You Have To Let Go

on 7/24/2010

I can't say how this idea hit me and I'm not sure I can put it completely into words, because frankly it just might go beyond words. But it came to me the other day and I know it's of God. You know I've been thinking about offense and not getting mad when people wrong you. I've also been considering not treating people according to their wrongs, and even blessing those who curse you. Then I started thinking about preferring others, and how we should work to regularly better the lives of those around us.

So I was thinking about these topics and revelation came. It was revelation because it's really several logical steps beyond where I was. I'm not sure how to draw a logical or perfect Scriptural map to the idea I'm going to present. But I believe it's powerful, and I know it's of God, so I need to share it.

You know how there are some verses that are so powerful we basically don't know what to say if we discussed really applying them and living by them? I mean some verses, when frankly considered, will leave you scared at what they mean for your life. Maybe that doesn't happen to you, but it does me. When I read the Bible, I'm measuring myself to it, and when I don't measure up, I have to count the cost.

If any verses have ever scared me, not in an ungodly fear sense, but in the sense of - "well, [sigh], this is going to be hard" - it's the quoted verses below. When you read these verses, put yourself up next to them, take a moment, read them again, and consider.

"If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it." Luke 9:23-24

Here's what I'm trying to say, and I really think I need you to close your eyes and imagine after you read this -

What if you could completely put down the flesh in its every sense? What if you could literally, in your mind, separate your flesh from your spirit, and then truly live after the dictates of the spirit.

I know, it's so hard to use words to paint this picture. Let me say this, if you are trying to walk and live in the spirit, then you must understand that disregarding the flesh is an integral step in that.

Your spirit is born again. Your spirit is in union and one with God. Your spirit is perfect and righteous and sinless. God can communicate freely with your spirit. Your spirit wants only God's perfect will. In fact, your spirit is now the real you. Your spirit just lives in a body because it must to be here on Earth. You also have a soul, which consists of your mind, will and emotions. So what if you could live and walk in the spirit, and literally give it the total ascendency, so that any conflict between spirit and soul or spirit and body would be resolved in favor of the spirit?

Now to make it a bit more concrete - what if, under the leading of the Holy Spirit which guides your spirit, you could literally lay down the flesh? Imagine being a completely love-ruled person. Imagine walking through life as a blessing to others. You never get unrighteously angry. You never get offended. You are always joyful. You are always laying your life down. You are blessing others and constantly looking for ways to bless others. You minister, you lay hands, you witness.

You aren't interested in sinful things because you are after the spirit and you are minding the things of the spirit. You are strong; you are energized to study, to worship, to pray. What if, as some put it, you could begin living from the inside out? You are guided and led by God's Spirit. You have laid down your life, your preferences, your desires.

The idea that just can't be contained in words is this idea of separation of spirit from flesh. Just like we are in the world but not of the world. You are in the flesh but not of the flesh. You are dead to sin but alive to God. You are crucified with Christ, yet you live. Only because Christ lives do you live. You have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts.

What if you could literally begin living a different type of existence? If you could separate yourself from the flesh, completely laying it down, even to the point of not worrying about your own provision (which we were never told to do, see Matthew 6)? Could you completely place your life in God's hands?

Could you say to yourself, "I am here to be a blessing to the world. I don't seek my own, but I constantly seek for others. I am not here for me, but for others. God has me; I'm going to work for them. It is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me."?

I tell you what, we talk about being after the image of Christ, and trying to be more Christ-like, but I honestly believe I'm starting to understand that now. You want to be fiery and bold and lead the masses to overthrow the ungodly systems of this world. Maybe one day that is God's plan for you. But first you must become a servant. First you must humble yourself and bless those who will never deserve it. First you must pour out yourself to feed and cover and clothe and heal and bless.

You must lay your life down as a sacrifice. That is what Jesus did. That is what it means to be like Christ. Now, Jesus didn't mean lay your entire existence down. But Jesus says that if you will lay down your former fleshy and temporal life, you will pick up your everlasting spiritual and supernatural life (See John 12:25 and look at the Greek).

I know what I'm saying makes sense, but to ever get there you must receive it by revelation. Study the Scriptures, especially about putting yourself down to lift others, and the Gospel, up. Pray and meditate on being like Christ. Will you lose your life so that you can save it?

Saints, I'm not one who will bash this church or that church. I'm not going to bash the American church v. the African church or anything like that. But I believe we can start to see something, shall we say, supernatural. To put it simply, I believe we are going to see Christians walking in the same demonstration of power and authority that Christ showed while on the earth. Remember He said, "My Father in Me, He doeth the works."

God worked in Jesus, and God will work in us. Yes, God has been working in men and women ever since Jesus, but I believe we're going to get back the full measure. Jesus said greater works shall we do. The world doesn't need another Billy Graham or Mother Teresa. The world needs Jesus, and it needs Him in you and I and everywhere.

If we truly laid aside every weight, if we truly matured, what would happen, what would God do through us? I aim to find out, and I hope you do too.


Don't Get Offended

on 7/23/2010

Does any one out there have trouble with offense? Isn't it easy to get offended. Think about it. If you counted you would probably have ten chances every day before lunch. On the road, at the store, at work, at lunch, in line, you name the situation. If you really began to analyze your life, you could see countless situations where others are preferring themselves and slighting you.

Jesus warned us about persecution for our faith, and He says that He warns us so that we won't get offended when it happens. Jesus also said that we should greatly rejoice when we are persecuted and cast out. I've been there, and at first I was mad, but then I remembered His Words and felt better. But what about just the daily irritations of dealing with other people. Jesus said in the world you will have trouble. We need to discuss dealing with offense in our everyday lives.

If it weren't for Jesus I would probably get offended all the time. I know that doesn't say much for me, but frankly I largely blame law school. Have you ever crossed a lawyer? Unless they are a rare version you'd better look out. Law school teaches you what all your rights and remedies are, so if you wrong me in any way I can recognize it and I know what to do about it. Man that doesn't help my Christian life.

I used to say, thinking about forgiveness, that I would be the only lawyer who never personally sued anyone. But I tell you, where the rubber meets the road is when I have the opportunity. It's easy to say, "I forgive, I love, peace brother." But if you think that will be your knee-jerk reaction to a wrong, if you haven't really developed your love walk, then you have another thing coming.

I'm getting fired up. I can see now that I needed the offenses. I needed everything I've been through. I need to practice forgiveness and love in the face of irritations. If I can't get through these light afflictions now, I'm going to have serious issues as I progress along the path God has for me.

In fact, to paraphrase Paul, I [am learning to] take pleasure in infirmities, persecutions, distresses and every other manner of irritation. I want the power of Christ to rest upon me. I know there are serious opportunities for God to put His super on your natural. But when you hold back your temper and rebuke wrath, God is going to comfort you with a POWERFUL dose of His Spirit. If you will ever feel God's assistance, I believe you will feel it when you are choosing to forgive and love someone who wrongs you.

Remember Jesus. Forgive them for they know not what they do. Most people who wrong us don't even know it. Most people who cut you off on the street didn't even realize it. When people are rude, they think they are right. So get over it, the offense will only hurt you anyway. But, of course, you know what they did. You know they hurt you, you know you could get them back. What was Jesus' most powerful weapon, His mouth. Jesus could literally speak anything and it would come to pass, ask the fig tree, which I doubt believed Him. But when Jesus was being persecuted in ways we can't imagine, like a lamb to the slaughter He opened not his mouth.

I'm determined to be like Jesus. I'm determined to stay out of offense, I don't care what people do to me. God has not dealt with me according to my sins, according to what I deserved. So I'm going to do likewise. I don't care what you do to me, I'm going to bless and love and forgive you. (Boy I can't wait for God to put that statement to the test. I think I'll stay home tonight.)

I'm not going to go into detail on this now, but over a year ago God told me to do a major study on forgiveness. One of the most powerful truths God revealed to me is that forgiveness is a weapon. When someone or something wrongs you, not only will forgiveness shield you from the effects, but it will literally propel you forward in the Spiritual realm and defeat spiritual enemies and mindsets that are attacking you.

The world says sue and take your portion. The world says that to fight back and attack is the way to win. But I tell you what; God's ways are higher than our ways. You say fight back, I say forgive. We'll see who will get farther in God's plans for their life. And we both know that's true.

I once heard Pastor Jimmy Evans say that if you fight fire with fire you get a bigger fire. But if you fight fire with water you will put out that fire. All of hell is fighting against Christians with its hottest flames. It works through spirits, mindsets and even sometimes people. But if you will come against that fire with the Water that is the Holy Spirit, who always operates in love and mercy, then you will see your victory.

Get over wanting to see your fleshy desire on your enemies. Now we pray for them, we bless them, we want them saved. It's time we break out the real weapons of our warfare, which are might through God. You refuse to be offended, you show love when others show hate. You lay your life down and keep your mouth shut. I feel God saying this now so I'm going to repeat - if you begin to operate this way you will literally impress God. And then God will bless you.

It's not easy. But who wants easy. We're going to another level.


Though It Tarry, Wait For It

on 7/16/2010

“I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what He will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” (Habakkuk 2:1-3)

If you read my last post you know that we have recently had some personal difficulties. Well, today I can shout, “Glory to God, I can see His hand on our lives and He’s mightily bringing us through.” Just to recap, we lost our jobs, put up our house for short sale, and have huge medical bills. This season of trial and change began in March, and we are still walking through it. But recently we have seen God move us through with His exceedingly mighty hand.

Within three weeks of putting our house on the market we had a great offer. We submitted our information to the bank for approval and then we waited. After some days I had a dream from God which I believed said for us to just move out, that this was the seed we needed to sow for supernatural favor with the bank. I was reluctant, but after nearly three months, and my wife’s desire to get settled before the baby’s arrival, we made the decision to move. We began searching and God enabled us to find and obtain a rental property. THE SAME DAY, yes, THE SAME DAY the bank called me and said our short sale was approved. This was after nearly three months of waiting, calling, emailing, and praying. They didn’t ask for a promissory note, they didn’t ask for anything else, they just approved it, as God repeatedly told my wife and I that they would.

How awesome is that? It’s a miracle, I don’t care what anyone says. About the same time I was informed that I would be given enough legal work to pay our bills for at least the coming months. And I know that when I need a new job or more clients then God will provide whatever I need. We still have the medical bills, but we are managing them by God’s grace, and I know when we (potentially) owe several thousand for the delivery, God will provide that too.

So you say, “Byron, it sounds like it’s over.” Well yes, I believe in the Spiritual realm it is over, but in the natural realm we have some more to go. The offer on our house, a standard written contract, said that the buyer had the cash and could close whenever the bank approved the deal. I felt the Lord lead us to the new place, got the divine confirmation by the bank’s approval, and the next day I heard the Lord tell me to get moving. God provided friends to help us move, and we are out, glory to God, with the nursery already being prepared.

But three days after we moved out my realtor called. He said that despite the contractual language, the buyer needed to sell her old house, and she can’t close until this occurs. Well you can imagine what I thought. That is a blatant breach of the contract. I’m an attorney, I should get very upset. I could sue her. But that’s the devil’s reaction, that’s the reaction of the flesh. We’ve come this far, now are tests of a different kind.

I keep hearing the above verse in my spirit. Though it tarry, wait for it. Wait for it. I’m waiting now. I’m not sure what all is going to happen, but I know my God. I know He told me to go. I know He got me the approval. I know He got me the new place, and I know He has already freed me from my troubles and provided for me. In fact, months before this situation started God led me to begin confessing, “The power of these mortgages is broken over our lives.” We believed it and now we see its manifestation.

But I can’t get upset and in the flesh. I can’t get in strife with the buyer. In fact, I need to pray for her and bless her. What can I leave in the house that will bless her? A pool vacuum, the pool cover, she can have them. I need to continue sowing, continue blessing. It was the operation of faith and love that got us this far, it will be the operation of faith and love that carries us through. Glory to God.

How awesome is our system! How awesome is our God! I could get all angry and threatening. But I know God is saying, “Trust Me and be patient.” I know God is saying it will all be fine. I’ve moved out now and I’m over that place. In fact, I bought new ac filters and water softener salt before I left. I’m not going to bow to the flesh. I’m not going to get into strife.

We can see the promised land before us, and we are moving ahead. Look again at the verse, it says, “though [God’s Word] tarry, wait for it, it will not tarry.” In the English that doesn’t make much sense, saying though it tarry, it will not tarry. But those two words are different in the original Hebrew. It basically says, though the manifestation of God’s Word waits and takes time, don’t worry, it will not be late, it will not be slack. Glory to God.

Whatever God has promised you, God is not slack concerning His promises, as some men count slackness. Has God promised you something, continue trusting Him. Can you see it, can you sense its manifestation? Even if it takes time, don’t worry. God’s promise will always show up in your life at the perfect time. It won’t be late, God won’t be slack.

In fact, the woman purchasing our house is about to sell her house, so we’ll be fine. But the bank only gives you so much time to close once they approve the deal. If we had received our approval months ago, then maybe she might not have been able to purchase, and the whole deal might have fallen apart. I believe God’s timing is perfect and will always be perfect for you, if you keep the right attitude and the right heart.

So where are you right now? Has God promised you a job, and you’ve had many interviews but no offers. Has God promised you ministry opportunities that you have yet to see, and your numbers only increase by one or two a week? Are you on the cusp of your breakthrough?

NOW IS THE TIME, SHOUT LOUDER, PRAY HARDER, KEEP PUSHING, KEEP FIGHTING. I know the temptation is greater than ever. But you must wait, be patient. Be still, and know that He is God. And you don’t just know that He is God, but that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

By faith and patience we inherit the promises. Patience isn’t patience until you are tempted to show impatience. Just wait, pray and relax. God’s hand is not slack, you will surely see all His good word come to pass in your life.