Saturday, August 25, 2012

An Early Inheritance

Have you ever been in a place where you wished that you could get an early inheritance?  My husband and I have several times in our fifty-four years of marriage been in need of an early inheritance.  There were times when he was out of work and we are able to receive a small early inheritance to help us get back on our feet. I remember thinking, "I am glad that we didn't have to wait until after my parents died to receive any inheritance., we need it NOW!"

Living in a fallen world, we need an early inheritance from our Lord to enable us to survive the ever growing  darkness. We believers live in enemy territory.  We are in the world but not of it. Jesus said that the prince of this world comes but He has nothing to do with him and neither should we.  We are hidden in Christ in God and protected from the evil one.  This world is NOT our home.  We have been bought by the precious blood of Jesus and we DON'T  belong to this world any more.  We belong to Christ and His Kingdom.  In this world we are surrounded with darkness that wants to keep us in bondage and destroy our faith. That is why we need an early inheritance to secure are journey in this world until we arrive safely home.

I believe our early inheritance is the PERSON of the Holy Spirit. In the early days of my faith I didn't realize how important the person of the Holy Spirit was to keep me in this world from evil, sin and destruction. I had to learn the hard way many times, but it was always the Holy Spirit who met me and pointed me back to Jesus. 

When I think about it, if it wasn't for the gift of the Holy Spirit all I would have is Christianity or religion.  Ephesians 1:13-14, "we were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it." Another way of saying it is, " the Holy spirit is a taste of earnest or an early inheritance until we receive the full inheritance."  But until then, we have ALL the power we need for life and godliness in the person of the Holy Spirit.

For instance, you have a health issue and the doctors are not hopefully.  The Holy Spirit always has the LAST word for a believer.  Jesus is our  healer and the Holy Spirit brings the word of God to bear. Without the Holy Spirit in us and with us, we would not know how much the Lord loves us and desires to heal us.  Sometimes, physical healing will come as the Holy Spirit heals our broken heart and delivers our soul from rejection, anger, jealousy or bitterness.  We have no idea how much the Holy Spirit desires to help us, if we ONLY we would let Him. As believers He is are only connection with the Father and our Lord.  Without Him we know nothing.

In the following post I am going to share our inheritance in Christ and how we can draw on it by faith through the person of the Holy Spirit. The Lord has so much to give to us through the Holy Spirit if ONLY we would acknowledge and believe His life is in us NOW (Romans 5:5). 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Freedom from Shame

I would like to share a very 'special ' story that was sent to me about SHAME.  This dear woman has experienced significant shame in this life, and for many years it became her identity until she received this dream/vision from the Lord that set her free. She tells it in form of a story.  I pray this will be as meaningful to you as it has to me.

"This is a story of a dirty, bruised, ratty looking woman in torn cloths.  She is sitting on the floor of a prison cell with shackles around her neck and feet.  She is thrashing herself against the wall, throwing herself on the floor and hitting herself repeatedly.  A guard comes in and takes her to a courtroom.  She still is picking at her wounds when the judge tells her to look up at him.  Because of her shame she can barely make eye contact, but looks up and as their eyes meet the judge says "You are in contempt of court young lady.  I have sentenced you to freedom, your punishment is over and your sins have been paid for, yet you reject freedom and continue  to punish yourself."  She bows her head feeling even more shame, expecting a new sentencing of harsher judgement.  But the judge says to the guard, "Set her free.  It is for freedom Christ has set you free, now be free!"  The guard walks over and in his hands is a key.  Her eye catches a glimpse of it and she sees it is in the shape of a cross. The guard takes, the key and unlocks the shackles around her neck and feet.  She feels a weight being lifted and she begins feeling a freedom she has never known.  She can breathe and walk, and she can lift her head up and freely move about.  Then the judge says, "Bring her something to eat.  Bring her water to cleanse in and new clothes."   The judge gets down from his bench and helps her wash the dirt away, carefully cleaning each wound.  He helps her remove her dirty and torn clothes, and as she stands there naked the shame rises up again.  He looks at her in her nakedness and says, "Put this on."  She looks and he is holding a beautiful robe like a gown and he wraps it around her.  He combs her hair and pulls it away from her face, while placing a sparkling gold crown crown on her head.  The judge then hands her a slip of paper.  She asks "What is this"?  He says "This is your new sentence.  You are no longer a prisoner, so no longer a slave to sin, no longer unworthy , no longer  rejected and no longer fatherless.  You are being given a new life.  You are being adopted. You are a new creation with a new name, a new father and a new inheritance.  He then invites her to sit and eat with him. He says, "Eat this piece of bread for it is my body broken for you." He then hands her a cup to drink and says, "Take this cup".  As the wine slides down her throat and past her heart she feels a purity like never before. He then hands her a cup of water and says, "Drink this water and you will never thirst again, for it is living water to your soul."  She drinks deeply, shame lifts and love pours in like a river.

I loved that story.  Jesus loves us and will not let shame ruin our lives any more.  We belong to Him and just as He carried us to the cross to deliver us, He will carry us home to be with Him forever.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

He took our shame

Have you ever been ashamed of something you did or something that was done to you? Recently, I have been thinking about SHAME  and its  effects on our identity in Adam compared with our identity in Christ. To live in SHAME can be extremely pain and hard to deal with as a Christian, if we don't know who we are in Jesus Christ and NOT in ADAM. Satan is a liar and he can not hold us in bondage to this world, our flesh or anyone through SHAME.

Adam brought shame into the human race when he CHOSE to sin and BROKE THE IMAGE of God in man. Our identity in Adam is extremely shameful.  We all have fallen short of the glory of God, and I only know one way to overcome SHAME  and that is to to see it for WHAT it is! "THE GLORY OF GOD EXCHANGED FOR MAN'S PRIDE.  Satan LOVES to perpetuate SHAME, especially in the children of God, and  he is very successful, if he can get away with it. That is why our new identity in Christ is SO important and to be thrown into the face of Satan. He hates us and that is a good thing, because God LOVES us and there is no SHAME IN CHRIST.
Jesus came into the world to deal with man's sin of SHAME and restore us back to His Father. I believe that we all, apart from Christ, have experienced shame to some degree or another, but I have talked with women who have really had to deal with EXTREME shame from their past and it has broken my heart to hear their pain and their struggle for an identity that has been lost because of SHAME.  They think shame is their identity and that is deceitful.

Our Lord is a wonderful counselor. I have seen Him reach deep into the hearts of women who have been tragically bruised emotionally as a child and  the Lord has delivered them and healed them emotionally.  The memories may still exist , but the emotional pain is gone. They truly have been delivered from the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of Light by the power of God. 

If you are still dealing with shame as a believer, I would encourage you to look Satan straight in the face and say, "Take a good look devil, my SHAME is on Jesus Christ.  He bore MY SHAME upon Himself by BECOMING A SHAME before the whole universe on the cross and because He is resurrected from the dead, He OVERCAME MY SHAME and I am FREE.  His blood has cleansed me, delivered and healed me.  I have been brought with the blood of Jesus and I have a NEW IDENTITY.  I am ----------(name), son/daughter of the living God and I am a NEW CREATION IN CHRIST AND BEHOLD ALL THINGS HAVE BECOME NEW. I am completely forgiven; past, present and future. SHAME you must bow in the NAME OF THE LORD JESUS. Leave my body and soul immediately and wait your judgement."

Brother and sisters, there is nothing to be ashamed of any more. If you ever feel ashamed quickly recognize it as from the "pit of hell" and turn to our Father and thank Him for restoring His glory to us through His Son. Now that is SOMETHING TO PONDER!!!

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the POWER (Holy Spirit) at work IN us, to Him be glory in the CHURCH, (true body of Christ) and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever, Amen."Ephesians 3:21

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Old Covenant of Law vs. The New Covenant of Grace

Under the old covenant of law                                           Under the new covenant of grace

God demanded righteousness from man.                             God imparts righteousness to man
                                                                                         through the finished work of Jesus
                                                                                                  (Romans 4:5-7)

God will visit your sins to the third and fourth                       God will by no means remember your sins

generations. (Exodus 20:5)                                                           (Hebrews 8:12;, 10:17)

The children of Israel were blessed only if they                     Believers don't have to depend on their   
obeyed God's commandments perfectly--                            self-efforts  to receive God's blessings,
inwardly and outwardly, (Deuteronomy 28:13,14)                because Jesus fulfilled every one of the
                                                                                            requirements of the law on their behalf
                                                                                                       (Colossians 2:14)

The children of Israel were cursed if they did not                  Believers can enjoy God's blessings and          obey God's commandments perfectly.                                  and undeserved favor because Christ became
(Deuteronomy 28:15-1618,20                                             a curse for them on the cross.(Galatians 3:13)

Depending on self-efforts produces behavior                       Beholding the loveliness of Jesus and His
modification without heart transformation.                            finished work brings about inner transformation,
                                                                                          which produces good works that are motivated 
                                                                                          by God's love. (2 Corinthians 3:18).

The blood sacrifices of animals covers the sins of                 The blood of Jesus has removed the sins--
the children of Israel for only one year, and the                     past, present and future--of believers,
process had to be repeated every year.                                completely, and perfectly, once and for all.
(Hebrews 10:3)                                                                   (Hebrews 10:11,12)

Obeying the law could not and did not give the                     Sin has no dominion over believers.(Rom.6:14)
children of Israel the power to stop sin in their                       as the power of Jesus to overcome
in their lives.  The law has no power to make anyone             temptation kicks in when they are conscious
holy, just and good.                                                               that they are righteous in Christ apart from their
                                                                                            works. (Romans 4:6)

The children of Israel were robbed of their confidence           Believers can have a tremendous sense of
in the goodness of God because they were always                 confidence and security in Christ because
looking at themselves to see how well or poorly                     they are now looking to Jesus and not
they performed (i.e self-conscious)                                        themselves. (i.e. Christ- conscious)

The children of Israel could not have an intimate                    Believers can enjoy a close, intimate,
relationship with God because their unrighteousness               relationship with God as their Father by faith 
put distance between themselves and God.                            in  Jesus. ( Corinthians 5:17; Romans 5:7-9
                                                                                            (Hebrews 10:10)

The children of Israel could not enter the Holy of                   Not only can believers enter God's holy

Holies. (where the presence of God was). Only the                presence, they can also come boldly to His
High Priest could, and that only once a year, on the                throne of grace to find mercy and grace in
Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:2,14)                                    their time of need because of  Jesus' perfect
                                                                                             atonement. (Hebrews 4:16).

The children of Israel were under the ministry of death            Believers are under the ministry of Jesus'
(2 Corinthians 3:7)                                                                 abundant life (2 Corinthians 3:6, John 10:10).

What GOOD NEWS the New Covenant has brought to us.  This information has been compiled by 
Joseph Prince in his excellent book  'UNMERITED FAVOR'. It has been a great blessing to me.


Friday, August 3, 2012

How can I please God?

 Have you ever wanted to do something FOR God, because you love Him and wanted to please Him? I believe that we all want to  to please the Lord  by doing something that we think would give Him pleasure. Do we not owe Him our lives?  

 The Lord is so merciful and loves us so much that He finds pleasure in our desires to please Him in our sincere dedication to serve Him. But I believe His real desire is to have a more intimate relationship with us and to be available to Him, rather than just doing good things FOR Him on our own.

How could I really please God was a question I had to ask myself. I could see myself standing before the Lord one day trying to justify all the good things I did FOR God and He gently saying, "They all were good things, but you really don't know me. All I ever wanted was your fellowship and your availability for me to express myself through you." This thought DROVE me to my knees and I knew that I needed to seek the Lord for some answers. I went to the Scriptures and there I was totally set free and redirected into a closer fellowship with my Lord.  I found my answer in Hebrews 11:6."For without FAITH it is IMPOSSIBLE to PLEASE God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him."

For years,I thought that the only FAITH that PLEASED God was my faith in the gospel.. Wasn't that enough? But, I really didn't understand FAITH.  I began to seek the Lord earnestly to understand FAITH.  If faith pleases God, I wanted to grow in  FAITH. Hebrews 11:1 is a great verse and explains FAITH,  "Faith is the confident assurance that  what we hope for is going to happen.  It is the evidence of things we cannot see" It is so easy to believe what we see but when we pray and don't see an answer, our faith can be deeply challenged.  We can began to wonder, if God heard us or has forgotten us.  Satan is great at shooting arrows  into our minds to try and destroy our faith.  He never gives up. But we can submit to God, resist the devil, and He has to flee.

Our faith is very precious to the Lord.  Our Father delights in our faith in Him  God is a person and wants us to trust Him. I like to think that the Bible is God GIVING HIS WORD TO US! It is like when someone says,"I give you my word: you can count on me."  If being human, we give our word to one another, how much more can we TRUST GOD'S GIVING US HIS WORD? 

When trials and tribulations come into our lives, we can be SURE that our God will never leave us or forsake us.  He will be right in the middle to deliver us out to greener pastures. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers us from them all", (psalm 34:19). Our God is a faithful God and He will never take His eye off of us.   As we grow to know our Lord more and more, our fears will turn to love, our doubts to hope, and our unbelief to FAITH. The Lord will finish the good work He started and we will find great pleasure in our Lord and He is ours forever.