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How nice of you to drop in and visit my page. It's actually not really about myself, but about the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a place you can come, should you find time, and find encouragement and free resources for spiritual growth. I pray you will be blessed and provoked to follow on to know the Lord intimately yourself. Seek HIM and HIS Face for HE alone is WORTHY!! He alone is lovely! Most of what is written on this blog is written by myself, during my study time with the Lord unless otherwise stated. If it's otherwise, the author's name will be included.

God is our refuge, a very present help in trouble. Psa 46:1


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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A True Witness for Jesus

Heb 12:1 Therefore seeing we also are surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily ensnare us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Because we have been surrounded with such a vast list of witnesses of this life and light of Jesus Christ, there are some things we need to do. Consider that word 'witness' carefully. The word in the Greek is martus, G3144. It means a martyr, a record, or witness, in a legal, historical and ethical sense. This is someone who has personally seen and experienced the truth of what they say. They are what they preach, they have lived it. When they testify about Jesus Christ, it's because they KNOW HIM. In a courtroom you cannot testify to what you heard others say or do about something or someone, it must be first hand knowledge or it is only hearsay. No weight is given to hearsay. It is rejected. How can we, as Christians become witnesses of Jesus Christ in the true sense of the word? He is in heaven. He walked this earth over 2000 years ago. How can anyone alive today be a true witness of such a One Whom we've not seen with our eyes, personally? Act_1:8 tells us how and this is the only way we can be accurate witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel:

Act 1:8 But you shall receive power, after the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

That word in Acts 1: 8 is the same word in Heb. 12. Martus. A living martyr. Not only does it mean someone who has personal , firsthand knowledge, but it also means one who is willing to lay their life down for what they believe. To be a witness for Him means we live to do His will, as He did our Father's. We do not live to do our own will. In other words, this is one who proves or validates their faith by obedience unto death, literally or figuratively. We must ask ourselves, do we believe His Word enough to live each day seeking direction and strength, totally dependent on the Holy Spirit who alone can live this life of Christ in us? We must be filled with the Holy Spirit, baptized or immersed into His life, with His Presence and power working in us. This is the only way we can be accurate witnesses. We don't produce this life, we don't have this power of ourselves, we can have nothing unless it is given us from above. It is not of us, about us or by us, but it's something we must have or we are not true witnesses. We can't be witnesses without this, for Jesus told the disciples that they must tarry for this. Wait for it before they did anything else. This life can only be lived in us and through us by Him for it's His life, not ours. We are to be channels for His power to flow through to others. He will not use just any vessel-it must be clean, and set apart for Him. This involves preparation and obedience of faith.

So, what is a weight? It is any burden or thing that hinders or slows us down from fully embracing and obeying the Word and will of God. Now, it gets a little sticky. Our number one weight, the number one thing that hinders us and slows down our progress into this deeper life of Christ is ourselves. We must understand and recognize this truth. Self will. It's demanding, never satisfied no matter how much it has or gets its way, and is always in opposition to the Holy Spirit. That is the heaviest load we carry, and one we must be relieved of. All the weights we carry stem from our own self will and human understanding. There are things we allow to be put on us by others, by the enemy of our souls, and by the traditions of men-religious or otherwise, by the culture of our environment that are totally opposed to the nature and will of God. The flesh-that human nature we are born with is always self focused. Most all hindrances stem from our own human nature, especially here in the American church. We are so used to being comfortable, having plenty. In this world we live in there is a devil who rages, there is the pull and draw of the world we are born into. Temptations are all around us. The world and the devil would exploit and cater to the ungodly desires of human nature. And they are ungodly. Watchman Nee said this, and I have to agree: "The flesh makes Self the center of all things, while the Spirit centers all life on Christ. Such is the battle that rages in all believers until victory is gained over Self."

We should lay aside the sin that so easily besets us. Paul said 'let us'. It's a choice and there are consequences for our decision. Do we lay aside the weights and sins that so easily beset us or do we continue to carry and indulge in them? Each choice has its own consequence. To lay something aside means to put it off, or away. This is where the message of the cross is vital-and dangerously neglected or misunderstood in most of professing Christianity. Much of Christianity is thinking we carry a cross because we name the name of Christ and some people make fun of us, or we resist the ways of the world. We can dress holy, we can be separate, and still not be carrying our cross. We can be full of religious pride, contempt for those unlike ourselves. Our tongue can be unruly, our thoughts and faith waver. We can have the spirit of God in us and walk right by a lost and dying world and never blink an eye or shed a tear because we are so consumed with our own 'trials and temptations'. Self focus. Self must be put out of the way, beloved and we are not strong enough or able to put ourselves out of the way. This must be a work of the Holy Spirit. But if we do not feed on His Word and present ourselves to Him alone, in prayer, and regularly, frequently, get in His Presence and believe Him to do what we cannot, it will not happen.

Remember, the Scripture says the Lord has no fellowship with idols, and self is the number one idol in this land of America-in and out of the church.

Read Entire Notes Here: A True Witness for Jesus

Oh, Father, let us not live in this world unmoved by human need. Let us not walk among the lost in their darkness with no compassion or courage to reach out to them. God forbid. Grant us Your courage, Your faith, Your love, Your light to hold up before them and Your Spirit to show us how to lead them out of the dark into the light. Don't let us walk by the lost and hurting and be hard and unfeeling, without the compassion that YOU had for them when You walked among them. Help us get over ourselves Lord, so You alone can be seen and heard in us. Forgive us for our excuses and failures and change us Almighty God into the likeness of Your Son who alone is lovely and worthy. You said it is finished on that cross-the work has been done. Increase our faith and draw us back to the altar so we may in obedience wait there, broken and willing to empty ourselves of self that You might fill us with Yourself. Then we can say for us to live is for Christ to live and to die is to gain Your holy life. Help us see the truth so we will be willing to cast off the flesh as dung, to count it joyfully as lost that we might win You. Oh, Holy Spirit we will be trading filthy rags for glory. Help Your people, Lord, for the sake of Your Holy Name, Your honor, and for the souls of men and women who are dying without You, deceived by a wicked devil. Just as it is offensive to us to think of a person molesting a child, it is so offensive to you to see the devil molesting men and women, boys and girls in their minds, and corrupting their hearts. Break us, Lord, so You can revive us with Your Spirit-for Your glory, and for the sake of the lost. Give us Your heart for ours is deceitful and desperately selfish and wicked. Give us Your life for ours is inadequate. Help us be willing to exchange our self life for the life of Christ so Your will can be done and You can be glorified and exalted among Your people and so the world will again know there is a GOD who loves them and died for them.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Virtuous Woman (and who she really is)

Disclaimer: I was in these Scriptures a few years ago and recently, the Lord directed me to go back to them, to study them and then bring them to Him and ask Him to make them a reality in my life. What an invitation! So that is what I'm doing. But I wanted to share this because He's no respecter of persons. He showed me these truths, and the fact He wants to make them real in my life is both humbling and awesome. He is a matchless God, worthy of our lives. To Him alone be all the praise and honor and glory.

Pro 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

What is a virtuous woman? To the American culture, the word 'virtuous' means above reproach, excellent moral character. A virtue is a trait or quality deemed to be morally excellent and thus is valued as a foundation of good morals. It's the opposite of vice. In the Hebrew it means much more. It is someone who is strong, valiant, with great capability, power and resources far beyond what others have. Someone with the efficiency, strength, wealth and the force of an elite army. It speaks of substance, valor, a very capable, powerful warrior. A woman of ability, power and resources. Who can find such a woman? There is only one place. To find such a woman, you would need to find her married to such a man.

In Mar_5:30, Jesus was surrounded by a crowd pressing on Him. Many were touching Him, but one little woman with an issue of bleeding pressed her way through the crowd with faith in her heart, and she managed to touch Him. She knew He was her only Hope. And when she touched Him, virtue went out of Him. The word is dunamis in the Greek. It means a force or miraculous power. It's the life and power of the Holy Spirit in Him. He gives this Life, this part of Himself to her. He baptizes her into this.

We are not talking about an ordinary housewife here. This is why her worth is far more valuable than rubies. A real ruby is the red sapphire, next in value to a diamond. In Pro_3:15, the Scripture says she (wisdom) is more precious than rubies, everything you could desire is not comparable to her. Who can find such a woman? Who could be such a woman? The Bride of Jesus Christ.

Today, you always hear these Scriptures read in churches across America on Mother's Day but I have never heard it preached beyond a surface understanding of a dutiful wife and mother with excellent moral character. That's the Americanized version of this message-not the spiritually accurate version. Such a woman shall be praised with the focus on honoring her, as a human being. The Pastor knows many mothers are not like the mothers of by gone days. Many have to work instead of keeping the home and the children. Many rely on TV to babysit their kids or the computers. He spends the rest of the sermon chastising them for their shortcomings, using his own yardstick to measure them by. They are frustrated because they try to parent with only their own human strength and wisdom which continually fails them. He has a good point but this goes far deeper than that.

These Scriptures are a type-an illustration from the heart of God of the Bride of Jesus Christ. It's a portrait of His Church. In a world sick with sin, filled with selfishness, and violence, and full of darkness, she shines as a bright light, as a city set on a hill. She stands out because she does not need medication or worldly entertainment to find peace or rest. She stands out because she thinks of others more than herself. She stands out because she has a servant's heart. Her agenda is not her own, neither is her word. It is HIS. The Light that shines from her comes from Him. It is HIS light. He is her Source. She abides in Him. To Him, she is far more valuable than any gemstones.

Pro 31:11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. Pro 31:12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

She is sold out to God, she is dead to this world, and He knows she will not forsake Him and walk away for vain and passing treasures. He is her Treasure, and He trusts Her with His Name, and His Word, and with it, delegated authority and power over her enemies. (Luk_10:19-20) The Lord is not looking for another, He is satisfied with His Bride. She yields to Him and lets Him make her what she needs to be. On the other hand, her friends, her family, her employer, they can safely trust in her, as a Christian, as part of the Bride of Christ, that her word is her bond, her fingers are not sticky, her eyes are not covetous and greedy. If this part of the Bride, this Christian, is married, then the spouse has no worry of betrayal. She is different, so unique that others wonder.

Pro 31:13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. Pro 31:14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

She pursues, looks for, searches for this wool and flax. When you dig into these two things, you will see she is truly searching for purity and sanctification-the righteousness that is the Lord's alone, imputed to us by faith alone. Wool was of the highest value among the Jews. It was one of the most widely used materials for clothing. Wool was forbidden to be woven or mixed in with linen garments. The priests could not wear woolen garments while ministering to the Lord for it would make them sweat and He would not allow sweat in His presence-the self effort of human nature. Yet this woman seeks it. She follows Him who has it and pursues it, for she requires it. This tells us we are not talking about wool, the material for clothing, for clothing was also made from hemp, flax and cotton. Another thing I found interesting is wool was used mostly for the outside garments for its ability to either keep heat out or in. There are so many applications here, for yes, the wife would search for material to make clothing for her family but this goes deeper.

Wool represents purity, it's white. God told Isaiah to tell His rebellious, sinful people to come, meet with Him, let us reason together, for though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. In Rev. 1, when John was in the Spirit and heard the Lord talk with him, he turned around and just the glory and power of the vision of the Lord who talked with him was so pronounced, so awesome, he fell like a dead man on his face. He said the hairs of His head were "white, like wool" and it signifies purity. We can only have this kind of purity from sin by the blood of Jesus Christ. It must be given to us we cannot produce this through any effort of our own.

She seeks wool and flax. Flax was cultivated in Egypt and Palestine. Of the two, wool was more common in Judea, flax was more common in Galilee. It is torn from its native soil where its seed was planted and grew. The stalks of the plant are laid out in strips, to dry out in the scorching sun. In Biblical times, they were laid out on the roofs of houses to dry in the hot, desert climate. In later times, they were put in ovens to dry out. After drying, they are then peeled, to separate the stalk from the fibers inside which are used to make fine linen cloth and also wicks for lighting lamps. Then, it is torn by a comb designed to straighten, and remove knots and impurities in the fibers, then it's tied to stones, and immersed in water until it starts to rot so the loosened fibers can be separated from each other by combing. It is washed several times and suffers long exposure to the weather to be ready to produce white linen garments on a spinning wheel. The fibers were to be made into thread and were gathered into a loose rope which was wound around a distaff which is a round tool or reel that kept the thread in line and untangled so it could be spun into cloth.

We, as Christians, are taken out of the miry clay of sin, rooted up from our dark, sin-gripped prison in this world, and put in the kingdom of God's dear Son. We are put on His potter's wheel. We are bathed in His Light, and we have a purifying, sanctifying process to go through, as well. We often are faced with fiery trials to test our faith and give God the opportunity to manifest Himself and His ability in our lives. This builds our faith. It's in the trials that we learn more of God than any other way. Our flesh life, our self-life has to be stripped away, and destroyed, like circumcision of the heart. It's a very painful process. Flesh, which is self has to go. We have to learn we can't find or trust anything in ourselves to be good enough to bring to Him. Then when we are tired, and empty of ourselves, He immerses us in living waters, fills us with Himself, He anchors us to Himself-He is the Rock, the Cornerstone the builders rejected. Or, to put it another way:

Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Mat 3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Act 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

And this Bride, she works willingly with her hands. This word willingly means she takes great pleasure and delight in doing His will. Jesus said I delight to do Thy will, Oh Lord. This work she does is something she desires to do, it's valuable work, and she takes pleasure in doing it. Her hands are His hands. She is busy, accomplishing what He gives her to do, she is occupying until He comes. She is doing His will, laboring in His vineyard. She raises her hands to her Lord, she uses her hands in and for His service. She uses them to reach out to and minister and help others. What she is doing is having an effect on those around her. She does it happily, serving her Lord. She doesn't grumble or complain over her lot in life. He promised in Php_2:13 that it would be HIM who was actively and mightily working in us both the desire and delight to be actively and mightily doing His good pleasure. We can't be mighty in our own selves, so it is His ability in us that is mighty. The word 'worketh' in that verse is also the same Greek word used for the word 'do' in that verse. In the Greek, it is energeo G1754. It means to be active, efficient, effectual, mighty in work and deed. He's working in us what we can't do ourselves. We can have nothing, as Jesus said unless it's given to us from above.

Pro 31:14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. Pro 31:15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

The merchants' ships would transport goods, food, and materials people needed across the oceans and seas to other lands. The Bride of Christ is like that, she is a vessel who travels, she doesn't hide. She carries with her, inside her, the Bread of Life that come down from Heaven, the living waters of the Holy Spirit, to share with whosoever will come, the hungry and thirsty. Such as she has, she gives. She is not one given to laziness and slumber. She gets up early, and seeks the face of God for a word for her household, for her family, her neighborhood, those the Lord brings across her path. She feeds on HIM for He alone delights her soul. Because of this, she is able to give to others around her what she has received from Him when she is given opportunity to minister to them in whatever capacity presents itself.

Luk 12:42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?

She knows she has been given the responsibility, she's been set as a light in her home, her town, her school, her workplace. She understands she is not the Source, but has constant access to the Source. She depends totally on Him for all the provision needed for the task, so there is no room or excuse for failing to shine. He never fails. She brings her food from afar because it's the Bread of Life, and she got it on her knees and in His Word. It's for those around her who are hungry, for those who are sick of the world and the elusive peace so many seek and never find in a dark and dying world.

Pro 31:16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

Mat 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

She considers the field. She has counted the cost and deemed everything else as dung that she may win Him. She has a plan of action, His plan, for there is buried treasure in this field. Exceeding precious promises made by her Lord, that she might be partakers of His Divine Nature. She has this precious Word of God, a gift from on high, paid for with the blood of Jesus Christ. Holy men of old sacrificed their lives to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she will do no less. She doesn't take it lightly or for granted. She cherishes it.

She's digging in this Word, she's finding the promises of God, taking them to Him and praying for possession of what has been revealed to her, and He is becoming her strength. He alone can make these promises reality in her life. She's considered the promises carefully. She has sold out completely to the Word of God. As a result, the work of her hands is blessed. She becomes fruitful. The fruit of her hands is the result of the Spirit of God working in her life, sowing the Word, birthing in her the gentleness, peace, joy, patience, long suffering, all the fruits of the Spirit, listed in Gal_5:22. It touches the lives of those around her. His life, his living water flowing through her spreads out with healing and transforming power to bring hope into the lives of the hurting souls around her. She's been to the Source. She's sold out to Him. She's given everything to buy the field, and all the Treasure hidden in it. But this Treasure is not to be kept for self. It's to be found and shared with others.

Pro 31:17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

In Bible times, they wore close fitting tunics over their bodies, that were normally about knee-length. They covered these with long, flowing robes. When people relaxed or were at ease, they left the robes loose. But when it was time to move, fight, or travel, they tied up the robes with rope or a sash of sorts, so they might more easily move. In the Hebrew, the word "gird" means to put on a belt, or armor, the loins in the Old Testament refers to that area of the human where the reproductive organs are but in the New Testament the word loins refers to our minds. She's put on HIS strength, stands in His strength because she knows she has none of her own. Remember, HE is her Source. The promises of God in His Word are what she wraps around herself and moves and lives on. She stands on His Word to her. And the her I'm talking about here, be reminded, is every born again believer, (for there is no male or female in the kingdom of God) (Gal_3:28) She strengthens her arms, meaning she fortifies herself by drawing from Him His strength. She is established on the Rock, and His life in her is her strength. It is also the light of those around her. In John 1:4, the Word says in Him was life (meaning true, eternal life) and that life was the light of men. That life was the power and presence of the Holy Ghost. That life is to be the same in us as it was and is in Him. As He was in the world, so are we to be. We can't be that except by the power and abiding presence of the Holy Ghost in us.

Pro 31:18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

She has tasted and seen the Lord is good so she feeds on Him continually. Because He is her constant source, her light doesn't go out when things get dark. That word for night in verse 18 means a adversity, in times when things look dark, her light still shines because it's His light and she has the oil in her vessel and her lamp. His Word is her lamp and directs her steps in this dark world. She is as one of the wise virgins described in Matthew 25. She has a constant supply available, as we all do, but she makes sure she gets that supply. She does not neglect seeing her vessel and lamp are filled with oil. She does not have the cavalier attitude of casualness, knowing the oil is available but being too busy to fill her lamp.

Pro 31:19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

She is trusting, in verse 19 the rod and staff of the Lord to be her comfort, the word distaff literally means a crutch. When spinning thread into cloth, the distaff was the round tool that supported and kept in line the thread so it went evenly on the spinning wheel. That is what the Word of God is, it holds her up daily. Remember in Heb_1:3, He says he upholds all things by the word of His power.

Pro 31:20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

This word stretch in this verse has an unusual meaning in the Hebrew. It means something that is broken in pieces and spread out. This speaks of one who is broken, humble, as was Christ on the cross. His bones were not broken, but his body was. This doesn't mean literally broken in two. Consider the proud and wild horse. It has to be broken and tamed before it can be of use to man. Human beings are the same way-proud, arrogant, stubborn-and must be broken in spirit before they can be of use to the Lord. She reaches out in verse 20, to the poor, meaning in this verse, according to Strong's Hebrew Dictionary, the depressed in mind or circumstances, the afflicted, the humble, needy and poor. Those around her who are hurting, who are bruised by the world, circumstances, and hard times. The Christians around her who are harassed by the enemy, or circumstance, and are weak. She reaches out with the compassion of God, to minister strength and encouragement to them. She speaks His life into their situation, because she has sat at His feet, and heard His Word. Remember, such as she has, she gives.

Pro 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. Pro 31:22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Pro 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

She's not afraid of the cold for her household, because all of her household are covered, by the precious, crimson blood of the Lamb. Remember, Jesus said in the last days because iniquity would abound, the love of many would grow cold. But this woman has covered all of her household with scarlet-with the blood of His sacrifice, spiritually speaking, through prayer and laying claim to the promises in His Word. She makes herself a coverlet of tapestry, her clothing is purple silk. Silk means white linen, and purple is a symbol of royalty.

Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready. Rev 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

Righteousness in verse 8 means acts or deeds. A decision has been made by the Judge concerning this woman and she has been justified or declared right. She prepared herself with the provision He made available to her.

To sit in the gates of a city symbolized one had authority and power to render judgment in legal matters, sentence criminals, make business decisions, set prices for goods bought and sold there, issue decrees, taxes, legislation and other important decisions, etc. In the Bible to say one sits in the gates means they had power and authority. Her husband, master, owner is known and honored, He is revealed to be One who is wise and has great knowledge. Others are instructed by Him. He is One others look and come to for instruction and understanding. He sits among the elders-the senators, the ancient men. When He takes the judgment seat in the gates of the city, everyone understands and accepts His authority.

Pro 31:24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Pro 31:25 Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. Pro 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

Strength and honor are her clothing. If you look up these words in the Hebrew you will see this doesn't apply to natural clothing. They mean force, majesty, security, praise, boldness, power, might, magnificence, beauty, excellency, glory. In other words, she is clothed with power from on high. She will have much to rejoice over in the future, when she reaps what she's sown. When she opens her mouth, in verse 26, her words are kind, her tongue is under control, the law of kindness rules there. Translated as it's used here, that means in the Strong's Hebrew, piety, beauty, favor, goodness, kind, loving, merciful, having pity, and mercy. She speaks what is right, gentle, and good. Her words are profitable to those who hear them. They are not idle or cruel. Her wisdom is not worldly or sensual.

Pro 31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

Pro 31:28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

She looketh well to the ways of her house: She observes, waits, keeping watch over and looking out for her family, those under her care. She is careful to watch their progress on this journey so they don't go in the wrong path. She's like a watchman, prepared for the enemy when he tries to come in and do harm. She doesn't listen to or feed on idle words, or lies. She is not slothful. She feeds on the Word of God, she prays and communes with Him at His table, and fills up on His wisdom, and is directed by Him. Only with this kind of communion can this virtuous woman be and achieve all that these Scriptures say she does. It must be HIM working in and through her. Human flesh could not do this led by a carnal mind. Her children rise up, well aware of her wisdom, and being affected with the power in her, are stablished, strengthened, and grateful. They call her blessed-here that word means straight, level, honest, guide. This means her journey, her walk with the Lord is straight, honest and right.

Pro 31:29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Pro 31:30 Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Pro 31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Strong's Hebrew for 'favor' means graciousness, kindness, pleasant and precious, well-favored, beauty. A person can put on a sham, and lie and pretend to like someone, but a woman that feareth, or reveres the Lord, is morally reverent toward the Lord, shall be praised. They might not understand, they might mock her devotion, but in their troubles, they will look to her for her wisdom. In their folly, they will see her wisdom. They will look to her for guidance because they've seen her ways are right, because her ways are the way of the Lord. That is called being a light to the World, letting Jesus shine through her life. He is where the virtue, the force, the power comes from. As the world around her that is lost and in darkness and misery to a harsh taskmaster, and quickly perishing, sees the peace and light and strength that are so evident in her life-she doesn't have to preach Scriptures to them. Her life is the light to those around. Her life is the evidence of the testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She knows she doesn't have to back up His Word, or prove anything to the world. It is His Word to prove, hers to believe and live by. He will back up His Word however He chooses.

At the end of her journey, the result of her faith, her trust in His promises, will be the souls saved who have been touched by the life of Christ in her, flowing out of her to a lost and needy world. What better reason to live can you think of? I love how Bro. Leonard Ravenhill put it, when he asked the question "Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?" If you are living for yourself, for pleasure, and gain, that is not why He died. He came to seek and save the lost. To bind up the wounded, to heal the broken hearted, to loose the slave and set the captives at liberty, to open the blinded eyes. He desires to minister His grace and power and life through His Bride to continue ministering to the poor and needy. He knows His Bride will not take the credit or glory from Him. He knows she will faithfully point others to Him. He shares His heart with her, and He knows He can trust her. Is this the kind of intimacy you have with Jesus Christ? Do you want it? I do! Will you let the lies of the enemy stop you? Will you let the weakness of your flesh or your fears stop you? When He promised that He would perfect what concerns you, (Psa_138:8) and do the work in you (Php_1:6, Php_2:13) and that because He promised (2Pe_1:3-5) we could partake of His divine nature, just because He promised we could! He didn't say we deserved this honor. He didn't say we couldn't. He made us meet or acceptable to partake of Him! HE MADE US ACCEPTABLE!

Col 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

Whose report will you believe, the devil's, your carnal mind's, or the Word of God? I can honestly say I am not there yet, but praise the Lord when I was in these Scriptures in 2006 I didn't see all this. So I'm growing in grace and knowledge of HIM. He's taking me where I can't go and He's making me what the devil said I could never be!!! Hallelujah! Don't let these Scriptures discourage or dishearten you! Don't listen to the voices that say you can't be what this says you are to be! Of course you can't be like this on your own! HE works the work and HE is the power in you to do it. When the circumstances are over your head, out of your control and beyond your ability to understand, they are under His feet. Remember that. He sits as King of the floods. He knows all. He is everywhere. He sees everything. He is ALL Mighty. And HE in His great power and majesty LOVES YOU....what an honor. I tell myself and you, is HE not worth getting up early for? Is He not worth digging into this Book He had written so we can know HIM better? OH, YES!! Does my flesh want to? No. Does my carnal mind? No. Does my heart and soul? YESSSSSS sigh, sigh...I got to have Him. My family has got to have Him. We all have got to have Him. He is so precious. What a privileged people we are to have such an invitation from HIM. We have access. Time is running short. The call is out to everyone. Let us come while He may be found.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Work of God

Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

The word for 'worketh' in this verse is energeo. It's probably where our English word "energy" comes from. It means to be active, efficient, be mighty in, to be at work, to effect. His presence and work in us effects or changes us. He causes us to choose or prefer and delight in the things that please God. The word "do" is the same Greek word for "worketh"--it's energeo. Because HE is inside of us, His presence there causes us to want to do the things which please Him. His presence and His working into us His nature, His Word, and His Spirit cause us to have the desire and the ability to do what pleases Him. We have the strength and desire to choose to work the good will of God, to long for His perfect will in our lives. We can trust Him to see it accomplished if we are obedient and do not run and hide from Him.

When we hunger for God, when we long for His righteousness and hate our own weakness and know we are totally unable to save ourselves and must depend on Him for everything-we will see He alone is our Resource. He alone is our hope. He will not fail us or forsake us.

Php 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

Anything the Lord wants or instructs us to do, we are commanded to do it without murmuring, or complaining. We are to do it willingly, not grudgingly. That word "disputings" means internal discussion or consideration, doubtful, imagination reasoning or thought. When the Lord speaks something into our lives that He wants to do, first, we have got to realize He speaks to His own, and what He wants to accomplish He is able to. Psalms 115:3 says Our God is in the Heavens and He's done whatsoever He has pleased. He is not dependent on our strength to accomplish His plan. We are dependent on His. He equips us to do His will. We are vessels He can use to accomplish His purpose, through the power of His Spirit, and His strength. We are privileged to be allowed to be part of His work and be used by Him. He does not need us, He honors us in allowing us to be a part of His work, being fellow laborers with Him. I felt somewhat foolish, thinking, this awesome God spoke this world into existence, took pity on my soul, and saved me when I could not save myself, but I have fretted about Him making me what He wants me to ultimately be? What an insult to His power and grace. Lord, please forgive my foolishness.

It's been my experience when the Lord would speak something into my heart that He wanted to do, first, my heart would be in awe-first that HE would speak to me, that He would even know my name. That awes my heart and is more than my feeble mind can comprehend. Next comes gratitude, excitement, and amazement. But then, this very thing we are reading about rises up. Inward reasoning, deliberating, questioning. Was that really God that spoke? Did I imagine it? The devil will try to make you doubt. This internal discussion starts happening, and we start considering the possibilities and our own resources. We are inclined to want to do something to help God. We look to ourselves-and in my case, I began to despair at what I saw. I looked in the Word and dug into it, praying for understanding and delighted greatly in the promises I saw there. But, I soon realized I did not possess what was necessary to accomplish what God said He wanted to do in me. At the same time I was hungry and longing for the fulfillment of the promise, yet knowing I could not make it happen. I spent months agonizing over it, longing for it, and spent much too much time being tormented by doubt, longing for the promise, yet despairing of my own inadequacies. Instead of focusing on the Lord and just rejoicing in the knowledge that HE alone could accomplish what He desired, and trust Him to do it, and yield to His direction, I berated myself for my weakness and inability. But, He would not say He wanted to do something in me He wasn't willing and able to do.

I had never paused and considered this verse in Philippians 2:14. I always assumed it meant 'don't argue with God.' That is exactly what I was doing. Inwardly. Looking to self and hating what I saw, knowing alone I was totally incapable and bankrupt apart from the life of God. Entertaining doubts and fears. What if I missed God and lost my opportunity because of all this tug of war inside? What if I failed? But HE is my Source and my Guide, my strength, my provision, and oh, I wish I'd seen this from the beginning.

Php 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

Who wouldn't want to be faultless? The word "harmless' in the Greek means "unmixed, pure, without mixture of evil, innocent." This is a Christian who does not knowingly partake of evil or anything that is against the life of Christ. They are not living in a mixture of the Christian life while trying to hold to the worldly pleasures that lead to sinful activity. They do not seek their own pleasure but rather the kingdom of God, the will of God. They are unblameable in the middle of a wicked, arrogant and reprobate society. Yes, perverse means the same thing as reprobate. This is a generation that does not like to retain the knowledge of God, no, they would rather deny His very existence, and label His truth a lie, and scoff at anyone they think is foolish enough to believe in Him. Society is living under the dangerous illusion they can live however they choose and make their own rules and not have to face dire consequences for their presumption.

But there are children of God out there who shine, in the midst of this wicked world, in spite of the evil all around, and the open tolerance of any kind of sin, God has a people who shine with the truth, the peace and the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I remember being a sinner, and watching terrible events unfold on the news, and thinking, gratefully, I was glad there was a House of God right down the road from where I lived, and in my mind, I made the connection that the only reason something bad hadn't happened in my neighborhood was because God had some people living near there. I had gone to that church as a child, knew some of the people there, had relatives there, and knew they lived the life, and really knew God. I remember, even being a sinner, taking comfort in my close proximity to the church.

But how can we reach this place of perfection? When I look at myself, I see so many areas flawed and imperfect, because the standard is Jesus Christ, not the preacher, not the singer or the choir. It's not my neighbor, or brother, or my sister. It's HIM. He said be holy. He said be perfect. But praise God for verse 13-He will accomplish this by the power of His Spirit working in me that which pleases HIM.

Php 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Php 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I have bowed my knee, praise God, and I have confessed Jesus Christ is Lord, and I desire Him to be the Lord of all of me, my heart, my life, my thoughts, my feelings, my time, my money, my words, my behavior, the direction of my life, the activity of my life, even the inner meditation of my heart. My marriage, my home, and all that pertains to me. Be Lord of my flaws, my mistakes, and my failures, and weaknesses, and fears. What saith the word to this? He is able to subdue all things unto Himself. (Phil 3:21).

Psa 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.

Psa 138:8 The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth forever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.

Whatever I face, whatever kind of trouble comes my way, whether it's financial, physical, mental, or demonic, GOD is my Shield, and my Defender. He is my exceeding great reward (Gen_15:1) That also includes the rebellion of my flesh, and carnal mind. He is able to change the way I think and react as I feed on Him and His Word. He is able to make me spiritually complete and mature.

The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me:

He will end this war that rages in me between my spirit and my flesh. He will make a complete work of me. This word 'perfect' has two applications here. It means to end, whether in completion or failure, to cease, to perform. What is it about me that needs perfecting? (Completing) My carnal mind needs to die. We have the mind of Christ, Paul said in Php_2:5 1Co_2:16

There are things in my life that need changing. Maturing. He is so faithful and I praise Him for it. I would have no hope without Him.

Psa 138:1 A Psalm of David. I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.

Let the world have their idols of entertainment and money and fame, in spite of it, I will praise the Lord! He alone is worthy.

Psa 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

In spite of my flaws, in spite of me, He has loved me, and been very kind to me. He has given me His truth, and He has promoted His Word above even His name. That word "magnify" here means to increase, made large, advance, make powerful, made it greater, more excellent than even His Name which is Holy and Reverend (Psa 111:9). I have the miraculous blessing of being stirred by HIM to hunger for His Word and to receive it and let Him engraft it into me, and make it a part of me as He writes it on my heart, and changes me from within by the power of His Word.

Psa 138:3 In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.

I could so easily relate to what Paul said in Rom 7:24-25. O, wretched man (woman) that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The flesh wants its pleasure that will lead to eternal death. It's selfish, greedy and never satisfied for long. It has no compassion, no tolerance for holiness or purity. It is weak and corrupt. It doesn't matter how I try to disguise or satisfy the flesh, it can't be made holy. It can't be conformed to God. I don't mean my literal skin. I mean the carnal impulse, the human nature that wants to control everything, be in charge, and make its own rules and seek its own path and do what feels good, regardless of morality or truth. Sometimes, this can be painful.

I smoked, heavily, for 17 years. I was addicted to nicotine. I watched my grandfather die from cancer. As far back as I can remember, he'd always smoked a pipe. Watching him die from this didn't phase me when it came to my own smoking habit, which was much heavier than his own. In his last days, not long before they had to increase his pain medication which left him unable to communicate, I talked with him, and I stared into this man's eyes, who'd always been such a giant in my own. He was over 6 foot tall, a policeman, Korean war vet, he had done some good things with his life. But here he had, wasted away from 200 lbs to 95. He was a shell of what he had been. He was wracked with pain, and he looked me in the eye, knowing I had some destructive habits myself, and warned me that I should consider what was happening to him. He told me, "You never know when your body will turn on you." He urged me to change my ways. I just stared at him, wishing this wasn't happening to him, but unmoved by his warning. I was ruled by the flesh and fulfilling its carnal desires, regardless of the consequences. That is where the deceitfulness of sin comes in. Your mind will lie to you and tell you, oh, I got to die from something. It might as well be this. Oh, it will be a long way off. Or, it will happen to somebody else. Not me.

Psa 138:3 In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.

But I met Jesus. I was reborn by His Spirit. He gave me the desire to stop smoking. He gave me the strength to lay down unhealthy and bad habits. He cleansed me from within and made me a new creature. And the more I learn of Him, the more I want to be like Him. But, the more the flesh struggles to remain alive and war against the desires of the Spirit. The more I eat His Word, the more I think on it, with a longing heart. I cried out, Lord, help! I cried from a heart that hates evil and loves righteousness, and recognizes its own failings and flaws, while hating them. I cried from a heart that loves Him and wants to please Him and serve Him. He strengthened and comforted me. He reminded me HE was still at work and His Word would accomplish.

Isa 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

His Word does not fail. Refusing to grant His Word free course and free access is unthinkable. Denying His Word admittance by neglect or deliberation is unthinkable.

Psa 138:4 All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth.

Psa 138:5 Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD.

I know this may mean literal kings on earth, but when I apply it to myself, all those things that think they can reign unchallenged and stand against the life of Christ in me, will not. His Word is glorious to my heart. His promises are beautiful and wonderful. He is a mighty God and self sufficient, needing nothing. He owns everything ever made. Yet E knows my name.

Psa 138:6 Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.

Psa 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.

Psa 138:8 The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth forever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.

He won't forsake me. He won't leave me. He will save me. He will make me what HE wants me to be. And I will praise Him. When I am weak, I can run to Him and He can revive me. When discouragement threatens to overwhelm me, He reminds me of His promises and renews me. He comforts my heart. He picks me up when I fall, and forgives me, cleanses me, and restores me. He leads me and guides me. He teaches me. He watches over me. He talks to me, and shows me great and mighty things I didn't know. It wows my heart that such an awesome God would love me.

Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

I can agree, and because I'm persuaded of this very thing, namely, that six years ago, God picked up a broken vessel, full of hatred and bitterness, and shame, and haunted by pain and unforgiveness, and He gently gathered me up and healed my pain, cleansed my soul, moved in my vessel and began to completely renovate everything. He is what holds me up. He began this work in me of changing me from a sinner into a saint, and His Word calls it a 'good work' that will benefit me, and those around me, and He will accomplish and finish this work which will continue until it's time for Jesus to come.

2Pe 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

2Pe 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

He's given me grace and peace, He's multiplied it through the knowledge He's taught me of who He is, and how much He loves me. He's revealed to us through His Word that He's already made provision for every need, and promised to supply, so we can have a life of godliness through knowing HIM and what He's called us to be. He's given us the opportunity to take part of His divine nature, and be like HIM and we can because He promised we could. He's made great and precious promises that can't be changed or taken away from us. He's preparing us for eternity, for a face to face meeting.

If we are wise, we will listen and obey and follow Him, and not go after the ways and wisdom of the world. If we let His Spirit teach and rule in us, we will be what He wants, and we will make it. We can't manage our own lives anyway. It's not in man to direct his own steps (Jer 23:10) But we have all been dealt a measure of faith that is needed to believe God. The worst thing we can do to ourselves is make excuses for our behavior when it is not approved by the Word of God. He can change us. He can save us. He wants us with Him. He's coming back, so let us grant Him free course to reign and rule in us. We will never regret it. If we don't, we will regret it for eternity.

written originally in 2007