Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Church: Epicenter of God's Life Revealed

I believe the body of Christ longs for more than stale bread and tales of yesterday's great events by God through His people. People today are desperate for true God life, desperate for a leader who is not attempting to do church by program or modeled after someone else's victory story.

When Jesus said 'He came to bring life and that more abundantly', He was not speaking about mere self gratification, material abundance or earthly popularity or power! He was speaking about Sodzo, a word for salvation in the NT Greek that carries with it the idea of mending and making whole, which is a part of "What Jesus began to do and teach," Acts 1:1.

But it is much more, it carries within it the idea of being made whole = into what we were created to be, made in the image, or likeness of God. This has to do with our construction and design. We are Spirit beings, with a free will living in a body which is temporary. We were created with God's DNA so to speak. We have been given the ability to create as well as procreate. We have the ability to be in relationship with God the most high, and to align our lives in every way with Him and thus be unique vessels of Him and all that He is.

When we realize that He embraces us out of love and by His grace, His power can work through and in us, then everything that is of Him in us brings honor to Him and that which is not of Him must die if He is to have His way in us. I am reminded of the parable of the vessels in 2 Timothy 2:14-26, some clay and some gold. The true value of our vessel is based on our willingness to submit to and align ourselves with Him, His ways, His Word and His Spirit. Our Character must become like that of Jesus. In Philippians 2:5-11 Jesus humbled Himself. Elsewhere in the NT we see that he became a man and He did the Fathers will by the Spirit's power.

Our walk with and life in God is both very practical and very spiritual. Each of us must align our lives with the Word and seek Him in a relationship that must become the most important thing in our lives. While we are living our life we must do so in a way that those around can both relate to God's work in us and know us as normal people with the supernatural God above all God's working in and through us.

The gifts we have been blessed with are just that, gifts. I long to see all of God's people walk in the wholeness, freedom and fulfillment that God has both designed and created them for!
I believe the local church (people of God) is meant to be the spiritual, relational and practical epicenter of God's Life for those who call upon His name. It is His Grace, Mercy, and Power working in us which produces His image or likeness.

When we look at what 'Jesus began to do and teach', we see that He sent the Holy Spirit that we might be living witnesses (those who see, experience and tell about) of His life working in and through us.

Christian will you be the Church: Epicenter of God's Life Revealed?


“We wrestle against God when we disregard His rules and substitute our own. Maybe you do not wrestle against God's providence, and you do wrestle against sin. This seems commendable, but God requires more: You must wrestle by His rules and His alone. Timothy tells us, "If a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” 2 Timothy 2:5. Check your own conduct against the errors of some who have waged their own battle, and not Christ's: (See the passage below.)
Some, while they wrestle against one sin, embrace another. Our lusts are diverse and will fight for rank among themselves. When malice wants revenge, craft says, "Hide your wrath-- but do not forgive." When passion sends out for whores, hypocrisy cancels the request but for the fear of the world, not God. The man who allows one sin to command another, and thus to rule his soul, cannot be God's champion.
Some wrestle because they are pressed into service. Their slavish fears frighten them and keep them from their lusts for the moment. But the real combat for such a wrestler is between his conscience and his will, rather than between his soul and his lusts. In such a case, the will at last prevails, for a lust held in check but not discarded grows as wild as a trapped stallion. Finally the conscience can no longer hold the reins nor sit in the saddle, but is thrown down. Then the lust ranges where it can have its fullest meal and will continue to gorge itself until conscience revives and runs to God for help.
Others wrestle with sin but do not hate it. They wrestle in jest, not in earnest. Until the love of a sin is quenched in the heart, the fire will never die out. How is this accomplished? Jerome says one love extinguishes another-- that is, the love of Christ must quench the love of sin. Then and not until then will the soul's decree stand against sin.”
Tim. 2:3 Take [with me] your share of the hardships and suffering [which you are called to endure] as a good (first-class) soldier of Christ Jesus.  4 No soldier when in service gets entangled in the enterprises of [civilian] life; his aim is to satisfy and please the one who enlisted him.  5 And if anyone enters competitive games, he is not crowned unless he competes lawfully (fairly, according to the rules laid down).  6 [It is] the hard-working farmer [who labors to produce] who must be the first partaker of the fruits.
One of the great lies that we are often deceived into believing is that we can live according to our own rules and even fight the good fight according to our own rules. Today passage makes it clear we must discover God’s rules and obey them. Pastor Cho in Korea is famous for saying, “ I hear and I obey.” Today that is my prayer for each of us.
Father as we discover you and your ways more and more may we say yes to you at each point.
Quoted material from, ”The Christian in Complete Armour Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare” by Gurnall and James S Bell. http://www.moodypublishers.com/pub_productDetail.aspx?id=41823&pid=53617

Monday, February 27, 2012


“Do not wrestle against God's Spirit Genesis 6:3 speaks of the Spirit as "striving" with man. This does not mean God is trying to overcome or destroy man. He could do that at a word, without any stir or scuffle. No, His striving is a loving contest with us. Seeing us run at such a gallop headlong to our ruin, He sends His Spirit to pull us back before we destroy ourselves. This is the same kind of strife you would witness if someone were attempting to take his own life and another intervened and struggled to take the weapon from him.
The lusts of men are those bloody instruments of death with which sinners are harming themselves. The Holy Spirit strives to get them out of our hands and replace them with Christ's grace and eternal life. When you repulse such loving strife, you are justly counted a fighter against Him. "Ye stiff-necked, and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost," said Acts 7:51. Do not wrestle against God's providence.
Questioning God's acts, whether of mercy or justice, is called contending or reproving Him Job 40:2. He is a bold man for sure who dares to name himself the plaintiff and God the defender. No! God is the Judge, and He will find you in contempt of court for bringing such false accusations against Him. Contend with the Almighty? Reprove God? You had better cry with Job: "I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth Job 40:4. Hear his plea: "Only pardon what is past, and you shall hear such language no more!"
Christians, take heed of this wrestling above all other. Contention is always unfortunate-- whether with neighbors or friends, wife or husband-- but worst of all with God. If God cannot please you and your heart rises against Him, what hopes are there of your pleasing Him? Love cannot think any evil of God, nor endure to hear any evil spoken of Him.’”
Strife often comes from fear. The Bible tells us that perfect love cast off fear 1 John 4:18. Trust in God and know His love for you is perfect. We may be wounded and grieved by the freewill actions of others, but God never commits evil against us. If we will accept these facts we will have hope that we will make it through our storms by His grace and power. I also Highly recommend that you read Job chapters 38 through the end of chapter 42.
Quoted material from, ”The Christian in Complete Armour Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare” by Gurnall and James S Bell. http://www.moodypublishers.com/pub_productDetail.aspx?id=41823&pid=53617

Sunday, February 26, 2012


As long as his comrade, your old nature, is alive within, he will be knocking at the door without. The length of a man's combat with Satan measures the same as the length of his life. He is, as Jeremiah said of himself, born "a man of strife" Jeremiah 15:10. And once he becomes a saint, the struggles increase. From your spiritual birth to your natural death, from the hour you first set your face toward heaven until you set your foot inside the gate, you will have wars with Satan, sin, and self. Israel's march out of Egypt is, in a figurative way, our open declaration of war against the forces of darkness. And when did they have peace? Not until they reached Canaan.
No condition the Christian finds himself in here below is quiet. Is it prosperity, or is it adversity? Here is work for both hands-- to keep pride and complacency down in the one, faith and patience up in the other. The Christian has nowhere he can call privileged ground. Lot wrestled with the wicked inhabitants of Sodom, his righteous soul vexed with their filthy behavior. Then what happened to Zoar? His own daughters brought a spark of Sodom's fire into his bed, and he was inflamed with incestuous Genesis 19:30-38.
Some have thought if only they were in such a family, under such a ministry, removed from a certain temptation, then they would not be such weak Christians. I confess a change of air is a great help to an invalid, but do you think you can thus escape Satan's presence? No! Even if you were to take the wings of morning, he would pursue you. A change in circumstances may make him change his method of tempting, but nothing temporal can make him lay down his designs. As long as his comrade, your old nature, is alive within, he will be knocking at the door without. This diabolical opponent will challenge you at every opportunity. He delights to sneak up on you from behind, while you are kneeling, trowel in hand, planting seeds for the kingdom.”
We should also be mindful of this truth. 1Cor. 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Quoted material from, ”The Christian in Complete Armour Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare” by Gurnall and James S Bell. http://www.moodypublishers.com/pub_productDetail.aspx?id=41823&pid=53617

Saturday, February 25, 2012


“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" Ephesians 6:12.
Whether you like it or not, you must go into the ring with Satan. He has not only a general malice against the army of saints, but a particular spite against every single child of God. As our Lord delights to have private communion with His saint, so the devil delights to challenge the Christian when he gets him alone. The whole issue of your spiritual destiny is personal and particular. You give Satan a dangerous advantage if you see his wrath and fury bent in general against the saints, and not against you specifically: Satan hates me; Satan accuses me; Satan tempts me. Conversely, you lose much comfort when you fail to see the promises and providences of God as available for your own specific needs: God loves me; God takes care of me. The water supply for the town will do you no personal good unless you have a pipe that carries it to your own house. Let it serve as both a caution and a comfort to know your spiritual combat is singular. (So although we wrestle with these powers we most like are not directly engaged with Satan himself but with those under his power.)
Second, wrestling is a close combat. Armies fight at some distance; wrestlers grapple hand-to-hand. You may be able to dodge an arrow shot from a distance, but when the enemy actually has hold of you, you must either resist manfully or fall shamefully at his feet. When Satan comes after you, he moves in close, takes hold of your very flesh and corrupt nature, and by this shakes you.
"We wrestle" encompasses everyone. You may have noticed that the apostle changes the pronoun "ye" in the former verse, into "we" in this, that he may include himself. He wants you to know the quarrel is with every saint. Satan neither fears to assault the minister nor disdains to wrestle with the lowliest saint in the congregation. Great and small, minister and people, all must wrestle-- not one part of Christ's army in the heat of battle and the other at ease in their quarters.” Quoted material from, ”The Christian in Complete Armour Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare” by Gurnall and James S Bell. http://www.moodypublishers.com/pub_productDetail.aspx?id=41823&pid=53617

I once heard a well-meaning teacher of the Word say that this wrestling was not really warfare but much like an intermural sport. I have never read of a person’s soul being forever condemned to sin and its end results, which is eternal suffering and death from such a sport, but that is the intention of Satan. It is not a thought that makes one feel all warm and tingly but spiritual warfare is a part of everyday life as a Christian. From the moment you said yes to Jesus and no to the world, the flesh and the devil. That moment you were transferred out of the Kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of God’s Son was the moment God made you a joint heir of all His blessings, but also the moment Satan declared war on you. Colossians 1:13-14. The good news you’ll find at the end of the Book of Revelation.. We WIN!

Friday, February 24, 2012


“All the plots of hell and commotions on earth have not so much as shaken God's hand to spoil one letter or line He has been drawing.
Rest easy, worried Christian. The duel is not between the church and Satan, but between Christ and Satan. These are the champions of the two sides. Gather round and watch the all-wise God joust with His crafty opponent. You shall behold the Almighty smite off this Goliath's head with his own sword, and take this wicked knight in the trap of his own schemes. That faith which ascribes greatness and wisdom to God will shrink up Satan's challenge into a thing of nothing. Unbelief fears Satan as a lion; faith treads upon him as a worm.
Observe God at work, and be assured that what He is about will be an excellent piece. Man's wisdom may be leveled with folly, but God's design is never interrupted. None can drive Him from His work. A builder cannot work when night draws the curtain, and he is driven off his scaffold by a rainstorm. But all the plots of hell and commotions on earth have not so much as shaken God's hand to spoil one letter or line He has been drawing. The mystery of His providence may hang a curtain before His work so that we cannot see what He is doing, but even when darkness surrounds Him, righteousness is the seat of His throne forever. Where is our faith, saints? Let God be wise, and all men and devils be fools. Even if a Babel seems more likely to go up than a Babylon to be pulled down, yet believe God is making His secret approaches and will besiege Satan's stronghold.
What does it matter though the church be like Jonah in the whale's belly, swallowed up out of view by the fury of men? Do you not remember that the whale had no power to digest the prophet? Do not be too quick to bury the church before she is dead. Be patient while Christ tries His skill before you give it over. By your prayers, bring Christ to its grave to speak a resurrection word. The saints of old exhibited admirable faith in circumstances which were just as dire.” Quoted material from, ”The Christian in Complete Armour Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare” by Gurnall and 
James S Bell. http://www.moodypublishers.com/pub_productDetail.aspx?id=41823&pid=53617
Artwork from Rose publishings Armor of God Wall Poster and brochure.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


“Do you see now why God allows His children to meet with temptation? He is in control! He holds the reins on Satan and will not let him trample you.
Faith before temptation has much extraneous stuff that clings to it and passes for faith; but when temptation comes, the dross is discovered and consumed by the fiery trial. The quality of faith that emerges is like Gideon's handful of men-- stronger when all these worthless accessories to faith are sent away than when they were present. And here is all the devil gets: Instead of destroying the saint's faith, he is the means of refining it, thereby making it stronger and more precious.
The love of tempted saints is enkindled to Christ by the fires of temptation. Did you edge too close to the flames and singe your soul? Where will you go for cleansing, if not to Christ? And will His kindly aid not rekindle your love for Him above all others? Christ's love is fuel to ours; the more He puts forth His love, the more heat our love gets. And next to Christ's dying love, none is greater than His rescuing love in temptation. The greatest opportunity a mother has to show her child how much she loves him is when he is in distress-- sick, poor, or imprisoned. Christ is both mother and nurse to our love. When His children lie in Satan's prison, bleeding from the wounds of their consciences, He hurries to reveal His tender heart in pitying, His faithfulness in praying, His mindfulness in sending help to them, and His dear love in visiting them by His comforting Spirit. No child is more dutiful in all the family than the one who has repented of his rebellion. Jesus Christ, whom Satan thought to shut out of the soul's favor, comes in the end to sit higher and surer than ever in the saint's affections.
Do you see now why God allows His children to meet with temptation? He is in control! He holds the reins on Satan and will not let him trample you. If you never experienced the mighty power of Satan arrayed against you, you could not know the almighty power of God displayed for you.”
Today we often promise people easy faith. No suffering or temptation, we do not speak of the justice and holiness of God that go along with His mercy and grace. God certainly is love and His goal is to redeem our fallen nature. His grace is of no value to us unless we realize how desperately we are in need of it.
Quoted material from, ”The Christian in Complete Armour Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare” by Gurnall and James S Bell. http://www.moodypublishers.com/pub_productDetail.aspx?id=41823&pid=53617