We have a perfected spirit man….we are born to be WILD in the Kingdom of God! His seed is in us and is giving birth to God's plans. God has created us for exploits.
Why isn't the body of Christ living in the victory God intended for us?
We need to be willing to be abundantly pardoned.
Isaiah 55:8-11 says, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. 8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 "For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth, and bud, That it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
The context in the previous scripture is about God's pardoning. God's forgiveness is such that He abundantly pardons; that is why his ways are not our ways.
We want to be people who operate in God's ways, so we need to be people who abundantly pardon.
We overcome if we are born of God.
"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" [1 John 5-3-5]. "Everyone who has been fathered by God does not practice sin, because God's seed resides in him, and thus he is not able to sin, because he has been fathered by God" (1 John 3:9).
"He cannot sin because he is born of God." We have a perfected spirit man; His seed in us is giving birth to God's plans. We are born to be wild in the kingdom of God!
We need to release and forgive. Forgive yourself and others.
It's not about us getting anything from God.
If you need healing, the Bible says you HAVE healing. If you need a miracle, the Miracle-Worker lives inside of you. It's not about us getting anything from God but about releasing things that weigh us down or erroneous belief systems. A person gets used to living with weights, but we need to release some of the things hindering us from victory.
Guard a place of peace and rest. To obey God and do what He commissions us to do, we need to hear the still, small voice from within and pay attention to what's going on in our hearts.
It is in peace that we hear the voice of God in our hearts. When we guard and protect creativity within a place of peace and rest, we function best and become super-creative. Jesus called us to a place of peace and rest.
Jesus is, after all, the "Prince of Peace." Where the Lord is present, there will be Peace.
Peace and rest are where we function best.
"Mary Magdalene went, telling the news to the disciples: "I saw the Master!" And she told them everything He said to her. Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, "Peace to you." Then he showed them his hands and side. The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: 'Peace be with you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.' Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. 'Receive the Holy Spirit,' He said. "If you forgive someone's sins, they're gone for good. If you don't forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?" (John 20: 18-23)
We have a choice to either hold on to someone's sins or let them go, but not as if we're stepping in place of God. When you know someone has something against you, you can often sense it when you walk into a room. God says, "I'm sending you, receive the Holy Spirit, and you need the Holy Spirit so you can release things." We are empowered for this.
Many people look at these verses in John 20 as the birth of the church. We know on the day of Pentecost, the disciples were all empowered. But this is a remarkable saying…the Lord is giving the disciples a commission. Look at the order in which Christ spoke these things, and it shows that the heart of the Gospel is in the power of forgiveness.
We have been forgiven, and we can extend that to others or choose not to extend it. It is upside down how the kingdom of this world works.
Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Pastor, Author, Teacher, Friend
Hospitality isn’t something that just comes out of nowhere; it’s learned by watching and being trained by others. Remember: “Hospitality is to bless; not impress.”
“No matter what, make room in your heart to love every believer. And show hospitality to strangers, for they may be angels from God showing up as your guests.” Hebrews 13:1
Building a House Started in the Beginning
Going back to Genesis, the book of beginnings, where the origin roots for humanity started, the Bible literally begins with a pair of open arms.
In the Bible, the first letter of Genesis 1:1 is the Hebrew letter 'Beit.' It looks like a backward C: in the Hebrew language, single letters have meanings. 'Beit' by itself implies blessing, creation, and two arms open to welcome and to bless.
Into those arms, into that place of blessing, strangers are welcome and comforted and go forth. It literally means "house." Most people recognize the letters or sounds from the word Bethlehem which means house of bread. The letter alludes to the coming temple in Jerusalem, which was a representation on earth of the heavenly home.
Every house on earth is a miniature picture of that same place – and an outpost of our heavenly home, a sanctuary where we will be warm, safe, and cared for.
Hebrew reads from right to left. Using the 'beit' as the opening letter for the Scriptures, our Father is in one letter revealing his intentions for the whole story. In Hebrew culture, the meaning of house is more than just a building; it's a family lineage.
In other words, the whole Bible is telling us his intention is to open his arms and his home to build a large family. This theme is the golden thread through all of history.
Jesus Continued Building the House
God promised Abraham and Sarah that they would become the parents of generations of descendants who would bless the world.
When David was contemplating building an earthly house for God, The Prophet came and told him he would not build the temple but that his son Solomon would. Then the prophet told David that God will build a house for him and that his descendants would be on the throne over Israel forever. So in that context House meant a blessed and favored lineage of descendants.
When the young Messiah was 12, his family journeyed to Jerusalem to celebrate one of the feasts.
Isn't it interesting that God prescribed that the plan of salvation be observed in a series of seven annual feasts?
The Messiah stayed behind in the temple to debate with scribes and scholars. When his mother found him, she asked why he stayed behind. He responded: "did you not know that I must be about my Father's business?
Or did you not know that I must be about the business of building my Father's house?
As early as the age of 12, we find Jesus in the temple asking questions and learning. Even at that time, he was acting out of the realization of who his father was. The desire to do the things he did grew from the revelation of who he was. Every area of Christian life and service, as well as the grace to make us able, will naturally spring from the revelation of who we are.
Note: Jesus's revelation of his identity was not complete by what his parents taught him. Scripture reveals he went to the word of God to continue to understand who he was. In Luke 4:16-21, Jesus made his public declaration of who he was by quoting Isaiah 61 in verse 16; we have a subtle hint, "… As was his custom…" Jesus was doing something customary for him.
First, HE was going to the synagogue. Secondly, HE was turning to a passage of scripture. (a)
It had been his custom to read the scrolls. He went to the word to affirm and establish his identity. The word became the place to get particulars about his identity. This is where he grew in his knowledge of God and his knowledge of himself. He did not read the word to try and become the son of God; He read the word to determine what it meant about him.
Even as a preteen, he understood his call directly related back to the very first letter in scripture - The work of opening the father's arms and welcoming others to come in.
Even in one of his parables, he described the kingdom like, "there once was a man who was giving a great feast which he invited people. He sent his servant to tell his guest, come, everything is ready, but they all made excuses. The servant went back and told his master. Then the master sent the servant to hurry to the town's alleys to bring back the poor, crippled, blind, and lame. Soon the servant said, "There is room for more," so the master said, "Go out to the country roads and lanes and make people Come in so that my house will be full." Luke 14: 15-24, Matthew 22:1-10
The early believers understood hospitality is central to the gospel message. Wherever they settled, they extended open arms by offering hospitality which back then included the care of the sick, as in the story of the good Samaritan.
As the gospel messengers went forward, offering this good news how people received them spoke volumes. If the people they went to did not accept them and welcome them with hospitality, it was seen as rejecting both the messenger and the message. That's how much the father values an open spirit of hospitality.
Put yourself in the place of a seeker, a refugee, an abused teenager, someone unemployed, or a widow who's been invited to visit a monastic community. Now imagine you found your way there. What would you likely experience?
Imagine this Picture Painted
You would find a porter station near the community entrance whose chief role is to welcome guests and introduce them to the rest of the community. The Abbot and everyone else would welcome you with "all courtesy of love."
The Abbot gently inquires about what had prompted your visit, and so begins the ministry of conversation. He would read scripture for you, offer a prayer for you and extend the kiss of peace.
The Abbot would wash your feet, dirty from your journey by foot. Maybe today, such a place would have their car serviced and detailed, and your clothing would be washed and mended.
He would show you to the guest house, managed by a caring brother who would give you bedding. You would be included at the Abbot's tables for meals.
If the Abbot was in a period of fasting, He would break the fast because his higher priority was to the ministry of his guests. You would learn that the monastic communities highest commitment is hospitality to strangers, seekers, pilgrims, and refugees.
The Benedictine rule number 53 explains that "all guests to present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me."
Soon you would be given a soul friend, a small group, and a place for periods of solitude.
You would learn some scripture you would worship with the community. One or more persons would share the ministry of conversation and pray with you daily.
After some days or weeks, you find yourself believing what these Christians believe. You would be processing the beliefs of your heart. And they would invite you to commit your life to Christ and His will for your life. (The Celtic Way of Evangelism)
So there you have it how Ireland, Scotland, and England were WON away from the darkness of paganism with the power of loving hospitality.
Hospitality is powerful. It demonstrates to people the invisible kingdom of the Father, a household in the largest, most loving, and enduring family.
(a) Excerpt from Leadership That Builds People by Dr. Jim Richards
(& delineated from the COOKBOOK Part of the Family by Pearl Cozzens, Dave Duell’s older sister)
This last Saturday, we had a meaningful time of new introductions among women acquaintances and a gathering of old friends too. We try to host a monthly breakfast meeting with worship, word & wisdom, and often a guest speaker.
This day we had our morning cuisine over coffee, and then I asked the two questions, "What do you do when you are feeling left out? What happens when you didn't get invited?" The questions sparked great conversation and great insights among the gals.
First, we all identified with having felt that way before. Then Marjorie shared about hearing a speaker address that very thing. She shared about NOT judging the 'WHYS' of someone else. "Why did they leave me out? Why did they not answer my email?"
Are we easily prone to pick up an offense when we don't even have any details or facts based on how we feel? That seems to point to more of our own instabilities. And even worse when we involve other people by planting our seeds of discontent and speculation about our assumptions.
What if we each took personal responsibility for our response over the 'feelings' and dealt with them internally before we made lots of assumptions? What if we begin to live with some internal boundaries and integrity about how we respond to hurt feelings.
Could it be that our expectations for others are unfair? It's not too idealistic to believe that as Christ-followers, we can begin to live with predetermined guidelines for how to have healthy relationships.
What if our priority relationship was our friendship with Jesus.
Paul said in Romans 13:10, "Love does not harm a neighbor."
One woman proposed that we seek to understand others by being committed to just asking questions.
Then ask yourself, "What is my authentic expression?"
Do we nurse our wounds by going into "creating a story" mode? That means we may be imagining some fictitious scenarios that carry us further away from the truth of the matter.
What if a true friend challenged our story by asking, "Is it true?" What are you saying or doing by repeating your discontent, and how is that serving you?
I think it's important to recognize that there are different levels of friendship. Are we willing to allow a friendship to 'be,' or does it have to be according to our definition? The wisdom of Proverbs says, "A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."
If we make an honest assessment of ourselves, we'd sometimes find that our expectations of others are rooted in our insecurities. Only a healthy self-worth rooted in our identity in Christ will help us be more self-aware in our relationships and expectations with others. We may need to get from Jesus what we are trying to receive from relationships.
I'm challenging you to release your judgments of others and enjoy the relationships God gives you and the great variety of gifts and talents, and qualities each friend brings to one another.
Pastor, teacher, author.
Fashion is constantly changing. So is music. But the intentions and purpose of God in music don't change. Our music becomes more filled with revelation and impacts our God whom we are singing to.
A psalm is a hymn of praise to God. The Book of Psalms was initially the hymn book for Israel. The Psalms are a classic example of Hebrew poetry. Unlike English poetry made of rhyme and rhythm, it consists of similar or contrasting ideas. I believe our praise and worship should reflect the finished work of Jesus in the Good News Gospel.
Paul speaks of preachers being sent out with the gospel of peace in the book of Romans. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world." This sound, this new wave - the gospel of Jesus Christ - will ignite faith and reveal grace!
A cross-reference to the above verse regarding sound is found in Psalm 19:1 "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world.
This passage speaks of an expression that grows and travels--sound waves. Creation itself clearly paints the picture of the fullness of God.
Can you visualize warm, moist air under the shining sun with water rolling in on the beach? Waves! They continue on and on.
In the two passages in Romans and Psalms, the words "sound" and "line" are used interchangeably. Another translation reads, "Yet their message (or measuring line) has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the entire world."
I believe that measuring line, message, or sound is an ever-reaching revelation growing in the earth! It is the Good News Gospel. The Good News is being preached and needs to be sung as well. It's a sound wave, whether by preaching or singing of praise and worship.
Mark Hankins, in his book, Spirit of Faith, writes:
"Some time ago, I saw an article in TIME magazine that caught my attention. The article, What's Hiding in the Quarks, tells us how the discovery of Quarks was made at the giant Tevatron accelerator at the Fermi Natl Accelerator Lab near Chicago. The evidence came from collisions between subatomic protons and antiprotons at very high speeds. Not only were quarks discovered, but the Tevatron is so powerful it can investigate the structure of the quarks themselves. What are quarks made of? What is hiding in the quarks? The article states: Physicists were understandably overjoyed in 1994 when they discovered the top quark. At last, after 17 years of searching, they found the sixth, and according to the theorists, the last of matters tiniest, most fundamental building blocks.
The most troublesome loose end in the so-called Standard Model of particle physics had been tied up. Or so they thought. According to a report in the current SCIENCE, the same people who discovered the TOP QUARK may have inadvertently made a much more revolutionary discovery. Contrary to what physicists have believed for 30 years. Quarks may not be the most basic unit of matter after all.
Did you know that there is something smaller than the atom and the proton? All matter is made of this secret substance. The answer helps us see the origin of all things. The answer could be what many scientists believe today. Quarks are made of sound waves. The tiniest building block of all things is sound waves. Over and over, it says in Genesis, "..and God said."
You can clearly see that God created everything with His voice. As we pioneer declaring the gospel of grace & faith in places we've never been before, our words and faith-filled expressions sung in praise and worship and spoken through preaching and teaching leave an eternal impact."
In 2 Chronicles 20:20, King Jehoshaphat said, "Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper." And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: "Praise the LORD, For His mercy endures forever." These singers were ahead of the battle! This was a huge step of faith! They were risking their lives by sending singers with instruments instead of soldiers with swords, and they believed to the degree they were willing to put their lives on the line. What a great demonstration of corporate faith!
Verse 17 of 2 Chronicles 7 says: "You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!' Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you."
God conveys the victory His people can watch unfold by following His simple directive to "position themselves" and not to fight in the battle. Their supernatural rescue happened that day as they thanked and praised. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
These sound waves of thanks and praise obtained the victory that day and are a revelation that God wants us to capture. I believe the wave we need to see is the difference and fulfillment of this Old Testament picture through the Good News Gospel. This is our New Testament place of rest in Christ. We do not need to fight in the battle that His Son has already won! It is finished!
Teacher, Author, Pastor, Mother, Grandmother, Wife
Read our question and answer session with Denise on her journey into the ministry.
How did you get started in the ministry?
Well, actually, it was a developmental thing.
One favorite minister shares, "The life of the ministry is the LIFE OF THE MINISTER." I believe that is very true.
Over the years of serving in a church through the motivational gifts (my motivation being- caring for people), many things landed in my lap. We hosted a home group for many years out of a large church. We did that because of being hospitable and liking people. Before I was a Christian, I liked to party. That transferred over.
I have always seen potential in people, and I think that I can relate well to others. Overcoming childhood hardships can often cause you to be sensitive to how other people feel. Couple that with God's grace and delivering power- and you know, "Hey- If He did it for me – He can do it for you."
I'd see a new person in the church, and I would feel compelled to link them with their area of interest. I'd want to make sure they had heard the message of God's grace.
Had they received the baptism in the Holy Spirit? It was an important thing. The more I grew in a revelation of How MUCH GOD loved me…the more I was compelled in ministry-minded ways.
It seemed like it took a sledgehammer to the head to finally get what God was trying to do in our lives, of answering a call to ministry by starting a local church as pastors. We just didn't see ourselves fitting the mold.
Now, of course, we understand that we didn't need to fit a mold!
God didn't want us to fit a mold.
We began a church in 1994…or began meeting weekly in a rented facility. I understand that WE ARE THE CHURCH.
That weekly meeting really evolved out of tape duplicating, distributing them, and witnessing to people. We had led teams on street witnessing outreaches as we told others about knowing Jesus and His gospel. We had hosted home groups for ten years. All of that gave us a good foundation for working with people.
The church beginning in 1994, was a culmination of some essential life appointments and God's Divine timing and speaking.
We were saturating ourselves in the Word and new understanding and revelation beyond our just religious tradition. We were very passionate and excited about sharing it too.
What obstacles did you overcome getting started?
I'd say even getting started was a significant obstacle. We always felt 'not qualified.' But through some good bible teaching- we knew we couldn't go by our feelings. God called us, and God qualified us.
Then feeling an invisible rejection from the religious community was another block in the road. We just went around it. We settled in our hearts that although it is good to have other ministry leaders recognize what God is doing, it will not always happen that way.
We didn't need anyone's permission to obey God's calling and directives to us. We really had to get new definitions written in our hearts. God was so faithful to give us supernatural confirmations and new relationships. It was amazing how things began to unfold with repetitious encounters with other Christians that God wanted us involved with.
Did you experience any limitations put upon your ministry by others because you are a woman?
Yes, there were some. Many of the limitations were self-imposed. I was blessed with a husband who has a strong personality who didn't try and hinder any gifts I exercised.
Even though we had been indoctrinated strongly against women preachers, etc. I honestly think we just never quite believed it anyway. It didn't seem consistent with the way Jesus treated people.
It was a contradictory mode of conduct.
How can women be good enough to go on the mission field but not preach behind an American church pulpit?
I remember wondering to myself, "Why? Why do I do the things I do?" I functioned very naturally in some areas. To deny those unctions would be very repressive. I was really questioning my own motivations. God spoke to me along the way and revealed that it was His calling for me. He confirmed it through His Word. When God speaks- it clears up all the scuttle-butt.
There are definitely encounters along the way with resistance to a 'woman' minister. Most often by other ministry leaders. I really look at it as though it is someone else's personal issue to sort out. I don't feel like I have to prove anything.
Just as we host guest ministers in our church- we know they will be received better by some rather than others. There can be preferences involved. The body of Christ will be ministered to on an individual basis by particular giftings. It doesn't matter who does the ministering; whoever receives and gets blessed is the important thing. That is the beauty of Christ's body.
The life of a Christian is one of faith that works by love. But maintaining our freedom does require a walk and living by faith.
Colossians 2:6 says the simplest way to walk free. "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."
This is HOW we got started, and it's how we maintain our freedom. I am living life to the fullest and renewing my mind constantly because I am a new creation. "Old things are passed away, and behold, all things have become new." I am in right-standing with God, and through His grace, I can live by His ability that works from the heart.
When I say, "walk by faith," I refer to a daily walk choosing to believe what God has said about me already. When it seems like everything, including my own actions, isn't lining up with the process, I begin daily acknowledging every good thing that is in me iS Christ Jesus. Not everything I see in the natural realm would get me a gold star. Some things are not good about me on the outside….but God isn't finished with me yet! I am not excusing my shortcomings. I am realistically trusting in God to enable me to change.
Our life was not to be focused to be on right or wrong or about good or evil. The devil is the ultimate legalist. He will nitpick us all to death. God gives us His directive on how to overcome in Galatians 5:16 "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." Or to paraphrase it, if we are walking by the Spirit, we won't fulfill the flesh's desires or lust. Am I yielding to God's ability that made me righteous? Am I living free in my heart following what the Spirit says daily?
Here's kind of how it works with me. I wake up sensitive to the Holy Spirit's promptings trying to recognize my heart's first emotions. Are they thoughts of fear or guilt, or pressure? If so, bringing them in captivity or trying to determine the root or origin. Suppose I'm feeling guilty because I haven't accomplished what I set out to do this week or have a problem with some bad thoughts or a bad dream. In that case, I look to the Spirit of God, who helps my infirmities and prays and makes intercession for me. I pray in the Spirit with peace that is already there because the Spirit lives in me, and His solutions surface. I release that emotion that is trying to keep me bound up all day. I sometimes have to go much further in dealing with the beliefs of my heart. But I have a commitment to allow the Holy Spirit permission to work in my life and heart. I am not wiser than God. I know He has the best plan.
You see, everything in your life is determined by the belief of your heart. Proverbs says, "As a man thinketh, in his heart so is he" I must get real and deal with the beliefs in my heart. When I think about a promise in God's Word, what are the emotions in my heart saying? What do I really believe about that? You might say we're not to be led by our emotions, and that is true. But to deny them all together is another mistake. Our emotions can really be an indicator to us of what is going on inside and what I believe at heart level.
We were designed from creation to live in God's presence and to live in the peace that rules in our hearts. I often ask myself, "Is my heart in peace?" What are the beliefs that are ruling in my heart?
God, through His Spirit, is there to show you the hidden motivations of the heart so you can rewrite on your heart God's truths until peace rules in that area. In the Amplified translation, it reads, "And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ's] one body you were also called [to live]."
For example, most recently I felt our church growth was at an impasse.
I tried to figure it out. Was it the worship service, my preaching, or the people? I went to God to get wisdom, and he showed me a belief I had that was limiting the growth. One was the way that I saw myself. The other was about not believing that I had the systems and structure in place to facilitate the growth numerically. Every time I thought about growth, my heart would feel inadequate. This contradicted the fact that I knew it was God's will for us to grow. I was more in tune with my feelings of inadequacy rather than what God's Spirit was saying. So I decided to deal with the beliefs. God has raised up some systems people to help organize our ministry departments. After dealing with these aspects, we have seen immediate and progressive growth.
We cannot deny how we feel in our hearts if we want lasting change. We all have pain in the past to some degree. We often anticipate future pain. We don't reflect and consult with God in our hearts. That's where He has told us to have a guard. God said out of it flow the issues of life. God lives in the heart.
So are you going to do whatever it takes to rewrite on your heart? New beliefs are yours for the living out. These new beliefs replace old ones that have only kept you in pain and limited you.
In Philippians, Paul says: 4:9, "Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. We can also learn from Paul's ways.
The Berkeley Version of the New Testament translates a verse out of Timothy with the phrase by saying Timothy "will remind you of my principles of BEHAVIOR IN CHRIST JESUS," or as the KJV states, "shall bring you into remembrance of MY WAYS WHICH BE IN CHRIST."
Paul does not send the new covenant believer back to Moses's Law for New Covenant ethics; instead, he argues and reasons Christian ethics from the truth of the believer's identification with Christ in his death and resurrection.
God's belief system is that ALL things are possible to him who believes. First, you must believe that Jesus has made you righteous and qualified you for all the promises. Paul tells us in Colossians 1:12, "giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light."
Our time investment now is renewing our minds to this and persuading our hearts to be settled in it. When that happens the transformation we desire is effortless. Instead of focusing on making the outside look good—let's work on the inside. Our labor is to rest in what God says is true – is exactly that.
When I feel like I am walking free of sin's dominion, that is when I understand that I had the freedom to choose. I am no longer a slave to sin. I am not under law but under grace. What do I really want? I get the choice. I can live by what I was designed for, the spiritual life of abundance. If I sow to the flesh, I will reap corruption. (Galatians 6)
God picks us up when we fall. Or as it says in His Word in Proverbs 24, "for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again…" He is such a good Father, and He guides me into truth. It is my decision to follow His leading. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He doesn't operate by force in our relationship. He is leading his children into His best.
If you feel like the description in my book, you may have read, as a 'dung beetle' caught up in a performance trap. Freedom is yours already. It's a choice to believe you are free. It's a choice to persuade my heart that I am holy, blameless, and above reproach in his sight.
Paul told us that very thing in the letter to the Ephesians in chapter one, verse 4 "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." It's incredible to think that is how God really sees us.
Paul trusted God to reveal to him anything that needed to be changed. He sought God with all his heart. He was not INTROSPECTIVE. He depended on GOD to keep him walking in the straight and narrow.
Being self-analytical can be a significant inroad of Satan in our lives. Those who are not seeking God have no other choice. They have to evaluate themselves. For those seeking God, He will take responsibility for pointing out the things that need to be dealt with in our lives. We can leave it up to Him. Allow him to bring about the change. As you have this sense of acceptance, He can work the transformation from the inside out.
Phil 3:15 says, "Let us therefore as many as be perfect, be thus minded; and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
Will you be honest with God and understand He knows what you believe in your heart anyway? Do you have such a value for God's view and opinion that you are willing to give up your own? Then you are free to live your dreams. Dreams to help God's people know the truth about His goodness will manifest in reality.
We must have a revelation of God's passionate love for us not based on what we do but on what He's done. If my identity is established on what God says about me and not what others may think, I do not have to perform well for God's acceptance. I do not have to be right to be justified that I am ok. I don't have to have a daily quota of production to feel worthy or valuable. I am now walking in the simple knowledge and revelation of being pleasing to God because I am His son. Sons are accepted because of our inheritance in the family and not our performance. I pray you'll live in this freedom too.
Pastor, teacher, evangelist, author.
2 Corinthians 5:21, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
Our belief system is foundational to who we are and what we believe. And what we believe affects every aspect of our life- thoughts, and actions.
D&D Capra Ministries is a ministry that teaches and preaches on the goodness and grace of God. Now, this doesn't mean we are endorsing abuses that feed greed and carnal reasoning. And this is what people often misunderstand. You can't say you believe in the grace and goodness of God, but live a life filled with greed and carnal reasoning. You would be pretending to be "what you are not!"
Proverbs 17:15 says, "He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord."
So how do we keep our belief system in alignment with our actions? Through the righteousness of God.
Understanding Our New Nature
Before you accepted Christ, you were a sinner. But once you accept Christ, you are given a new nature established in the righteousness of Jesus. You were a sinner, but you are now saved by grace and are now the righteousness of God.
Salvation produces a changed heart that changes our actions. Actions cannot change our hearts. All actions do is show us what is in our hearts.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."
Understanding Our Righteousness
A new nature is created in the likeness of God.
Ephesians 4:22-24, "To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness."
Because of Jesus, you are not just in the flesh; you are in the Spirit. You are in Christ. You might walk after the flesh at times, but you are in Christ Jesus and righteous in Him.
God made your new nature 100% righteous and holy so His Holy Spirit could live in you. You are as righteous as Jesus. You are 100% right with God.
This righteousness is a gift. You didn't earn it, nor can you. The righteousness of God isn't based on anything you have done; it's all based on what Jesus did on the cross.
Romans 5:17, "For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
We are encouraged never to despise small beginnings (see Zechariah 4:10). Everything has its initial seed form of the growth process. In the unfolding picture of our life of rest, there is a simple understanding of the glimpse of creation. In the beginning, we see…
“Thus, the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day, God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because, in it, He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2:1-4, emphasis mine).
Then, in the book of Exodus…“Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath and observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between the children of Israel and Me forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed” (Exodus 31:16-17).
Was God refreshed? Even before the giving of the Law, God blessed the seventh day. Therein lays this principle of rest introduced! Now, please don’t misunderstand me. In no way am I suggesting or promoting complete inactivity. God rested not because He was tired, but because He was finished. God sees the end from the beginning (see Isaiah 46:10). He’s working a plan!
God works, then He rests. Again, He wasn’t tired, but He was finished. It’s so simple yet profound. Think of it: God works and then rests. Yet, He ordained mankind to rest, then work. For us, our work flows out of a relationship with Him! God loves our dependency on Him, not our self-sufficiency. It’s time for this ‘sign’ (this relationship) to show forth destiny of purpose in these wild times. God is working behind the scenes and also right out in front! Be refreshed.
Excerpt from “For the Rest of Your Life”
Written by Denise Capra
Artwork by Polly Lunetto
We have been in harvest time since Jesus walked the earth (John 4:35). It has never been about the harvest being ready but always the lack of laborers. Now, as churches have transitioned to online platforms, the people that have been on the outskirts of the world are popping into our broadcasts.
People who would have never stepped foot in our churches are streaming online and listening for truth and surrendering their lives to Christ. There have been more laborers willing to volunteer or become involved. The unity of believers is not limited to a church. It is also in cities ready to support one another during these difficult times. Christians will come out of quarantine as a mighty army!
What a great time we get to live in! May I challenge you to change your vantage point.
We are seeing ministry multiplying! Locally, we are increasing home group ministry to Zooms and new locations. Discipleship is the priority.
There are warriors in the making! Take a stand for the gospel. Jesus said, "Now, remember, it is I who sends you out, even though you feel vulnerable as lambs going into a pack of wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes yet as harmless as doves." It's past time!
Written by Denise Capra
7 min. read
Reflecting on the life of Noah from the book of beginnings has quite a story to tell that applies to us today. Developing our heart and life, to walk with God is the only solution for facing the future with any real help of overcoming. What if we made all of our decisions with intentions to yield to the Spirit no matter how he is guiding us?
Noah's Life Teaches Us Grace is Found in Rest
Noah's very name means "rest." Scripture teaches, "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord" – Think of this, "REST found GRACE in the eyes of the Lord." During this biblical period, the condition of humanity was very bleak. But God…!
Noah's story in the Bible was the very first mention of grace. That's significant. The law of first reference says we must go to the first time something is mentioned in scripture to get a clear and concise understanding of what is being taught.
To understand the end, we must understand the beginning!
Matthew 24:37 states, "but as the days of Noah were so also will the coming of the Son of Man be."
Uh-oh, here we go! In this New Testament passage, we see that Noah was directed by God to obey even in an unchartered path. Hebrews 11:7 says, "By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith."
Noah's Ark is the Picture of Jesus
The Ark is a picture of Jesus! He is full of grace and full of rest, and so is Jesus. Noah found safety in the Ark. Remember, it had been prophesied in the garden (Genesis 3) that the Seed of man would be the one to destroy the works of the devil. If the bloodline of all mankind had been corrupted, Jesus could not have been born. The corruption of the human bloodline was a direct attack on God's plan of salvation. A key for us is to understand that every prophecy and promise in the Bible was a glimpse of the virgin birth to come. Cain and Abel's story was the start of the murderous campaign from the devil.
Genesis 6 says, "(1) Now it came to pass when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, (2) that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. (3) And the Lord said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." (4) There were giants (Nephilim) on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came into the daughters of men, and they bore children to them."
In Genesis 6:4, the reference to 'giants' comes from the Hebrew word 'Nephiyl,' which means 'fall' or 'fallen ones.' The Strongs says…. a feller, i.e., a bully or tyrant:—giant. Genesis and other books, the writings of Josephus the historical record and scientific documents, record the fact that Giants have lived on nearly every continent in the world at some point in history. We have somehow failed to link this factor when the Bible explains the origin in the activities of giants. (This reference to sons of God is referring to fallen angels according to the Septuagint) The devil was out to corrupt the women's Seed. In verse 4, the reference to 'in those days' was clearly speaking of before the flood. Additional eruptions after the flood were dealt with by Israel.
"The Occult" (which just means secret or hidden) initiates and brainwashes. It leads its followers into degrees of deception until they totally reject God's revelation of himself given to all the world through his eternal word. (Excerpt from Apocalypse by Dr. Jim Richards.)
In a very significant passage in the New Testament, you can glean more insight by the context of this passage, 2 Peter 2:4-5 says, "For if God did not spare the angels (Nephilim) who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; (5) and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly."
Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord
The first and most obvious factor which led to the flood of Noah's day was the corruption of man's bloodline.
Genesis 6:5 Then [c]the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intent[d] of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (6) And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. (7) So the Lord said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." (8) But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord."
Notice God's emotion was not raging anger, but sadness. The Ark was a place of safety and refuge, and it represents or foreshadows Jesus Christ. We are now 'in Him' as believers.
Resting is believing.
Noah's very name means 'Rest,' and he pleased God! Rest pleases God. It's a foreshadowing of our position in Christ's finished work.
"Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." Noah pleased God. "This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
"The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth." Genesis 6:9-12
Noah Built the Ark God Designed
Noah acted on what he believed. The Ark was prepared. It took faith and effort. All while he worked on this significant life project, Noah was a preacher of righteousness.
Genesis 6:13-14 And God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.
Even the 'pitch' used on the wood (symbolizing man) as a sealant represented the (more than) covering we have in Christ. The Hebrew word is "kapher," to make atonement. This symbolizes the blood of Jesus which cleanses us from all sin.
The windows above had ventilation and light coming in from above and not the sides. These windows were designed by God for Noah to look up and look to Him and not for him to look out and around at the destruction coming upon the earth. There is much symbolism in Noah's story that can parallel our own life situations.
God Prepared Noah Before the Flood
Noah's Ark was a ginormous vessel (450 feet long) and habitation, almost the size of Titanic. In Genesis 7:16, "The Lord shut him in"—speaks of how God PREPARES people before a CRISIS. Here they were eternally secure!
God closed the door! You are SAFE from the waters of JUDGMENT!
Not only did God close the door, but when it was time, He told Noah to "come" into the Ark. He didn't say "go" into the Ark - He said "come" into the Ark, indicating that God was in there and was with them the whole time.
Although waves may smash against "my ark" (life's circumstances), his pitch (Christ blood) still secures and covers me! God was merciful in this happening- He was preserving mankind.
God Establishes a New Covenant
In Genesis 8:1-5 expresses Noah's deliverance. Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the Ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided. 2 The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. 3 And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days, the waters decreased. 4 Then the Ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat. 5 And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen.
Ararat means 'the curse is reversed.' The Ark rested the 7th month and 17th day of the month, actually on the mountains of Ararat. The 17th day represents the feast of firstfruits- judgment has passed. God is desiring to get the point across. Jesus took our judgment for us.
"The religious concept of a curse is when God punishes us for ungodly deeds, but the biblical concept depicts as a curse as the result of pursuing that which is not harmonious with God. The curse is not a choice or action of God; it's the consequence of which God warned, but we ignore. Planet earth, under the authority of man, became cursed as a result of man becoming disharmonious with God.(Dr. Jim Richards)
Now through the covenant of peace, God will never be angry with us again! Look at this profound passage from the prophet Isaiah 54:8-10: "For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; For as I have sworn That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, So have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has mercy on you."
In Genesis, God said, "Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." And God said: "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between you and Me and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: "I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth." Genesis 9:11-13
And we have the rainbow as a sign. The good news of Jesus is the Gospel of Peace.
Written by Denise Capra
Artwork by Polly Lunetto