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Monthly Archives: October 2009

Living Among the Tombs

Mark 5:1-5 “And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.  And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,  Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:  Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.”

This past Sunday evening, as I was studying, this scripture awakened in me.  I read it as though I had read it for the first time and I love it! 

Here, we read about a man who was…

#1  in the mountains

#2  living among the tombs

#3  crying

#4  cutting himself with stones

 All of these things are significant and bring understanding as to why he was so tormented. 

The mountains represent his position.  Mountains here mean to be “lifted up above” the plain, to rise or to “rear”.  To expiate (to put an end to or try to extinguish the guilt of)  sin or give satisfaction for sin.  To make atonement.  Another words, this man had put himself in a position of atoning for his own sin.  

And then there were the tombs.  The tombs surprised me.  Of course we know that they are a place of death or a place of memorializing the dead but it’s so much more than that.  Those tombs are symbolic of remembrance.  The word tomb, when translated in the GREEK, means to excercise the memory, to recollect, to punish, rehearse or recall to mind.  It is a fixture in the mind or a mental grasp.  It would represent a place in our mind that we “hold” dead things, dead works and sinful acts.

Next we see that he was continually crying.  Of course, the first thing we think of is that he must have been crying out for mercy and in repentance but not so.  That word cry actually translates, to cry out or pray for vengeance.  He was crying out for punishment.

And last but not least, he was cutting himself with stones.  We read in the word that when Moses brought the law to the people, he brought it forth on tablets of stone.  (Exodus 31:18)  So I conclude that the stones represent the law or what would be the “letter” as stated in 2 Corinthians 3:5-11.  Take a look…

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter (the law or ten commandments), but of the spirit (grace): for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 

But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones (the law) , was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit (grace) be rather glorious? 

For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.  For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.  

For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. 

You see, he was cutting himself with the law, trying to keep what he in himself couldn’t!  Trying to do,  be,  say, act and work, work, work!   Every time he failed…another cut!  And every time he cut himself, an entrance was made for the enemy.  The more he condemned himself, the less life he actually possessed and the more the enemy took up residence.  He was in fact ministering death to himself there among the tombs!

And not only did he imprison himself but those who tried to “help” him had also…perhaps not even realizing.  It says in verse 4 that often he had been bound with chains and fetters.  The chains were for the hands and the fetters were for the feet.  Those who were trying to help him were also addressing his “works” because that is what the hands and the feet would represent.  In a sense, chains and fetters made the statement, “Stop doing that!”, only strengthening the his “works” mentality!  He would “break” the limitations again and again!   The word says that no man could “tame” him and friend, that’s because no man can “tame” us.  

But just look what happened!  Jesus stepped off the boat!  Grace visited him! And what did grace cause him to do?  Run?  Yes! It caused him to run all right! Right to Jesus and worship Him!  He fell at the Word’s feet with the sincerest of devotion!  And verse 15 tells us that after that, he was delivered, he was sitting, clothed and in his right mind! 

His tomb became empty! That place where he had been holding himself hostage had to release him into the life and righteousness of Jesus Christ!  Glory to God!

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Posted by on October 29, 2009 in grace, Kingdom Living, Life, Religion

 

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A Gut Feeling

Having character doesn’t mean you are perfect.  It means you have an inner standard that cares about others more than yourself.  That’s taken from Dr. Kevin Leman & this is a truly scriptural perspective of Christ like character. 

Do we realize that Jesus esteemed us better than Himself?  That He raised the bar for us.  That He set the standard when He went to the cross?    Philippians 2:1-3 “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” 

That word consolation means this:

persuasive discourse

stirring address

instructive, admonitory, conciliatory, powerful hortatory discourse

There was a message in His life!  He demonstrated true character and left us with instruction.  A powerful exhortation of the discourse we should follow.  His stirring address was this, that we esteem one another better than ourselves.  That we set that inner standard within ourselves to love.  I ascertain that to do so is to find the comfort of love, to have fellowship of the Spirit and to truly have bowels of mercies. 

Did Jesus have a gut feeling? That’s bowels of mercies!  I want to have a gut feeling!

You know that passage where God raises up a standard  against the enemy? (Isaiah 59:19) I can almost picture Him saying, “Oh no! You can’t touch them! I have loved them and esteemed them more than Myself!  Meet my standard!”  

Where is that “gut feeling”?

Lord, I ask that you would provoke even more in me that “gut feeling”.  Amen.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2009 in Character, Kingdom Living, love

 

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A simple statement

He lives the poetry that he cannot write.  The others write the poetry that they dare not realize.  ~Oscar Wilde

I would rather live it than write it! Lord, let me live in such a way that there is no possible way that I could put it into words! Let me live out Your word to the extent of miracles that cannot be simply stated.  Signs that mere words cannot describe but that are the perfect picture of You.  Wonders that are so mysterious that words are not enough to solve them, yet in action, they are revealed!  That’s what I want. 

Too many times I have written what I haven’t even truly realized…

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2009 in Kingdom Living, Words

 

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Empowered

2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Power, love, and a sound mind. Those are the elements I am in search of understanding at this moment because these are in opposition of and have victory over the spirit of fear.

I was asking Father, why in that order? Why would He say, power before love? This is the answer He gave me, directly from His word.

Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

It’s the gospel of Jesus Christ that is the power of God unto salvation. We overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony in Whom we believe! The gospel is of grace and grace only! And anything outside of that gospel will bring fear. And until we hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can’t truly know or understand God’s love for us.

Revelations 12:10 says, “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”

I love what I read here! The accuser of the brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. An accusation is nothing more than something false or a lie. Isn’t that what fear itself is? “False Evidence Appearing Real” is how some define it and it’s most definitely a lie. I find that with fear, whether there is a conscious understanding of it or not, that spirit is accusing us of something. It comes to try to deceive us into believing a lie about ourselves, saying irrelevant things and bringing thoughts unrelated to who we are in Christ! It accuses us outside the perimeters of grace.

Something else I find interesting here is that when you study out the word “accuse”, it means to arouse from sleep or awake. How many times have I been awaken in the middle of the night with an unease or in fear? And even if you haven’t experienced that, you can relate to the fact that fear’s objective is to unsettle us and to take our “rest” from us.

“The gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation.”  (Romans 1:16) Salvation in this context refers to deliverance, preservation and safety as well as salvation from our sins. It specifically says, “deliverance from the molestation of enemies”. Now that’s interesting. To molest is defined as “to annoy, disturb, or persecute especially with hostile intent or injurious effect”. Isn’t that what fear does? Well, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power unto deliverance, preservation and safety from any such molestation! Hands off!

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2009 in Fear, Kingdom Living, love, power

 

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Glorious Liberty

“Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”  (Romans 8:21)

My heart swells with the revelation of this passage!  It’s amazing…

Let’s go backward for a moment…starting from Romans 8:18 and reading through verse 21.

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Just take that in for a moment.  There is a glory that is in us…that the earth longs and has an earnest expectation for.  It’s a glory that has only been dealt to the sons & daughters of God. The creature itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Now think about that for a moment.  I have never considered this before but stay with me.  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and everything that is in it and it was good.  God would walk in the garden in the cool of the night and spend time with His creation.  The earth knew the gentle tread of it’s Master’s feet as every step left it’s imprint, as evidence that He had been there. As the pebbles met with His steps, they would dance & skip along His path, relishing His every movement! The trees would clap their hands as He would pass and the flowers would dance and twirl at His presence and would release their sweet perfumes into His atmosphere.  The wind would minister a cool breeze to it’s Master as the sun itself would blanket His skin with heat…the perfect combination.  The waters would lap at His feet, worshipping there. 

And then Adam fell.  The footprint of Father began to fade.  The pebbles lay silent…their clammour soon forgotten. The trees rustled but no one heard their clapping.  The winds began to change and the sun….

(Now this is a good word picture but the implications are so much more.)

Then, there was the cross and salvation came, man was redeemed from the curse and Holy Spirit filled God’s sons and daughters, yet the earth groans and has yet to be, though it shall be, delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  It’s waiting for the new heaven and the new earth.  You see, we are new creatures according to 2 Corinthians 5:7. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 

2 Peter 3:13, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

Now get ahold of this.  Who are we? According to Romans 5:19, we are the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”  We are made righteous!  And where does righteousness dwell? In a new earth!

The creature is groaning.  The earth is groaning for the glorious liberty of the children of God! That word glorious means this…

to expose to the eyes

to give evidence or proof of a thing

to show by words or teach

and liberty

 

liberty to do or to omit things having no relationship to salvation

Whoa glory! The creature…all of God’s creation is waiting to be delivered into the evidence and the proof that we have the right as sons and daughters to do or to omit things within it that have no relationship to salvation!  Whoa!

Oh Father! Thank you that you have made us to do or omit things in this earth having no relationship to salvation!  Thank you Lord that every place we go, we can leave evidence, a tangible sign of the glorious liberty that has been granted to us as your children! We can  birth this earth, the nations,  this nation, this state, this city, this community, this place of business, these neighbors,  this household into the glorious liberty of the children of God! Oh, thank you Lord! Thank you for this new vision that everywhere I go, I am looking for the new! Halelujiah!

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2009 in Kingdom Living, Prayer, Prophecy, Words

 

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Free Reins

“And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” Deuteronomy 30:6

What does it mean for our hearts to be circumcised to love God? When we first come to Christ, our hearts are immediately circumcised, cut away from sin by the redemptive power of the cross but as we progress in our walk with the Lord, our heart will condemn us. That’s what 1 John 3:20 says can happen. I’m no expert but I believe the reason why is because our conscience is a constant companion, and has been with us before we knew Christ, present in our acts of sin and after we know Christ, present in our redemption. And as we move forward in the things of God, there are going to be things that will surface from that place of  conscience, unrenewed things perhaps,  from time to time. 1 John 3:20 says, “ For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” Today, be encouraged that if your heart is condemning you, God is greater than your heart and knows all things! This is what He knows…you are saved by grace!

Our hearts must be circumcised again and again by grace in order to cut away ties to the law and works mentality. Any thought, concept or perception that would tie us and keep us bound to the curse of the law that Jesus Christ has redeemed us from must be cut away. Any tie that keeps us continually going back to a place where we believe we can maintain our salvation, that’s what He desires to circumcise. He want to free the reins of our hearts! And it’s a work that can only be done by grace. You see, the latter part of Deuteronomy 30:6 isn’t even possible without my heart being circumcised to grace! There is no way that I can meet the requirements of loving God with my every thought and every feeling and that’s what “all thine heart” and “all thy soul” requires. It has to be work of grace and of Holy Spirit convicting me of my righteousness in Christ Jesus!

1 John 3:21 goes on to say “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.” I love what I read here! We can come to a place in grace, a place of such confidence toward Father that our heart can no longer condemn us. Our conscience will always have opportunity to accuse us or blame us when we fall short of meeting the requirements of the law. But true confidence isn’t about ”doing” or “working” the requirements. It simply lies in what we say. That is the definition of confidence in this passage. It means freedom in speaking or unreserved speech. We must be aggressive in our confidence toward God, especially when condemnation presents itself! We must be bold to say, “In Christ I am…” and “His grace is sufficient for me!” Our heart, our conscience is always going to find fault in us!

I know…I know…there is yet another verse to be dealt with in the context of this and reading it, it seems to undo everything I just said. What verse you might be asking? 1 John 3:22 “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”

Again, it looks like we have to “keep” or “do” something here but no, that’s not so. I asked Father to help me read this within the context of grace. Commandment in this passage is defined as “a prescribed rule in accordance with which a thing is done, a precept relating to lineage…” It goes on to speak of the Mosaic priesthood and the Mosaic law or Jewish tradition but those are not my lineage! I am of the lineage of Jesus Christ! I am from another blood line! My commandment is to love, have faith and be free in the perfect law of liberty!

Just read James 1:25, “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”

And how about Romans 3:27, ‘Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.”

Finally, John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

Jeremiah 17:10, “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”

Lord, as I read this passage in Jeremiah, I am reminded that you did circumcise the reins of our hearts from our “ways” and “our doings” and have eternally determined to give to us, according to the redemptive work of the cross, according to what Jesus Christ has done and according to the fruit of His doings! We are blessed and a most prosperous people! Thank you for grace! Amen!

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2009 in grace, Kingdom Living, Life

 

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He Went Into the Mountain

Matthew 8:7-14

7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! 8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. 9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. 10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. 11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. 12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

 

I was taking a look at Matthew 8:12 on www.studylight.org and asked it to put it into context for me and the above is what it gave me. Take a moment now and read it again.

 

What caused me to take a closer look is that I read something in this particular verse that I have never read before.  Many times I have heard it quoted that “Jesus leaves the ninety-nine for the one” and that’s it.  But there’s more…

 

First, I have always thought this to mean that He would go looking for the unsaved and that’s a correct  interpretation because that is true of Jesus.  He was sent for that reason.  God so loved us, Amen?  But what I am seeing here is the word SHEEP.  A sheep is one that is already saved…one under the care of the Shepherd. (The word refers to the sinner as GOAT.)  So we see here that the Shepherd goes seeking for the one that is among the sheepfold who has strayed from the truth in some way and has become lost.

 

Secondly, and what caught my eye to begin with is where Jesus went looking for the sheep.  This passage says that He went into the MOUNTAIN.  Immediately what came to mind is that of Mark 11:23.  For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”   The mountain is the obstacle, the unwanted hindrance in our path to destiny.  My first thought is that perhaps one of the sheep did not know or failed to exercise his God given authority and rather than “saying” unto the mountain, “be thou removed”, he thought he had to go into that mountain or should I say, “through that circumstance”.  The Lord goes looking for that one, lost in their circumstances or taken in by the enemies lie, in the midst of the hindrance.

 

And then, after doing a bit more research…I realized that there is another mountain that the enemy will take us to, to try us and to test our faith.  The mountain of Matthew 4:8-11.  “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.”  The mountain of temptation.   And Jesus knows it all too well and there, He overcame. And it’s there where He looks for us and has made a way of escape for us. 

 

That’s what I found looking only at Matthew 8:12.  But put it all in context and there is yet another very interesting picture coming together.  In context, according again to www.studylight.org, we see that perhaps the sheep going astray, not using his God given authority and even being taken to the mountain of temptation comes by the way of offense.  We know that there are certain metaphors used in the word to refer to the children of God.  We are the sheep of His pasture and we are the body of Christ as well.  We see beginning in Matthew 8:7, offense is the topic and because of it, parts of the body begin to be removed.  He tells them then that when the body or the sheepfold begins to lose number, that He will go to seek that one out.  That one who has brought the offense or even the one that the offense has cut off.  

 

Offense is defined as this:

  1. the movable stick or trigger of a trap
  2. any person or thing by which one is (entrapped) drawn into error or sin 

 I feel that there is a strong warning in this.  The spirit of offense is seeking at this time to scatter the sheepfold and to dismember the body and we need to be aware of it and keep our eyes on the Shepherd, our ear to His voice and stay connected to the body of Christ.  The word says in Matthew 8:13, if so be that he find it”…He rejoices over that sheep!  How was it that the devil departed and the angels came and ministered unto Jesus in that mountain?  It was because He was found there speaking the Word!  IT IS WRITTEN was in His mouth and the Shepherd seeks out His word.  The angels minister to it!  We must keep the word in our mouths.

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2009 in Church, Kingdom Living, Prophecy, Religion, Words

 

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