Tag Archives: the gospel

IF… a really big word.

IF you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)

…Are we abiding in Him?

IF you love me, keep my commands. (John 14:15)

…Are we keeping His commands?

For IF you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:14)

…Are we walking in forgiveness?

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples IF you love one another. (John 13:35)

…Are we loving everyone? Even our enemies?

IF you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. (Matthew 21:22)

…Are we really believing, or are we just hoping and making confessions?

IF you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

…Are we declaring Jesus lordship by keeping His commands?

But IF we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

…Are we walking in the light we have? Are we walking out the word we know?

Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, IF you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” (Mathew 21:21)

…Are we in faith, or are we doubting? Are we speaking to our mountains, or just letting them talk to to us?

IF anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. IF anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. (John 12:26)

…Are we following Jesus, or trying to serve Him without actually following Him?

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “IF you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

…Are we a disciple of Jesus and holding to His teachings. or a disciple of men’s teachings and holding to them?

Dear friends, IF our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. (1 John 3:21)

…Are we confident before God. Or are we living with a seared conscience?

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, IF there is any excellence, IF there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)

…Are we thinking and believing the best about everyone and every situation?

IF my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

…Are we walking in humility and seeking God when no one else is looking, or just attending church and praying for blessing, protection, and provision?

And he said to all, “IF anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

…Are we truly denying our self, or catering to self and selfishness?

Pay attention to the IFs.

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

JC

Your Unsearchable Heart

            I am completely blown away by the things the Lord is showing me in this season. While reading Proverbs 25 the Lord began to confirm some things that He was showing me about how He thinks and how He loves. This is the passage He unvealed to me.

Proverbs 25:2-3 It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.
As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth, so the heart of kings is unsearchable.

            While meditating on this I thought to myself, “We are kings and priests unto our God.” (Rev. 1:6) I began to meditate on the fact that God has made our hearts unsearchable by men. Then I said out loud, “Our hearts are unsearchable by everyone but you Lord.”

            He then spoke to me, “No Jack, I have purposely made your heart unsearchable by everyone, even Me.” I could hear joy in His voice when He said this. So much, that joy got on me! I said, “Lord show me what you mean by this, I do not understand. I remember scripture that says you search the hearts and minds of men.” (Jer.17:10)

            The Lord began to elaborate, “I have made you a sovereign being with a free will. When you choose Me and accept the sacrifice of My Son, I lay aside My foreknowledge in favor of unravelling the mystery of who you are in relationship. The moment you make Christ your Lord, you become this mysterious new creature. My offspring, born of My Spirit.

            I have given you my written Word, My spoken Word, and My living Word to help you pursue the mystery of who I Am. I would never ask you to do anything that I have not done or am willing to do. Your heart is revealed to Me as you pursue Me. The only way I can know your heart is if you reveal it to me. This is why faith pleases me. I love a mystery and it is My glory to conceal man’s heart and my glory to search it out.”

            God does not always use His foreknowledge, at least not all the time. He will choose relationship over His foreknowledge every time. He loves the spontaneity, the anticipation, the surprises of growing in intimacy with His children. I see His heart toward us so much clearer now. My understanding of His love has multiplied because of this simple truth.

            Our heart is a mystery even to God Himself. He made it this way for His good pleasure. This may be the most profound thing I have discovered about His nature and His love. While thinking about the implications of this I realized that we have the ability to surprise God! That is nuts! While thinking about this He spoke to me again, and this blew me away even more!

“I gave you creativity so I could be surprised at how you love Me and serve Me with it.”

            His people are so glorious and so precious in His sight that we have not even begun to understand. I am so humbled and so excited about this I can hardly contain myself!

            It is our journey but it is His work, and it is a marvelous mystery!

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

JC

What you may not know about God’s Mercy

          While watching a discussion on social media with A troubled young woman reaching out for help, she asked this question.  

“If God is so good, why did he kill all those people in the flood and send them to hell?”

          That is a legitimate question… If they are in fact, in hell. But they are not. They are in Heaven with the Master!       

Romans 5:13  

for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 

Romans 4:15

For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

          Sin is not counted where there is no law because without the law there can be no transgression. God did not destroy these people out of anger, He did it because of His great Love and mercy!

          They were already completely devoid of spiritual life and since there was no law to show them their condition and point to their need for God, they would have only gotten worse and reproduced more people with the same horrible condition. In God’s great wisdom and mercy, He pushed the reset button and destroyed them all except those on the Ark.

          So, where are they now? Still in hell? Heaven? Let’s look at the scripture.

1 Peter 3:18-20

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 

          One of the amazing things Jesus did in the three days between His death and resurrection is go to hell, snatch the keys of death, hell, and the grave, and preach to those who were in prison there. Although this verse only mentions those in Noah’s flood, He preached to ALL those who died without the Law.

Let’s take a closer look at Romans 5:14

Romans 5:14

death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

          How was Adam’s sin different from all those who came after? Because Adam was not born with a sin nature. He had a choice. Everybody else, including you and I, are born with a fallen, sin nature that was no fault of our own.

          God knows that it is not our fault that we act the way we do. He knows it wasn’t our choice to be born into sin. That is why He sent Jesus to buy back mankind and give us a choice that would allow us to live under His power and authority while still on earth, tethered to our fallen nature. It is an amazing mystery!

          The first Adam made a wrong choice that effected, and infected all of mankind. The last Adam, Jesus, never said yes to sin and took back death’s reign over mankind. Death is no longer in control… Unless we choose it.

          God is just. His judgements are righteous judgements. Don’t question God’s love and mercy because you misunderstand the mystery.

          ALL those who died without the Law are now in heaven.

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

JC

Reckon Yourself Dead to Sin

Romans 6:11 Likewise, you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

          So, what does it mean to “reckon yourself to be dead indeed to sin?” Many translations render this phrase “consider yourself to be dead,” but what does that look like?

          Another good word for “reckon” is “believe.” We must believe that we are dead to sin. But that is not the end of the verse. We must also reckon (believe) that we are alive to God in Christ Jesus. It means we need to stop believing and thinking of ourselves as “sinners,” and start believing and thinking of ourselves as forgiven, redeemed sons and daughters of God. The problem is, thinking and believing does not change automatically, it is changed by what we continually look at and meditate on.

Without daily intimacy with the Lord and continual exposure to His living word, we will stay focused on our failures and shortcomings, never actually becoming all that Jesus paid for. Reading and hearing the Word of God, fellowship with other believers, and listening to good preaching are all good things. However, nothing will transform us faster than spending time with God when no one else is looking. Intimacy is where the greatest transformation takes place. It is where grace has its perfect work.

          Intimacy with the Father builds faith, dispels doubt, and corrects wrong thinking. Beholding Him and His glory shapes our perspectives, confirming and strengthening our identity by changing the way we see Him.

          The Bible says that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45 Matthew 12:33-37)

          What is in our heart and mind (believer and thinker) will eventually come out of our mouth, and that is the other thing that must change.

          We will never be free from sin while keeping it in our conversation and our thought life.

          We must not talk about how normal it is for us to sin. Saying things like; “We all sin, everybody sins, we are always going to sin,” strengthens a sin consciousness and reinforces the strongholds of wrong thinking and wrong believing.

There is a time and place to confess our sins and weaknesses to others for the purpose of needed ministry, restoration, and accountability. However, talking about the sins of others and filling our prayer life with wrong declarations of how sinful and unworthy we have been is counterproductive and anti-finished work.

That is not humility, it is BLASPHEMY! He made you worthy.

          Talking and thinking that way is “reckoning” ourselves alive to sin. It is saying that sin still has power over us, and therefore suggests that the finished work of Jesus did not actually accomplish anything for us.

Sin only has power over us if we empower it.

          If we do miss it and sin, run to God, and declare:

“Lord, I thank you for your mercy. I am sorry, that is no longer who I am Lord. That is certainly not what You look like in me. Thank you for making me clean and transforming me into your image. Thank you for perfecting your work in me and bringing me to the place where this is not an issue anymore. Thank you for your blood! Thank you for redeeming me. Thank you for Fathering me.”

           Understand that we have a healthy new identity that was purchased by the blood of Christ. Without our constant exposure to God’s presence and His Word, we will never find out who we are, and who we were created to be. Here are some scriptures that affirms who we are in Christ.

“We are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:10)

“We have been perfected.” (Hebrews 10:14)

“We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

“We are holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” (Colossians 1:22)

“We are chosen by God, without blame, an adopted son, accepted, redeemed by His blood and forgiven by His grace.” (Ephesians 1:4-7)

          To truly live the abundant life in Christ we must die to our fallen, carnal nature. For us to be successful at this we will need intimacy with Him, and constant intake and exposure to His Word.  

Our intimacy with the Father is the key to dying to sin and self.

When we give ourselves to intimacy with Him and give ourselves to reading and studying His word, we lay ourselves on the great potter’s wheel allow Him to shape us into everything we were created to be.

If we don’t embrace the finished work of Christ and believe that sin has been dealt with, we the enemy opportunity to deceive us. The primary way he does this is through guilt, condemnation, and shame.

Guilt ~ A subconscious belief that I am not forgiven

Condemnation ~ A subconscious belief that I am worthy of judgment.

Shame ~ A subconscious belief that I am still the old person I used to be before Christ.

These three lies are Satan’s counterfeit to Godly conviction, Godly sorrow, and a Godly perspective on our new identity in Christ.

Romans 14:22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.

For those that struggle with sin, it is a dead give away that they have yet to understand the gospel message and the completed work of Jesus Christ that we are to abide in. Personally, I struggle with it for decades until I began to see my deception. Even then, it took some time to overcome the strongholds of wrong believing. The thing that helped me the most was the book of Romans.

I found that reading Romans in the Message paraphrase of the New Testament helped me gain the right perspective on my redemption. It helped me move from trying so hard to be “sold out to God,” to understanding that I have been “bought out completely!” God purchased me with His own blood, knowing that I was a sinner, knowing that I had a fallen nature, knowing I would make mistakes, and knowing that I could not fix myself. Still he bought me!

Once I realized I could do nothing about fixing my sin, and understanding that only He could, I just quit thinking about it. Now I wake up every day to pursue Him and trust that He is perfecting the work that He started. I believe that God knows what He is doing, and I am thoroughly convinced that I do not.

As we seek God’s face our old carnal man dies, because no man can look into the face of God and live.

Exodus 33:20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” 

We can look into the Father’s face because we are Christ’s. We have His Holy Spirit abiding in us. As we behold Him and His holiness, those things that are unholy and unworthy die. This is how we die to self.

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

JC

The Fight for Your Identity

good tree, bad tree

What kind of tree am I anyway?

Matthew 12:33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.

          This is an amazing formula for faith, and a great example of the faith principle in Romans 4 of “calling things that are not as though they were.”

Romans 4:17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;

          The quotation in Romans 4:17 refers to Genesis 17:5. God spoke this over Abram when He was 99 years old and childless. At the same time God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and changed Sarai’s name to Sarah. In changing the names, God forced them to say the same thing about themselves that He had just said about them. Abraham means, (“Father of a multitude,” Sarah means, “Mother of nations.”) In the name change, God was showing Abraham and all who would follow after him, the principle of faith that God Himself operates by. He speaks things into existence.

          Let’s apply this to the good and bad tree.

          If you see a tree that has apples and avocados growing on it, what would you call it? An apple tree? An avocado tree? A hybrid? Would you just make up a name? The truth is, you wouldn’t know what to call it.

         The Bible says in Isaiah 61:3 that we are “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord.”

          When we look at ourselves and behold the fruit of our lives, we see our mistakes, our bad habits, our inconsistencies, our failures, our secret sins, and we think “I must be a bad tree.” But then we look closer and say, “Wait a minute, not all the fruit in my life is bad. I help people, I am faithful to my church family, I serve in different areas in the ministry, I love people, I am generous with my time and resources, so not all the fruit in my life is bad. I am confused! What kind of tree am I?”

          We see the good and bad fruit in our lives and gravitate towards walking by sight and living by feelings. The Bible says that we are NOT to live our lives this way.

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

          We cannot allow our physical senses to dictate our identity. We must set ourselves in agreement with what God has spoken about us and not be moved by our feelings and our fallen experience. What we see, feel and experience must never be a consideration in light of what God has said about us. Abraham, the father of faith, has set the example for us.

Romans 4:19-22 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

          Abraham refused to consider the weakness in his flesh, but was fully convinced that what God said about him, God would bring to pass.

          So the question is: What has God said about us?

Romans 5:17  For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Colossians 1:21-22 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.

          God says that He has made us righteous, holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight. Although we may not look like that in our sight we must not consider what we see and believe what He said about us is true.

          How we refer to ourselves, the words we say about ourselves should align in agreement with what God says about us. When we begin to speak what God says about us, the grace of God is released in our lives to transform us into what He has spoken. When we align our words with His words, the fruit of what He said will start growing in our life. This is how we make our tree good. This is how we fight the good fight of faith. This is what produces transformation in our life.

          The Old Testament is full of stories about natural battles. We must look at those physical battles and learn how to apply them spiritually to our lives. For the most part, we see two ways that God calls his people to battle.

  1. He gives His people specific instruction on what, when and how to conquer the enemy. When Gods people follow the instruction, He is with them in battle and the victory comes easy.
  2. He tells His people to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. He fights the battle for us and the victory is ours.

         When fighting to be free from our sin nature, to live righteous and holy, we tend to try and do this by our own works. We struggle against our sin, our bad habits, wrong thinking and destructive cycles of failure and disappointment. This type of behavior will only produce a sin consciousness that insures failure. The Old Testament has already proved that no one can become righteous by works.

          Submitting to the authority of the Holy Spirit on the inside of us places us in a powerful position to be transformed and overcome the sin nature. We must call ourselves righteous and holy, believing that He is at work in us to bring that to pass. We follow Abraham’s example and call things that are not manifest as though they were.

           Confess that you are righteous, confess that you are holy. Thank God for freeing you from sin and transforming you into His image. And if you stumble and fall, run to God and say “I am sorry Father that is not me! That is certainly not You in me! I thank You for the Spirit of grace that is transforming me and shaping me into Your image, removing that junk from my life and molding me into everything You have created me to be. Thank You for fathering me! Thank you for loving me, for believing in me, for being patient with me. Thank you for completing the work that you began in me. Where would I be if You didn’t father me.”   

 hold fast         This is a good example of biblical confession. This type of confession sets you in agreement with His work and His plan for your life. This will produce the fruit of righteousness and holiness in your life.

          In the battle for our identity we are supposed to follow the example of our father Abraham and set ourselves in agreement with His word, letting the Spirit of grace shape us and mold us into His image. We are not to consider the weakness of our flesh, but stand strong in faith, trusting that God is able to bring His word to pass in our lives.

So hold fast to the confession of who you are in Him and trust that He will complete the work that he began in your life.

finish

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.