Faith of a Seed for Healing

So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
Luke 17:6, NKJV

To believe in healing is one thing; but to have faith for it is something completely different. To trust that God is able to heal is one thing; but to know Him as your Healer is entirely another. Faith is applicable for more than healing—the very essence of our salvation is founded in faith. For the moment, however, let me address specifically faith for healing.

Consider the faith that was needed for your salvation. Did you create this faith? Were you redeemed from the awful pits of hell because you gave mental credence to a doctrine? Faith was imparted to you through the reality of Christ’s gift by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables us to hear what the natural ear cannot hear. This is why Jesus spoke of religious leaders having ears but they could not hear. The message of Christ was being proclaimed, and the ministry of Christ was being demonstrated—yet they were still darkened to His reality. It is an awful thing to be face to face with His presence, and still be unaware He is even in the room.

Remember that faith, even the weight of a single mustard seed, can do more than a ton of determination or wishful thinking. True faith, when it is present, produces results just as the sun when it has risen produces light. It is inevitable that faith brings God-results.

So many people when needing a healing from the Lord, come to the Lord on the basis of His Word and try and tryto affirm they are healed by repetition or having some mindset of healing. Herein lies a fundamental problem. Faith is not repetition of words nor a mental state. We have made difficult what God intends to be easy.

Galatians 5:22 tells us that faith is a fruit of the Spirit. Who is responsible for this work of faith in our lives? The Holy Spirit! When New Testament saints were faced with persecution, was it the natural man’s tendency to love the unlovely? Of course not. It was God’s love shed abroad in their heart according to Romans 5:5. It was the wonderful fruit of love from God. Belief is an element of faith, but the fruit of faith is more than belief. It is a fruit that is produced as we are connected to the vine.

Instead of operating in condemnation over lack of faith or being anxious about faith—why not ask the giver of faith to impart this wonderful fruit into your life. It does not take much. Even an amount much smaller than the size of a smallest blueberry can remove mountains. Faith is the assurance, conviction, and certainty of God’s promise. Faith is being fully persuaded by God of God’s promise and His work. Faith cannot be produced by people. Faith is God’s warranty certifying the revelation He has birthed in you will come to pass in His way and His time. Faith in God’s Word is the guarantee from God in us that everything He has spoken in His Word will come to pass. I am not confused about my salvation because I have faith from God in God and by God that I am born again. Faith for healing operates the same in that it is from God in God and by God you are healed and restored. Today, ask God for faith regarding your healing.

 

 

Don’t Profane the Holy

By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.
Leviticus 10:3, NKJV

Nadab and Abihu is a shocking encounter with God. It reminds me of the New Testament account of Ananias and Sapphira. In both occurrences the individuals involved were profaning the holiness of God.

The New King James uses the word “profane” to describe Nadab and Abihu’s fire. Some translations call it “strange.” The Hebrew says it is estranged, foreign, loathsome, that of a prostitute. The description here is that Nadab and Abihu were performing what was to be holy worship in the wrong manner—a manner that was offensive to a holy God. What is dedicated to the Lord can neither be taken for personal gain or attributed to another. They took the presence of the Lord as common place and ordinary, and the fire of the altar consumed them. They decided to act according to their own judgment and did not follow the pattern God had given them for worship.

What was God’s pattern? God had already given direction to Moses and Aaron that He is to be regarded as holy and must be glorified. If we are to honor God, we are to recognize there is none like Him; we recognize His heavy or weighty presence, and we exalt Him. This was more than understanding a dogma of God’s holiness. Those present witnessed the reality of God’s glory for themselves. God is looking for worshippers who worship more than concept. He was looking for pure worship that was in order with His holiness. Watching the fire from the altar leap out and burn these two men to death left an unforgettable memory in the minds of those who saw the reality of God’s holiness. Watching Ananias and Sapphira fall to their feet dead left a last impression of God’s holiness upon those who witnessed this account. Let us never forget the holiness of God, and may we never lack in awe and reverence for Him.

Alexander MacLaren continues this thought about Nadab and Abihu:
They have had many successors, not only in Israel, while a ritual demanding punctilious conformity lasted, but in Christendom since. Alas! our censers are often flaming with ‘strange fire.’ How much so-called Christian worship glows with self-will or with partisan zeal! When we seek to worship God for what we can get, when we rush into His presence with hot, eager desires which we have not subordinated to His will, we are burning ‘strange fire which He has not commanded.’ The only fire which should kindle the incense in our censers, and send it up to heaven in fragrant wreaths, is fire caught from the altar of sacrifice. God must kindle the flame in our hearts if we are to render these else cold hearts to Him.

Let your life be consecrated to worship the Lord in Spirit and Truth. He calls us today to come boldly into His presence based on Christ’s sacrifice. Efforts to come into God’s holy presence based on any other work will find us in the company of Nadab, Abihu, Ananias, and Saphhira. Literal fire may not come from the altar and consume you, but it will be impossible to delight in God’s presence with dishonor towards Him in your heart.

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Trust the Snake

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
Romans 16:20, NASB

Have you ever felt like every time you turn around the enemy was out to stop you from advancing–Relationship issues, financial trouble, doubt in God’s Word?? Our God is a God of peace. The word here used for “peace” means “to be in a place of rest or tranquility; free from rage or war.” The word for “soon” means “with haste or speed.” Our God of tranquility and victory will quickly crush the enemy under YOUR feet!

Here, the word for “crushed” means to “smash, utterly destroy, break into pieces, obliterate, demolish.” Your victory is guaranteed because Christ is demolishing the power of the enemy from your life. In Christ, every chain is pulverized. In Christ, every bondage is utterly destroyed. In Christ, every distraction is laid to waste. In Christ, every lie is broken into pieces.

Christ has made you victorious over every temptation, every sin–even death itself. And He is working out in you this victory through every step you take on His path. Christ paid for your ultimate freedom and we learn to live out this freedom, crushing the enemy as we walk out our divine purpose in Christ! Every step is a blow to the enemy. Every act of worship is crushing and grinding of the old venomous head.

MacClaren expounds on this verse:
Yes, it is God that bruises, but He uses our feet to do it. It is God from whom the power comes, but the power works through us, and we are neither merely the field, nor merely the prize, of the conflict between these two, but we ourselves have to put all our pith into the task of keeping down the flat, speckled head that has the poison gland in it. ‘The God of peace’-blessed be His Name-’shall bruise Satan under your feet,’ but it will need the tension of your muscles, and the downward force of your heel, if the wriggling reptile is to be kept under.

Determine today to walk in victory. In Christ, walk according to the path of peace. This doesn’t mean distractions and attacks will not come; it means that you are determined to lay a defeating blow by the power of God by each step you take with Christ. It means you will not stop worshipping. It means you will not stop praying. It means you will not stop walking in your God-given authority. You will not be bitten by the venom of bitterness or offense.

Lift your shout of praise. Exalt the Lord and make your boast in Him. The God of peace has brought to you victory over every scheme of the doomed reptile the Devil!

 

Kingdom of Joy

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 
Romans 14:17, ESV

People continually are trying to find fulfillment and pleasure. Some work hard in their careers to find a sense of fulfillment and delight. Others pursue hobbies and entertainment. Still others indulge in worldly, sinful activities. Yet, how many say, I will find my fulfillment and my pleasure in God and His church. Is this at the top of the career-minded person’s list of pleasure? Is finding delight in God on the top of the thrill seeker’s bucket list? Even the religious–do they have a longing for absolute satisfaction in God or are they seeking a sense of identity by the dogma they know and the religious checkboxes marked on their rites and ritual list?

Paul teaches us plainly here we should cease our striving and enter into the Kingdom way of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Thrills and delights at the ballgame are considered to be normal. Getting excited, showing emotion, and having a good time in any area of life other than church seems to be approved by others. But to tell someone they can have more delight and joy in the Holy Spirit elicits strange looks and religious vomit. Laughter and dancing in the presence of the Lord is frowned upon. Why would a joyful God expect those He loves to find greater joy outside of Him. Seems that this would break the first and greatest commandment to love God first. If we love Him more than any other, our greatest delight is in Him more than any other.

Joy in God is more than finding some sense of self awareness in meditation. Joy in God is more than feeling accomplished by attending a church service or special religious event. Joy in God is more than even finding a temporary happiness from a good sermon. Joy in God is pure and the zenith of all joys. It brings delight, laughter, enjoyment, liberty, peace, dancing, shouting, clapping, lifting of hands, singing of songs, declaring His greatness, and much more. Heaven is not a quiet place–but is filled with the sounds of joy and delight in God. Today, you can delight in God more than any other–more than entertainment, more than a good movie, more than another concert, more than a good book, more than a party, more than another drink, more than another relationship, more than another career. Delight in God will leave you changed! If you have a view that heaven, delight in God and religion is nothing more than fat cherubs sitting on clouds playing harps while the saints sit in white robes telling “war stories” from their life on earth, you have missed Biblical Christianity. It’s time to delight in God!

God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of him is our proper; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends. These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean. (Jonathan Edwards)

Today, it’s time to jump into the ocean of His joy! No longer do you need to attempt pleasure at “drops in the bucket,” but dive into the ocean of His fullness. You won’t be disappointed!

Streams in Dry Places

He will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.
Isaiah 32:2, ESV

Have you ever been dehydrated? Your whole body is affected by dehydration. Extreme dehydration leads to death. Common symptoms might include dry mouth, headache, dry skin, muscle cramps, and lack of energy. Dehydration affects the entire body and its systems.

Spiritual dehydration can be just as serious and look very similar. Someone lost in the spiritual barren places, cut off from the source of water, can begin to have “mouth” problems or problems with the things they speak. Spiritual dehydration can lead to confusion and lack of clarity. This ailment can cause one to be rough and harsh or unloving. Any use of spiritual exercise or limbs cause cramps and discomfort. Eventually spiritual dehydration can lead to burn out, lack of zeal, and sooner or later death. Unfortunately, dehydration affects the entire body, and not just one member.

Isaiah is prophesying concerning Christ. He will reign as a righteous King. He describes Christ as a rock in weary places, a shelter in the midst of the desert storm, and streams of water in the barren land.

Jesus spoke of himself in John 7 as the one who would give limitless divine water to drink. This spiritual drink would become in its partakers a river of living water flowing from within. Those who are thirsty can come and drink freely without reservation.

Jonathan Edwards describes Christ as this river of living water as this:

He shall be as “rivers of water in a dry place.” This is an allusion to the deserts of Arabia, which was an exceedingly hot and dry country. One may travel there many days, and see no sign of a river, brook, or spring, nothing but a dry and parched wilderness; so that travelers are ready to be consumed with thirst, as the children of Israel were when they were in this wilderness, when they were faint because there was no water. Now when a man finds Jesus Christ, he is like one that has been traveling in those deserts til he is almost consumed with thirst, and who at last finds a river of cool and clear water. And Christ was typified by the river of water that issued out of the rock for the children of Israel in this desert: he is compared to a river, because there is such a plenty and fullness in him.

Drinking of the river of God is no more a one-time taste as drinking of natural water is not a one time experience. Though one drink of God’s river is enough to save and transform, no one who has truly tasted of its delight can only have one enjoyment. Throughout Scripture we are encouraged to keep drinking–keep receiving–from God’s sustaining power. Jesus told us to abide in Him or remain in Him. Drinking of the river of God is learning to live in the waters of life, not drinking and return to life as usual.  After all, who can return to life as normal after drinking of such divine water!

 

 

 

Get Your House in Order

Pass through the camp and command the people, saying, “Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you will cross over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess.”
Joshua 1:11, NKJV

The Lord has called our church to possess the promise land. He is calling you to possess the land He has promised to you. Maybe the land it is time to possess is the salvation of your family. It could be time to see your neighborhood affected by the presence of the Lord. God could be speaking to you about a new ministry or small group. Where have you settled for anything less than possessing your promise? What land is God calling you into.

Moses had died and the Israelites were in mourning. It took boldness in the Lord to step out and face the fears of what is to come. It took faith to walk into this promise differently than they had walked into the promise in the past. Moses was no longer holding a rod of the river’s waters; the priests had to step out with the ark of God’s presence before the waters would roll back. There was uncertainty as to who or what would be awaiting them on the other side.

Your first step in possessing your promise is preparing your provision. Joshua gave word to prepare yourself. In other words, get yourself, your family, and your belongings in order. What in your home and your family needs to be brought into order so that you can step fully into your promise? I would imagine some of the people had to leave things behind. Others had to have some family conversations about what was to happen. People had to leave their mourning over what was and step into what God was doing today. The season of mourning and grieving had to end. There were others who may have had to deal with conflicts they had with Joshua and his leadership. God had placed His hand on Joshua to lead the way. Before you can possess your promise, God will bring order to your home, your family, and your possessions.

If your financial stewardship is not Biblically aligned, you will miss the promise. If your family altar is not aligned, you are in danger of missing the promise. Perhaps there is someone like Lot’s wife hanging out in your family–someone who is not moving in the direction the Lord is calling–you will find yourself being hindered in receiving the promise. God will begin to bring order in your family and your home so that you may cross over into your promise land.

Perhaps the first step for you is to “prepare” your home. This word prepare in the Hebrew is to establish, fix or make firm, or set in order. Here’s how God is “preparing” you:

Establish: To make permanent or to get the facts in order

Psalm 1 – He’s planting you with roots in His Word so that you will not falter when walking into your promise.

Make Firm: Resolute and determined

Hebrews 10:23 – You will not waver, but walk in faith.

Set in Order: Authoritative Direction or Organization

James 4:7 – Submit to God. Submit to His Authority. YIELD! To be fully yielded to God leaves no room to entertain the devil.

 

Draw Me Away

Draw me away! We will run after you.
Song of Solomon 1:4, NKJV

Solomon begins this chapter with the Shulamite longing for the kisses of her lover. What a picture of our desire for Christ. “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth–for your love is better than wine” (SOS 1:2). He continues this passion and desire for love into verse 4, “Draw me away!”

He wants to captivate you. The Lord wants your full attention and desires. The Lord wants you to hear His call to run after Him. What would distract you from His affection today? What sin or weight would hold you back from running after Him? The Lord wants to bring you closer–bring you into His chamber of love.

Life and its issues can distract us. Our eyes get fixed on our problems. Our heart gets wounded by the unmet expectations of others. We become offended and burdened down with weights. We ask ourselves if we can ever find rest and happiness in God. Is it really possible? All we see is the baggage. All we feel is the hurt and anxiety. But today, Jesus is calling after you. He wants to draw you away. He wants the burdens to melt away and for you to run after Him.

He is awakening your passion for Him. He is awakening your desire for Him. He is calling out to your on your bed. He is calling out to you in His creation. He is calling out to you through your family or your coworker. He is beaconing for you to run after Him.

The Spirit of God is wooing you and captivating your attention towards Christ. Here is how Jonathan Edwards describes this captivation:

The more sensitive a conscience is in a diseased soul, the less easily it is quieted without a real healing. The influence of the Spirit of God is even more clearly demonstrated when people have their hearts drawn away from the world. The Spirit weans them from the objects of their worldly lusts and takes from them worldly pursuits. He accomplishes this by giving them the sense of excellency of divine things and affection for spiritual enjoyments of another world that are promised in the Gospel.

Can you see the enjoyments of another world? Can you hear the sounds and taste the delights of heaven? Has the Word of God and its enjoyments become real to you? Jesus is calling out to you. Will you run after Him?

The Mercy and Wrath of God

Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.
Psalm 2:12, NKJV

Consider today the great mercies of God that have been poured out upon you. It is because the Creator has stepped into His creation and bestowed lavishly His grace and His mercy that we are not consumed. Lamentations tells us that it is because of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed. His lovingkindness towards us are new every morning.

Here in Psalms we find a great contrast of these mercies to God’s wrath. Judas kissed the Son unto judgement, but we are invited to kiss the Son in His mercy. Judas betrayed the One who came with mercy and forgiveness. His kiss of betrayal brought guilt and judgment.

The scepter of God’s mercy has been extended to you in the cross. The blood of forgiveness has been applied to the mercy seat. Access into the holy place–the very presence of God has been given. Come today and find mercy for your life.

The grace of God will transform your life. Kiss the Son and find that nearness to His heart will compel you deeper into His love. Kiss the Son and hear His heartbeat as it beats in compassion for you. Kiss the Son and feel the breath of His Spirit upon your cheek. Kiss the Son and know that place of intimacy and change for yourself.

As there is great mercy at the throne of God for you, there is also great wrath towards those who do not come with a kiss of humility. Like Mary who anointed the feet of Jesus, you can kiss the Son in worship, or like Judas you can kiss the Son in betrayal.

Oh the fierceness of the wrath of God that is upon those who do not kiss the Son in worship. Jonathan Edwards had quite the ability to describe this wrath of God:

The wrath of God is like great waters that are damned for the present. They increase more and more and rise higher and higher, till an outlet is given. The higher the stream is stopped, the more rapid and mighty is its course when it is let loose. If God should only withdraw His hand from the floodgate, it would immediately fly open, and the fiery floods of the fierceness and wrath of God would rush forth with inconceivable fury. They would come upon you with omnipotent power. Even if your strength were ten thousand times greater that it is–even ten thousands times greater than the strength of the stoutest devil in hell–it would be nothing to withstand or endure it.

The greater of understanding we have of the fury of God’s wrath towards sin the greater value and appreciation we have for His mercy and salvation. As we read in Scripture about His holiness, righteousness, grace, and justification–let us not forget the great fires of hell that burn towards sin. Let us continually come before the Lord, and kiss Him in our worship, knowing how great a salvation we have been given. We have left the kisses of betrayal behind and embrace the Son with great affection.

My Rights

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 
Galatians 2:20, NASB

Maybe you have heard this or even said something like this before. “I have rights.” It interests me how bold and spoiled we can be as Christians. Remember, our rights are lost in Christ, as He gave Himself for us. In a society where everyone demands to be treated as equals; being treated as equals can only come when we see one another in the light of the cross. Remove the cross, remove the great leveler. Remove His blood, remove the fountain that washes prejudices away. Remove fellowship with the Holy Spirit, remove the one who unifies us into one chorus.

We have all sorts of demands. We demand and place expectations of others in the church, our pastors, the church service, church leadership. We want the best sounding worship. We want the most well-spoken pastor. We want money in our bank accounts. We want God to move in a way that is comfortable and not convicting. We want our order and not God’s order. We don’t want to be challenged to pursue God. We want to be the center of attention in our own way. We want control.

What filth we carry with us! What stench of pride arises from our hearts before a holy and pure God! And we are shocked that our churches and leaders are in such compromise. Let us remember that God sets the expectation. God has called us to holiness. God has sent His Spirit to remind us and convict us of all truth. God has called us to unity.

Here’s a quote from Evangelist Steve Hill regarding the demands of God:

But what about God’s demands? After all, He’s the one who formed us in our mother’s womb. He’s the one who has given us life. God is the Master Potter and we are the earthen clay. He is the one we will give an account to. Therefore, it would be good to know what He demands of us. First of all, God demands a total allegiance to His person. That means He wants no other idols in your life. An idol is anything that takes the place of God in our lives. It can be sports, fame, or money. Jesus even spoke of loving God more than family. For many, that is a strong demand, but it must be obeyed. God also demands total allegiance to His cause. That means He expects you to spend your life speaking about His kingdom, not yours. He also demands total allegiance to holiness. “Without holiness,” the Bible says, “no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). It is not a suggestion that we be holy–it is a command. So next time demands are being made to God, make sure His demands are being met first.

Could it be that your demands of God are keeping you from experiencing His fullness? Today, your own assumptions and your own comfort could be hindering you from finding the best God has for you. Your demand that God move a certain way in your life, or a demand that God respect your own comfort and pride could be blocking your breakthrough and leading you to a breakdown. Naaman wanted to place demands on God, but God had His own demands. Healing came when Naaman yielded to the Lord. Today is a great day to cease your striving over demands, and come humbly before God to receive all that He has for you!

Spiritual Intoxication

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled wit the Spirit
Ephesians 5:18, NKJV

Our society has become drunk on carnality. I’m not just speaking of alcohol–but the entirety of carnal pleasures. Moderation is not even a consideration when it comes to the  sin saturated world in which we live.

When it comes to heavenly delights, there’s no risk of over doing it. You can delight yourself in God as much as you would like. We can never have too much of God. At no time does someone reach a place of having received all from the Lord there is to receive. At no time does the believer become so satisfied that another drop from God’s boundless ocean of spiritual drink that he or she cannot take another indulgence.

Paul exhorts us to be filled, or “be being filled,” in the Greek. This is a continual action. Drinking of the Lord’s delights and goodness never cease. Solomon described this love of God as intoxicating.

Has the Lord’s work had an inebriating effect on you? Drinking deeply of His joy will affect your happiness. Drinking deeply of His peace will affect your demeanor. Drinking deeply of His goodness will affect your attitude. Drinking deeply of His pleasures will affect what you find delight in.

Here’s a glimpse from Sarah Edwards, wife of Jonathan Edwards, on drinking in the goodness of her Savior:

My safety and happiness and eternal enjoyment of God’s immutable love seemed as durable and unchangeable as God Himself.  Melted and overcome by the sweetness of this assurance, I fell into a great flow of tears and could not forbear weeping aloud.  It appeared certain to me that God was my Father, and Christ my Lord and Savior, that He was mine and I His.

Under a delightful sense of the immediate presence and love of God, these words seemed to come over and over in my mind, ‘My God, my all; my God, my all.’  The presence of God was so near and so real that I seemed scarcely conscious of anything else.  God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, seemed as distinct persons, both manifesting their inconceivable loveliness and mildness and gentleness and their great and immutable love to me.  I seemed to be taken under the care and charge of my God and Saviour, in an inexpressibly endearing manner; and Christ appeared to me as a mighty Saviour, under the character of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, taking my heart, with all its corruptions, under His care and putting it at His feet.  In all things which concerned me I felt myself safe under the protection of the Father and the Saviour; who appeared with supreme kindness to keep a record of everything that I did, and of everything that was done to me, purely for my good.

Have another drink today of God’s overwhelming pleasure. At His right hand are pleasures forevermore! (Psalm 16:11)