Monthly Archives: February 2018

Honoring God = Faith

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         In reading Luke 7, the account of the centurion’s servant being healed and his great faith, I noticed something that I believe is the key to The Roman’s faith, and the main reason it is recorded for us in the Bible.

          In Matthew 8 it says the centurion came to Jesus, But Luke gives us a more detailed account. The centurion didn’t come to Jesus at all! He sent his Jewish buddy’s because he knew the Jews saw Romans as gentiles and not heirs of the covenant. We know his friends were Jews because in Luke7:5 they say ” he has built us a synagogue.”

          The centurion never came to Jesus because he didn’t see himself worthy. (Luke 7:7) and (Matthew8:8). He honored their beliefs as much as he could and still got his request made known. But then it occurred to him, I am not even worthy that Jesus should come under my roof, that would be a violation of their tradition and could bring Jesus into a bad light. So he sent more friends to stop Him before He arrived.
          This was not the false humility the we often see among Christians, but a genuine concern for the wellbeing of Jesus and a deep sense of honor for His position and authority. He thought about every detail of what he was asking Jesus and how Jesus would be affected, not just about what he needed. His desire was not to cross any lines that would be dishonorable or inappropriate.
honor          The centurion knew that he didn’t come under the authority of the Jewish God because he was a gentile. Yet he recognized that Jesus not only had authority, but power to exercise that authority. He knew if he could get that authority to acknowledge him, he would have his request. However, the roman was not going to do it at the expense of his honor, or the honor of another person in authority. It was the centurions honor that showed his level of faith.
          Faith in God is revealed by a persons actions, not just words. Jesus Himself said in Luke 6:46  “Why do you call me Lord, Lord and not do what I say?” What is Jesus implying here? Is He saying “If I am really your Lord, you will do what I say?” Is He saying, “I am not your Lord because you fail to honor me with your disobedience.” Both are true!
          The reason we do not see more signs, wonders and miracles today is simply because we don’t properly honor the One who has the power to produce signs, wonders and miracles. We honor God with our lips but our hearts are far from Him. (Matthew 15:8, Isaiah 29:13) 
          When you have the free will to do whatever you want, what you actually do shows your heart, not what you say. True faith must have the appropriate corresponding action attached to it or faith is dead. (James 2:20)
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          Faith in God is made evident by honoring His position as creator, His authority as our Lord, and by obedience to His word. When these conditions are met, the power of God becomes readily available, and easily accessible.
Honor releases the power that authority contains!
JC

Gifts and Graces

111grc          The gospel of grace is a core message of the New Testament. In fact, grace is a thread that can be traced through the entire Bible. But what exactly is grace? How would you define it? The New Testament has much to say about the topic so it’s important to know exactly what is being said when grace is mentioned.

          From my own observation and experience, I see that Christians, for the most part, don’t really understand what grace is. They define it as “unmerited favor” or “God’s love and compassion.” While those are certainly true, they are just a few aspects of grace.

Grace, by definition is Divine Influence. Specifically, the Divine Influence upon the heart of man and the expression, or reflection of that influence through the life of man.

          In simple terms, grace is God’s way of influencing your heart, mind and soul so that the decisions you make in life will enable you to become more like Him and accomplish His purposes through your life.

divine in        Grace is God’s influence. That influence varies, and is unique to each individual. God tailors His grace according to your gifting, your place in society, your influence over other people, etc. Look at what Paul writes in Romans;

Romans 12:6-8 ~ Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

          The understood topic here is GRACES not gifts. What Paul is talking about here is the differences in our gifts are produced by the graces that are on our life. In other words, our giftings look different because the divine influence (grace) in our heart is unique to the individual. Look again at the above text, and pay close attention to the underlined wording. Then look at Ephesians 4 where it lists the 5-fold ministry gifts. When introducing the idea of ministry gifts, Paul begins with this statement:

Ephesians 4:7  But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Compare that to the Statement in Romans 12:6.

Romans 12:6  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 

          In both passages the language is virtually the same, yet the order is changed. Ephesians says “grace according to the gift,” and Romans says “gifts, according to the grace.” If Ephesians is clearly talking about gifts, then Romans is clearly talking about graces. When you put the two together you see this:

          The measure of grace differs according to the measure of the gift, and those gifts will look different because of the grace, or graces in operation in your life. There are 7 GRACES mentioned Romans 12: 6-8

1) Prophecy

2) Servant (ministry)

3) Teacher

4) Exhorter

5) Giver

6) Leader

7) Mercy giver

          To understand what a GRACE is and how it affects us, let us view them as glasses with colored lenses. When you are looking at life through those glasses, everything you see will be tinted with that color, and your actions and responses will be influenced by it. Your GRACE affects how you see things, how you deal with problems, and how you express yourself in your gifting.

          For instance, if you have the grace of SERVANT (ministry), you see the world through that “colored lens” (GRACE). Maybe your gifting is an Evangelist. So it would be natural for you to engage in “Servant Evangelism.”

          Your Grace determines how you think about things, how you approach things. For example: If your grace is a GIVER, and you are ministering to someone who needs healing, you automatically think of what you can GIVE to help them. Like buying them some books on divine healing, or sending them to a healing crusade and paying for the whole thing.

          If your grace is EXHORTER, you may encourage them in faith, read some healing promises from the bible, tell them “this is nothing for God, you can beat this thing easy.” You see the answer as just needing to be encouraged in the Lord.

          If your GRACE is TEACHER, you think that all they need is to understand and learn more about divine healing and faith principles so you try to teach them anything and everything you know on divine healing.

          Look at the rest of that passage in Romans and notice how Paul starts the dialogue.

Romans 12:3-8 ~ For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as
we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same
function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry (servant), let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

          When Paul says that he speaks “through the GRACE that is given him,” he is talking about the divine influence upon his heart as a leader and exhorter. When he teaches, that influence is reflected in his life.

          Pay attention when you see the word GRACE used from now on. I think you will see that this may be a key to understanding why we do what we do.

          I don’t expect everyone to grasp this right off. It is something to be contemplated, and meditated on. I pray this helps in understanding who you are and how God is influencing your life.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

Love Opens Your Spiritual Ears

          I think we all know that a “Hard Heart” is what causes us to be “Spiritually Deaf.” So maybe we should find out what causes a hard heart and avoid that condition entirely. Makes sense, right?

A hard heart comes from unbelief.

          Hardness of heart comes from a misuse of our free will. We refuse to submit our will to the Father, we are in unbelief, pride, and selfishness. We actively choose to disobey or ignore God’s word, thereby departing from God, compromising the relationship, and violating our conscience. If our conscience isn’t clear, our confidence in God s compromised.

Hebrews 3:12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;

1 Timothy 4:1-2 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,

          A hard heart will not yield to, or acknowledge the truth. It makes us and our desires the center of the universe instead of God. Understand this:

THE SMALLEST WORLD YOU WILL EVER LIVE IN, IS THE ONE THAT YOU ARE THE CENTER OF.

          In Mark 8 Jesus spoke to His disciples about the characteristics of a hard heart:

Mark 8:17-18 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? 18 Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?

         In these verses, Jesus gives us the symptoms that are descriptive of a hard heart:  (1) unable to perceive, (2) unable to understand, (3) unable to see, (4) unable to hear, and (5) unable to remember.

          A hard heart is characterized by a lack of discernment and an inability perceive spiritually. A hard heart will keep a person from totally grasping spiritual things. They might see what the Lord is trying to show them, but they can’t get a hold of it in a way that they can apply it to their life.

          We can reverse the condition of a hard heart. We have the power to determine what our heart accepts or rejects. We must control our will to control our actions. It starts with obedience. Obedience is the “love language” of God.

John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.

          It’s not a hearing problem, it’s a love problem! Love can only be known by the actions that it prompts.  It is acts of obedience that show our faith and love for the Father. If we have a problem hearing God’s voice, we probably know the area that we are in disobedience, but if our heart is too hard to be clear, we can pray like the Psalmist:

Psalm 139:23-24. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 26:2 Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart.

god-opens-ears          If we are sincere about obeying God, our spiritual ears and eyes will be opened and we will begin to see everything and everyone different, including our self. Having our spiritual eyes and ears opened is a condition of the heart. When our heart is tender and sincere before the Father, we gladly obey. He can then use our hearts as a conduit for His life and love to pour forth from.

Proverbs 4:23  Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

How You Love Determines How You See.

Love for God’s word, and the desire to keep His commands brings the abiding presence of God into our life and gives us the proper perspective.

John 14:23  “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

          Love for truth opens our eyes to more truth, and changes our perception of reality. We move from a worldly perspective to Heavens perspective. We must fight every day to maintain Heaven’s perspective.

Love for people not only changes our perspective, it also changes other peoples view of us.

John 13:35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

          How we treat others not only effects how others see us, but it greatly effects how we see our self. This is extremely important because how we see our self greatly effects our ability to believe.

John 14:21 …”He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

          Nothing solidifies our faith more than God manifesting Himself to us in a personal way. We move from “believing in Him” to knowing that He is real and He loves you.

Love for God and people empowers our faith.

Galatians 5:6  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

         Love is to faith, as gasoline is to a car. Love supplies the dynamic energy to make our faith become a reality.

JC

People Flourish At The Place Of Their Assignment

          God is committed to who you were created to be, not necessarily who you are at the moment. Change and growth are a vital part of the Christian walk. We are to be ever growing into what He paid for us to be, which is the express image of His person.

          The problem I see many Christians fall into is not finding, or staying in the place of their assignment. God has a specific place He has called you to be, a specific body of believers he has called you to assemble together with, a specific group of people He wants you to be in relationship with. When you find the place He has assigned you to, you will flourish in your spiritual development.

Hebrews 10:25  not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

          God’s grace functions best in the place of your assignment. When you try to be, or do something you shouldn’t, you frustrate the grace of God. This includes being in the wrong place and connected to the wrong assembly of believers. I heard a pastor say it this way:

“If you’re out of your place, you’re out of your grace, and you’ll fall on your face!”

11gracechanges everything

          Relationships can be messy. Still, God wants us to engage in community, specifically, the community He’s called us to. It is the tension and challenges these relationships bring that develops us spiritually and pushes us to change for the better.

JC