How To Become Like Christ

on 10/29/2012

Almost two years ago I was driving in Birmingham and listening to a sermon by Dr. Bill Winston.  For some time the Spirit of God had been saying to me, "get ready."  During the sermon God showed me that "get ready" meant "become conformed to the image of Christ."  I began studying the subject and I saw that becoming conformed to the image of Christ is a master key to walking in all of your divine destiny.  That study culminated in me carefully reading all four Gospels to study Jesus and how to be like Him.  I highly encourage all of you to do that for yourselves.

I could probably write for years on everything I've learned about Christ.  I plan to share some of the revelation God gave me.  But for now I want to simply show you how to be conformed to the image of Christ.  There are several very important points about change and transformation for Christians.  They include renovating the mind (from carnal to spiritual thinking) and putting off the old man and putting on the new man.  There are more, and they are all entangled with becoming conformed to the image of Christ.  This is the transformation God desires.  This is the destiny we all share.  We were created in God's image, and being conformed to the image of Christ is how we return to the Creator's original design for us.  So now let me show you how to be conformed to the image of Christ.

I began the careful review of the Gospels after studying the following verse: "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him" (Colossians 3:9-10).  I already understood that "putting on the new man" was synonymous with "being conformed to the image of Christ."  I therefore saw that the new man is renewed (or "renovated") in the knowledge of the image of Christ.  The word for "knowledge" in Greek is "epignosis" which refers to perfect or revelation knowledge, knowledge that comes from the Spirit of God.  So the first step in becoming like Christ was also the basis for my Gospel study.  If we want to become like Christ, we need revelation from God about the true person of Christ. 

So I began to study the Gospels specifically for knowledge of Christ.  I saw that the Gospels contain both the teachings of Christ and teachings about Christ.  In His Word God recounts stories of Christ loving, blessing and healing people.  Those are wonderful to see the loving and merciful nature of Christ.  God's Word also recites many of Jesus' teachings.  Honestly, at first I wasn't sure how those revealed the truth about Christ.  But then I realized the connection between Christ and His commandments, that Christ was the living embodiment, the perfect example, of all His commandments.

You can't read the later chapters of John without noticing the importance Jesus places on His commandments.  "If ye love me, keep my commandments. . . . He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." (John 14:15,21).  Now when other people give commandments or instructions, that doesn't necessarily mean they follow them perfectly.  I would love to say I personally walk in the light of all God's truth I've presented on this blog, but that's just not the case.  Sometimes I struggle with some of the very first teachings.  Since most of you don't know me, you really have no idea whether I live this way or not.  But that's not true with Christ.

When Christ gives a commandment, whether it was to love, to bless, to forgive, to show mercy, or to do any other thing, we know that Christ was already living that perfectly.  Sin was not an option for Christ (another fascinating reality.)  Christ had revelation from God about the way to live perfectly.  Christ then passed that revelation on to us in His teachings.  Christ lived what He taught.  So if we will study and obey Christ's teachings, we will become like Christ.

I then considered the other parts of God's Word.  Could they help me?  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1:1,14)  These verses tell us that Jesus Christ is the physical embodiment of all God's Word.

Let's keep this simple for people who aren't familiar with the relationship between the Old and New Testament.  In general, Christ is not a character in the Old Testament.  But God is a prominent figure in both Testaments.  Christ is the exact likeness of God (Hebrews 1:3).  So while we can study Christ and try to be like Him, studying God and His Word also teaches us about being like Christ, for Christ, God, and God's Word are all one and identical.  When we see God deliver His people, bless His people, protect His people, guide His people, and doing so many other wonderful things, we know that Christ shares that same character.  We know also that Christ shares God's hatred of evil and zeal for holiness.  We can study and obey God's teachings throughout His entire Word.  We can see what pleases God and how He acts.  When I study the entire Bible, I am learning about both God and Christ.  When I study and obey the entire Bible, I am being conformed to the image of Christ.

I'm sorry if it bores you to hear that studying and obeying the Bible is basically the master key in becoming like Christ, but that's the way it works.  God is so wonderful to have given us His Word.  It's alive, and it will change us and help us be all God created us to be.  And that happens as we become conformed to the image of Christ.  

But, thank God, it's not about just our efforts.  We should know that without God's help we will never truly change.  Think of an alcoholic who just trains himself to avoid alcohol.  That's not what I want.  I want to even have the desire completely removed.  I want fundamental change, not just behavioral alteration.  And this is where the Holy Spirit comes in.  The Holy Spirit was the greatest gift to man after Christ.  We have appreciated Christ and without Him we are lost.  We must also appreciate the Holy Spirit and His role in helping us become like Christ.

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."  (2 Corinthians 3:18)  The basic idea here is that while we read God's Word we behold His glory, and the Spirit of God will actually change us to become like what we see in God's Word.  Isn't that awesome!

We've already seen that becoming like God is identical to becoming like Christ, because they are the exact likeness of each other.  We've also seen that studying God's Word helps reveal them to us so that we can become like them.  But now we see that, as we study God's Word, the Holy Spirit will supernaturally change us to become like Christ and God.  With practically everything in our Christian lives, we have a part and God has a part.  Our part is to read and obey; God's part is to supply the supernatural change.

Glory to God!  God created you to be like Him, and now God has clearly shown us Himself and given us His Holy Spirit to help us be the person we were created to be.  I promise you, the more like Christ you are, the more of your divine destiny you will live, the more of God's will you will see in your life, and the more of God's blessings you will experience.  It's not about earning anything with God, that's not what I'm saying.  It's about receiving what He's done for us, and allowing Him to change us into His perfect design.  

I want to be like Christ.  I don't want this to earn something or show off.  I want this because I now have revelation knowledge of His nature.  I want to love, I want to be merciful, I want to bless others.  God and Christ have revealed their nature to me and this is how I want to be.  Freely I have received, now I want to freely give.  I was blessed to be a blessing. When you know the love God has for you, you want to love others.  You want to please God.  You want to "pay it forward."  I want to change.  I want harmonious fellowship with God.  I want to be like His Son Jesus.  

God has this for all of us.  He doesn't have for us to be His slaves or robots.  He has for us to be His children in unity with their Father, for in unity is the place of the commanded blessing, and in unity is love.  So make becoming like Christ your top priority today.  You will never regret it.  Study all of God's Word; study especially the life and teachings of Christ.  Strive to follow God's teachings and live His instruction.  Then have faith that the Holy Spirit will bring fundamental change to your heart and mind.


Do YOUR Good Works

on 7/16/2012

Does anyone else out there find it difficult to refrain from comparing yourself with others?  Sometimes it's easy to get jealous when comparing yourself, or your house, or your car or your whatever.  That leads me to another subject.  When I was young I thought I could do anything, and I still do.  When I think about Jesus telling people that if they have been given much, then much is required from them, I think if that applies to anyone it applies to me.  I really have been given everything.  But I (unfortunately perhaps) look at that as a cross to bear rather than a reason for rejoicing.  But whether you feel you've been given nothing or everything, we still must work with what we have.

God has a specific plan for my life and one for yours too.  Living out this plan is the best way to show God thanks for all He's done for us.  As hard as it may be, I need to focus on what God has given me (not what He has given anyone else) and I must do the best with what I have.  And the same is true for you.  I'm not saying that I have a vast revelation on this subject (and maybe I"m just preaching to myself here) but I've seen some things in God's Word that may help you if you're going through these issues.

We must first realize that God has good plans for us.  "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."  (Jeremiah 29:11)  We should notice that "thoughts" here really means "plans" and at its root refers to someone weaving things together.  Then we must see that these plans are plans of peace, which is the word "shalom," meaning peace, safety, prosperity, welfare, health and other great ideas.  Praise God!  God has plans of shalom for you and for me. God's plans for me are different from God's plans for you, but they are shalom plans for both of us.  I need to find God's shalom plans for me, and you need to find God's shalom plan for you.

Now I'm not going to cover this in detail again, but I believe God's plans for our lives consist of three parts: how we should be, what we should have, and what we should do.  We must be conformed to the image of Christ, and as we work on that, and on developing our relationship with the Holy Spirit, we will spiritually discern what God wants us to have and do.  But let's focus for a minute on the "what to do" part of this.

I don't know you about you, but I"m continually wondering what I should do with my life.  The truth is, being self-employed, I could basically do whatever I want tomorrow (for example).  Now that's also true for you, even if you aren't self-employed.  You may lose your job or neglect other things, but for the most part you could do whatever you want.  Sometimes I wish that I wasn't so free so I didn't continually ask myself how I should spend my time.  But regardless, we all have time and we must choose how to use it.  

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained (prepared beforehand) that we should walk in them."  (Ephesians 2:10)  What an awesome verse, God's shalom plans for my life include specific good works for me to do.  This is, of course, also true for you.  God has some good works for you to do, and God has some good works for me to do.  Now we must develop a relationship with the Holy Spirit so we can discern these good works (as He reveals to us what God has prepared for us) (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).  But let's move on from that as well and combine today's ideas.

God has given me certain gifts, and God has woven certain shalom plans for me, which include certain good works I'm supposed to do.  But, as you know if you've been working on this, it can get very difficult, especially when we compare ourselves to others.  So I have a verse for you that's helping me with this.  "Labor not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom."  (Proverbs 23:4)  

I strongly encourage you to sit back and meditate that verse for a while.  It's truly awesome.  We go through life looking at the world, seeing others, seeing what they do and what they have, and seeing the plans of men come and go, and then we wonder what we should do with our lives.  This is true whether we live for God or not.  But we can not allow worldly, natural wisdom to determine our course of action.  If we apply our wisdom and make our own plans, we will fail.  Even if we succeed by the world's standards, we may arrive in Heaven to find we've wasted our lives.

A wonderful quote I once heard is "if you succeed in that which is not pleasing to God, then you have failed in the midst of success."  I truly believe that.  I have to cease from my own wisdom.  I have to stop thinking about what others do and what I could do.  I must hear what God wants me to do.  

And the first part of the verse is also great.  Basically the entire world works to get rich.  Even if they won't get "rich" they only work for money.  This next idea is difficult and I can only see it at a distance now, but this is where we need to go - we must stop working for money.  We must, like Jesus, commit our ways to God and trust Him for provision.  There's nothing wrong with money, but it can't be the reason for our labors.  We must bestow our labors to please God and show His love to the world (doing the good works He has prepared for us). 

So you see, we need to shed all our worldly plans to better ourselves and improve our situation.  Our goal in life can't be just to improve our lives.  We can't take worldly wisdom and use it to plan our lives.  No, all this thinking, by which the vast majority of people operate, is wrong.  

We need to realize that God has created us with unique talents and purposes.  We need to realize that God has shalom plans for all of our lives.  We must stop comparing ourselves and our lives to others we see.  Instead, we need to focus on God's unique shalom plans for us.  It won't be easy.  In fact, God's shalom plans will take everything we've got plus God's constant grace and power, but we can do it.  This is Godly success.  This is the life we must live.  The is the key to personal fulfillment and purposeful living.  I pray you find God's shalom plans for you, and pray that I find His shalom plans for me.


Seeing All God's Best

on 5/25/2012

While attending law school I was a member at Dr. Creflo Dollar's church in Atlanta, World Changers Church International.  It truly blows my mind to consider the events that brought me there, seemingly good and bad, all within God's divine plan for my life.  I received such an awesome spiritual education there that, while I did leave Atlanta with a law degree, I feel like I attended Bible school as well.

Most of the members were very committed.  Dr. Dollar pulled no punches when exhorting us in our walks with God.  You were supposed to be at multiple services, going to all the conventions, reading your Word daily, and truly devoting your life to God.  He really does preach a total life devotion to Christianity.  I remember at the time wondering if such commitment was truly necessary.  Did I really need to be in church twice a week?  Did I really need to spend time with God every day?  Did I need to spend lots of time in the Bible?  I'm sure many others felt this way.

One day he addressed the issue directly.  He said (as best as I can remember), "I know some of you want to tell me, Pastor I don't really think it takes all that.  Well, yes it does take all that."  Even then I didn't totally agree, I still thought they were pushing us too hard, trying to direct our entire lives.  I loved the Church and Dr. Dollar (still do) but I wasn't sure that level of commitment was necessary to see God's best.

I believe now I was wrong.  Over the past few months of meditating God's Word, I've come to believe that seeing God's best for your life takes total commitment (and lots of time).  Now don't get me wrong, I like Joel Osteen and Joseph Prince.  I believe God has blessings waiting for you around every corner.  I believe God wants you to have the best of everything as an act of His grace and love for you.  But you need to see the vital part you must play.  To truly see the fullness of God's plan for your life, you must fundamentally change your life.

"Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."  (Romans 12:2)

It's easier to understand this verse if you think of "renew" as "renovate", which is the actual meaning of the word anyway.  To renew or renovate means to make new again.  In the same way you renovate a kitchen, by ripping out the old and putting in the new, you need to renovate your mind.  But now look at the importance of this mental renovation.  Romans 12:2 says that mental renovation is the key to being "transformed."  Romans 12:2 also says that mental renovation is the key to living out the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.  I admit, I read that verse probably 100 times before seeing this so clearly.

The word "transformed" is also fascinating.  It's the word metamorphoo, like metamorphosis.  We are to fundamentally change.  This word is used to describe what happened to Jesus at the transfiguration, and the only other place it appears in the Bible is in 2 Corinthians 3:18, a very important verse.  "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed (metamorphed) into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of God."

So Romans 12:2 says that we must be transformed by the renovation of our mind.  And 2 Corinthians 3:18 says that this transformation must be into the image of Jesus Christ.  This is the transformation for Christians.  Mental renovation is key to being changed into the image of Christ, which is a key part of our destiny and God's plan for our lives.

"For whom He (God) did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son."  (Romans 8:29)  If you are a Christian, God has predestinated you to be changed to the image of Christ.  The word for conformed here is aummorphos, which means changed with or conformed to.  You see, we must change and become like Christ.  That is a major part of our destiny with God.  Mental renovation is therefore key to our Godly destiny.

Now what does mental renovation mean?  I recently just discovered a clear answer for this in God's Word.  "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be Spiritually minded is life and peace."  (Romans 8:5-6).  There are two types of mind, or two ways of thinking, available to you.  You can be carnally minded or you can be Spiritually minded.  The mental renovation we need is a renovation from carnal mindedness to Spiritual mindedness.

Now here is why it takes "all that," as Dr. Dollar says.  Quite simply, becoming spiritually minded requires drastic changes in your life.  If you think it sounds easy, you're wrong.  We don't just become Spiritually minded when we get saved.  This takes time in God's presence and God's Word.  We must let God's Word and person so saturate our minds that we fundamentally think like Him.

Let's take the average non-Christian.  He thinks as his world dictates.  He knows what he learns from his senses.  His culture tells him what is right and wrong.  Sure, maybe he's nice and even helps people.  But his thinking is only based on the world around him.  He will be primarily focused with getting his needs met.  He will be primarily focused on his own.  He will be limited to the knowledge around him and his own thinking.  Furthermore, he will likely develop incorrect thinking patterns because of worry, fear, selfishness, strife and other effects of sin in the world.  When your world tells you how to think, you are carnally minded.  This applies to everyone from small children to Stephen Hawking.

When God tells you how to think, you are Spiritually minded.  But while you live in this world with its influences, there will be constant pressure to think carnally.  You must change your influences.  You must change the type of information you take in.  You must change the people around you.  You must change your entertainment.  You must change everything that contributes to your thinking patterns from carnal influences to Spiritual influences.  And after you change your influences to Spiritual ones, you must devote yourself to them.  It's not enough to change from secular music to Christian music and then not listen to it.  It's not enough to change from worthless books to Christian books and then not read them.  In the same way you must install the new kitchen appliances, you must install the new thoughts and thought patterns into your mind.

I know, that sounds hardcore.  Maybe that sounds crazy.  But I want all God has for my life, whatever that means.  I want to be completely transformed to the image of Christ.  I want to be Spiritually minded.  It takes sacrifice, but Godly sacrifice always produces better results (even if you can't see them).  "Take heed what you hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.  For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath."  (Mark 4:24-25)  How do you measure God and His influence in your life?  How do you measure God's Word for your life?  I'm determined to give God and His Word full measure.  I want them to have complete sway over me.      

So please consider this and decide what you want.  I've made many changes over the past 8 years, but I know I must make more.  Look at Romans 8 and then 1 Corinthians 2.  We've been talking about being led by God's Spirit.  I'm convinced that being Spiritually minded is key to being led by God's Spirit.  If you want all God has for you, it's time to become Spiritually minded.  It's going to be hard, but you can do it.  Change your life, renovate your mind, be transformed, and then see God's perfect will for you.


The Required Spiritual Mind

on 4/27/2012

Recently Blogger has changed the "dashboard" look for its account holders.  Blogger, which is owned by Google, is the host for this blog.  It's very easy for me now to see which pages have the most views.  It's pretty surprising, and I don't have explanations for why certain posts are most popular.  But I believe these recent posts are absolute revelation from God, and I believe they will bless you if you meditate the Scriptures and ideas presented in them.

That probably sounds like a bold claim, but that's o.k.  There are different forms of revelation.  The form I most commonly receive is when something in God's Word is just laid bare before me.  We can spend our whole lives reading the Bible, but until we truly study and meditate its contents we won't understand them as God intends.  My meditations lately on God's will and the Holy Spirit have brought life changing revelation.  I'm so excited and I hope these posts bless you.  I'm glad the revelations I receive are the kind I can share with others.  I know that clear explanation of God's Word will help all people, and I hope that's what I can regularly deliver to you in this blog.

I've focused lately on 1 Corinthians 2 and Romans 8.  I encourage you to read our last few posts and see some basics about the Holy Spirit's importance to our lives.  I understand now from 1 Corinthians 2 that the Holy Spirit is God's key communication mechanism to His people.  If I'm going to live in all that God has for me, I must be able to receive from the Holy Spirit.  If I could simply flip a switch and suddenly have an open channel between my mind and my spirit, I could clearly see God's will and experience His full desires for my life.

Consider these points for a moment.  God's Spirit knows everything about God (1 Corinthians 2:10-11).  God's Spirit will reveal to us everything God has for our lives (1 Corinthians 2).  God's Spirit will communicate with us not based on what He thinks, but based on what He hears directly from God and Jesus (John 16:13).  Our spirits are born again, directly from God, without spot or blemish (John 3).  God's Spirit communicates directly with our spirits (Romans 8:16).

Put these ideas together.  God wants you to know everything you need to know so that you can live in His perfect, specific will for your life.  God has given you His Spirit to give you the required information.  God has perfected your human spirit so that you can have perfect fellowship with His Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17).  God's Spirit will give all the information to your spirit.  Therefore, I need perfect hearing of my spirit man.  I know my spirit man was perfected.  I know he's communicating with God's Spirit.  But I need to get his information to my mind, it's just that simple.

You really can't do anything in this life unless your mind is involved.  I know people might debate the role of the mind in a Christian's life, but it's really an amazing gift from God.  I believe Jesus would have used 100% of His brain and would have been a genius the likes of which the world has never otherwise seen (He had no sin nature.).  It's true God will bypass your brain and deliver something directly to your spirit.  It's true that healing and even prosperity come from spiritual development.  We live from the "inside out" so to speak.  But for you to do anything in this life, even stand up, or pray, or go to church, requires mental involvement.  For your spirit to have any impact on others or the physical world, it must use your body, and your body is not doing much without your brain, at least not deliberately.  We are not God's puppets, we are God's free moral agents who choose to serve Him.

So, we need a clear channel from our spirits to our brains.  We need to get the information from God's Spirit, to our spirit, to our brain.  This is how we obtain what we might call "actionable intelligence."  I need to know God's will for my life, then I can act on it.  It's just that simple.  Now here is what I clearly see in the Word - to develop this channel, I must become "spiritually minded."

"For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be Spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."  (Romans 8:5-7). 

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."  (Romans 12:2)

We know that our destiny is to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).  We know that God's Spirit works to bring about that change in us, as we spend time in God's Word (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).  We must realize that our part, in the conforming to the image of Christ, is to renew our minds. 

I've talked about this before, but now we can see clearly the role this plays in us living out the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.  I used to think that God had all these separate requirements, but we see now they weave together as one giant beautiful tapestry, which says God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.

The original Greek word for "renew" is better translated "renovate."  We must change our thinking.  We must change from carnal thinking to spiritual thinking.  As we change to spiritually minded people, we will live more and more in God's perfect will.  Not only will we be conformed to the image of Christ and live correctly, but our spiritual minds will now be open to hearing our spirits.

Consider again the words from Romans 8.  The carnal mind is not subject to God's laws, it truly can't be.  Another translation for those words might be, "a carnal mind cannot marshal itself under God's commands or God's leading."  This is even more apparent as the chapter further discusses being led by God's Spirit (Romans 8:14).  As you give yourself to the Spirit of God, and as you become Spiritually minded, now you can follow the leading of God, which is given you by God's Spirit. 

Your mental development is key.  Become Spiritually minded, your mind is now open to receiving spiritual leading.  Glory to God.  Now that you can hear from your spirit, which hears from God's Spirit, you can both know God's will and do it.  Renovation of your mind is key to being conformed to the image of Christ and to living in God's perfect will for your life.

I'm so glad that God, by His Spirit which guides us into all truth, opens His Word to us to reveal His will.  God wants us to live in His perfect will more than we do.  The more I know God, the more I see His love, mercy and grace.  I hope to hear what God has shown you in His Word, as I know it will bless us all.  You might be asking now what being spiritually minded means.  Meditate these Scriptures and God will show you.  And perhaps I will write on that next time.  God bless you and keep you.


God's Spirit and You

on 4/19/2012

Recently I have been looking at God's Spirit and its influence on our lives.  If you run a simple study on the words "spirit" or "ghost" in the New Testament you will be amazed at the impact God wants the Holy Spirit to have on you.  There is simply no overstating the importance of our relationship with God's Spirit.

I'm reminded of a sermon I once heard about tithing.  The preacher quoted 1 Corinthians 14:8, "For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to battle."  His point was that if many people preach many different things about tithing, then the Body of Christ on the whole won't tithe, and the body of Christ on the whole will then lack.  I believe the same is true of the Holy Spirit.  We have all heard different preaching on the Holy Spirit.  I hope you heard that the Holy Spirit is God's gift to you so that you can successfully live this Christian life.  I hope you heard that developing your relationship with the Holy Spirit must be one of your life's primary endeavors.  What have you heard about the Holy Spirit?  Go through the Bible and look at all the references to God's Spirit.  If you use e-sword it will be very easy to do.  Spend some time and let God's Word teach you about God's Spirit.  This topic is so important you need to study it in the Word for yourself.

I'm going to briefly summarize some of the benefits of having God's Spirit in your life.  Simply put, the Holy Spirit is God Himself inhabiting you (Ezekiel 36:24-30).  God's Spirit brings God's power and love and puts them into you (Acts 1:8, Romans 5:5).  God's Spirit knows everything (1 Corinthians 2 and John 16:13) and will give you God's knowledge and wisdom.  God's Spirit will guide you into God's perfect will and show you things to come (Romans 8:14, John 16:13).  God's Spirit will show you everything God has for your life (1 Corinthians 2).  God's Spirit will teach you to pray (Romans 8:26).  God's Spirit will illuminate the Bible to you (John 16:13, John 17:17).  God's Spirit will give you the power and desire to do God's will (Philippians 2:13).  God's Spirit will make you like Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).

If you haven't heard those statements clearly, they should be enough for you to realize the importance of the Holy Spirit to Christians.  Don't let anyone lie to you and diminish the importance of the Holy Spirit in your life.  God promised that He would send His Spirit to His people thousands of years before it happened, and second only to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is the greatest gift God will ever give you.  I'm convinced now more than ever that union with the Holy Spirit is the master key to walking in the fullness of God's plan for our lives.

Today I want to focus on just a few verses that illuminate the importance of the Holy Spirit to Christians, as designed by God Himself.  I'm not talking about specific benefits of His presence, I'm talking about God showing us the kind of relationship we should have with the Holy Spirit. 

Before Jesus came John the Baptist told how Jesus would baptize us with the Holy Ghost.  Jesus said that after He returned to Heaven He would send the Holy Spirit and that we would be baptized with the Holy Spirit (John 16:7, Acts 1:5).  Baptism is an act of complete immersion.  Jesus was saying that He would immerse us completely in the Holy Spirit.  If you are immersed in water you will eventually dry, but your immersion in the Holy Spirit will mark you for the rest of eternity.  God isn't going to simply sprinkle some Holy Spirit on your head.  Nor will he let even your heel stay dry.  He's going to immerse you completely, so that the Holy Spirit touches every aspect of your life.  The Holy Spirit should impact every part of you and every part of your life.

But we aren't just immersed into God's Spirit, God's Spirit also fills us.  On the day of Pentecost, when the first Christians were immersed into the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit also filled them and even caused them to speak (Acts 2:4).  The apostles repeatedly spoke of being filled with the Spirit.  Ananias, the man God used to witness to the Apostle Paul, said that God wanted Paul to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17).  Later, Paul told the Ephesians that they shouldn't be drunk with wine, but should be constantly filled with God's Spirit (Ephesians 5:8).  It's not enough to have God's Spirit on you.  God's Spirit must be in you.  God's Spirit must impact you inside and out, so that you can be changed and then change the world for Jesus.  Glory to God. 

My friends, we probably all go through similar struggles.  We see where we are today but don't know how long this will last.  We long to know God's plans for our life.  We long to be in God's perfect will.  We wonder about the future.  We try to have faith and not fear.  I know beyond any doubt that if I can live in harmony with the Holy Spirit, which is God's will for my life, that I won't miss anything God has for me.  The Holy Spirit will always lead me.  The Holy Spirit will always comfort me.  The Holy Spirit is the answer to humanity's need for constant contact with God.  He is the answer to your needs.  Learn to hear His voice, then trust Him and obey.  I don't know what God has for me next year or even next month, but I now see that the Holy Spirit is the map to Godly success and fulfillment.  I must follow study Him and follow Him closely.  I am so thankful that I see this clearly. 

God loves us so much, more than we can imagine.  God sent His perfect son to die on the cross for us.  But it wasn't just so that we could receive forgiveness of sins.  Along with the removal of our sins, God Himself gave birth to our spirits, and we have God's seed in us.  Our bodies still have a sin nature and the impact of sin on them, but our hearts are pure before God.  We can come boldly into His presence and fellowship with our Heavenly Father, knowing He will always smile on us now that He sees us as perfect in Jesus Christ.  But God doesn't want to just be your friend or even your father, God wants to be united with you.

"He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit (with Him)."  (1 Corinthians 6:17)  We all know how man and woman become one flesh in marriage, but God wants to marry our spirits.  God wants to become one with us.  That says so much.  It says that God has truly perfected us so that we can be one with Him now.  It also shows how much God loves us, and how God doesn't ever want us to run from Him again.

Run to Him.  Embrace His Holy Spirit that is within you now.  Speak to a trusted friend or Christian elder about the baptism of the Holy Spirit if you need more information.  If they belittle the Holy Spirit or tell you this baptism is over or doesn't exist, they are wrong and have shun the relationship God wants to have with them. Follow the Holy Spirit, and He will always lead you to God and Godly success.  Yield to God and His desire for union with you.  "In God's presence is fullness of joy, at His right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Psalm 16:11)


Led By God's Spirit

on 3/07/2012

A few weeks ago God told me that following the Holy Spirit will always lead to success. Since then I have been considering and meditating on that idea.What if you could do exactly as God wished 100% of the time. It's certainly possible according to Romans 8. I encourage you to study that passage carefully. It says that we are God's children and we can be led by God's Spirit. It even says that we can fulfill the righteousness of the law, if we walk in the Spirit. God has now empowered us to please Him perfectly, something we could never do without the Holy Spirit.

But it's about more than just pleasing God, it's about living the life God has for us, every part of it. We know God has plans for us. We know God wants us to be changed by His Spirit and conformed to the image of Christ. We know God has prepared good works for us to do. We know God wants us to have certain things. What if you walked in the full measure of all these. I'm certainly not there, but I'm thankful that we can see the possibility.

What do you want out of life? If you want to be a Sunday only Christian, if you want to just read the Bible every now and then and hope God will bless you, then that's your choice. But we now have a revelation of the great love God has for us. We now have a revelation of God's father heart for us. We know that God has wonderful things for us, beyond what we can ask or even think. But you won't experience the fullness of these things without effort. If you don't know what God's Word says you will not walk in its benefits (Hosea 4:6). If you don't have faith in God's Word, believing it's truth in the face of any contradiction, then you won't experience the realities it promises (Hebrews 4:2).

You must read, believe and obey God's Word. This is true for salvation. You must read and believe that if you confess Jesus as your Lord and believe that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. You must obey this instruction and then you will be saved. This is not works, this is faith in God's Word. Now that we are in Christ all of God's promises are available to us. But the Holy Spirit is our advocate, helper, comforter, standby, and friend to lead us into everything God has for us.

"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. But God has revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of a man which is in him? Even so the the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." (1 Corinthians 9-12)

Now that is a verse worth memorizing! Read it again. Simply by volume, Paul wrote more to the Corinthians than any other group. Clearly they were very important to Him. This dissertation on the Holy Spirit comes in the second chapter of the first letter. This is priority information to people close to Paul's heart. And this is priority information for you.

Your relationship with God's Spirit is the key to your successful Christian life. You can be saved and have virtually no relationship with the Holy Spirit, that's true. But God has given us the Holy Spirit so we can walk in all the benefits of what He's done for us. God has so many wonderful things for you. These are things to do and things to have. But you cannot perceive them with your natural senses. God will reveal them to you by His Spirit. This is how we learn what God wants us to have and do 100% of the time. And don't forget, the Spirit of God changes us into the image of Christ. The Spirit of God guides us into all truth. The Spirit of God reminds us of God's entire Word. The Spirit of God shows us things to come. Spend some time focusing on God's Word concerning God's Spirit.

So I believe, and I think the Word well supports, that for us to live the life God wants, we must have a constant and vibrant connection and communication with the Holy Spirit.

Let's consider what that might look like. I believe Paul said it best, "It is no longer I that live but Christ that lives in me, and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." The Holy Spirit will change us. The Holy Spirit will help us deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus. The Holy Spirit will help us crucify the flesh continually and live for God at all times.

I encourage you to begin focusing on being led by the Spirit, in thought, word and deed, 100% of the time. You will quickly see just what a drastic change that will make. I've only been considering this for a few weeks, and already I see both the drastic change coming and the drastic improvement in my Christian life that is going to occur.

Let's just consider what a typical day might look like, being led by the Spirit. You wake up on time, energized by God's Spirit and reminded by the Spirit to spend time with God. You study the Word and pray. You enjoy your family in the morning, immediately forgiving any annoyance or offense, concentrating on loving them and building them up. You drive to work, but the Spirit probably won't lead you to talk radio or secular music. God's Spirit will lead you to worship, pray or even listen to a sermon. One of the first things I realized about focusing on God's Spirit is that He will lead you to use 100% of your time profitably.

At work you do your job as unto the Lord. You have a spirit of excellence in your duties. You are joyful and peaceful in the face of conflict and problems. Of course you are tempted to do otherwise, but you let the Spirit guide you and you surrender to His leading. The Spirit may lead you to comfort a hurting coworker. The Spirit may lead you to witness if you have opportunity. At lunch, the Spirit will probably lead you to eat healthy food. (Honestly I eat McDonald's occasionally, but I won't say the Spirit has ever led me there.)

Then you return home. Rather than being grumpy and focusing on work's challenges, the Spirit reminds you to focus on your family or other activities. The Spirit helps you compartmentalize your thinking so you can give each matter your attention, mental and spiritual. The Spirit will help you be on point at all times, as you never know when the opportunity to bless or minister to someone may arise. God's Spirit may lead you to exercise and take care of your body. God's Spirit may lead you to spend time with your children. God's Spirit probably won't lead you to watch four hours of TV. There is nothing wrong with a show or two, unless they are negative spiritual influences, but be led by the Spirit in all things.

God's Spirit may lead you to other activities. Perhaps He leads you to attend Wednesday services as well. Perhaps He leads you to volunteer your time. Don't be afraid. He will lead you to extend yourself, but never to overextend yourself. Don't get involved just because people ask. Let God's Spirit guide you to all your activities.

What if you lived like this? What if many of us did? What if every Christian lived under the influence of the Holy Spirit 100% of the time? I know it sounds daunting and scary. Even I don't want to stop watching all my shows, and sometimes I might want to get angry and lash out. But it's not about what we want. Even better than that, everything we did without the Spirit is worthless compared to the life we will live with the Spirit. God only has good things for us. God wants us to live lives filled with His peace and His blessings.

We should want to maximize our lives. We should want to make every moment count. We only have a certain amount of time on this earth and with certain people. It's time to take control of our lives and do our best in every area. We do that by surrendering to God's Spirit and letting Him lead us all the time. I hope this writing changes your life. Actually, I hope you've heard this before and are already living this way. Pray for me as I pray for you. And let us all pray that all Christians walk in the full measure of the Holy Spirit's leading of our lives.


We Should Dominate

on 2/21/2012

Let me start by briefly discussing meditation. I'm simply can't overstate the importance of meditating God's Word. Read Joshua 1 and Psalm 1. Meditation is about repeating the scripture to yourself, focusing on different parts of it, and visualizing the words and images in your mind. Sure there may be other parts, but those are the basics. You can do this any time, but it really helps to do so in an atmosphere of quiet prayer and focus on God. Meditation opens the scripture to you in a supernatural way. Somehow your brain is triggered and influenced by the Holy Spirit to make associations and expand your understanding of the text. If you never meditate God's Word, I promise you are missing out. Meditating God's Word also opens you to the leading and voice of God's Spirit. Meditation leads to revelation.

I was recently meditating the general themes of my last post, God's Amazing Goodness. I thought about all God has done for us. He has given us His Spirit, the Name of Jesus, His love, faith, grace, His joy, His peace, the list goes on and on. I believe that while meditating God's Spirit spoke to me by way of revelation. Let me also note that when I say I received a revelation, that doesn't mean it's new or outside of scripture, it's simply a truth that has now been revealed to my spirit beyond the means of my physical senses. What is revealed to me today may be old news for you. But I do believe I'm supposed to share the revelation God gives me (and I would like to hear what God reveals to you).

I believe God said to me that, given everything He has done for us, we are equipped and empowered and we should dominate this life on the earth. That's right, I believe that by using the principles and realities of God and His Word we can dominate this life and every situation that comes our way. I don't mean that we dominate so we can be great; I mean we dominate so God's will can be done on the earth, as we are His ambassadors and the carriers of Jesus' ministry today.

I'm sure some of you are already rejecting this, but that's o.k. One time I heard Dr. Christian Harfouche, a minister I greatly respect, say something similar to the following, "I would rather raise up ten champions than thousands or ordinary, do nothing Christians." I'm determined to be a champion. I'm determined to do exploits for God. I hope you are too.

What more could we possibly need. Time would fail me to write of all God has done for us, to write of all God has promised us. As I mentioned earlier, another Dr. Harfouche quote, "We are not called to lay down and die, but to rise up and shine!" I'm not simply waiting for Heaven; I'm determined to use everything God has given me to see His will furthered on the earth.

You get the point. We have the Holy Spirit that will give us power and wisdom for every situation. If we will determine to walk according to His leading 100% of the time then there are simply no limits to what we could accomplish for God. I'm ready to put that statement into action, and I admit that has not been my life. But it will be now. That's a hard commitment, and I'm sure from time to time I will miss the mark, but I'm going to keep trying and I will get better at it by God's grace (favor and empowerment).

I had this revelation of domination several days ago, and then in Church on Sunday I considered it again. I thought to myself how this is sort of an ultimate revelation, that if Christians would take this we could change the world, and what further could we learn. But I knew that was wrong, even in my mind. I believe that is wrong because I think we could study the Bible for a million years and never learn all that is contained within, and thoughts on dominating this life are just the surface. Then God spoke to me again. He said, "If you simply grasped that, where you could succeed in every endeavor and not constantly focus on your own situations, just think of what I could then show you."


God's Amazing Goodness

on 2/10/2012

This morning I compiled a list of many wonderful things God has done for us and some of the wonderful realities of our Christianity. God is so awesome, marvelous, loving, I could go on and on. Take time to reflect and meditate on this list. It will stir your faith. If this doesn't get you excited, man you need to check your salvation or decide whether you believe the Bible. I also invite you to add to this list, if we really could see clearly, without the blinders of the flesh, we would see that this list would never end.

God loves us so much that He personally came, in the person of His perfect and only son Jesus Christ, to die for us, and because we believe in Jesus Christ we will never die and we have everlasting life (John 3:16, 2 Corinthians 5:19).

When we accept Jesus Christ we are born again spiritually, directly from God who becomes our literal father, and God’s seed is in us (John 3, Romans 8, 1 John 3:9).

When we are born again we exchange our sin for Jesus’ righteousness, and we become the very righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

We are placed in Christ and we are seated together with Christ at the right hand of God (Ephesians 2:6).

We therefore have full access to the presence of God now and can come boldly before Him, and we can always have confidence of our righteousness before Him (Hebrews 4:16, 1 John 4:17).

In addition to His righteousness, Jesus also gives us His joy and peace to help us in this world (John 15:11, John 14:27).

Jesus also gives us the right to use His Name, which is above every other name that is named, so that we stand in His place now, and have access to His full authority (John 14, Mark 16:17, Philippians 2:9).

Moreover God blesses us with every spiritual blessing that exists (Ephesians 1:3).

God also gives us the blessing of Abraham, and makes us heirs of the entire world (Galatians 3:14, Romans 4:13).

Even more, we are joint heirs with Christ of everything that belongs to God (Romans 8:17).

Because of Christ’ sacrifice for us, we have full access to the complete manifestation of all God’s promises now (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Every curse is removed from us, as is all the power of darkness, so that all God’s blessings might produce in our lives (Galatians 3:13, Colossians 1:13).

Specifically, because of what Christ did for us we can experience financial prosperity (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Christ also provided for our perfect physical health in this life (1 Peter 2:24).

God will give us everything because of His love and grace towards us (Romans 8:32).

God will even cover us with His favor and cause us to have favor with all people (Psalms 5:12).

Because we are righteous before God now, He can dwell inside us and He does so by His Spirit (John 14:26).

God’s Holy Spirit is inside us to give us Divine instruction, guidance and knowledge (John 14:26, John 16:13, Romans 8:14).

God’s Spirit reminds us of God’s Word and always points us to Jesus (John 14:26, John 15:26).

God’s Spirit will also conform us to the image of Christ, which is our destiny (2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 8:29).

God’s Spirit also helps us pray correctly so that we get results (Romans 8:26).

God’s Spirit even gives life and power to our physical bodies (Romans 8:11).

God gave us His Spirit even to help us see clearly those things God wants us to have and do (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Because the Holy Spirit is in us, God is always with us, and we will never be alone or without God (John 14:18, Hebrews 13:5).

God’s Spirit even gives us God’s love, so that we can love others and be a blessing to the world (Romans 5:5).

We can also be baptized into the Holy Spirit, so that we can receive a perfect prayer language and God’s miracle working power to bless the lives of others (Acts 1:8, Acts 2).

God even gives us His glory (John 17:22, Romans 9:23)! What God has done for us is the greatest expression of God’s wisdom (Ephesians 3:10).

What God has done for us is the greatest expression of God’s love (Romans 5:8).

We couldn’t earn one bit of what God has done for us, all is a gift of His grace (Ephesians 2:5,8).

As the ages pile themselves one upon another, we will still be marveling at the never ceasing, limitless quality of God’s grace and kindness towards us (Ephesians 2:7).

And we will live forever with God in paradise (John 14:2, Luke 23:43).



Rise and Shine to Good Works

on 2/09/2012

We've probably all heard the famous passage from Isaiah 60:1, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." What a wonderful passage of exhortation. We Christians know that Jesus Christ is The Light that has been given to us and has risen on us (John 1). Jesus said that God never lights a candle to keep it hidden, but puts it on display so that it gives light to everyone (Matthew 5:15). But we also know we have a choice. We must choose whether we will rise and shine. Jesus exhorted all of us by saying, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

Ephesians 2:11 tells us that we were created in Christ unto good works which God has prepared for us. We now see, when taking the verses together, that we were created for good works which were meant for others to see so that they would glorify God. When we were born again into Christ we were empowered to do good works. Not just any good works, but good works God specifically prepared with us individually in mind. I can boldly say that it's the greatest desire of my life to do all the good works God has prepared for me. My destiny is to be conformed to the image of Christ and to do these good works, and in Jesus' Name when I get to Heaven I will hear "well done good and faithful servant."

So my greatest desire is to see and do these good works. And by looking at 1 Corinthians 2 we see that our relationship with the Holy Spirit and our level of spiritual discernment are keys to seeing and doing these good works. I really love some of Joel Osteen's teachings in "Your Best Life Now" on this subject. I believe he rightly points out that God doesn't tell you to do things you can do in your own strength. God calls you up higher. God gives you assignments that you can't do without Him. God tells you to do things that will require supernatural wisdom and ability. The good works you are supposed to do require God's help, it's just that simple. You can't even recognize the works without the Holy Spirit, let alone do them without God!

But now I want to talk about boldness. I want to talk about rising up and shining before men. Proverbs 28:1 says that the righteous are bold as a lion. Glory to God! When you know who you are and Who is with you, then you aren't afraid of anything. Think about David as a young man. He knew God was with him, and that God was not with the uncircumcised Philistine Goliath. Therefore David knew he would have the victory. That's called righteous boldness my friends, and it's time we all started walking in it.

God showed me another example of this that absolutely strengthened my faith and resolve. In 2 Kings 5 we hear about an honorable man called Naaman. He was a Syrian warrior, but the Bible says that by Naaman God had protected Syria. Naaman was a leper and he heard that a prophet in Israel could heal him. So Syria's king writes a letter to Israel's king asking Israel's king to heal Naaman. Let's read from the text what happened:

"And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, 'Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? Wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.' And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? Let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel." (2 Kings 5:7-8)

Do you see that? Look at the anointing with power and boldness that was on Elisha's life. "Bring me the Leper, he's going to know that God is alive and someone on earth operates in His wisdom and power." That's boldness. Elisha knew that God was with him and that God's power would be displayed on this leper through a miracle of healing.

I believe that's the anointing we need today. Does someone have a sickness, bring them to me and I will lay hands on them and see them recover. Do you have a difficult business situation, bring it to me and God's wisdom will come forth with guidance. What do you need, don't worry, I know God is with me and He will provide.

The end of the story is even more exciting. After Naaman is healed he is converted. He returns to Elisha, says that there is no God other than the God of Israel, and renounces any service to other gods. That's how it's supposed to work!

We must rise and shine so that men will see our good works (given to us by God for the blessing of others) and then men will glorify our Father in Heaven. They will come to us saying surely God is in us and there is no other God (Isaiah 45). This anointing with boldness and power will release God's power in the earth and men will come to His Light.

So develop your relationship with the Holy Spirit. Do that so you can clearly discern the good works God has prepared for you. Don't be afraid when you see them, God is with you to guide and empower you. Run to the battle like David. Do you see a friend or leader with a problem, that may be a good work God has prepared for you. As Elisha helped the king, so did Daniel rise and shine when the Babylonian King needed a dream interpreted. Daniel didn't say "I can't interpret dreams, let the people die." No, Daniel said give me a little bit of time, and I will show the king the interpretation.

Our Light has come, you know it and I know it. It's time to rise up boldly, with confidence in God, and do the good works God has prepared for us. This will bring glory to God, this will bring people to Christ.


Power Moves

on 1/24/2012

I first began seriously following Christ in May of 2004. It was then that I decided to surrender my life to Him and live by His ways. The following school year was my second year of law school. Sometimes after school I would come home and contact old friends to tell them about Jesus. Each week God would lay a few people on my heart and I would call or email them to witness.

I began reaching out to various friends and acquaintances, which got a bit strange in the natural, as you can imagine. But most of them had heard my life had radically changed. One afternoon I called this one guy. As the conversation began he said something I'll never forget. He said, "I heard you've been making power moves."

What a shocking thing for him to say. While maybe he didn't consciously think about all this, it seems He was acknowledging that I had made drastic changes in my life, that these changes had the potential to drastically improve my life, that these moves would increase my power in life, and that all this would come from my improved relationship with God. Sometimes people outside the church system say the most amazing things.

He was absolutely right, I was making power moves. I'm sure I mumbled something worthless and based in false humility in response, wanting to ensure the conversation focused on him and his salvation. But maybe now I would respond differently, in full agreement and inviting him to make the same moves. Now I fully understand that God forgave my sins (Colossians 1:14), gave birth to me Himself (1 John 5:1), made me His son (John 1:12), put His Spirit within me (Ephesians 1:13), and placed me in Christ seated at His right hand (Ephesians 2:6). Simply put, my accepting Christ was the single greatest power move I could ever make. I put myself in God's hands, and by His power He gave me a new life. "But as many as received Him (Jesus), to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." (John 1:12)

But there are other power moves we must make after accepting Christ, and these aren't one time moves. These other power moves must be made again and again for the rest of our lives. Every day we have the opportunity to make power moves. Do we take those opportunities? Are we making power moves? I know I don't make the right moves all the time, but by God's grace and direction, that's going to change.

Once you accept Christ you become perfectly accepted by God (Hebrews 10:14). Read that wonderful truth again. Jesus takes your sin, God forgives you, and you are given God's righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). You can come boldly before God (Hebrews 4:16), for God doesn't see you in your faults, He sees you in Jesus. He sees you in His Perfect Son and covered by Jesus' pure blood (Ephesians 2:13).

We can easily imagine what it would look like if God and Jesus approached each other in bodily form. God would tell Him, "Well done", God would embrace Him, and they would each shed a tear as they smiled. We can get that picture because we know Jesus is perfect and God loves Him completely and without reservation. But we must realize that, because we are in Christ, God feels the exact same way about us (John 17:23). We can run to God's presence, embrace Him, call His name, and speak with Him. God won't turn His face or yell at us to kneel. He will embrace us because in God's eyes we are now perfect because of what Jesus did.

The next power move we must make is daily running to God's presence to better know Him. We must speak with Him in prayer. We must worship Him. We must read His Word. As we are perfect in Christ, we are no longer trying to earn God's favor or blessing, we are already entitled. Rather, we are simply trying to know our wonderful God. And those who know their God shall be strong, and do exploits (Daniel 11:32). The secret to power in this life is your relationship with God.

Philippians 2:13 says, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." That is the King James translation. Look at what the Amplified translation says, "For it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight." The more God in your life, the more power, it's just that simple. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit brings God's power directly into our lives. Remember that Jesus said we would be filled with power from God (Luke 24:49). And 2 Timothy 1:7 says that we are given a Spirit of Power.

Jesus gives you the power to become God's child. Then God gives you the power to do His will.

I believe this last power move we will discuss is the key to seeing the full manifestation of the power that comes from the two moves already mentioned. This power move is surrendering ourselves to God and His will for our lives.

I hate to say it, but I really didn't want to call those people after school. Of course I wanted them saved, and I still do. I want all people to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. But I didn't want to look weird (and still don't, but too late). I didn't want them to think I'm crazy or end our friendships. But a major key to seeing the full manifestation of God's power in your life is doing what He wants you to do.

Is God going to fill you with His power so you can watch television? Is God going to fill you with His power so you can be a normal Sunday morning Christian who even tithes and goes to Bible study? No, God doesn't fill you with His power so you can go through the motions and just make it to Heaven. God doesn't give you His power so you can do what any human can do. God fills you with His power so you can use it just like Jesus did!

God says lay hands on the sick and see them recover (Mark 16:18). God says pray and whatever you ask for will be done for you (Mark 11:24). God says even whatever you say will come to pass (Mark 11:23). God says that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). God wants to fill you and use you. Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father." (John 14:12)

Getting saved gets you God's righteousness and complete access into His presence. By spending time with God you will know Him and learn what He wants you to do. Now you must deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus. We follow Jesus by continuing His ministry on the earth, and doing the works that He did. You must surrender yourself and do whatever God tells you to do. It may seem impossible, it may seem crazy, and you will almost certainly look weird to natural people, but God has given you His power.

I want to see all of God's power in my life. I want to see God's power to change me and improve my life. But I also want to see God's power touch the lives of others.

"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." (2 Corinthians 4:6-7) We are dealing with God's power, not ours. And God will put this power in you, in an earthen vessel made of dust, so that you can do supernatural things of God's design.

God wants you to do things that seem completely impossible in the natural. He wants you to do things that people will absolutely know were done by God and not you. God wants you to lay hands on sick people and see them recover so that they will then turn and worship Him. I want to do things where people say, "That must have been God because it definitely wasn't Byron." This is another way God shows the world His power and love, supernatural actions by natural people. They will know it wasn't you, they will know it was God, and they will come to Him. This is God's design to show His love to the world through you.

So make these power moves today. If you aren't saved, accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, repent of your sins, and run boldly to God's presence. Spend time with God to know Him and learn His will for your life. Do this continually and forever. Then act boldly and confidently when He says to do something, for He has put His power in you to do His will on earth. Glory to God.


God Helps me Love Him

on 1/13/2012

Recently the Lord sternly corrected me. It was in the morning as I struggled to stay awake with Him and His Word. Unfortunately, struggling to spend time with God in the morning has long been part of my relationship with Him. Of course God may spend time with you other times of the day, but this is when He wants to spend time with me. I believe this is very common with God, as I've heard many ministers discuss this. God says, in the person of Wisdom, "I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find Me." (Proverbs 8:17)

The Bible calls itself a mirror. When one reads it one sees himself clearly, and how his life compares with its words. That morning I saw that my feelings toward God were improper. I realized first that I would rather be asleep. Isn't that pathetic, I would rather sleep than spend time with the Creator of everything, who loves me more than I can imagine. Then I saw that the only reason I spend time with God is to obtain things from Him (direction, money, etc.) Now I love God, and I will never say otherwise, but this reality showed that I loved His benefits more than I really love Him.

This was a difficult time of surprising clarity. I felt as much conviction from the Holy Spirit as I ever have. It would be easy not to write about this, but I believe this will help some of you. Never forget the wonderful passage about God's correction:

"And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness." (Hebrews 12:5-10)

Never forget that passage, so that you can always embrace His correction, repent, and run to His open arms. I knew that God was revealing my fault for my profit (verse 10 above). I knew that God wanted more for me and our relationship. I've heard Joyce Meyer wisely say that we must seek God's face and not His hand, I just never saw how badly I failed here. I prayed and meditated in God's presence and I heard Him. He showed me that Jesus didn't just come to restore our relationships to others; He also came to restore our relationship to God. It is natural that we don't love God properly. But, just as God, through the Holy Spirit, will help Christians obey all His instruction, He will help me love Him correctly. This was the revelation: that I needed God's supernatural assistance just to love Him correctly and that God was willing to provide this.

In the same way I can't truly change myself without God's power, I can't love God without God. And just as all of God's correction is for our good, God knows that our correct love for Him will always be best for us. What a wonderful God we serve! I know God wants our love because He loves us and wants a relationship with us, but God also wants our love simply because He knows this will be best for us. He is so loving and unselfish. He revealed my failure not to punish me, but to protect and profit me.

I can easily see all that God's done in my life. Maybe that isn't true for others, but it's sure true for me. I could easily be dead. I could easily be working a nothing job and going nowhere. In the natural I don't deserve anything I have. I can look at my entire life and see God's grace, protection and provision. I have as much reason to love God as anyone.

So I've fundamentally changed my reason for spending time with God. I previously spent time with God because everything about Him and true Christianity is wonderful, but mainly because I hoped the closer I got to Him the more I would get from Him. But, while that may be true, coming to God with that approach is not the way it works.

I now spend time with God simply because I love Him and He's wonderful. I make that declaration by faith, that this is my reason for spending time with God. God knows what I want and what I need. In prayer, by the Holy Spirit, He does lead me to pray for certain things. I know that this new position will be key to living the life God wants me to have. But this is not just a repositioning to get stuff. If I never get another thing from God, it's already enough.

Some time has passed now, and supernatural change has truly occurred. I have never woken up so easily, so refreshed and so excited for God. Every few days I must remind myself of this new position, as the cares of the world are always there. But each morning I feel God's loving presence with me as I open His Word or pray. I boldly declare that I'm going to love God properly, and I'm going to know Him as well as He can be known while in this flesh.

God is awesome. God is beautiful. God is wonderful. Those words don't begin to describe Him. There is nothing like having a relationship with Him and being in His presence. I'm done working to get stuff from Him. Now I'm going to spend time with Him just because I love Him and He loves me. His wonders will never cease to amaze, His beauty never dull, His presence never grow tiresome. No, not for eternity.


Seize Your Days

on 1/05/2012

Lately we've been discussing work and money, and I sense a greater need than ever to hear clearly from God about my work and do whatever He says to do. So I've been meditating a lot of verses about work and God's provision. I also haven't been exactly slammed with work lately, which can bring about certain fears.

But the question isn't whether God will provide, His Word promises He will. The question is how should I spend my time. Whether you are self employed or not, you have time management questions that must be resolved with God's assistance. Right this second, there are a variety of things I could do, but I know God wants me to diligently work on this blog, so here we are. What has God spoken to you about doing? Are you doing it?

I don't mind being open about my schedule with you. God says that I must wake up early and spend time with Him. God says that I must be loving and patient with my family, and make time for them. God says that I should exercise (o.k. haven't started yet). God says that I should work on this blog. And in the evenings I should read books about Him by anointed teachers. Now I have a variety of clients with legal issues, and I work very hard for them. God doesn't tell me to do that specifically, but I know that I should (God doesn't need to tell me). But other than specific actions from time to time, God hasn't told me to do anything else.

Think about all the other things I could be doing. Perhaps I should be going to more church services, feeding the poor, or doing a variety of other things that would seem Godly. But God hasn't said to do those, (even though I would feel so much better about myself if I was doing something for those in need, notice that doesn't mean it would be of God). God has said to do what I've listed above, now I must do those things. There are so many distractions. There are so many opportunities that seem good. But I must constantly remember, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12)

That's a great verse to remember, especially when considering your options in life. God will show you what to do with your time, all you have to do is ask. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6) That verse has been the foundation of my life, or at least a major part of it. I seek God about everything, constantly looking for His direction.

Once we have his direction, it's time to take it. Spend time with God in meditation and prayer, and He will show you how to spend your time. I encourage you to list those things you know God wants you to do. Then list those things you do that aren't on the first list. Is there interference between the activities? Perhaps you need to remove some items from your second list. Television is on my second list. If I'm going to exercise and read spiritual books, television time must be reduced. That's how it works folks.

Soon your entire life will be comprised of actions on the first list, things you absolutely know God wants you to do, and there is nothing wrong with that! When you remove the excess you free up time. Or you can reallocate time. One way or another God will fill your time with Godly activities (just because it doesn't have a Christian label doesn't mean it's not Godly). When your time is filled with Godly action you awake each day with drive and purpose, knowing that you are living for God. You go to sleep each night with rest and a sense of accomplishment, knowing that you did exactly what you were supposed to that day.

That is how we seize the day my friends. I'm as big a culprit of this as anyone, but we don't seize the day by watching mindless TV or sleeping in. We seize the day, and ultimately our lives, by allowing God to guide us and direct us in everything we do. This is a major key to fulfillment, rest and personal peace while you are walking with God in this life. "O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps."(Jeremiah 10:23)