Your Rights or His Grace

He was in the world,
and the world was created through Him,
yet the world did not recognize Him.
He came to His own,
and His own people did not receive Him.
But to all who did receive Him,
He gave them the right to be children of God,
to those who believe in His name,
who were born,
not of blood,
or of the will of the flesh,
or of the will of man,
but of God.
(John 1:10-13)

Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to the confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.
(Hebrews 4:14-16 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

Defending your rights is likely to leave you in a place of disappointment. You may just have one right currently – that of becoming a son or daughter of Yahweh. Still, your access to grace should be more than you need, making you free to step into all of the answers and provision and protection and vindication you need, from the throne of your King.

Look for Evidence

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions and came to Ephesus. He found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

“No,” they told him, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

“Then with what baptism were you baptized?” he asked them.

“With John’s baptism,” they replied.

Paul said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the One who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.”

On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began to speak with other languages and to prophesy. Now there were about 12 men in all.
(Acts 19:1-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

An error in the classic doctrines of both Charismatics and Pentecostals is the idea that the only evidence we should expect as proof that a believer has been submerged in the Holy Spirit is that they would speak in tongues. This has caused many people who fear persecution from religious leaders in these groups to pretend to speak in tongues. In other cases, it has caused confusion because some people who have been baptized in the Spirit have not spoken in tongues.

In your life, look for evidence that you have been held under the Spirit’s power and filled with His influence. Maybe tongues is what that evidence would be, and maybe prophecy or some other gift He imparted to you is the proof.

No matter what the spiritual work is that has or hasn’t manifested Him yet, it is hard to fake the fruit of the Spirit. If you don’t see love, joy, peace, and the rest of the fruit named in Galatians 5:22&23 flowing through your heart and mind as you encounter difficult situations, ask Him for more of Himself until you are filled with who He is.

Yahweh, Your King

“Now here is the king you’ve chosen, the one you requested. Look, this is the king the Lord has placed over you. If you fear the Lord, worship and obey Him, and if you don’t rebel against the Lord’s command, then both you and the king who rules over you will follow the Lord your God. However, if you disobey the Lord and rebel against His command, the Lord’s hand will be against you and against your ancestors.

“Now, therefore, present yourselves and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes. Isn’t the wheat harvest today? I will call on the Lord and He will send thunder and rain, so that you will know and see what a great evil you committed in the Lord’s sight by requesting a king for yourselves.” Samuel called on the Lord, and on that day the Lord sent thunder and rain. As a result, all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.

They pleaded with Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God for your servants, so we won’t die! For we have added to all our sins the evil of requesting a king for ourselves.”

Samuel replied, “Don’t be afraid. Even though you have committed all this evil, don’t turn away from following the Lord. Instead, worship the Lord with all your heart. Don’t turn away to follow worthless things that can’t profit or deliver you; they are worthless. 
(1 Samuel 12:13-21  Holman Christian Standard Bible® © )

If you are worried about and focused on what the corrupt political parties are intending to do to destroy the United States, or what the president is intending to do to break the powers of the corrupt political parties, you are not focusing on the solution or the Savior.

Yahweh is your King. Look to Him for answers and leadership, and repent for not seeing His Kingdom (John 3:3).

Read the Book

If you have for some reason not read the whole Bible yet, I recommend that you begin that blessing before you go to sleep tonight.

If you have read it once, I recommend that you read it a few more times. Take lots of notes and be transformed. Share what you harvest with others.

What are You Praying?

In chapter 5 of Mark‘s stories, he related the events of the day trip to the Gadarenes area. There, they met the demoniac and pig herders. After destroying the herd of pigs, they met the townspeople who came out to check on the reports of the herdsmen.

The demons knew Jesus already, and prayed to Him that He would let them leave the man they had been tormenting and enter the herd of pigs.

The locals all prayed to Jesus that He would leave their community.

The man who had been possessed prayed to Jesus that He would take him with Him.

The demons got what they asked for. The stupid villagers got what they asked for. The guy who didn’t get what he asked for was the new disciple. He wanted to go with Jesus, but Jesus sent him on a missionary journey. Everyone he told his story to was amazed, and he was traveling around in 10 nearby towns spreading it.

Ask Jesus what to ask for before you ask Him. Like Esther, who was going to have an audience with the King sought advice from the eunuch about what the King would like when she was given access to the jewelry and clothing in the royal treasury, you need clues if you are going to have a successful encounter with the King.

Ask the Spirit how to pray (Romans 8:28).

Where’s the Fire?

Now the people were waiting expectantly, and all of them were debating in their minds whether John might be the Messiah. John answered them all, “I baptize you with water, but One is coming who is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to untie the strap of His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing shovel is in His hand to clear His threshing floor and gather the wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn up with a fire that never goes out.” Then, along with many other exhortations, he proclaimed good news to the people.
(Luke 3:15-18)

John promised the people whom he was baptizing in water that Jesus was coming to baptize them with fire, and with the Holy Spirit. When John baptized Jesus, apparently the Holy Spirit began a new ministry to Him. He drove Jesus out into the desert to baptize Him with fire.

When all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized. As He was praying, heaven opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in a physical appearance like a dove. And a voice came from heaven:

You are My beloved Son.
I take delight in You!
(Luke 3:21,22)

Then Jesus returned from the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over, He was hungry. The Devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
(Luke 4:1-3 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

We don’t just need information or leadership from the Spirit of God. We need to be changed by having our minds renewed (Romans 12:1,2). The process of Him leading us and informing us and transforming us looks much like he is having our enemies throw us into a furnace that has been heated seven times hotter than ever. When three of Daniel’s friends were baptized that way, their enemies were destroyed, their king was, to some degree at least, converted to honor Yahweh, they had fellowship with an angel or with Jesus in the fire, their bondages were destroyed, and they got jobs ruling over parts of the kingdom they had been subjects of (Daniel 3).

Where is the fire in your life? Are you expecting it to change you into the likeness of Jesus? Are you expecting it to be the process through which your God leads you to promotion and to safety?

Chase it. Be found by it. Be transformed.


Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise

Ben Franklin believed that in order to get healthy, wealthy and wise, you needed to go to bed early and get up early. This is what Solomon thought:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths.
Don’t consider yourself to be wise;
fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
This will be healing for your body
and strengthening for your bones.
Honor the Lord with your possessions
and with the first produce of your entire harvest;
then your barns will be completely filled,
and your vats will overflow with new wine.
Do not despise the Lord’s instruction, my son,
and do not loathe His discipline;
for the Lord disciplines the one He loves,
just as a father, the son he delights in.
(Proverbs 3:5-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

Blessing on Purpose

Matthew described in chapter 10 of his testimony a Kingdom mission that Jesus sent him on with the rest of the apostles. Included was a bit of information about blessing or condemning people along the way.

Jesus sent out these 12 after giving them instructions: “Don’t take the road leading to other nations, and don’t enter any Samaritan town. Instead, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, announce this: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases, drive out demons. You have received free of charge; give free of charge. Don’t take along gold, silver, or copper for your money-belts. Don’t take a traveling bag for the road, or an extra shirt, sandals, or a walking stick, for the worker is worthy of his food.

“When you enter any town or village, find out who is worthy, and stay there until you leave. Greet a household when you enter it, and if the household is worthy, let your peace be on it. But if it is unworthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that house or town. I assure you: It will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.
(Matthew 10:5-15 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

They were not on a Church-planting mission, but on a Kingdom-announcing mission. They were instructed to be intentional about blessing with their peace the home that made them welcome. Also, if they were rejected, they were told to retract the blessing. Their judgement of the home or village would be enforced later.

It is in your power and under your authority to extend blessing. It is within the scope of your authority as a citizen of the Kingdom to speak into existence, or just to intend or will it into being that people are blessed. It is also in your power to retract blessing and to even extend curse or judgement.

The missions we are on in the earth are both Kingdom and Church oriented. We should not take it for granted that what is in our hearts toward each other or toward outsiders is right or just. We need to frequently ask the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts and to give us the fruit of Who He is to influence our responses to and intentions toward everyone with whom we come in contact.

We should be very intentional about how we influence communities and people in the Spirit.

What’s the Good Word

Follow the thread that James wove through this writing that is related to “the word”:

Don’t be deceived, my dearly loved brothers. Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. By His own choice, He gave us a new birth by the message of truth so that we would be the firstfruits of His creatures.

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil excess, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you.

But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror; for he looks at himself, goes away, and right away forgets what kind of man he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who acts—this person will be blessed in what he does.

If anyone thinks he is religious, without controlling his tongue but deceiving his heart, his religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
(James 1:16-27 Holman Christian Standard Bible® © )

The message of truth was implanted in us, and is saving us. It brings us information and instruction. It is a perfect law of liberty to us. The salvation it brings us is “sozo”: which can mean healing, preservation, salvation, wellbeing, and wholeness. That is the word James used.

We cannot attain all of the benefits of the word of life that has been shared with us if we do not let it influence both our being and our behavior. Look into it like a mirror, and change what it shows us needs changing.

The Beings of Heaven

Many beings that Yahweh has created to be His servants have interacted with His human servants through the ages. They always seem to be difficult to describe and more difficult to imagine by the people who are reading others’ sketchy descriptions of them. One whom John encountered in the Revelation of Jesus he received seems to be of quite a different nature than the Hallmark greeting cards fairies:

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, surrounded by a cloud, with a rainbow over his head. His face was like the sun, his legs were like fiery pillars, and he had a little scroll opened in his hand. He put his right foot on the sea, his left on the land, and he cried out with a loud voice like a roaring lion. When he cried out, the seven thunders spoke with their voices. And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write. Then I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders said, and do not write it down!”

Then the angel that I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. He swore an oath by the One who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it: “There will no longer be an interval of time, but in the days of the sound of the seventh angel, when he will blow his trumpet, then God’s hidden plan will be completed, as He announced to His servants the prophets.”
(Revelation 10:1-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

He is mighty. His halo is a rainbow. He can stand on water. His face is as bright as the sun. His legs are fire. He is prophetic; truly an “angel” (“messenger”).

The days are coming in which we will learn as Yahweh’s people how to interact with the rest of the beings He has ordained to serve Him in these particular days. Some will hear the protocol for that interaction. Some will be intermediaries and liaisons for the interaction. Some will be intercessors who call forth the “hidden plan” to be revealed and fulfilled.

Ask Him how you fit in. Then be bold. Be awesome.