Pastor Lauries Blog
In This Blog I endeaver to share the nuggets OF WISDOM I have received from time spent communing with the lord
God's wisdom is the most important thing we could ever seek after and know. He who created the universe and all that is within it said He would give it liberally to us if we asked Him. We are to go after wisdom like a hidden treasure, for its value is priceless! We are to pray for it as well.
Col. 1: 9 - For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in ALL WISDOM and spiritual understanding.
James 1: 5 - 7 - If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upraideth not (without reproach) and it shall be given him.
James 3: 17 - But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
Why is wisdom so important? -
Every problem we have, or could ever have, can be resolved through God's wisdom and spiritual understanding. His wisdom is way beyond knowledge or what the intellect could ever understand. It is a spiritual way of living, seeing, and understanding God and all He has made. Wisdom is God's way of operating. It can be ours as well. Wisdom will accomplish what we never could by ourselves. Wisdom makes a way for us, a place for us to dwell securely, when storms are all around us.
Prov. 2: 13-15 - Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She (wisdom) is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
Wisdom is also defined as a home, a place, or abode. Wisdom is also referred to as a "she".
Proverbs 9: 1 - 7 - The Seven pillars of wisdom
1. Wisdom has built her house - Wisdom builds places of abode for rest, shelter, nourishment, safety and security.
2. She has hewn (carved) out her seven pillars - These are carvings of stone analogues used for bedrock foundations and sculpting great edifices, carved out of stone. Jesus is called the chief cornerstone.
3. She has slaughtered her meat - Sustenance, food, proteins are the building blocks of our bodies. Naturally and spiritually speaking, we only grow when we eat. Even the scriptures are likened to milk and meat. It requires maturity to eat the meat of the word of God.
Hebrews 5: 13-14 - For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses (soul) exercised to discern both good and evil.
4. She has mixed her wine - Joy, and celebrations bring the family together. Jesus first miracle was making wine at a wedding. He made the best wine, and saved it for last. Wine is also symbolic of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2. Amazing how wisdom is connected with being full of the new wine of the Holy Spirit.
5. She has furnished her table - Making and setting the table is a symbol of preparation for guests, family and friends to gather and commune together. This is where we catch up on events, share stories, and connect from the heart. I love to set a pretty table for the holidays or special occasions. God prepares a table for us even in the midst of our enemies! Jesus said He is going to prepare a "place" for us, His church.
6. She has sent out her maidens - Those who would help her get ready and prepare her home and table for a beautiful supper and gathering. These are helpers. Spiritually speaking, all who pray and give of their substance, operate in the ministry of helps. This helps the Pastoral ministry immensely by being able to focus on prayer and preparing the meat of the word.
7. She cries out from the highest places of the city - A cry in one's spirit through prayer for God's people to gather as a family is very precious to Him. A good mother's heart ever cries for the union and communion or her family and close friends. The cry is this, come to the Lord, come to this place of union and communion together. Come and sit at the masters feet and partake of the meat of His word, come drink the wine of His spirit until you are filled, and rejoice in the Lord's love for us! Come enjoy the peace and security of the habitation or abode of the Lord's building. A building not made with hands. Come yield and hear the cry of His heartbeat to sit by the still waters and learn of Him. Eat and drink to the full, for there is no lack in His habitation of glory! The Lord cries out to us from the high places of his throne room in the heavenlies, where we are now seated with Christ.
The call or cry for wisdom is simple -
1. Proverbs 9: 4 - whoever is simple (ignorant), let him turn in here! (To the house wisdom has built)
2. Vs. 4 (Con't) - As for him who lacks understanding, she (wisdom) says to him, Come eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. (The food and wine that comes from heaven)
3. Proverbs 9: 6 - Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the WAY of understanding.
Three things that instruction does for the wise -
1. Prov. 9: 8 - Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
2. Prov. 9: 9 - Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser.
3. Vs. 9 (Con't) - Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
How do we receive God's wisdom? -
Prov. 9: 10 - The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy one is understanding!
So respecting and honoring the Lord, and having a genuine intimate knowledge of the Holy one is true understanding at its best! Without this foundation, nothing else can be truly learned. This type of wisdom and understanding always requires a deep level relationship with our Lord. The fruit of wisdom and true understanding of the Lord and His will for our lives, will always manifest and produce much blessing for those we are called to minister to.
Now that we know what wisdom is, what are her benefits? -
1. Long life - Prov. 9:11 - For by me your days will be multiplied and years of life will be added to you.
2. Receives commands - Prov. 9: 8 - (yield able)
3. Speaks correctly - Prov. 9: 13 - Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding.
4. Great memory - Prov. 9: 14 - Wise people store up knowledge.
5. Self control - Prov. 9: 14 - But he who restrains his lips is wise.
6. Understanding - Prov. 9: 23 - A man of understanding has wisdom.
7. Humility - Prov. 11: 2 - But with the humble is wisdom.
8. High position - Prov. 11: 29 - the fool will be servant to the wise
9. Influences others - Prov. 11: 30 - he who wins souls is wise.
10. Esteem - Prov. 12: 8 - A man will be commended according to his wisdom.
11. Receptivity - Prov. 12: 15 - he who heeds counsel is wise.
12. Health through right speaking - Prov. 12: 15 - The tongue of the wise promotes health.
13. Strong family bonds - Prov. 13: 1 - A wise son heeds his father's instruction.
14. Well advised - Prov. 12: 12 - With the well advised is wisdom.
15. Life - Prov. 13: 14 - The law of the wise is a fountain of life.
16. Understanding - Prov. 14: 8 - The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way.
17. Departs from evil - Prov. 14: 16 - A wise man fears (has sound reverence) and departs from evil.
18. Riches - Prov. 14: 24 - The crown of the wise is their riches. (a crown denotes a position of royalty)
Psalm 127: 3-5 - Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is His reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. 5 Happy (Blessed) is the man who has his quiver full of them; They (the children) shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
Happy happy Mothers Day to all you mom's celebrating this wonderful day.
We are so blessed to be entrusted with the wonderful honor of raising up the next generation for the Lord's glory and purposes!
Children are our gifts from our Father in heaven. I love the illustration in Ps. 127, that children are a direct reward from the Lord to us. How beautiful!
In this day and age of so many opting out of marriage and raising children because of financial pressure, this scripture helps to set the right vision and attitude towards children.
Children are a blessing from the Lord, plain and simple. Yes, they are the hardest job we will ever love! Yes, they stretch our capacity to love in ways that we never knew possible. Yes, they teach us to be instant in season and out, as our schedules are ever changing all the time. Yes, they teach us patience, perseverance, and long suffering, as we lay our lives down for their betterment. Yes, they teach us of our Lord's love and forgiveness, every time they do something stinky and we can't help but to love their little hearts and silly actions.
Yes, we have the Lord to thank who has made us teachers, nurses, milk machines, linguists, caretakers, perceivers, mentors, behavioral scientists, maids and laundresses, organizers, disciplinarians, business managers, family historians, story tellers, chauffeurs, entertainers, party planners, clothing experts, designers, conflict and problem solvers, trainers of life and professions, judges, referees, chefs, watchmen, prayer warriors, encouragers and lovers, all because of having children. The list goes on. These are just some of the things that we have learned after becoming moms! Quite a resume, wouldn't you say? Any fortune five hundred company would be blessed to have a seasoned mom on their staff!
The blessed position of mom is to be highly honored. No one knows how a woman's emotions and literal body gets stretched to capacity to make room for her children. What a job assignment we have received from the Lord.
In a day and age where "self" is exalted above the sacrifices it takes to raise children, many forget the benefits. In the long run, we receive so much more then we ever expected. We receive unconditional love coming back to us in looking into the adoring eyes and smiles of a baby. We receive abilities we never knew we had. We receive a maturity in being loosed from self centeredness to care for another. We receive a mirror reflection of ourselves in our children and strive to become better for them. We receive a second chance at being kids again by playing with them. We receive an ability to see the world anew through their eyes of wonderment in all that God has created. We receive a discipline in sharing our lives and coming out of our shells in a way we never thought possible. We receive the ability to let go of our control panels, and learn the art of pliability. We receive a heritage and a legacy in Christ that far outweighs any dream job the world may esteem. We receive growth spiritually, mentally, and emotionally when raising children. We receive a family and strength in our old age. Our children continue on and complete the destinies once held in their parents hands.
Our children are the closest expression of the beautiful, mighty, loving God we serve! How awesome are the presents that He has given us wrapped up in our children! A little taste of His divinity from heaven to earth, formed within us! What a miracle, what a creator!
On this Mothers Day, lets be thankful and grateful to God for giving us such great presents in our children. His gift to us is our children. Our gift back to Him is raising them up for His glory, honor and purposes!
Love Pastor Laurie
On April 30, 2015, Pastor John and I were invited to speak at a Suffolk Community class on interpersonal relationships. (Pastor John met the Professor at their gym, and became acquainted there). The topic the class has been going over is toxic relationships. We shared some of our personal stories and the importance of forgiveness.
I felt led to write a letter to the students and make it available on my blog. Enjoy
Letter to the students of Suffolk Community College - Professor O'Connell's Class
With all the fighting and riots and religious wars increasing on a daily basis, the need for health and love in our relationships is at an all time high.
As a society we have gone to the moon, are going to Mars, we have constant communication in the technology world, but we have failed to overcome the age old problem of the need to be loved, and give love and be forgiven and healed. The matters of the heart have still alluded us.
God is love. John 3:16 - for God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever shall believe in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
Nothing in mankind is perfect. Only in divinity. Jesus taught us love by laying down His life for us and forgiving us because of love. He wants us to have the same union and love that He has with His Father in heaven.
We can't help what's been done to us in life, but we can help how we choose to respond. We either continue in the generational cycles of our fathers, or we break the toxic chain by facing, confronting and overcoming them.
God knows we alone don't have the power to do this. He himself has given us hope for a better tomorrow if we agree to let Him help us. He is our teacher, counselor, comforter and friend. He made us, so He knows how to untangle the web of toxicity.
The journey to the center of our hearts is the toughest journey we will ever take. It is the road less traveled. All homelessness starts in the heart, and then manifests outwardly in society. Before there is ever a loss of a home, there is a loss of a family. There really is a war on to destroy the fabric of society by destroying the family unit.
The seeds of these wars start out small and then grow. Wrong mindsets, believing the worst in each other, listening to lies in our ears and believing them about loved ones. Offense takes root, toxic belief systems are forged, bitterness and unforgiveness wraps its tentacles around our hearts, and the destruction process against our relationships manifests to a harvest of sorrow.
I believe the increase in drug and alcohol abuse is the by-product of this process. Emotional pain can be worse then physical, so humanity craves pain relief. The deception in this process is that nothing is ever solved through avoidance or denial of the problem. The cycle of pain only gets worse through more heartache and sorrow that the toxicity of substance abuse causes.
Who can stop the pain of toxic living? I believe through a child like faith and relationship with the one who created us, and learning to forgive and let go of the ones who have hurt us along the way.
As long as we are on this earth there will always be pain and imperfections in life. But we have the power to choose what course we will take. We either choose quick fixes of temporary highs that dull and numb our senses, or make choices that will affect not only us, but generations to come.
I am grateful to your professor for allowing us to come and share a little of our journeys with you. My prayer is that each of your hearts will be encouraged to make healthy choices on this journey we call life.
That your lives can be a beginning of new and more healthy ways of living. That love, faith and family will have a central role in shaping a better tomorrow for all of you.
You are the next generation after all. We must pass the baton of what we have learned into your hands, so you can run with a higher vision and purpose for living.
God Bless you all,
You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. John 8:32
1 Timothy 5: 17- Let the elders who rule (govern) well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the WORD and DOCTRINE
We don't hear much about the importance of sound doctrine today, but it is essential to our growth as Christians. It's a topic that can seem dry and heady, but when we understand how Jesus mastered in this area, ( in the wilderness) enabling Him to begin His ministry with anointed power, we should want to learn how He operated. After all, He is our example. If He had to master in the area of sound doctrine, (rightly dividing the word of truth in each area) then we will too.
The ability to rightly divide the Word of God correctly can mean the difference between; bondage or freedom. It can mean the difference between truth or lies. It can mean the difference between life or death. It can mean the difference between love or hate. It can mean the difference between bowing and submitting to the enemy, or yielding to Christ our Lord.
With religious persecution on the rise all over the world, it is imperative in our day to understand how a person proclaiming to "love" God, could turn around and kill one of His precious creation, all in God's name?
It's in my heart to try and break down and simplify how doctrines of demons infiltrate churches and homes even here in America and create walls of division. These walls of division are Satan's main game plan in hindering true moves of the Spirit of God, and bringing destruction to real love. We as a people get appalled when seeing God's people murdered just because of their faith in Christ. (At the time of this writing, close to 150 Kenyan Christian students were killed in their college because of their faith in Christ). Well it is just as appalling to see so much division and hate in the body of Christ, which is also the same spirit of murder, which comes through false religion.
How can we overcome this?
One way of overcoming false religion is through knowing and understanding sound doctrine.
What is sound doctrine?
1 Timothy 6:3 - If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words our Lord Jesus Christ, AND TO THE DOCTRINE which accords with godliness, 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the TRUTH.
Sound doctrine is the sound teaching of the Lord, coming out of the Spirit of truth. It's the tenets of faith and truth that Jesus taught while on the earth, and confirmed through the Holy Spirit now residing in us. (Earthen vessels)
John 7: 16 - 17 - "My doctrine is not mine but His who sent me. 17 If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on my own authority."
Why is sound doctrine important in our time?
1 Timothy 4: 1 - 3 - Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving (or seducing) spirits and DOCTRINES of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3. Forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who BELIEVE and know the TRUTH
Definitions of deceive - To cause to believe what is not true; mislea
Definitions of seduce - To lead away from proper conduct. 3. To entice or beguile, win over.
How do people speak lies in hypocrisy?
They say and believe one thing, but do another. They put rules and regulations on others, but don't follow the rules themselves. People may have the knowledge of truth in their heads, (intellectualism) but not in reality in their hearts (their spirit). No wisdom or distinction between the head and the heart. Knowledge puffs up, but real love coming from a genuine relationship with our Lord, edifies.
How have doctrines of demons infiltrated American church's?
When we switch gears from operating in the Spirit anointed Word coming out of the pulpits, to the dead letter of the Word, (which kills, or stops the life of Christ) it opens the door to the spirit of bondage. It's easy to start in the Spirit and switch to the flesh, or "works of the law", as the apostle Paul calls it. Man made religion, which is spawned through doctrines of demons, focuses on external works of self righteousness. It's man, trying to meet mans's needs, through his own power and self effort. Our righteousness is filthy rags compared to gift of righteousness that came through Jesus Christ. (Is. 64:6)
Galatians 2: 16 - "knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. ... for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
Galatians 3: 10 - For as many are of the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." (The curse of the law brings poverty, sickness and eventual death)
In today's day and age, we don't keep strict adherence to the Old Testament law, so we don't understand fully what Paul is talking about? Any time we try and live our christian faith through the power of our own flesh, (body and soul) we activate the works of the law. It happens very innocently at times, and with our best intentions and motives. It happened with the disciples of Christ as well. Lack of knowledge in these areas have brought much harm and damage to the body of Christ. Satan will use this lack of knowledge to bring destruction, and then place the blame on God.
Being in the ministry for over twenty years I have seen many a shipwreck from well meaning people who love Christ, but bow to the spirit of bondage.
Many have opted out of church going all together to avoid heartache. Many just wander from church to church, never putting down roots anywhere to avoid conflict. The answer is found in what the bible says about His Church, and what God's design and plan is. When we all get behind God's plan correctly, we can experience great breakthrough.
There are no perfect churches anywhere on the planet. The reason being is because there are no perfect people on earth. Just imperfect people serving a loving and perfect God!
I've seen many try on churches like they would try on shoes in a shoe store. Or many try and see where they are going to get the best return on their tithe, like the stock market. This is an out of order approach to finding the right Church to go to.
First and foremost, we are all collectively part of the body of Christ which is His army on the earth. As in any army, there are different troops, different assignments, in different regions all over the earth. There is also a chain of command, and our commander in chief is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus set ministry gifts (the fivefold ministry) in the Church for God's purposes. That purpose is found in the book of Ephesians.
Eph. 4: 11 - 14 - And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some Prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. 12. for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. 13. till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect (mature) man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.We cannot be perfected or matured apart from this process. We can be saved, go to heaven and have a personal relationship with Jesus. We can learn the word of God as well, all while not going to Church, or "organized religion," as some call it.
There is one thing we cannot get alone by ourselves, however, and that is called the "corporate" anointing. This anointing or lampstand as it is called in the book of revelation, is set by God on the earth. Each Church (born of the Spirit of God) has a specific assignment for the region it's called to, and has an angel that guards it. God, as our Commander, then sets members into that specific assembly to carry out His plans for that region, which then brings increase into the Kingdom of God. We don't do the choosing or setting, God does!
So why did God choose the Church to perfect us?
God chose the corporate anointing within the Church to help us grow up spiritually. The friction that naturally comes from people of all different walks of life coming together, is God's design to refine, sharpen, help and train His army. The bible calls it, "iron sharpening iron." (Prov. 27:17)
Most of us run away from conflicts. We run away from tough areas, and tough people. God has made it that we all need to look to Him, hear His voice, as it comes accurately through the Word of God and through His ministry gifts, and be changed. We are changed from glory to glory as we all behold the face of the Lord, while we come together as His family/army, and experience His manifest presence on earth. His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. His word comes alive, and we receive His power and directives for each week. So much more is accomplished with the corporate anointing, then in all the religious works and activity that mankind has tried to do in helping hurting humanity through out all the ages.
God has already accomplished the answer through His Son and the plan for His Church empowered by The Holy Spirit! It's our turn to get on board with God's plan, find our place in the body of Christ, and allow the Holy Spirit to set us in the assembly of His choosing.
Wrong focus, wrong purpose -
Many think that the main purpose of going to church is to love on God's people. Many think the purpose is to bring health and healing to hurting people. Many think the main purpose is to clothe, house and feed the poor. Many also think that the main purpose is to grow the church numerically and financially. While all these purposes are good, biblical and God's desire, He has a way to bring it to pass that's different then our way. When our focus is on people first, and our purpose for coming together Is centered on meeting people's needs first, the order and priority that God has established becomes inverted.
Right focus, right purpose -
Our focus is to be on the Lord and His word first and foremost. When our focus is right and the purpose is right, we will see the Church come into the fullness of glory that the earth has been groaning and waiting for. Humanity will be immensely more blessed and helped, then in all the years that mankind, in his own power, has tried to accomplish. The right focus is to continually seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, then all the other things that are needed in life will be added to us. Paul's prayer is that we would know Christ, and the power of His resurrection! The purpose for loving God first in the corporate assembly, is that there would be a continual habitation of the Spirit, (His Kingdom) on earth, as it is in heaven. In this place, the Spirit anointed word goes forth, the gifts of the Spirit bring miracles and healings, and people can come and taste and see that the Lord is good for themselves. We first learn to receive His love, then it can be given away correctly. People are supernaturally transformed in His presence, and are then able to receive His Word and be healed.
An inverted priority is a perverted priority -
When we put loving people, above loving God first, a strange inverted order takes place that brings in seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. In the Old Testament there were true prophets, priests, and Kings of God.
1. True Prophet - Jeremiah - Jer. 1:5
2. True Priests - The sons of Zadok - Ez. 40:46
3. True King - David - 1 Sam. 16:12
There were also the false. There were prophets of the people, priests of the people, and kings of the people.
1. False Prophet - Hananiah - Jer. 28
2. False Priests - The wicked sons of Eli the priest. 1 Sam. 2: 12
3. False King - King Saul - 1 Sam. 15:10
Any time a Prophet, Priest or King, began serving the needs or wants of the people, above obedience to God, an inversion followed by perversion always took place. It happens even today. It's a slow subtle shift, that is not easy to detect, because it comes under the guise of doing good works for humanity, clothed in scripture, taken out of the context of God's order, and empowered by self effort. This is how Satan comes to twist and distort God's word. He comes as an angel of light, appearing to do good!
2 Corinth. 11: 14-15 - ....For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if HIS MINISTERS also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness.
How do we overcome these deceptions? -
Jesus said that we will know the truth, and the truth shall set us free. He also said that we are His sheep, and the voice of a stranger we will not follow. When we grow up spiritually by feeding on the Word of God, and we are set in the Church that God leads us to, and we learn to rightly divide the word of truth like Jesus did, we will overcome every tactic of the enemy. Jesus was never fooled by the false priests or leaders of His day. If they spoke an accurate scripture but it was taken out of context and meant to snare Jesus to bring Him into bondage, He always confronted that spirit of bondage with truth.
March 20, 2015 - (First day of Spring, Super moon and Solar Eclipse of the sun)
John 14:30 - The Ruler of this World is coming, and he has nothing In Me.
Jesus spoke these words to His disciples before He went to the cross. He also said...
John 14:31 - "But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.
We all know that Jesus is our example of how to live supernaturally in a dark world. His life and way of operating are our wisdom keys. He only did what He saw His Father do, and only said what He heard His Father say. Sounds simple. It would be if we didn't have our flesh or souls to contend with.
Jesus lived out of His spirit, not His mind. This way of living is an intense training that goes cross wise with most of our upbringing and culture. We live in a world that focuses so much on externalism that it's hard to overcome. Jesus focus was on the inner life and this puzzled His disciples too.
While the disciples wanted a king/Messiah to conquer the natural kingdom of Rome, Jesus came to set up His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, by having the Holy Spirit come and dwell within us. He came to change us from the inside out, first, then the world around us changes. He did this by setting us free from the kingdoms of this world.
Rev. 11:15 - Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"
The world today is still trying to change and better mankind from the outside in. It has never worked. Until the sin condition in men's hearts are transformed by knowing and receiving Christ, they have no power over the works of the flesh. We can become intellectual genius's, work out and eat right to be in the best physical condition, be the most benevolent to humanity, and even become spiritually sensitive to the unseen realm. Without Christ however, we still miss eternity.
The religious to this day will try so hard to do good works externally, and focus on following rules and regulations of their own making. Both done in the power of their own self effort, for the adulation of men's praise, is vanity. Discipline in any area is good, but when our works supersede the finished work of Christ on the cross in making us righteous, we are in error.
Rom. 14:17 - for the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
In today's blog I want to highlight how Jesus put following and obeying His Father first place. He did not bow to mens dictates or control coming through the enemy. This angered the religious community of His day. Jesus could not be bought, manipulated, or even guilted into serving humanity apart from the Father's directives.
Jesus was first led of the Spirit to be tested in the wilderness, before He started His earthly ministry.
Those of us in ministry or wanting to go into ministry will also be tested.
How was Jesus Tested?
Jesus learned the difference between the scriptures being spoken to Him by satan, and the spirit anointed scriptures that applied correctly to His situation. He knew the voice of His Father versus the voice of the enemy coming through the flesh. He overcame the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:16). He overcame every test the enemy threw at Him.
Matt. 4:1 - Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
How does the enemy tempt us?
Satan always uses the scripture, out of context, to manipulate us into actions of his choosing, rather then the Lord's. When we bow to this tactic of the enemy, we come into bondage, because we are doing work born of the flesh, not of the Spirit. Satan comes as an angel of light to twist and distort scripture in order to seduce and press us into action. This takes spiritual and emotional development to master.
How does God speak to us?
The Holy Spirit is a gentleman and always leads us on the inside. He never presses or pushes us into any activity. When the Holy Spirit speaks to our re-born spirit, it always produces the fruit of peace. It's one of the attributes of the Kingdom of God that we spoke of earlier. Even if our flesh doesn't want to do something initially, if we train our spirit to be led of the Holy Spirit, the Lord will always confirm what we are doing and bring us help to accomplish His will.
If we do anything born of the flesh, we come under bondage, and open the door to guilt, condemnation and strife. We actually come into union with a spirit of division, that always produces pain and destruction. This doesn't happen all at once, but in stages. and can be hard to detect. We can have the best of intentions and motives to do good, but if anything we do is born of the flesh, it's an open door to be manipulated by the devil. This is where satan will even cloak his intentions by wrapping scriptures around what he manipulates us to do. This is the voice of the stranger. It takes much maturity to understand and master this process.
Rom. 8:13 -14 - For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.
Why does the enemy use scripture to deceive us into taking action apart from God?
Satan is the accuser of the brethren. He is a liar, thief and destroyer. If he can't manipulate us into gross sin, he will pervert the ways of God, and make it seem that God is the author of bad in our lives.
How does he do this?
After we take action that we believe to be of God, and things don't work out, we are tempted to get angry at God. We are tempted to hold Him in contempt, because we thought we were doing God's will.
How this happened in my life -
This happened to me when our ministry was in its early days. I thought any activity that involved the church doing good in the community was God's will. I learned the hard way, that this was not the case. We were planning an event with our church kids and decided to invite the outside community as well. I kept getting a check in my spirit, but couldn't see anything in the natural to discourage the event. I sensed that we should just open the event to the children in our own church family. I spoke up, but what I felt was not the consensus, so I continued on with "our" plans. To make a long story short, one of the kids from the outside community did not want to be there, and began putting down the event to one of the kids from our church. They introduced "perverted" information which hurt other children.
As a minister and mother, this devastated me! The church is supposed to be a safe place for our children to be protected! How could this happen? As I prayed and cried out to God for answers, I felt myself getting angry at God for not protecting the little ones. I heard a very stern warning in my spirit, that I will never forget! The Lord said to me, "be careful not to hold me in contempt!" I chose to trust God, even though nothing made sense in my emotions. A couple of days later the Lord brought back to my remembrance the check I had gotten in my spirit. He had warned us. We just didn't listen, because nothing "looked" wrong in the natural. Everything in the natural seemed fine. Our intentions were great and noble. We were "going into all the world" like Jesus said, so how could this be wrong? The Lord has a way, and timing to all things. He knows the end from the beginning, so if we listen to Him, He will help us avoid these snares of the enemy. The enemy is crafty in that he'll attach all the right scriptures to dupe us into doing something even after the Lord warns us. We get confused and go by our sense knowledge instead. Very dangerous.
The Lord is wanting the Church to get to the place that the enemy has "nothing in us" in the matters of discerning the difference between the voice of a stranger, versus the voice of the Lord. The Lord wants us to develop like Jesus did, knowing good from evil, and to distinguish between the soul and the spirit. This requires coming to the full measure of maturity in Christ according to (Eph. 4:13).
Jesus is our redeemer -
On a good note, Jesus redeemed the entire situation at this children's event. It didn't happen overnight. If we stay open to God, even when in pain, He can restore and turn around even the worst hits the enemy throws at us. He brought all things to light, and the situation was confronted and dealt with.
One time after going through a really rough season, the Lord asked me, "if I learned more than I lost?" I answered yes to Him, and He said, "Then you have gained!" God is so good the way He encourages us!
We see how the enemy manipulates actions apart from God in the garden of Eden as well-
Gen. 3:1 - 4 - Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, "you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
2. And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, "You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die."
4. Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die. 5 "For God knows that in that day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
The enemy always lies about God, twists and distorts His intentions for healthy boundaries in our lives, and makes it like obeying God will result in Him holding back on us.
Jesus mastered every test of the enemy trying to manipulate His flesh and soul into actions born apart from His Father.
Jesus obeys God even over the needs of His friends -
Jesus loved His friends Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus. Mary and Martha sent for Jesus to come to their home when their Brother Lazarus was sick. Jesus waited and went to them after their brother had died. He knew what the Father's will was ahead of time.
John 11:21 & 25 - Now Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
25. Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live.
Can you imagine if a really close friend needed you and was at the point of death, and you just stayed away until four days after they passed? Wow, that would be considered mean, unloving, and uncaring. Chances are the friends would stop wanting your friendship.
Well, Jesus had the Word of the Lord on the death of Lazarus, and chose to obey God even above the call of His friends to come earlier. This means, He was willing to jeopardize His natural friendships and His own reputation in order to obey God. This is the tough stuff of being a follower of God, and not a pleaser of men. The religious of the day were lovers of men more than lovers of God. This is a major area the enemy will use to manipulate us into actions apart from God. Our reputation and need for the love and acceptance of others, over our obedience to God.
Jesus speaks the truth -
Another example where satan had nothing in Jesus, is that He couldn't be manipulated away from speaking the truth to his disciples. His first priority was to speak the truth in love. Jesus was more interested in helping His disciples to grow, than being popular and liked by them. He loved them correctly and laid His life down for them. He prepared them to endure hardness and even persecution for His names sake.
Matt. 16:13, 16 & 17 - Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?"
16 Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
17 "Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
Jesus knew when Peter was speaking by way of revelation from the Lord. He also knew when he was speaking by way of the enemy.
Peter gets rebuked by Jesus after he predicts His death and resurrection -
Matt. 16: 22 - 23 - Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord, this shall not happen in You!"
23 But He turned and said to Peter, " Get behind Me Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."
Wow, Jesus didn't candy coat the truth to soothe the soul of Peter. He didn't even speak to Peter, but directly to the devil influencing Peter to speak out of his soul.
Jesus keeps moving forward regardless of betrayal -
When Jesus needed His disciples to pray with Him before going to the cross, they fell asleep. He kept His course regardless, and continued to pray alone.
Matt. 26: 40-41 - "What? Could you not watch with Me one hour? 41 "Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
After this, Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss as a sign to the guards and chief priests who were coming to arrest Him.
Mark 14: 44 - Now His betrayer (Judas) had given them a signal saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely."
In the midst of all this and knowing even more betrayal was to come, Jesus stayed true to His assignment for mankind. He continued in the perfect will and plan of the Father for His life on earth. What an example to us!
One morning I heard the Holy Spirit teaching me an important lesson concerning Jesus prayer alone in Gethsemane. He said to me, "don't be so mindful of getting people to follow you where I've called you to go, rather be more mindful of following Me where I've called you to go."
Jesus kept moving forward in following God's plan regardless of His disciples falling asleep. Yes it can be lonely at times, but the rewards far outweigh the cost of obedience.
If we are going to grow up spiritually and emotionally in the body of Christ, we too are going to have to master in these areas as well. We will have to learn not to be moved by the influences of others, and stand strong on the Spirit anointed Word proceeding from the mouth of our Father in heaven!
1 Cor. 15: 58 - Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. That is the key!
Nugget from the Lord - "If you have learned more than you have lost, then you have gained."
Proverbs 4:7 - Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she I'll promote you; She will bring you honor, when you embrace her, She will place on your head an ornament of GRACE; A crown of glory she will deliver to you.
I have seen an interesting dichotomy in the body of Christ for many years now. It has always amazed me.
Depending on what personality type we have and how we've been raised, I have seen this pattern, (love, being work to some, and a blessing to others) repeated over and over. While not a psychologist, I do notice patterns in behavior.
Since I was little, I have always been a why person. It would irritate my authorities at times, because sometimes my questions would be taken as disrespect. It was never in that spirit that I would ask questions, and seek answers to life's biggest questions.
First of all, let me preface that the greatest need of humanity is to love and be loved. We have all been made by Love Himself. God is love. It stands to reason that if we humans are made in His image, then we should be a reflection of His love? So why is life's biggest question still alluding so many? How do we attain a love that has promised to fulfill every hearts desire, and wipe away every tear?
John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Before any love can ever be given away, we need to first receive love.
1 John 4:10 - 11 In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:7 - Beloved let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Vs. 8 - He who does not love does not know God, FOR GOD IS LOVE.
As a Christian now since 1977, I have seen so many hurt and wounded Christians who agree with these scriptures wholeheartedly, yet in reality it still alludes them?
I have read many books on the topic trying to answer my hearts quest, along with so many others. While not an expert on the topic, I feel it's time to start looking into finding solutions on how to make these scriptures a reality in our lives . I take God seriously. If He wants us to love like He loves, then obviously He has equipped us. We just have to receive the wisdom necessary to find out how? I believe anything that alludes us is because of a lack of wisdom, and a lack of maturity, or a combination of both.
Our Family Upbringing -
Our upbringing effects our definitions of love. Example, the making of special meals may be love to one family, whereas another family it may be the service of cleaning or providing, or all of the above. Some families may have been warm and affectionate, while others are more cool, but dedicated and loyal? Some families may communicate and talk more freely, while in others it's considered almost blasphemy! Some families are dysfunctional and broken with little to no reference points of love.
Our Personalities -
It's been said by Christian author, Gary Chapman, that depending on our personalities, there are five different languages of love. Some are service oriented, so acts of service is love to them.
Some are gift oriented, so the giving and receiving of gifts is love. Some are words oriented, like me, so sharing heartfelt words is love. Some are touch oriented, so tender touch is love to them. Others are time oriented. To give of your time is love. Many of us are a combination of all of the above.
Why is this important know? -
We all give with the type of love that comes naturally to us. All we have to do is study how people give, and that is a reflection of their love language.
The Hard Part -
We are all drawn to those that have different love languages and needs, which help fill in the gaps of what we are missing. Men and woman by nature speak totally different languages and have different needs. For example, love to a man can be honor and sex. Love to a woman can be time and affection.
How do We Ever Connect? -
How does the first command, to love the Lord with all our heart, and our neighbor as ourself, ever get accomplished with so many differences? If babies, who know nothing, can so easily give and receive love, why can't we adults?
Faith works by love and overcomes fear -
It takes time for babies to learn fear. It takes time for them to be hurt and learn to put up walls and barriers to the soft places of their hearts. Satan works hard at hurting people into shutting down their hearts. Drug, alcohol abuse, workaholism, and chronic depression, are some of the results of the pain of rejection, abandonment, and abuse, all coming from a lack of real love. It's easier for many to just numb the pain of lack in their lives, rather then dig a little deeper to find the wisdom they need to overcome roadblocks to real love.
The work of Love -
Love was never meant to be a burden or heavy labor. I believe it's to be as natural as breathing. Part of the rhythms of life and grace in our lives. The work part of it is clearing out all the fears and blockages that have piled up from years of hurt and disappointments. It takes faith to face those fears, (in the power of the Holy Spirit), head on and love anyway. This type of overcoming is not for the immature or selfish person. This type of faith and love requires courage and vision. For the joy set before us, we endure the complexities of the friction that come from differing perspectives in those we love. In this process we see another part of the glorious image of God!
These differences are supposed to be a blessing and not a curse. It is supposed to stretch us beyond our comfort zones of routine, schedule and control, by helping us to be more spontaneous to opportunities that come our way to love each other.
So why is love, work to some, and blessings to others? -
I believe it's in how we perceive it? If transparency and intimacy from the heart strikes fear in some, while joy in others, we need to ask ourselves what we are really afraid of? What are we running from? What are we hiding? Let's get to the root of all fear and drive it out. Fear is a spirit. It's what governs in the kingdom of darkness. The spirit of fear is the biggest hindrance to the God kind of love. It must be dealt with, and turned from. Also, I believe that many refuse to do the work of confronting issues and allowing the Word to correct and teach them. This clears the way for deeper level love.
Prov. 27: 5 - Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed.
Many in religious circles have been trained to do their external duty of love, such as, give to the poor, go to church, etc. I call this "functional" love. The functional part of love in a family is also important. Doing the laundry, cleaning house, paying the bills, going to work, is all part of us operating in functional love. We love our families, so we serve them in these important ways. We love our communities so we serve them in practical or functional ways. I believe however, that is only half the love we are to operate in.
God is our Example-
God functioned in getting Israel out of Egypt, feeding them manna, giving them water out of a rock, and performing many other miracles. He showed His love by the practical functions He provided for His people. He also showed Israel His love, by the words He spoke and promised them.
Why did only a few in Israel receive the fullness of God's love to them? -
It is said in scripture, that Israel knew the acts or actions of God, (functional love) but Moses knew God's ways, (intimate love). Moses had an intimate relationship with God. A face to face, heart to heart relationship. In every family, and in every church, we need to know both the functional aspects of love as well as intimate love! Without the balance of the two, we will not receive or understand the fullness of God's love. I believe many are missing it in their lives of love because of not understanding true heart to heart intimacy that comes from simply being In God's presence long enough to become like Him. Without this intimacy we will not be able to receive many of the promises God has for us. It takes faith to receive the promises, and faith only works by love.
Laws of Transmission- (Intimate Love)- The act of transmitting or sending something from one person to another.
Love is more absorbed through close contact and hearing the words of our Father from that closeness, then all the mental knowledge we could ever muster! It's so much higher then a bunch of do and don't rules we could ever prescribe to. The very bible we read, will either continue to be dead letter to us, without an intimate relationship with Jesus, or become Spirit and life to us? All depending on whether we choose to know and operate only in functional love, or intimate love as well. The story of Mary and Martha really highlight this point. See Luke 10: 39-42
Intimate Love drives out Fear-
1 John 4:18 - There is no fear in love: but perfect (matured) love casts out fear, because fear involves torment, but he who fears has not been made perfect (mature) in love.
I believe the more we pursue love, the more we will become like Love Himself. That love is such a force that it will drive out any immature fears we may have assimilated along the road of life!
We need both functional aspects of love, as well as intimate love, if we are to grow up spiritually, emotionally and physically. We will not be able to receive all the fullness God has for us until we learn both.
My prayer for my life and family as well as our church and the body of Christ is found in the book of Ephesians.
Eph. 4:13- 15 - till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect (mature) man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the Head - Christ-
Hebrews 3:19 - So we see that they could not enter in (to God's rest ) because of unbelief
Hebrews 4:1- Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.
Hebrews 4:2 - For we who have believed do enter that rest,
Hebrews 4:11 - Let us therefore be diligent (labor) to enter that rest,
It seems like an oxymoron to labor in order to rest. Many have misunderstood these scriptures.
How are we supposed to be diligent about entering the rest of God, and what is it? Are we to just sit still and not do anything? Is it complete inactivity? No.
If we read chapter 3 & 4 of Hebrews, we see that God is talking about faith to receive His promises that have been spoken to us.
In this case the Israelites had been given the promise land of Canaan, but could not enter into the land flowing with milk and honey because of unbelief.
A man named Kenneth E. Hagin, the founder of Rhema Bible College, called faith, a "rest".
I am beginning to really see what he meant.
A funny analogy with my granddaughter Hannah -
I was babysitting my granddaughter in the beginning of January and had a funny and heartwarming experience.
A brief side journey of events preceding my experience with Hannah -
I had just recovered from hives after many months of output and preparation for the holidays. A guest minister at our church, A church Christmas luncheon, helping those less fortunate, and Hannah's one year birthday bash at our church a week before Christmas. Normally the holidays are active enough, but with the one year anniversary of my mom's going to heaven, there was unforeseen stresses. When a loved one goes to heaven, it can bring up a lot of unresolved emotional issues in a family. Many do not process their grief correctly and can displace it in the form of anger towards other family members. Without healthy communication and a lot of prayer, it's easy to get drawn into conflict. Conflict, when left unresolved, always causes strife. With that being said, this was the environment in my extended family before Christmas
I managed well with the grace and help of God. I communicated well and got to the heart of some major issues with my extended family. I was also able to accomplish all the goals on my to do list. Christmas cards were sent, presents were purchased and wrapped, meals were made, the house was spit spot, and Christmas dinner with the family was fit for a king! So why did I get an unusual outbreak of hives after everything was done and accomplished?
Sometimes we are going at such a fast pace, trying to get our goals and agendas done, that we don't pay attention to the warning signs of emotional and spiritual fatigue. This can be more stressful to our bodies then an intense physical workout.
God knows our need to take care of so many important matters in life. He has a way that is higher then our way, in getting the job done. Jesus spoke of this with His friends, Mary and Martha.
Luke 10:39-42 - And she (Martha) had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus feet and heard His word. Vs. 40- But Martha was DISTRACTED with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me."
Vs. 41- And Jesus answered and said to her. "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.
Vs. 42- "But ONE THING is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."
I am usually good at staying in my grace place. I am usually good at detecting when my stress levels are on the rise, and stop striving to accomplish things. There are times in life, however, when it seems that we are being tested on every front. Many tests seem to come out of the clear blue, and can blind side us when we are so busy.
Jesus directive to Martha was that she was distracted with her "much" serving. It pays to really see and hear what Jesus said to these two women. Maybe because we women have a little of both within us all. It's really a wrestling match between the flesh and the spirit.
Jesus admonishment to Mary was that she chose the one thing that is needed in life. She sat at the feet of Jesus to listen and learn of His ways. He said Mary had chosen "that good part, and it would not be taken away from her."
It takes faith and rest to do what Mary did in the face of the needs of humanity. There is the price of rousing the anger of all the Martha's who have so many "good" and important services to provide for people! (This happens with both men and women) It takes faith to withstand the peer pressure of bowing to others expectations, even the expectations of well meaning brothers and sisters in the Lord. God has a way of meeting the needs of humanity through us in His own way and timing.
We can all have the best of intentions in wanting to help others, but at what price? Are we doing that one good thing, that is the better part?
Sometimes we are made to lie down in green pastures, because we don't know how to stop the run a way train of activity on our own! We need to learn how to stop and rest in the presence of the Lord. We need to learn how to surrender to His way of rest and trust, especially during busy seasons.
Psalm 23: 1-3 - The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Vs. 2- He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. Vs. 3- He restores my soul.
Prior to getting hives, the Lord literally shined a light on these scriptures as I was reading the word. It was cloudy out, and all of a sudden a ray of light shone through the clouds, and literally highlighted this scripture to me. My husband was in the room and even took notice of this.
God always forewarns us to slow down and listen to Him. His will for us is to live in divine health. If we violate the laws of faith and rest, and switch into a works mode of self effort, it opens a door for our bodies to breakdown.
So how does this tie in to the story of the day I babysat my granddaughter Hannah?
I'm getting to that. Hannah was over tired and ready for her nap when I arrived to babysit her.
She loves company, and loves to play and show you all her toys and the things she's learned. (She's only a year old mind you) After playing with her and reading to her, she was visibly tired and fighting sleep.
My own daughter, Grace , would do the same thing as a baby. She would fight sleep because she was afraid she was going to miss out on something fun. She was afraid that I would leave the room and do something without her. She would only settle down and sleep if I was touching her
Remembering how to settle my daughter, I held Hannah and began to rock her in a rhythmic pattern. She has a funny way of singing a tone in a type of cadence that sounds like a march. I joined in with her singing, and she knew I was trying to get her to sleep, so she began wrestling and wiggling, all the while smiling at me. Very cute and funny. I just kept singing and rocking until she was so peaceful that she fell into a restful sleep on my chest.
I so enjoyed her nap on me. I was able to pray over her, love on her, and speak over her in a way that I normally couldn't when she was running around. When a baby runs around, the focus is on protecting them from getting hurt.
I realized that she was laboring in resisting rest, while I was helping her to enter her rest! What a monumental parable and explanation of the scripture in Luke 10 and in psalm 23. I, like the Lord, lovingly made her to lie down in rest. In that state she was restored and blessed in a more effective way.
I began to see that it's the same with us and the Lord. When we stop resisting His ways and surrender to His love, the Lord is able to speak into us and bless us with His rest. He quiets us with His love. Our lives are restored in that process, and we are able to do more with less.
The laboring part of entering the "rest" of God, is quieting down the to do list in our minds, the daily agendas of every day life, the pressure to do what others expect of us, and sit at His feet long enough to hear and learn from His word, as well as the parables of life.
It's not a given that we all hear from the Lord, but He's always speaking to us. We have to slow down long enough to listen.
Psalm 23:5 - You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
We have been singing a new song in church called "Fill my cup Lord, until it flows, and overflows." I believe it's a sign of what God wants to do this year with His church. That everything we do would come out of this overflow. We can't operate with empty tanks anymore.
It's in the place of the rest of God, that He can pour His love and life into us. That's the place we hear Him crystal clear. That's the place where we receive our marching orders, and the power to carry out His plan on earth.
Nugget from the Lord - How can the Lord pour into a moving cup??