Living for Jesus


Faith

Written on 30 October 2008 by

I read the following today:

Faith in antagonism to common sense is fanaticism, and common sense in antagonism to faith is rationalism. The life of faith brings the two into a right relation. Common sense is not faith, and faith is not common sense; they stand in the relation of the natural and the spiritual; of impulse and inspiration. Nothing Jesus Christ ever said is common sense, it is revelation sense, and it reaches the shores where common sense fails.

When we use common sense to filter out what faith believes, we limit our faith in God. “Oh, ye of little faith!” If we believe only what we can see, hear, touch, taste, we eliminate all spiritual possibility. We make God less than He truly is.

Until we know Jesus, God is a mere abstraction, we can not have faith in Him; but immediately we hear Jesus say – “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father,” we have something that is real, and faith is boundless. Faith is the whole man rightly related to God by the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Quotes from My Utmost for His Highest.


Prayer for America

Written on 30 October 2008 by

This prayer was written by a member of a prayer and fasting group that I belong to. It is a powerfully anointed prayer given under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Dear Father,

I thank You for the redeeming work of your Son, Jesus Christ. He truly is our Lord and Savior and has freed us from the bondage of sin and death. He who led captivity captive also brought healing in his wings. I claim healing and revival for America and I bind and loose the following things in our country in Jesus’ name, by his blood, and with the authority and the keys He has given me to do so.

I loose from America and Americans every old, wrong, ungodly pattern of thinking, attitude, idea, belief, motivation, habit, and behavior. I tear down, crush, smash, and destroy all strongholds associated with these things. I loose from America and her citizens any strongholds that have been justifying and protecting hard feelings against anyone. I loose the strongholds of unforgiveness, fear, and distrust from our country. I loose from her the strongholds of idolatry, distrust, and self-indulgence.

In the name of Jesus, I loose from America the power and effects of deceptions and lies. I loose from her the confusion and blindness of the god of this world—those things which have kept Americans from seeing the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I call forth every precious word of Scripture that has ever been preached or prayed or spoken in America that it would rise up in power within her people.

In the name of Jesus and by the authority He has given me, I loose from our country the power and effect of any hard or harsh words that have been spoken to, about or by her citizens. I loose from her all generational bondages and associated strongholds. I loose from her all effects and bondages that may have been caused by my sins and by those of other believers Father, in Jesus name, I crush, smash and destroy all generational bondages of any kind; I destroy them right here, right now. They will not bind this country any longer.

In the name of Jesus and by his blood I bind the strongman, Satan, and I take back every spiritual and material possession he has taken from America. I loose from her the enemy’s influence over her spirit and her people. I loose, crush, smash and destroy every evil device Satan may try to bring into the American sphere of influence today.

And Father, in your Son’s name I bind America to Your will for the life of this country. I bind the will of the American people to the will of God. I bind them to the truth and to the blood of Jesus. I bind their minds to the mind of Christ that the very thoughts, feelings, and purposes of His heart would be within their thoughts.

I bind America to the paths of righteousness that her steps would be steady and sure. I bind her to the work of the cross with all its mercy, grace, love, and forgiveness and dying to self.

Dear Lord, I thank You that You have not left us powerless or orphans but that in your gracious love and mercy You have given us you Holy Spirit to abide with us and enable us to pray in power and with confidence. I trust in your grace and redeeming love in America. I give You thanks for our country, and in Jesus name, and by his blood, I bind and loose these things. Thank You, Lord for the truth. And God Bless America!

Amen.


Relying on Your Own Experience Leads to Spiritual Vertigo

Written on 3 December 2007 by

I woke up on Sunday with the worst case of vertigo I have ever had. I couldn’t get out of bed without help because the very act of sitting up set the room spinning. Today I got out of bed on my own, but I was still listing into walls. This usually gets better once I’ve been in an upright position for a bit. I know exactly which movements will start the room spinning, and I work hard to avoid doing those things.

As I was reading My Utmost for His Highest today, the following struck me, “If your faith is in experiences, any thing that happens is likely to upset that faith; but nothing can ever upset God or the almighty Reality of Redemption; base your faith on that, and you are as eternally secure as God.” This reminded me of my own problems with vertigo. The world around me begins spinning because my inner ear is off. It’s telling me one thing and my eyes another and the world seems to spin out of control. As Christians we’re called to keep our eyes fixed on Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, but we tend to start looking at things from our own experience and when things don’t go according to how we think they should, our world spins out of control and our faith becomes unsettled. But nothing changes God, so rather than fix our eyes on what we believe by experience to be true, we should always fix our eyes on what we know is always true, Jesus Christ.


Envy

Written on 20 August 2007 by

In my reading of late I’ve discovered several articles on the theme of envy. In his article “Sinful” for National Review Online, Jonah Goldberg says,

We almost never discuss envy anymore. “One may admit to pride, avarice, lust, anger, gluttony, and laziness, and one may even boast of them,” Gonzalo Fernandez de la Mora wrote 20 years ago in Egalitarian Envy. “There is only one capital sin no one admits to: envy. … Its symbol ought to be a mask.” This is a shame; the most pathetic of the seven deadly sins is perhaps the most consequential.

He looks at envy from a political prespective.

More damning, however, is that these studies turn a vice into a virtue. With the exception of the self-esteem movement, which glorifies pride, it’s difficult to imagine another area where we so shamelessly tout a sin as the basis of public policy.

In Sunday’s edition of Today’s Pentecostal Evangel, the cover story was “Green with Envy? Get Over It.” Author David B. Crabtree offers four steps to getting past wasting our time on envying the possessions or accomplishments of others.

Pat Barrett in “Rotten Bones and Other Side Effect of Envy,” gets to the heart of how envy grows within us and causes us physical, psychological, and spiritual problems. Several other sidebar pieces give examples of envy. I think that most Christians recognize when they are being envious, at least initially. It’s not an emotion that feels “good” or “right.” It’s a sin that all are susceptible to because people don’t just envy wealth, they envy other’s good looks or personal relationships. I think that the inundation of advertising in our lives often fuels an envious spirit. Television shows where the average family lives in a nice well-furnished home has caused me to envy the nameless “they” who are doing better than I. Envy of unsaved neighbors who drive a better car and go on annual vacations morphs into self-righteous back patting thoughts about how we could have those things, but we (cue organ music) tithe to the Lord.

If you struggle with envy, I suggest you read the TPE articles. They have some sound advice as well as scripture that will help you overcome envy in your life.


Counterfeiting the Holy Spirit

Written on 20 July 2007 by

I read today in My Utmost for His Highest:

When we are in an unhealthy state physically or emotionally, we always want thrills. In the physical domain this will lead to counterfeiting the Holy Ghost; in the emotional life it leads to in ordinate affection and the destruction of morality; and in the spiritual domain if we insist on getting thrills, on mounting up with wings, it will end in the destruction of spirituality.

Just last night, I was describing to a friend of my daughter’s people who like to get slain in the Spirit. They always go forward and always get slain, and in very many instances do so in a dramatic way. One woman in particular would gracefully fall after checking to be sure there was someone there to catch her. On one occasion after falling senseless to the floor, she readjusted her skirt and then resumed her pose. She was counterfeiting the Holy Ghost. She was one of those group of charismatic Christians who always seek the thrill, when, as Oswald Chambers says they need to base their lives on the sure knowledge that He is with them always not just in those in tingly Holy Ghost moments (especially manufactured moments.)

The reality of God’s presence is not dependent on any place, but only dependent upon the determination to set the Lord always before us. Our problems come when we refuse to bank on the reality of His presence. The experience the Psalmist speaks of – “Therefore will we not fear, though . . .” will be ours when once we are based on Reality, not the consciousness of God’s presence but the reality of it – Why, He has been here all the time!

I do not mean to say that I think everyone that is slain in the spirit is manufacturing the moment. Far from it, but spiritual maturity means that we are not spiritual thrill seekers looking for the next anointed speaker or the next miracle worker.


The New New Atheism

Written on 16 July 2007 by

Attacking “God” has become a lucrative book business. But there’s not much substance behind the latest atheist tracts.

The New New Atheism is an excellent article by Peter Berkowitz. Read the entire article where he presents his case against Christopher Hitchen’s latest book “God is Not Great.”

The case for the new new atheism has been restated most recently and most forcefully and wittily in “God Is Not Great” by my friend Mr. Hitchens. It must be said that Mr. Hitchens is simply incapable of uttering or writing a dull sentence. And it should be added that only a very daring or very foolish person would throw down the gauntlet on an issue so close to Mr. Hitchens’s heart.

But his arguments do not come close to disproving God’s existence or demonstrating that religion is irredeemably evil.


Pray for India and Religious Freedom for Christians There

Written on 6 June 2007 by

Our family has a heart for India, and when I read things like this, I am very sad. Please pray that the freedom of religion professed by the Indian constitution will be a reality and not a sham. Ministries all over India are being circumscribe in their activities, even in places that have respected them in the past.

The Hindu Nationalist Party of India is trying to enact an anti-conversion bill in the northern state of Uttarakhand. That brings to eight the number of states in the country who either have such a law on the books or have a proposal circulating in the legislative assembly.

On February 8, the United News of India reported that the BJP promised an anti-conversion law in its manifesto for the Assembly polls in the state.

Gospel For Asia’s KP Yohannan says they do have a severe effect, but “in spite of these laws being passed, people are giving their lives to Christ. Jesus said, [speaking to His apostles] ‘(Upon this rock) I will build my church,’ and they paid the price with their lives. And the church continues to grow.”

How will this new law affect them? Yohannan says that if the law in Himachal Pradesh is any example, their missionaries are in for a rough time. “Ever since they passed that law, we have had more difficulties and more persecution. We are praying that no matter what, the Gospel will go forth, and we must continue to share the love of Christ with these people, no matter where they are.”

Read more at Mission Network News.


A Tale of Two Men

Written on 25 May 2007 by

The time and place of one’s death is never assured, unless one is dying of terminal cancer. When we’re young, we tend to think death is somewhere far in the future, so we don’t take care of the eternal things.

The first man lived a typical American life. In his early forties, he had a good paying job, a wife who loved him, and beautiful young children. Church was a part of their lives, but not really part of his. He was the husband who came to church occasionally to appease his wife. He understood the Christian message; he just wasn’t ready to take it up, yet. He’d get to it when it really mattered. This man died suddenly, of a disease that hid itself right up to the end. He died never having accepted Christ even though he knew what he was risking.

The second man lived for himself all his life. Now old, he was suffering the consequences of a life of excess. Slowly fighting for breath he stubbornly held off his brother’s pleas that he accept Jesus as savior. With death near, he was planning to continue his obstinate refusal to allow someone else to be the guiding force of his life. His brother prayed. A call was made to an evangelist. Little progress was made from his visit. But God had a plan for this man’s life. The nursing staff, beautiful Christian women, took up the cause. By the next day, the man had accepted Jesus, and the difference was stark. The gloom and depression of dying had been replaced by joy. Finally knowing the savior, he now knew that Jesus wasn’t about denying him life but was in fact giving him life even as his own physical body failed him.

It’s joy to know the savior. He offers an abundant life. We cling to things that we are sure he will make us give up if we take up his offer. Loathe to give up our habits, we choose to refuse his call never understanding that Jesus doesn’t ask you to give up your cigarettes or your drinking. He asks you to believe on him and make him Lord of your life. Yes, you will give those things up, but it won’t be a tsk, tsk, naughty, naughty, slap your hand, be a good boy kind of thing. Jesus offers something better, and once you begin to experience the joy of living life with him there with you, you’ll reach for more and more of the something better.

You can live your life like the first man and find yourself in an early grave without a savior. Or you can live your life like the second man and find yourself at the end with a life of despair meeting and accepting the savior just moments before you step into eternity. Or you can accept Jesus as your savior now and have an abundant life now. Trials and tribulation, additions and wrong choices will still plague you, but there will be joy in your life because you will be united to the one who truly loves you and truly wants the best for you and truly has the resources to make that happen for you. How you live your life is always your choice. Before you accept Jesus, you cannot know the glory that waits on the other side of acceptance. Don’t let the habits you think you must hold on to keep you from choosing Christ.


Guarding Your Mind While Watching the Tube

Written on 22 May 2007 by

Our family has a Blockbuster account for receiving DVDs through the mail. It makes renting movies simple. While the service offers reviews of the available movies, I’ve found that a good source for determining whether we want to rent a movie is to read what Plugged In Online has to say about it. They offer an excellent synopsis along with information in the following categories: positive elements, spiritual content, sexual content, violent content, crude or profane language, drug or alcohol content, and a conclusion. I appreciate the detail in the reviews. You can find information on movies currently in release as well as DVDs available for rental. They have more than a 1000 reviews available.

The site also has music and television sections. You can support the online version by subscribing to the print version.


Doing, Doing, Doing

Written on 18 May 2007 by

I was reading My Utmost for His Highest this morning and found it was in keeping with what I have been struggling with myself. Rather than simply walk with God, I try to do things for God. If I don’t have a list of things accomplished by the end of the day, I don’t feel like I’ve had a worthwhile day. If I haven’t done something for someone else, I haven’t done anything. I spend a lot of my time doing for other people. Which, in and of itself, isn’t wrong, but if it keeps me from concentrating on God or keeps me busy doing what I think is best, then it is cover for my own self-centered thinking rather than Christ-centered thinking.

Jesus says that there is only one way to develop spiritually, and that is by concentration on God. “Do not bother about being of use to others; believe on Me” – pay attention to the Source, and out of you will flow rivers of living water.


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