Posts Tagged ‘ love ’

Atonement

To atone means to cover and every year the people of Israel collectively repented and the High Priest would go in to the Holy of Holies to atone for Israel’s sins. Then one day after hundreds of yearly sacrifices Jesus came and was the final sacrifice and we now have free and open access to God. That is the short version of the story but let’s look at the details, where love Himself is found.

Too many times as Christians we make an unnecessary division of Old and New Testament. The God of the Old is the God of the New and the law of Old was the grace of its time. When you look at the regulations in context of that time period it was God’s way of giving and showing His love. He made a distinction between His people. We read over and over God made a distinction between the Hebrews and the Egyptians during the plagues. Until the ministry of Jesus was accomplished the law represented the way of grace, when the sacrifice was completed we were able to enter fully into that grace. We must make a distinction between Galatians and Hebrews. Galatians tells us as Christians we are Blessed through Abraham and the book of Hebrews written to the Jewish people tells them it is no longer about a system of sacrifices but trusting Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice.

This brings us to what we as Christians can gain from acknowledging the Day of Atonement. Leviticus 23:26-32 NKJV  And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 27 “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. 28 And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. 29 For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. 30 And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.”

  To afflict your soul means to humble yourselves. Leading up to Atonement are the Ten Days of Awe where you seek forgiveness from those you have wronged, extend forgiveness towards other and do acts of charity. All of this prepares you for the ceremony of the Priest sending the scapegoat into the wilderness as a symbol of sin being far from God’s people.

We no longer need a scapegoat and we don’t need to sacrifice every year, Jesus is that final sacrifice. Jesus has provided us with the open access the people of Israel longed for in the Old Testament. Let us follow the words of Scripture and humble ourselves and prepare to enter Tabernacles with a pure heart and clean hands.

The last thing that is done on Atonement is you go through the Mikvah, you are baptized. Baptism is not a Christian thing, it is a Bible thing and every year on Atonement Jews enter the Mikvah to be immersed in water symbolizing newness, that the mistakes and sins of the previous year are gone and that they are offering themselves anew to God.

We can all get off track in our lives, we can miss the mark from time to time and that is why God set up His feast calendar. the Feasts are like a guardrail so to speak, to keep our relationship with God on track. So while you may not do a traditional fast or choose to be baptized, or other things associated with Yom Kippur, all of us can take time to humble ourselves before God, repent, spend time thinking on the goodness of God and renewing our dedication to God, His Word and His ways.

None of these feasts are about rules, they are about loving God and setting aside specific and special times to be with Him. This is why God classified the Sabbath as a Holy Day (holiday), so that one day each week would be specifically set aside for you and Him. To set aside the busyness of life and say God this day is for you. It refocuses us and calms us. Take advantage of the calendar God has set up, humble yourself, refocus yourself, and prepare your heart to enter in to Tabernacles, a time when His presence can be more real to us than any other.

Advertisements

Love: A breakdown of 1 John 4:9 – 5:21

Instead of writing a full blown post on God’s love and us loving others, I decided to let a particular passage, 1 John 4:9 – 5:21 (NIV) speak for itself, with a few thoughts from me.

 This is how God showed his love among us:

A –  He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

[Because of salvation we have the ability to live as Jesus did through the power of the Holy Spirit. We may mess up from time to time but forgiveness is there and strength to keep going].

B – 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

C – 13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

D – 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

E – 19 We love because he first loved us.

F –20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command:

G – Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.

H – This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.

I – In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

J – This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

K – For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.

L – We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.

M – 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.

N – 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

O –12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

P –13 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.

Q –14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

R –15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

S – 16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.

T – 18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.

U –19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

V – 20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true.

W -And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

X –21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.

[anything we put before God is an idol. Whatever we put first, whatever we think most about, that is the god of our life. If we set aside devotional time or prayer time for something else, that thing is an idol].

Passover 2017: Open Door to Freedom

The word I have received for anyone who follows this blog or reads this post is that in 2017, the Passover window for you will be a time to walk in freedom. This is the message of Passover, yes, but some of you have prayed for years to be free in a certain area, you have gotten in every single prayer line but nothing has never seemed to work – The Lord says, for those willing to walk out of bondage, you can receive complete freedom!

The Hebrews chose to come out of Egypt but there was a point in the wilderness when they said, have you brought us here to die? Let’s go back to Egypt and they listed the benefits of Egypt. It was because of this a few days journey took forty years. This is the area that we as believers can fall back into bondage’s we have been freed from. Freedom isn’t as quick as we thought, we find we have to war to stay free and instead of enduring the fight and winning victory we decide to be captured again back into the bondage of the enemy.

Passover is a spring feast because spring is the time when kings went to war in the Old Testament. God is saying I have provided your freedom through the death and resurrection but you have to be willing to face down the enemy – sometimes, if we are honest with ourselves, we are simply not willing to face down the enemy to gain victory.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 KJV “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of are warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”

After Passover we will do an in-depth series on our spiritual weapons but for this post we can all acknowledge that prayer is a weapon, worship is a weapon, the Word of God is a weapon and the words of our mouth is a weapon. We know these things, we know truth and we quote the truth shall make you free but actually the full translation in the original language is the truth that you know and that you apply will set you free. Even before that though we are missing something.

John 8:31-36 KJV ” Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

First of all, lets point out that Abraham seed was in bondage for years, that’s why God had to raise up Moses, so on that point alone they are wrong. Spiritually speaking though, they had taken the beauty of the commandments of God and made them a heavy burden. This is why Jesus said my yoke is easy and my burden is light. A rabbis teaching was a yoke and how he taught his disciples to live the teaching was called the burden. Take that in view of what Jesus was saying. Jesus came for us to experience freedom and to be sons of God not servants.

To enter freedom we must allow ourselves to change the way we view how to walk holy before God, it isn’t a hard thing, Jesus said, yoke = easy and burden = light, so come follow me.

The first step to walking through the door of freedom is to believe that one statement. We are not called to be Pharisees that manipulate and pervert the scriptures we are called to be the Pharisees that walk in the spirit of the law which is love. If you are uncomfortable being called a Pharisee, we shouldn’t be, In Jesus time that just meant someone who carefully observed the teachings of God . Yes, some people took it to extreme but don’t we have people in our day who do the same thing? When I look at the meaning of the word I would hope people would say of me that I carefully observe the teachings of God. Now, I’m not saying we need to start calling ourselves Pharisees, my point here is that we have been empowered to obey what Jesus has given us, it’s just that many of us have the wrong impression of what Jesus intended, to clear this up lets look at a few more scriptures.

Matthew 5:17-20 KJV “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Messianic commentary on verse seventeen says that Jesus fulfillment of the law which in the Hebrew means teaching of God, is to show us how to live it. With this understanding when we look at verse twenty where it says our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees can seem pretty intimidating. That is until we look at Romans 13:8 which says love fulfills the law. many religious leaders in Jesus’ day did not walk in love and they made the teachings of God hard things to do. For our righteousness to exceed the Pharisees al we have to do is walk in love.

Now what does all this have to do with Passover being the open door to freedom? Jesus loved us enough to give His life. Do we love ourselves enough to forgive ourselves for always turning back to bondage? Do we love others enough to forgive them of their wrong doing towards us? The first step of freedom is believing that we can do what Jesus said, the second step toward freedom is forgiveness; for yourself or for others. As we continue on our journey towards Passover ask yourself, who do I need to forgive and forgive them, when we do that we are taking a necessary and huge step towards our freedom.

Last week and this week both dealt with love. Love and forgiveness go hand in hand. Next week, we will talk about giving. Don’t worry I won’t be asking you to send me an offering. Giving is key to unlocking what God has for us, especially giving during the appointed times, the first of the three, which is Passover. Giving does so much, not just to the ones we give to but for us as well. So be looking forward to what God has for you next week as we continue preparing for Passover.

Following Jesus – The Way of Love

Many believers are participating in the Lenten season going up to what is called Easter but the Bible calls Passover. Lent is a forty day period of time when you give up something you normally do/partake in and participate in fasting, giving and doing charitable acts. While it is wonderful to have this forty day emphasis, it should not be the only time believers are known for giving and charitable acts.

We are a little under a month away from Passover so I wanted to take that time to prepare us for the holiest and most celebratory time of year. Whether you are doing Lent and ready to celebrate Easter or you are doing Passover, or maybe you are doing Lent and will be doing a Passover meal as well (I am). I am praying this short series will be a encouragement to you.

If you have followed the blog over the last couple of years you have probably noticed I have started teaching from a Hebraic perspective, I shared how that came about in the last series. You may be wondering why I would then say I am participating in Lent. As I said in the last series, it’s not about becoming Jewish but walking in the fullness of our faith by understanding the blessings in the feasts, the Sabbath, and understanding God’s timing. The same is true with things like Lent and saints that have been considered Catholic. Saints were made saints by the Catholic and even some Protestant churches like Lutherans and the Episcopal Church. Before they were “saints” and “off-limits” to Protestants, they were just God fearing, Jesus loving people whom were used mightily.

Ephesians 2:14-22 NIV “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

Ever since Jesus tore that wall down the enemy has been building hundreds of new walls that divide the body of Christ; Jew and Gentile, Protestant and Catholic, Evangelical and Mainline, Baptist and Pentecostal, Wesleyan and Calvinist, and on and on we can go. Do you remember the story when the disciples got mad at John the Baptist because he didn’t send his followers over to Jesus, Jesus responded if they aren’t against me they are with us. Are there certain beliefs we shouldn’t bend on, yes. Jesus said the world we would know we are His followers by our love for each other, but today’s Church is divided along so many spiritual, social, economic, race, and political lines that it is hard to see the love.

Before we can go far down the path of following Jesus we have to make the decision to love. Over the past several weeks I have been reading and studying on the Love of God. God spoke to me on a Tuesday and the following Monday I was at a Kenneth Copeland tapping where he was going to speak on miracles and the supernatural and he ended up speaking on love all three nights, confirmation.

America and the Church in America is more divided than ever. How can we walk in love towards one another if we won’t talk to one another, read books of other view points, and even make a point to understand our brothers and sisters of different denominations or political beliefs.

I am offering a challenge to each of us if we will take it:

If you’re of the conservative Christian realm, read books by progressive Christians and vice-versa, not to get mad and argue but pray a heart of love and understanding before you read. You might be surprised how much we actually agree on.

If you’re Protestant go to a place like Half-Price Books and pick up a Catholic book that peaks your interest and pray you have a heart to learn and understand as you read. If you’re Catholic find a Protestant book to read. If you’re anti-pentecostal find a book and pray for understanding, or go to a service with an open heart.

The body of Christ will never fully walk in love if we continue to allow all the enemies walls to keep us away from each other and misunderstanding one another because we won’t talk, read other books, or even visit another church from time to time. If we are to be known by our love, we have to love and we can only love if we put ourselves in that position and that begins with each one of us taking down our own walls of pet doctrines, stereotypes, racial prejudices, misunderstandings and political view points.

Will you take the challenge, will you step out of the box and ask the Lord to help you understand another part of the vast body of Christ? I have begun doing that and I can tell you it’s been transformative and some people aren’t as bad as I have been lead to believe.

Part 7: Tabernacles, Sabbath & One New Man

crossdavidAs I prepared to write the post on Tabernacles I looked at the outline for this series and felt that Tabernacles, Sabbath and One New Man needed to be combined.  Tabernacles is about entering God’s glory, Sabbath is about entering God’s rest and One New Man is about the love and unity found in Jesus the Messiah.

From the beginning of this series we have talked about how understanding the roots of our faith is not about becoming Jewish but embracing the fullness of God’s Word and God’s blessing. God is God all the time but there are specific benefits given in the Word of God about participating in the appointed yearly feasts and the weekly Sabbath rest. This is not a legalistic thing, that’s why Jesus got mad at certain Pharisees, they made the teaching of God into legalism and made it a burden instead of a benefit. The entire aim of this series is about going from seeing a burden to seeing the benefits. This is why I have grouped the last three topics together. 

Tabernacles:

Deuteronomy 16:13-15 NIV “Celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. Be joyful at your festival – you, your sons, your daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. For seven days celebrate the festival to the LORD your God at the place the LORD will choose. For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.”

Look at that last line again, and your joy will be complete. Our joy is complete in Jesus. John 1:14 in the Tree of Life version says, “And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. We looked upon His glory, the glory of the one and only from the Father, full of grace and truth.” This is Tabernacles, being with Jesus and experiencing the glory of God. In Exodus thirty three Moses asked to see God’s glory, the response was, I will make my goodness pass before you. The three feasts are all about the goodness of God and they culminate in tabernacles which is the head of the civil year and conclusion of the feast calendar.

God is God all the time but in certain seasons He wants to bring about certain things and that is why the feast calendar is set like it is. There is sun in March and in June but the heat in those months is vastly different here in Texas, why? Because of the season. It is the same way with God. Each feast brings us into another realm of experiencing God’s blessing.

Tabernacles, like Passover has other feasts incorporated with it. The Feast of Trumpets which is the sounding of the Shofar to awaken the people to celebration, the Days of Awe are days of seeking God and then the Day of Atonement which is when the High Priest went in to make the yearly sacrifice for sin which lead to the celebration of Tabernacles. The prior celebrations are designed to get us ready for us to go into God’s presence in a special way. We all have access to God 24/7 but how many times have we said it is hard to consistently make time for prayer and Bible reading and spending time with God, that’s why God instituted the feasts, so that we can have times each year that keep us on track and bring us to a higher place of relationship with Him as we progress in our lives and callings.

Sabbath:

The Sabbath is another time God has set aside for us to keep us on track to walk in His ways. God instituted a rest, a Sabbath, at the end of creation. On the seventh day God rested because He finished His work. Like many things God has blessed us with, overtime the meaning and purpose of the Sabbath rest was corrupted and made into a burden instead of a blessing. Many of the miracles Jesus did happened on the Sabbath, I believe, because Jesus wanted to reclaim Sabbath back to its purpose.

Jesus had confrontations with certain legalistic Pharisees about the Sabbath. One such event was recorded in Mark 2:23-28 NIV “One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” It is important to note that in order for Jesus to fulfill the law He couldn’t have broken it. Jesus offended their legalistic interpretation, not the biblical guidelines of Sabbath.

Many of us have viewed Sabbath through the burden of legalism and not the blessing of rest. One day a week (in Scripture, sundown Friday to sundown Saturday) God has blessed us and has intended for us to rest and be with Him and our families. The Scripture sets out very few guidelines for Sabbath, mainly do no regular work because it is an appointed day to rest. Sabbath rest usually includes a nicer meal than the rest of the week, the blessing of the wine and bread (many use two loaves to signify blessing) and family praying over one another. As Jesus said the Sabbath is for man, not man to observe legalism that steals rest.

Look at the new covenant rest in Hebrews 4:1-16 NIV “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’” And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.” And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.12 For the word of God is alive 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. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

One New Man

The Sabbath rest, the Feasts of the LORD, understanding Scripture through the eyes of a Jewish Jesus and Jewish apostles lets us know how to use God’s Word effectively as a sword and approach God’s throne with boldness. This is the essence of one new man. Jesus tore down the wall of separation and ever since then the enemy has been trying to build it back up. But look at these words from Amos 9:11-15 NKJV

“On that day I will raise up
The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down,
And repair its damages;
I will raise up its ruins,
And rebuild it as in the days of old;
12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom,
And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,”
Says the Lord who does this thing.

13 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“When the plowman shall overtake the reaper,
And the treader of grapes him who sows seed;
The mountains shall drip with sweet wine,
And all the hills shall flow with it.
14 I will bring back the captives of My people Israel;
They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them;
They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them.
15 I will plant them in their land,
And no longer shall they be pulled up
From the land I have given them,”
Says the Lord your God.”

In the tabernacle of David it was open, nothing separated Jew and Gentile and anyone could go into the holy place – that is one new man. It is at the time of this understanding that the increase of God begins to flourish! This one new man is about love and unity whether we’re talking Jew or Gentile, Catholic or Protestant, Pentecostal or mainline. When we come into the one new man revelation and understand the roots of our faith and even when denominations see how they began and become unified and loving towards other groups, we will see the Spirit of God break forth in the earth like never before. I am ready to see those days! I am ready for the body of Christ as a whole to return to how we began, for the Catholic and Protestant Church to throw off legalisms and falsehoods that have developed over the centuries and return to the faith they once knew. I am ready to see both conservative and liberal believers come to a place of loving one another and desiring to understand one another and truly believe in our hearts neither political side has all the answers, only Jesus, only us, His disciples, and the world will only know we are disciples by loving one another and fully becoming One New Man in Messiah Jesus.

Thoughts on Our Nation’s Culture

communityI’ve been thinking, praying, and reading different posts about what happened in Orlando. I’ve watched another gun control debate erupt. I’ve watched leaders ignore the Islamist extremist aspect of what happened, and I’ve seen so called Christians take this opportunity to say God did this because He doesn’t like gays.

First of all as a Christian I want to say that I am standing with the gay community. No one should be murdered for their sexual orientation. My prayers are with the family that lost loved ones and those injured for a speedy recovery.

In today’s society everyone responds to something immediately as it happens because the quicker you get it out there the quicker and more times you can get liked and shared.

I want to address more than the attack, I want to address our culture and nation as a whole. Many are angry at government and each other. Many of the reasons to be angry with leaders is justified, but I have to say as a whole I think we are losing our humanity, we are losing respect for fellow human beings. I will proudly stand with the gay community’s right to live the lifestyle they choose without fear of being beaten or murdered. I don’t have to agree with their lifestyle to support their safety.

Somewhere along the way many of us have bought into the lie that in order to be civil to one another we must agree, what page is that on?

We can look at the two major political parties and both of them are in turmoil and both of them are eating their own. I believe in large part this is due to lack of human decency in society and specifically a lack of love.

As followers of Jesus we are called to love everyone, regardless of if we agree with them or not.

John 13:34-35 ESV “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Mark 12:30-31 ESV “ And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

We need love for our fellow citizens back in our country again. We need mutual respect for those we disagree with again. Earlier this week the letter written by President George H. W. Bush to President Bill Clinton was released. It was a warm and respectful letter. The men had just fought on the campaign trail and Clinton won. These were the last words of that letter, “you are our President now  and I wish you and your family all the best”.

It’s time for us to love again. We may disagree with peoples politics, choices, religious beliefs or whatever, but we are called to love.

The hope for our nation is not President Trump or President Clinton, the hope of our nation is found in love and mutual respect for each other. The hope of our nation is found in God.

As heated as things are in this nation on every level, the election cycle is just magnifying what has been simmering for years, we need to take time to step back and love.

Love is the answer to restore our nation. Before things can be fixed politically, economically, or anything else, we must love each other.

Developing Faith for the Supernatural

bibleWe’ve all heard that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. So why is it that many believers can go to church and hear the Word yet not develop faith? There can be several reasons for this, one, faith is not being preached. The amount of permissive unbelief that is preached is astounding.

Let’s look at this verse, Romans 10:17 KJV “So, then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”. You see it’s not enough to hear a teacher teach the Word, you must continually hear. Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God.

You can hear doubt and unbelief or you can hear faith, it’s what you hear, it’s what you listen to that leads you.

Proverbs 4:20-23 AMP “My son attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. (21) Let them not depart from your sight, keep them in the center of your heart. (22) For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh. (23) Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life”.

Being a Word centered person is very key, that is why Yeshua (Jesus) endorsed the law in his teaching on the mount. He said in Matthew 5:17-20 CJB “Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. 18 Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah — not until everything that must happen has happened. 19 So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness is far greater than that of theTorah-teachers and P’rushim, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven!”

So how do we develop faith for the supernatural and live by the Word?

  1. We need to spend time in it daily, a service once a week doesnt cut it. We need to live a life of love and obedience seven days a week not just one. Jesus said, he who loves me will keep my commandments. We can’t keep what we don’t know and we don’t know what we don’t spend time in.
  2. Read books that held develop and strengthen your faith, listen to teachings. If we want to do the greater things that have been promised were going to have to have a faith level that matches those greater works. If you don’t know what books or authors to read check out the bookshelf. If you want somebody to listen to check out the links on the side.
  3. 2 Peter 1:1 says to them who have obtained like precious faith. Anyone can be a Christian. The issue is, are the Christians you are around building up your faith, are they encouraging you or bringing doubt into your life? In order to develop faith for the supernatural we need to be around people that speak faith more than doubt. Our close friends need to be people of faith in the Word not sometimes He does, sometimes He doesn’t.

I know these are all things we have probably all heard before, but it’s not what we’ve heard its what we hear and act on.

It is my prayer that these three things being done in your life will help you begin to walk in new levels of faith and seeing the works of the word manifest in your life.

A Message for Young Women (and it’s not what you think)

fatcuttingYes, I’m a guy writing a message to women and no, it’s not about modesty. Yes, I believe modesty is important but I want to encourage in another way.

It’s ok not to be light pole thin. That’s my message. In a culture where most young women feel pressured by fad diets and edited pictures on magazines it’s time a guy comes out and says not everyone has to be skinny. (I’m sure other guys have written this but this has been on my mind lately).

A few weeks ago Kim Kardashian tried to “break the internet” with her fake self. My heart breaks for her, she has been so consumed by a celebrity culture that she feels she has to do something like that.

All I want to say is this, you can be healthy and attractive without having to be pencil thin, with raised cheeks or anything else. If I can say anything to you that you will receive, I want you to receive this, You are BLESSED and you are released to be who you are created to be. I break the bondage of false imaging over you right now in the name of Jesus!

Every young woman deserves to know they are created in God’s image and that image is not every girl being skinny with blonde hair and blue eyes.

If you want to lose weight that’s great but don’t allow bondage to be put on you and don’t allow the enemy to put a false image of what’s pretty in front of you via a magazine cover.

I know this isn’t deep, I’m not trying to be deep, I simply want to say it’s ok to be yourself, it’s ok not to be like the magazine cover or the TV commercial. Be yourself, that’s who God, your Father created you to be.

Be you inside and out!

If you have a hard time being you. If you constantly feel the need to lose weight (even when your thin), if you constantly feel insecure about what you look like physically ask to see yourself through the Father’s eyes.

My prayer is that today you receive freedom from the bondage of false imaging and anything else you struggle with.

The Word of God says you were made in His image and His image is not a magazine cover, be free to be yourself!

***

Like I said this wasn’t deep just what was on my heart. If you are a young woman reading this I want to say God has made everyone different, don’t rob the world of yourself trying to be someone else. You were created to BLESS and you can’t do that trying to be someone else. God loves you and He wants you to love and accept yourself. When you do that others will see you the way you see yourself. I hope I have encouraged you and in some small way you have sensed the love and acceptance of your Heavenly Father.

Part 6: The Actions & Attitude of Love

imageToday I am going to pick up the Mountaintop Motivations series based on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The overall theme in today’s three sections will be love.

Let’s begin with Matthew 5:33-37 NKJV “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”

The issue here is not that Jesus didn’t want people making promises, the problem was the Pharisees had so mangled what promises did and did not have to be kept solely based on how things were worded that Jesus is basically telling people just do what you say.

The religious leaders tried to make things way too religious, if you say something, you should mean it and do it without having to attach God to it. Jesus was encouraging honesty out of love for your neighbor. This takes us to the greatest commandments, love The Lord your God and your neighbor.

This coincides with the next saying of Jesus as well in verses thirty-eight through forty-two. “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.”

We need to notice the absence of love of how commands were carried out. The eye for an eye regarded servants, yet we know another passage states at the time of release a servant can choose to stay thus becoming a member of the household. That is love. Everything Jesus is talking about is love. Now this doesn’t mean we allow people to walk all over us. But let’s think about that for a moment, if our first thought is, I’m not going to let people walk all over me, do we really have a heart of love? If we have the attitude of servant, would we make a different statement?

I believe Jesus answers that in this last section of chapter five.

Matthew 5:43-47 NKJV “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?”

Doesn’t that just hit us right between the eyes?! Jesus said our behavior is no different from an unbeliever if we don’t walk in love. I think we need to sit and ponder this for a minute, if we don’t walk in love we are no different than an unbeliever.

Why don’t we take the time right now and repent of the areas we have not walked in love and ask The Lord to help us walk in love.

Some of you may be reading this thinking, Casey, this is impossible. How can I walk in love like that, how can I have a heart of love like that?

The answer is in verse forty-eight, Therefore you shall be perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Wait a minute Casey, I can’t be perfect. Not perfect in every action, not mistake free, but perfect in love, a holy heart, a sanctified life.

People tend to look at Matthew 5:48 as something we should strive for but cannot obtain in this life. Let’s look at other Scriptures that assure us that heart purity not only can be obtained but that it’s God’s will for us.

Psalm 51:7-10 NKJV “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Ezekiel 36:24-29 NKJV “For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you.”

Jesus prayed in John 17:17 that we would be sanctified.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 NKJV “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 NKJV “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”

Lastly, 1 Peter 1:15-16 NKJV “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because as it is written “Be holy for I am holy.”

It is clear that the perfection mentioned at the end of Matthew chapter five is not some high and lofty unattainable goal. Why would we believe Jesus would set forth a goal that would be unattainable? On the contrary that is the work of the Holy Spirit known as the baptism or infilling.

Acts 15:8-9 NKJV “So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as He did to us and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”

The purpose of the infilling of the Spirit is to purify our hearts (to sanctify us) and help us live a holy life.

John Wesley said this concerning Matthew 5:48′ “therefore ye shall be perfect; as your Father who is in heaven is perfect” “- So the original runs, referring to all the holiness which is described in the foregoing verses, which our Lord in the beginning of the chapter recommends as happiness, and in the close of it as perfection.”

Notice here, that Wesley says holiness is happiness. I believe this is very key in our culture today. When many teachers are saying our happiness can be found in the fact that God delights in giving us stuff, there are plenty of people that have stuff without happiness. Stuff can never bring happiness. A sanctified heart and life that is independent of the need for stuff can be happy with or without that “stuff”. To focus only on the wealth or healing or relationship that God will give you can actually lead you away from God himself.

If we are honest with ourselves and what we in the American Church have become accustom to it is a “gospel” of comfort with no real trial or hardship. We will have hardship and we won’t always be delivered of it.

Don’t get me wrong I do believe God takes care of his people but when our focus is centered on the wealth and the stuff and the miracle that God can give us we will become miserable.
The focus of the Word of God is never the stuff we can get but a life of love and servant heart.

Much of American Christianity has become a message of how to accumulate stuff to make God attractive to others. Let me make this clear, God is attractive on His own and if a nice car and a nice house and a big bank account is attracting someone to Jesus, it is not the suffering servant Jesus but a false Jesus who exists only to meet our needs.

The American Church needs to return to a servant gospel. We need to return to love and humility and I will say this we need to raise up holy pastors not hoarding pastors.

How I pray that American Churches become holy churches, not churches that see how close to the line they can get.

I pray each of us will heed the words of the last verse of the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew and be perfect as our Father is perfect.

Heavenly Father, fill us with your love, speak to our hearts and change our lives. May we walk in holiness and become more like Jesus everyday. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

—-

Some things to think about:

What are some ways you can live a servant lifestyle in your community?

Even though it was a brief assessment of the American Church, what parts do you agree or disagree with?

Does the focus and or messaging or parts of your local church need to change?

Part 5: Two Enemies of Love

imageToday I will be picking up the Mountaintop Motivation Series which is based from the Sermon on the Mount.

We will be discussing matters of the heart once again today, we will look at a topic most people like to avoid, lust. Lust is something everyone deals with and it should not be as taboo in the church as it is.

Let’s look at the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:27-28 NASB “You have heard that it was said, YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; (28) But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Most people think it is impossible to go through this life without having lust on a regular basis, I disagree with this. Anyone can be tempted but that is not the same thing as walking around with lust in your heart.

One of the privileges we have as born again people is having a new heart within us, we do not have to be bound to lustful thoughts, glances, and feelings.

Job 31:1, 12 AMP “I DICTATED a covenant (an agreement) to my eyes, how then could I look [lustfully] upon a girl? (12) For [uncontrolled passion] is a fire which consumes to Abaddon (to destruction, ruin, and the place of final torment); [that fire once lighted would rage until all is consumed] and would burn the root of all my [life’s] increase.”

When we truly understand that, not with our heads, but with our hearts and spirits, it will change the grip lust can have on our minds and lives. Philippians 2:5 says let the mind of Christ be in you. Thessalonians says renew your mind by the washing of the water of the Word and Philippians 4:8 tells us what to think about.

I am convinced by the reality of the Word and my own experience in this area that the reason why people don’t get victory over lust (or anything else) is because we simply choose to yield to it and not resist.

James 4:7-8 tells us to submit to God first, then resist the devil and he will flee. Too many people try to resist the devil without first submitting to God. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you, cleanse your hands and purify your hearts you double minded.

Notice, we first have to submit to God before we can ever resist the devil. We must draw near to God before He draws near to us. Notice that we are told cleanse our hands and purify our own hearts, it is not something God does, we must take the initive to do it.

Now this is not an issue of salvation, Christ cleanses us at salvation but as we walk after that we must cleanse ourselves.

We must take away the excuse we have given ourselves of well we just lust it is a normal thing. Allowing lust to continue is not the normal of the Christian. To defeat it we must first submit to God, we do that through prayer and the Word. Then we must resist the devil, we do that by recognizing how he moves.

James 1:14-15 NKJV “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. (15) Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

Scripture constantly talks about how the flesh wars against the Spirit, this is why Paul said he daily crucified his members. We must watch, look, and listen – NOT for the enemy but Jesus.

Hebrews 12:2, Fix your eyes, your gaze on Jesus. Many Christians are so focused on the enemy that’s how they are overcome by him. what we watch becomes big to us, this is why, even though no one would say this, the devil is bigger than God in the minds of many Christians. We need to get in the Word, we need to rehearse past victories, we need to get a big picture of God on the inside of us! For greater is He that is on the inside of me than he that is in the world! No weapon formed against me shall prosper and every tongue that rises against me in judgement I will condemn!

It did not say a weapon wouldn’t be formed it just says it wont prosper! This is why we need to become familiar with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God and take up our shield of faith.

If we will cast down the thought of sin it wont have time to conceive, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 and you know that if there is no conception there can be no birth!

Let’s turn back to Matthew 5:29-30 NASB “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (30) If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts, than for your whole body to go into hell.”

This is not talking about literally cutting off body parts put getting rid of the things that cause you to stumble.

Put safe guards around you. If you are addicted to doing things on the computer set a time limit for how long you can be on. If you watch to much TV set the timer. Choose this day whom you will serve. God will not and cannot choose for us we must make the quality decision to cleanse our hearts and after we have cleansed our hearts some may need to literally cleanse their homes of the things that cause them to stumble.

Don’t allow yourself to buy into the lie of the enemy that we must always struggle with sin, what do we think Christ came to do? Just punch our tickets for Heaven?! NO!, He came to give us life and life more abundantly! This is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith!

Denounce the lie, get in the Word and get the Word in you and walk this life of victory over sin, shame, sickness, and shambles.

Now, let’s switch gears a little, Matthew 5:31-32 NASB “It was said, WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE; (32) but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Another passage says, that in the beginning divorce was not so but Moses allowed a divorce certificate because of the hardness of heart.

I’m not going to say to much on this subject, except to say; yes, there is healing after divorce, but in todays society it has become to easy and done for too many loose of reasons, instead of healing after divorce, why not try healing before you get to the divorce discussion.

Many churches advertise divorce care groups, and I am not against that but in many of these same churches I do not see martial counseling advertised as much. If we will allow God to work on our hearts we can defeat both lust and divorce.

God has a great plan for each one of us and it includes victory over sin and marriages full of love. There is no condemnation for the divorced persons but love. However, for those who feel close to that point, healing can be had and divorced stopped.

Today let each one of us repent of things we need to repent of and commit ourselves and our hearts a fresh and anew to God and ask for a fresh filling of the Spirit.

Part 4: Anger Apprehends Advancemet

imageToday we begin a five part mini series within our mountaintop series. Today Jesus flips the switch on how the law was viewed, He takes it from outward action to inward motivation.

Matthew 5:21-22 NKJV “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ (22) But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”

Jesus takes the act of murder and boils it down to what it is really about, anger.

How many times, in anger, have we said “I’ll kill you” or “I’d like to slap the fire out of that person”. Now all of us will say we would never actually kill anyone, that Jesus’ point.

You see the religious leaders and I’m sure others felt they were righteous because the kept the law. Do you remember the story of the rich ruler who came to Jesus and said I want to be saved. Jesus responded, keep the commandments. The guy followed that with a hardy I have kept them since I was little. Jesus then asked him to surrender what he trusted in, in this case he trusted in money, for you it may be something else. The point is the man went away with a heavy heart because he wouldn’t surrender his heart to Jesus.

In Jesus going from murder to anger, He took away everyones (including ours) self-righteous security blanket. In another place Jesus called religious people white-washed tombs. You look good on the outside but you inside, you heart is black, filthy, vile, and disgusting, not worthy of the presence of God.

Right actions or abstinence from “the big sins” doesn’t mean much if our hearts are far from God.

Yet, Jesus doesn’t end here, verses twenty-three through twenty-six, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, (24) leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (25) Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. (26) Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.”

Scripture says God loves and accepts the gifts of a cheerful prompt to do giver.

Remember the Cain and Able story, anger arose because he didn’t give with a right heart, he waited till the end. He then became upset at his brothers blessing and murdered him.

Malachi 3:10-11 NKJV “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. (11) “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts;”

Do you see the correlation of giving and BLESSING. Remember the context of Matthew five, it is about the spirit in which the gift is given. If we give in anger, the devourer(the enemy) won’t be stopped. Anger has the ability and does apprehend our advancement.

I’m not giving a financial message here, the entire purpose of Jesus’ illustration is on reconciliation and forgiveness.

Jesus said we are to love one another. I have a question for each of us, is there any anger in your heart, any unforgiveness? If so go to the Lord today, if possible, go to that person and make things right. Ask for and give forgiveness today.

When we walk in anger we close ourselves off from fellowship with God, none of us want that. Choose to walk in freedom today by giving forgiveness and walking in love.

Father I ask that you would speak to our hearts and show us of any anger in our hearts so that we may make things right and begin walking again on the path of love you have called us to. In Jesus name, Amen.

Part 3: An Introduction to the Law of Love

image There is a very dangerous teaching in the Church currently, a teaching deemed “hyper-grace”. I do believe those under grace are not under Old Covenant law, however, I do believe grace comes with it’s own law, love.

Jesus said this, “A new command [law] I give you that you love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength and that you love your neighbor as yourself.”

Another command that carried over was the command of holiness, the difference of that holiness is only in how it is now accomplished. In the Old Covenant you were called holy by keeping the law (which had over 600 articles). In the New Covenant holiness is the law of love.

We will get more into this even in the coming weeks, for right now, let’s go to Matthew 5:17-18 NKJV “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”

It is important to understand that Jesus was not coming to do away with the law but to fulfill it.

The purpose for Old Covenant sacrifices was to be in right standing with God. Because of Christ’s death on the cross we no longer bring animal sacrifices because Christ’s death was sufficient.

Yet, even with no more animal sacrifices, the moral law (the Ten Commandments) still serve as a roadmap to believers. Don’t make the mistake that I am saying we are justified by law keeping, we aren’t, and no saint of the Old Covenant was justified through law either, but by faith in the coming of the Messiah.

Matthew 5:19 NKJV “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

We also need to remember that Jesus ministered under the Old Covenant and not the New. He was establishing the grounds of the New Covenant in His teaching. The New Covenant is a better covenant with better promises, Hebrews says.

The only thing the New Covenant replaces from the Old is the ritual law. Under grace it is no longer about performance but our love walk. Yet even though it is about love, Jesus said, if you love me you will obey me.

Just because Old Covenant law is no longer over us does not mean the principle is gone. Jesus kept the principle [Spirit] of the law and did away with the letter [legalism] of the law.

We will get into this in detail in the coming weeks.

Matthew 5:20 NKJV “For I say unto you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”

How does our righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Pharisees? By having a righteousness that flows out of love and not law.

Jesus said of the Pharisees, these draw near with lip service but their hearts are far from me.

It is the Pharisees that got mad at Jesus for healing people. How stupid is this?! How can you get mad for Jesus making people well?

I’ll go a step further and say it is the Pharisees [religious] of our day that say God uses sickness instead of heals from it. It amazes me how many Christians get mad when somebody teaches on healing.

They’ll say things like, we don’t always know what God’s will is… go to Matthew chapter eight, we can settle this right now.

Matthew 8:2-3 NKJV “And behold, a leper came and worshipped Him saying, “Lord IF YOU ARE WILLING, You can make me clean.” (3) Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him saying, “I AM WILLING; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.””

Religion would rather look at the God of judgement than the God of joy. Hebrews 1:9 says Jesus had more joy than all of his companions. Sickness doesn’t bring joy, debt doesn’t bring joy, divorce doesn’t bring joy to families.

And don’t say, well all things work together for good! SICKNESS IS NOT GOOD, IT’S UNDER THE CURSE! Don’t say God uses everything, listen, God can use anything, but that doesn’t mean He wants to or He is supposed to.

I believe the reason God “uses” sickness is because believers have been sold a line of garbage and don’t claim healing, even when they pray for it, faith isn’t there, belief that healing will happen is not present in the life of the believer.

The reason I titled this the Law of Grace is because people believe grace doesn’t come with law, it does.

Matthew 5:48 NKJV “Therefore, you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect”.

 

John 5:14 NKJV “See you have been made well. Sin no more, lest something worse come upon you.”
Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV “Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

1 Peter 1:15-16 NKJV “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, (16) because it is written, “Be holy for I am holy.”

Grace is not religion, it is not being bound by law, it is being freed to live under God, apart from bondage to sin and being joined to a life of holiness in Christ.

John 8:34-36 NKJV “Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.””

The entire purpose of grace is holiness, not the ability to live like we want. Grace is not freedom to live on the edge of the world. Grace is running into the Kingdom of God.

Lots wife became salt because her feet were leaving, but her heart was still in the city of sin.

saints, it’s time for us to leave the world, it’s time for us to be a holy people. A Word was given shortly after the year began by Cindy Jacobs, in this word she declared in 2014 the message of holiness would rise again in the Church, that those who had not preached it would learn it, receive it, and teach it.

My friend I believe in the supernatural and I want to see it happen on a regular basis, but if we have the supernatural without holiness we will fall.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus said many will come in that day saying Lord, did we not do miracles, prophecy, and cast out demons. Jesus response is I don’t know you, depart from me.

Jesus didn’t say this because He was against miracles, He said this because He is against miracles without the lifestyle of holiness. The gifts of the Spirit mean nothing without the fruit of the Spirit.

It is time to have a return to holiness, only then will we see the corresponding flow of the gifts in the proper manner. It is when we have holiness that we don’t compete over and with the gifts.

I wan’t to see the move of the Spirit but that move only comes with holiness of heart and life.

Make no mistake though, holiness is pointless without miraculous manifestation.

Why do I say that? Because that was the Pharisees, they got mad at Jesus for the signs He did.
The devil doesn’t care if you live holy and go to church once a week, he cares if you take holiness with demonstration to the world.

Don’t be whitewashed tombs like the Pharisees, walk in purity and power.

Let’s not be Pharisees and let’s not be hyper grace either, let us be biblical believers that walk in holiness and have signs follow us because of that.

To those who emphasize holiness without the supernatural, pray and ask God to deliver you of the fear of the moving of the Holy Spirit. Tear up the order of service and say Holy Spirit have your way. Don’t speak against gifts you don’t understand ask the Holy Spirit to teach you of what you don’t understand. Most importantly don’t believe the lie that the supernatural takes away from holiness.

To those who emphasize the supernatural without holiness, return to the message that Jesus preached, a message of Spirit flowing from holiness. Emphasize the importance of right living and don’t compromise the Church through allowing people to minister in sin. You believe in transferable anointing, so don’t allow an alcoholic or an adulterer, or a pornographer to transfer the spirits that are on him. Call your people, call yourself, call your friends to holiness.
The next five messages in this series will go deeper into the subject of the law of love and how it is a law based from the heart and not duty alone.

 

The Law & Love of God

dtThe law and love of God are synonymous.

Hebrews 12:6-7, 10b-14 NIV “because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 10b “They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. 14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”

Too many times the love of God is separated from the law of God. The word law, while it is a positive thing, most of the time comes with a negative connotation. However, as we see in this passage, God’s law is meant for our good.

Instead of looking at the Bible as the do’s and do not’s of life look at in the way God intends. He wants us to have a good life, He wants us to enjoy the life He has given us and walk holy before Him.

There are a couple of things we see from this passage, the first I want to look at is this, because God loves us He disciplines us and He gives us rules (ex. The Ten Commandments, Sermon on the Mount, etc.) In hopes that we will obey and He will not have to discipline us. Parents set rules for their children not to make life miserable and to take away fun but for their child’s betterment and protection.

God is the same way, because Jesus came that we may have and enjoy life, abundantly, to the full (John 10:10) the scriptures outlines commands so that we can have that abundant life and not be in bondage to the world, the flesh, and the devil.

We don’t go to a holiness church and ascribe to holiness theology for a list of “thou shalt not’s” We live a holiness understanding because it is that understanding that tells us we can be free from the bondage, acts, and drive to sin.

Secondly, we see that discipline and the command to live holy is a benefit to us. A benefit of peace for those of us who will be trained by the Word.

Psalm 119:9-11 NIV “How can a young person stay on the path to purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commandments. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

1 Timothy 3:16 NIV “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness”.

The Bible says the one who keeps his mind on the Lord will be kept in peace. The law and love of God should never be separated and grace should never be used to nullify the law of God.

Because God loves us, He gives us the law. Jesus said in John fourteen and fifteen; if you love me you will obey me.

The law of God is the love of God and the love of God is the law of God.

%d bloggers like this: