JUST PLAIN CRAZY
A friend had a sore on the back of his hand. He prayed and it started healing. It scabbed over.
He has a problem with scabs, though. I guess he hates them. What I mean is that he can't stop picking at them. It's like a compulsion. He says he tries not to pick at them. But,he says he can't help himself - he picks at them!
So, now he has a sore on the back of his hand, again. He asks if we would pray for the sore to be healed.
He NEEDS A MIRACLE....or does he?
I told you it was crazy.
This reminds me of so many of us who pray for God to heal us, fix us, bless us, protect us, feed us, provide for us, etc. Then we do the very things that UNDO what God has done. We say one thing - pray one thing - and then do the opposite. CRAZIES! How do we stop the insanity?
You and I
cannot be effective
Holy Spirit Empowered Christians,
"Doing the works that Jesus did and even greater works"
while we are ensnared
tormented by sin.
It is a Spiritual fact that we cannot effectively Walk in the Spirit of God and fulfill the lust of our flesh at the same time. In fact, most of can hardly live a normal life because of the sin that weighs on us.
Admit it! Yes, admit it. We cannot live joyfully in the health, freedom and power God promises because of this sin which so easily ensnares us. We do not see the greater works of Jesus in our lives because we are hobbled and weighed down.
Confession is the first step to TRUE FREEDOM in Christ and the doorway to Miraculous Living for God.
Paul knows this and he admitted...
"For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want." Romans 7:18
WHY is this so? And, what is the FIX?
Continue search these Scriptures with me for "the fix". Fix it we must, because this evil is driving us crazy and destroying our ministry of The Greater Works of God in our lives and in this world - Literally.
Why is it that many of us, who claim to follow Jesus, are unable to demonstrate the Spiritual traits and abilities of Jesus. After all, Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father." John 14:12
"Oh", we say, "God still performs miracles and answers prayer", but when we compare our experience with the plain examples of the Works of God through His people, in the Bible, we fall woefully short, most all of the time. Don't we?
Not wanting to lose face or to look irrelevant to the world, it seems that many in the Church have resorted to worldly methods of ministry, belief systems and church management.
The watching world knows better. The world knows that, we in the church, are saying one thing but doing quite the other. Can't we, in the church, tell better?
And, could duplicity and deceit within the Church be the reason so many are questioning, doubting, condemning and leaving the Church?
Again in Luke 16:17 we read, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
Can you imagine with me what would happen if Luke 16:17 were happening in your Church, today? The Bible tells us of huge throngs and many were becoming Believers and were being baptized.
BUT, WHERE ARE THEY, NOW? WHERE ARE THESE WORKS?
We hear a lot of excuse-making
We hear a lot of human-logic about the absence or cessation of these WORKS.
We hear doubt and
Even professing Believers mock verses like those in Luke 16.
So, the question remains, WHERE ARE THE WORKS? Where is the Godly behavior?
Many times, well-meaning Christians resort to man-made alternatives, ranging from hopeful and wishful thinking to cheap tricks or extravagant pageantry as a substitute for the REAL THING Jesus promised.
The evidence of THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL seems to be missing in many Christian's lives.
Additionally, Christians seem to be having a hard time getting even the fundamentals of their Faith right.
Read Ephesians 4:32 - 5:4
"Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
¶ Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
¶ But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;
and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks."
Are these just nice sounding platitudes? Of course they are not! It is a Spiritual Law and a Spiritual Truth, that...
"With the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."
Our behavior and works must follow our Confession
We need to be living out
the Simple Truth and the Real Thing
If we expect to live a Godly and Power-filled life
If we expect a watching world to believe our testimony
Once again, consider what scriptures tell us:
"For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the
kingdom of Christ and God.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
Therefore do not be partakers with them" Ephesians 5:5
Perhaps our problem is that because of the sin which entangle us, we aren't able to "die to self" and "crucify the flesh" of our humanity.
Perhaps our problem is that we are living in this world for comfort or because of fear and we have not separated our selves from it.
And, this is no simple matter or easy task to master.
Who or what will set us free?
AFFLICTED IN THE FLESH
Listen to the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the church at Rome, as he cries the lament of every person 'afflicted in the flesh':
"For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.”
Have you ever said those things or had thoughts like, “Why am I doing this? I hate the way I am acting, but I can’t stop! I have promised myself a thousand times, yet I come back to the same thing. I must be a horrible person or at least a weak person.”
Perhaps you have conceded that "This is just the way God made me and I can't change". You have given up?
Perhaps you have come to believe that "The Example and The Standard" set in the Bible is worthy but unattainable in this lifetime.
This type of thinking and despair is an affliction of the soul, of the mind and ultimately, of the body.
That is how it always works: The demise starts on the INSIDE OUT. It starts in the 'heart' then in the mind and works its way into the emotions and manifests in ones body as sinful and destructive behaviors and progresses to mental and physical illnesses.
We are plagued by upsetting thoughts. A person tries to control them and in that process, begins to dwell on negative, harmful thought of doubt and fear. Soon, you will feel an overwhelming urge to repeat certain rituals or behaviors which become compulsions.
People suffering these disorders can have repeated thoughts or images about many different fears.
This is, in fact one of the most insidious weapons of Satan. This is how the Bible puts it:
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12
It is estimated that over 3.5 million people suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorders, OCD, in any given year. Most cases start in early childhood or early adolescence with about one-third of all OCD cases starting in childhood. OCD costs over $8.4 billion each year in social and economic losses. (MHMR Service website)
The toll of suffering in human terms is incalculable.
Or perhaps Paul's cry is for the twenty-three million Americans suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, another horrible affliction of the Evil One.
Or maybe for the 40 million Americans who regularly visit pornography websites each year at a cost of almost $3.0 billion dollars per year. It is estimated that over 200,000 people are addicted to internet porn, watch over 11 hours of porn each week. This is another addiction that also afflicts Christians.
Listen to the warning in Galatians 5:19 and see the list of our vulnerabilities, the methods used by The Evil One (Satan) to kill us, steal from us and to destroy our lives and Calling.
"Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
It seems millions of us are losing our Spiritual inheritance and are left Spiritually impotent. We are at great risk because of the deeds of our flesh.
So, we the Church, withdraw into the shadows of fear and shame. We neglect and abandon our Calling.
What are we to do? Who can rescue us from this body of sin and death?
THERE IS NOW THEREFORE NO CONDEMNATION
Read these next words slowly and consider them carefully...
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him."
And that "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."
Jesus' ministry is one of redemption, reconciliation, healing and Spiritual Prosperity.
The very word "Saved" (sozo) is translated as "to be made safe, to be made whole, to be made healthy".
The Apostle Paul laments that “… if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.”
Paul’s words sound eerily like the cry of so many of us who are battling mental, emotional and behavioral disorders and addictions.
The Bible tells us about wars that rage in the heavenly and the spiritual realms. These are the wars that affect and ravage our mind, our will, our emotions and our body.
Researchers have found that several parts of the brain are involved in these disabling emotions of fear and anxiety. We know that Satan can have no part IN US, yet the Evil One is able to deceive and influence 'even the (unprepared) elect'.
Millions of people every day feel the resigned desperation expressed by Paul when he says, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.”
Paul recognizes that something "within him" is causing this maddening destructive behavior. He says “But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.”
What an admission. “Evil is present within me”. How many of us could be so bold to make that kind of admission. It seems as if Paul is admitting defeat and accepting that he is being internally influenced and controlled by an evil.
But, this is not the case. Hope of Truth is made known Paul reminds himself and his readers that there IS The Good within each of us which is at war with sin and evil, “For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.”
Holding tightly to the Hope of God within, Paul cries out for all humanity, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?”
Now perhaps in the greatest of pronouncements, Paul triumphantly confesses,
“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Though a spiritual war rages in Paul’s mind and body he acknowledges and confesses that “… the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”
You and I can possess freedom from condemnation, guilt and shame. Freedom from fear, doubt, anger and resentment.
Knowing and confessing your sins, your struggles and helplessness is a first necessary step to possessing The Greater Truth:
“For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending
His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned
sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not
walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
So, how do we achieve this Great Truth, Remedy and the Hope? How can we see and experience this Great Freedom in our lives?
“For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”
THE MIND SET ON THE SPIRIT IS LIFE AND PEACE.
Reading these verses we see that breaking free is no easy task. It takes a true MIRACLE from God. It takes a great miracle.
Consider two of the greatest miracles the world has ever witnessed:
1. The birth of Jesus which offers the entire world the promise of redemption, a great salvation and eternal life with God.
2. The death of Jesus which sealed the promise of redemption, His free gift of salvation and eternity with God.
In both cases, everyone involved, INCLUDING GOD, had to do their part.
It is the same for you and for me. We must break free from the sin which ensnares us and which enslaves us, renders us Spiritually impotent, we must DO our part.
We must SET OUR MINDS ON THINGS OF THE SPIRIT, continually.
REPENT FOR THE KINGDOM IS NOW AT HAND
"Recognize and admit your dilemma
Humble yourself and cry out for help"
The Bible has shows, as I said in the previous chapter, breaking free from these sins which entangle us is no easy task and our Freedom will come at a cost. We must first recognize we are lost or at least far from the intended path and call out for help in order to find our way back. We must recognize, as some have put it, that our sins have separated us from God.
These sins often become habits and addictions, the insidious arrows of Satan which embed themselves into the flesh of our hearts and minds. Removing them can be difficult and painful. They tear our flesh and can discourage us from allowing God to finish the work of setting us free.
There may come a time when the person held captive by these snares will cry out for God to stop the process of setting them free because the pain is too much. Or worse, the delusion inflicted by Satan is so great that the prisoner is convinced that his or her affliction must be normal for them. They reason that God would never inflict anyone with so much torment, misery and pain. And, they are right, God would never afflict a person with these deadly sins. Satan is the one who tortures the mind, body and soul. Satan is the liar, the deceiver and the murderer. God is our Redeemer. Jehovah-Rapha, our Healer.
I once got lost in the woods. I had started on a hike one morning and by noon I was hopelessly lost. I decided to head east on a trail I had come across which looked familiar. I walked about four hours when I came upon a cabin. Thankfully, the owners were at home. I told them of my plight and they informed me I had walked in exactly the wrong direction. They had neither transportation nor a way to call for help. They offered me food and drink, but otherwise, I was on my own. It was nearly dark and I was now faced with having to walk westerly for another five or six hours in the dark before I could find my way home. I had to retrace my steps. I would have been walking for eight or ten hours before I found my way back home.
Think on this: How many years did it take for you to get where you are today? How many years before you found yourself in the condition you find yourself, today? Ten years. Twenty years? Thirty years? Now, how long will it take to find our way back 'home'?
The good news is that God does not require that we retrace our steps to get Home to Him. We start from where we are, now. In fact, The Bible tells us to "REPENT", starting right where we are, today. REPENT means to change one’s mind, for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins.
I STAND AT THE DOOR AND KNOCK
Wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.
I recently heard a preacher lament, "It's really one of the greatest tragedies when a person who calls themselves a Christian, stops seeking God daily and stops repenting daily, because they have already done that, once before. They remind us that they are already Christians, and after all, by God's Grace they are 'Once saved, always saved' ".
This attitude shows, at least, a lack of understanding of eternal security, and sadly, a misunderstanding of God's amazing Grace. And tragically, it reveals an unwillingness to grow to Spiritual Maturity, which is nothing less than forfeiting ones right to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, now, and in the age to come, eternal Life.
Too many churches and denominations, perhaps unwittingly, foster this type of fatal thinking. The Bible clearly warns that if you are not growing to maturity and producing Spiritual Fruit, you have become good for nothing more, you will be cut off and heaped into the pile to be burned away.
John 15:1 ¶ "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2 "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
3 "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
5 "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
I've heard many different 'interpretations' of John 15 used to soften the meaning of these verses.
But, the wording is clear:
you must ABIDE in Him in order to bear fruit; and
if you do not abide in Him you cannot bear fruit. In fact, as the teaching goes,
"apart from Me you can do nothing".
And that person, he, is thrown away as a branch and dries up;
and is cast into the fire and burned. (and this is not referring to the fruit)
Jesus, again teaches, in Matthew 5:13 ¶ "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.
OK. Perhaps you are certain of your Salvation and perhaps you aren't entangled in any sinful habit or destructive addiction. But, BEWARE. This is a dangerous state of complacency. You may have become lukewarm, ineffective, impotent and defenseless and harmless in the eyes of the enemy, among which are fear, doubt, worry, poverty, sickness, disease, lack and want.
Heed the Words of Jesus when He says,
Revelation 3:17 Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,
18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
19 ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.
20 ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.
21 ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
22 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear
Jesus never minced His Words. Luke 9:62 "And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
It would be better, perhaps, that one had never heard the Good News, rather than heard, tasted then fallen away. For his last state will be worse than his first.
But, take heart, we are not of this world and His Kingdom is not of this world. If you are willing, "He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."
YOUR REDEMPTION DRAWS NIGH
"Set your mind on these things"
So, now we come to "Setting our minds on the things of the Spirit". How we can, truly and finally, be set free!
First, listen to what God tells us, in fact warns us, about the thoughts we dwell on or the behaviors we repeat (all emphasis by italics or bold print is mine):
Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
Job 3:25 For what I fear comes upon me, And what I dread befalls me.
26 "I am not at ease, nor am I quiet, And I am not at rest, but turmoil comes."
Isiah 8:12 And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it.
13 "It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread.
14 "Then He shall become a sanctuary;
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Philippians 4:6 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Psalms 1:1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.
Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
Romans 8:6b The mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
Read and re-read these Biblical Truths, these instructions. Once you have grasped the true meaning of these Words of God ("Rhema and Logos"), it is only necessary to begin to faithfully putting them into practice to get immediate results.
The magnitude and effectiveness will depend solely upon the sincerity and thoroughness with which they are applied. This is a matter which each person must settle for themselves.
If you truly want to alter your life, you really want to change your circumstances so to be set free to find health, peace, well-being and the Spiritual maturity that is true prosperity for your soul, then these Words from God (the Bible) give you the path and the power to really live your life.
The task is not an easy one. But, we know that it can be accomplished because Jesus gave us the way. He walked this path for us. He told us and showed us the way.
But the price must be paid and that price is the carrying out of these Words in every area of your life - public and private. Carrying them out even when it seems counter intuitive. Carrying them out even when you may want to, or rather, especially when you would rather not.
If you are ready to pay that price, to truly break free from the "old man" or "old woman" and start upon the creation of the "New Person"
formed In Christ, then it is now time to put your hand to the plow, as Jesus said, and never look back
YOUR REDEMPTION DRAWS NIGH