I’m in Need of Him Alone

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God
Psalm 42:2, NKJV

Charles Price in his book The Real Faithtells the story of a cripple man who was continually brought into the services for healing. Many times, Price and others spent much time praying for the man. Days went by and there was no sign of healing.

One afternoon they wheeled him to a corner in the building. He asked the people to leave the two of us alone, and then said something that has lingered in the chambers of my memory. “What a failure I am,” he declared. “I came here strong in what I thought was my faith in the Lord. As I look deeply into my heart I find something about which I wish to confess. What a poor, miserable failure I have been. I have been spiritually proud of the fact that people have pointed to me as a man who suffered without complaining. They pointed me out as the man who never grumbled, although he had a cross to bear. I grew proud of my reputation and I can see now that what I termed my goodness has been self-righteousness in the sight of my Lord.”

“Dr. Price,” he said, “I don’t need healing half as much as I need Jesus. I am so hungry for His presence. More than anything else in my life, I want to know Him better, and I am content to spend my days in this chair if only He will flood this self-righteous heart of mine with His peace and love.”

Dr. Price describes how he watched the cripple man in the wheel chair disappear around the corner of the building after that conversation. A few days later this man came back to the church for the evening service. He described to Dr. Price how Jesus had met him the night before. He spent the night in prayer and praise and worship. He described how the fog had lifted from his heart and mind and he became conscious of an infusion of Life Divine.

“Why does this man have to wait until tonight?” “He does not,” I replied. “The Great Physician is here now. Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” A moment later it was over. Out of his wheel chair arose that man. He ran and jumped and praised the Lord for his deliverance.

Our God is the Great Physician and He desires to heal. Just as much as He is our healer, He is our creator. If you were to be admitted to Heaven’s triage, the first condition of healing to apply would be that of your heart. What offense lingers there or spiritual pride? Oh, the cancer of your heart that must be cleansed for the life of God to flow into every spiritual extremity. Jesus wants to heal every brokenness and of great importance is that your inner man be made whole.

Do you desire to be healed only in the external, or is there a desperation for utter deliverance–spirit, soul and body? Let the sickness of vanity and pride be cleansed and love-sickness for your first love return. Let your inner man be restored from its blockages that it may be moved with compassion for the lost. Cleanse your soul from every hinderance that the rivers of life may flow freely from within. The Healer is able to heal your physical body, but He also has great concern for your spirit man and soul. May the cry of your heart be:I don’t need healing half as much as I need Jesus. I am so hungry for His presence.

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It’s Easy to Receive

Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:3, NKJV

What is it that you need from the Lord; is it direction for your path? Do you need divine healing, divine providence, divine wisdom? Where you lack, He can supply. There is a bountiful, surpassing overflow of perfect gifts available to you in Christ.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change (James 1:17, ESV).

We can come to our Father knowing He will not give us a stone instead of bread (Matt 7:9). He has gracious and wonderful gifts to bestow upon His children who will come in faith. He is the Reward and Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him in faith (Heb 11:6). Our Heavenly Father is neither changed by circumstance or diminished by need. With Him there is no variation or shadow due to change. He is always at His zenith. The brightness of His glory is always brightly radiant and continually flowing forth like a perpetual spring of water that neither ends nor is quenched.

Have you become as a humble child with the persuasion of your Father’s love? Might we not receive at times from Him because we withhold ourselves in timidity before Him? Does sickness linger in your body because you understand Him to be a loving Father, but have yet to come to Him in faithful assurance that you might receive of the Father’s love which is continually pouring out in crashing tides that might catch you away like an ocean’s billowing waves.

Healing is not dependent upon the development of a perfect faith by any process of self, but rather contact with Jesus (Charles Price).

You may humble yourself before Him and request the faith to embrace Him. Like the woman with the issue of blood who had heard of Christ’s power, you may come trembling and unclean into the crowd, and leave completely whole as you make contact with Him through faith. He is willing that you come to Him, and He desires that you come to Him. It is through simple childlike faith that you obtain Him and the precious promises He has made available to you. It requires no striving or power of the mind to obtain. The promises of His blessing are not spells that can be chanted until some magic occurs. His Word concerning you is His promise—His declaration concerning you. If He has spoken a word of healing in His Word for you, then healing can be received. If He has spoken a word of salvation in His Word for you, then salvation can be received. Ask the author of His Word to reveal His promise in it concerning you, and may the Revealer of this Word impart the faith to obtain all that He has spoken.

With childlike humility we may receive the faith which receives the reward and the Rewarder. Like the child in Matthew 18, Christ is positioning you in the place to receive all He has spoken. Today is your day to receive!

Vulnerability

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship
Acts 2:42, NKJV

Webster describes the origin of the word vulnerable as originating from the Latin noun vulnus or wound. Vulnus led to the Latin verb vulnerare, meaning to wound, and then to the Late Latin adjective vulnerabilis, which became vulnerable in English in the early 1600’s. Vulnerable originally meant capable of being physically wounded or having the power to wound (the latter is now obsolete), but since the late 1600’s, it has also been used figuratively to suggest a defenselessness against non-physical attacks. In other words, someone (or something) can be vulnerable to criticism or failure as well as to literal wounding.

The word denotes a sense of letting down one’s guard or defenses—becoming open and receptive. Vulnerability is a key in community. To have true community and fellowship, it requires those in the community to let down their guard and become transparent and open. Figuratively, it is not merely allowing others to look at your yard through the privacy fence; it is actually removing the fence altogether and allowing others into your space.

The Bible uses a Greek word Koinonia to help paint this picture. It means fellowship, intimacy, joint participation or camaraderie. It is the sharing of mutual risk and mutual benefit. In Christ’s community this is expressed in the joining of many backgrounds, diversities, and experiences into one Body with Christ as the head.

I used to run a communal living discipleship home for men. In this sense of community, everyone shared not only space and housing, but our lives. If someone in the house was having a bad day, everyone noticed. If there was a success, we all rejoiced. Challenges were faced collectively, not just individually. This environment demanded vulnerability.

Our community in Christ demands vulnerability. When God is convicting and challenging you, community requires vulnerability to share this conviction with others. As James says, confess your faults to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed (James 5:16). Community requires outdoing one another with love and honor (Romans 12:10). This means you intentionally are looking for ways to bless one another. Vulnerability means that you first walk in forgiveness with your community before you offer your worship (Matt 18). There are nearly 60 commands in Scripture that begin with “one another.” Vulnerability requires walking in community with others.

Ask God to help you let down the walls of fear and pride and become vulnerable within your community. There is no command in scripture that you must score 100% on an entrance exam for Christ’s community. Consider those who followed Jesus: drunks, murderers, thieves, prostitutes, business people, religious people. Come as you are into His community. Let down the walls with your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. See what power flows in community as it did in the New Testament church.

The words in this verse “continued steadfastly” means to be preserved in; kept from spoiling; or maintain for future use. There is a direct link between your involvement in Christ’s community and your spiritual preservation. The moment you disconnect from divine fellowship within the Body of Christ, you begin to spoil. At this point some may offer excuses such has offense, hurt, wrongful actions by church leadership, and the like. While unfortunate things happen within the Church, the Church is God’s plan for your spiritual life and fellowship. Walking through these difficulties perfects you and shapes you as you humble yourself before God and remain vulnerable in community.

Today is a new day to walk in community with vulnerability. Take the small step of opening up to someone about what God is doing in your life. Share a Scripture that has been meaningful to you. Pray for one another. Look for way to bless others in your community. You might be surprised at the power of God that flows into your life through community!

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!