustaining grace and power will be upon you.

Test Him...step out there and do what he says...He will show up and pour out in your life in ways you can't even imagine!

Monday, January 26, 2009

JOEL 2...
A Call to Repentance
 12 That is why the Lord says,
      “Turn to me now, while there is time.
   Give me your hearts.
      Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
 13 Don’t tear your clothing in your grief,
      but tear your hearts instead.”
   Return to the Lord your God,
      for he is merciful and compassionate,
   slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
      He is eager to relent and not punish.
 14 Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve,
      sending you a blessing instead of this curse.
   Perhaps you will be able to offer grain and wine
      to the Lord your God as before.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Isaiah 58...A Calling Out to Those Who Say They Believe...

Isaiah 58

" ' Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. " Why have we fasted, they say, and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?" ' Yet on the day of your fasting you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You can not fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and for lying on sack cloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?"[58:1-5]

God is addressing the essence of his people's heart and actions apart from mere appearances...

He begins by declaring that His people are in rebellion even though they appear, to the natural eye, to be living rightly... seeking him...eager to know his ways...humbling themselves... 

In reality, they may give the public appearance of righteousness, but behind closed doors and in their hearts they dishonor Him and chose their own way...

" A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" kind of thing... 

" A form of godliness but denying its power [2 Timothy 3]" reality...

Putting on an air of being one thing while truly operating and thinking as another...

What we are on the inside is the reality- no matter what we portray on the outside....

This is God's desire for His people...that we live " righteous, inside -out" lives...

Lives that display His splendor and His glory from the inside-out. 

This is not religion but, relationship!

The way we do life...

When we align ourselves with God and righteous living, here's the picture and the promise...

" Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the chords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. 
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here I am. 
If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise up in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. 
The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. 
If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will finds your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob. The mouth of the Lord has spoken."[Isaiah 58: 6-14]

Seeking after God -a pure desire; evidenced in our heart motives and actions, to know the more of Him...

A steady diet of denying our own flesh and esteeming and serving others...

The essence of following "The Way"...and as we do;  

Our sphere of influence will grow, we will have favor with God and man, health, protection and provision...He will perfect everything that concerns us [Psalm 138:8] and establish us in every way[Psalm 90 & 91]!

Rise up, Beloved...follow "The Way"!

Taste and see that the Lord is good! 

He longs to sing over us...the question is -will we allow Him to?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Complete Provision...Blessing in the Hard Place...

The "Valley of Achor"...a place of hope, blessing and complete provision?

The "Valley of Achor"; according to definition, represented trouble. It is believed to be the place where the "sin of Achan" occurred and brought calamity upon the Israelites(Joshua 7). The expression "Valley of Achor" became proverbial for hardship in jewish tradition for this reason.

But, here in the following scripture we find something very different being associated with the Valley... it speaks of hope, refreshing; even blessing...

Hosea 2 :14-15

"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt."

This was a word from the Lord brought forth through the prophet Hosea of the Old Testament. In it, He [the Lord] makes it known that HE leads and allows the "deserts" in our lives. Not only does he lead us there; HE is present with us in that place - speaking life into and through the circumstance... 

The idea is that Father God is at work to will and to act according to his good pleasure and can bring joy and hope in the midst of a trial. The place of calamity has the potential to become a source of blessing! When he leads -he intends it for a life-giving purpose. 

He brings us into the hard place - the place we would not bring ourselves - to take us to the next level with Him - to get glory for Himself and position us for what it is He wants to accomplish next.  The only requirement on our part is an obedient and surrendered heart willing to hear and receive.

 In that posture, the hard places in our lives become places of growth and renewal- places of fresh perspective, reignited passion and "face-like-flint" purpose.

I like to call it the "lemonade from lemons" moment. The sweet spot in what should be a very sour place. All of God's goodness, grace, love, compassion and mercy come pouring out on you and you experience what it is to rise up and call this place blessed because you have "seen the Lord", sensed His touch and maybe even been given a glimpse of His divine purpose for allowing you to be found in the hard place...WOW!

This, my friend, is the ebb and flow of a vibrant love relationship with the Creator of the universe. It is the place of purest praise and adoration- born out of deep gratitude and absolute trust!

Out of what should be death comes a wellspring of life and sweet relationship...

Next time you find yourself in a "Valley of Achor" - look for the "lemonade stand" and drink deep! 

Your Father's love for you is an amazing thing... he is intent on transforming you into the image of His son and knows exactly what it will take to bring you there... press into Him and push through the valley together! He WILL open up the portals of heaven and blessing WILL rain down upon you! 

BE ENCOURAGED, my friend - your God is near!