RECEIVING FROM GOD

We don’t obey God because we have to … we obey Him because we love to!

Through Jesus and His righteousness given as a gift to us, we have fulfilled the Laws’ requirements of ‘do this, don’t do that’. There is nothing we can do or not do to make us any more righteous. Honoring the leading of the Holy Spirit through obedience is not the same as obeying laws. This is where a lot of people get tripped up in their theology. Faith without works is dead. Works are not the same as ‘do this’ laws. For example, it is work to keep ones mouth shut when the Holy Spirit prompts. Failure to heed the Holy Spirit by speaking does not separate us from God. But it means that we are not operating in the amazing grace of living life with His nature. By rejecting a benefit we are not in that divine alignment to partake of the full blessing. Faith is living life in the fulness of God’s plans and purposes without relying on ourselves to gain us anything. God desires to bless us far more than what we are expecting or asking for!‎”Without faith it is impossible to please God”. What is faith? To me it means simply to live out of our new nature. Jesus said “as many as are led by the Spirit, are called the Sons of God”. So not everyone who follows Jesus receives the full benefits. Just those that allow themselves to be led by His Spirit. And being led by His Spirit is to live the life Jesus freely gave us.

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COOPERATION

EVERY CHILD OF GOD KNOWS—to one degree or another—the promises that the Father made to all those that accept His Son.  We understand that God’s Word does not return unto Him void, that it accomplishes all that it was sent forth to do. So we take the promises He’s made and believe for them to come to pass for us. We often speak the Words of God as witnesses or as a sign to God of our faith that He will answer our prayers.

For those who have gone into further study of subjects such as the Covenant, healing, prosperity, etc. it is understood that it is God’s good pleasure to give us the things we need. We look expectantly to Him for the fulfillment of His Word of promise in the prayers we pray.

The Word of God is powerful. I am a devoted student and teacher of the Word, and have always endeavored to live my life by its instruction. I have experienced countless miracles, and answers to nearly every prayer I’ve prayed because I have set myself in agreement with—alignment to—all that God is saying.

In recent months, I’ve felt the need to understand more about how the Word works in our lives. So I started with the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4. As Jesus explained this parable to His disciples, He said, “The sower sows the Word”.  So the Word is a seed at this point. That seed is alive and is capable of growing and bringing a harvest.

As we read the Bible and as we spend time communicating with our Father, the Word is sown into our hearts–into our brains–where we think, understand, consider, and belief it.  Sowing the seed is God’s part. He’s the One Who gives it to us and the One Who has empowered that seed to prosper in the purpose for which He sowed it.

Every believer is given all the seed that they need to bring forth an abundant harvest of life. Every believer has within them what Jesus calls “the Kingdom of God” – or—the ability to bring forth the Kingdom into manifestation and reality into every area of their life. God has given us all things that we need. Every need is met. He is our generous provider and supplier. He does this by sowing the seed of His Word into our hearts.

What happens to the seed after God sows it is now up to us.

What happens to the seed after God sows it is now up to us. We are the ones entrusted to take care of that seed. Will we cooperate with God to guard and nourish that seed until it comes to maturity and is ready to be harvested? Or will we neglect the seed, allowing it to wither and die—thus nullifying its power of life?

As Jesus further explains in Mark 4, there are various conditions that will stop His Word—His will for us—from coming to pass. And if you will carefully note, NONE of these conditions are ones that He brings to us! Although God is Almighty God, He has given us responsibility for the outcome of the seed He gives to us. He is not in control of the Word Seed once He has sown it.

I call this phase of seed growth “cooperating” with God. He has given us everything we need to take care of that seed. There is absolutely no power or enemy that can cause our seed to fail if we will take advantage of His grace. In His loving kindness and goodness, He has given us the free gift of His Spirit. And in the simple act of yielding to the excellent helper, it is impossible for the seed of God’s Word to ever do anything but yield the harvest for which it was sent—which is abundant life.

I encourage you to read this chapter in Mark—for it clearly explains the various conditions that are dangerous and deadly to the seed of God’s Word. The reason why Jesus taught this parable was to establish how the Word of God comes to pass for us.  It is in this teaching that every reason is given for why the prayers we pray are manifested or choked out.

Everything is given to us to produce life. When we are yoked to Jesus, He is always next to us, always leading and guiding us, always helping us with perfect protection, provision, and purpose.

Jesus warns that it is possible for His Word to be suffocated. The word ‘suffocated’ means that the breath is taken away. The life is gone. “…And suffocate the Word, and it (the Word) becomes fruitless.”

In other words, we can find the scripture promises that God has given, and allow them to be sown into our hearts. We can confess these scriptures, earnestly desire the fulfillment of these scriptures, believe for them to come to pass in our lives, and even know that it is God’s will for them to be performed on our behalf. BUT—it is up to us to see that the Word bears fruit by carefully guarding the seed in our heart.

100% of prayers that are prayed according to the will of God are answered. But it is sorrowfully rare that people receive the answers God sent. Excuses and explanations are religiously made as to why we didn’t experience the answers—to make people feel better—to pacify them—to keep them from accountability for the seed sown in their hearts.

We can be believers of Jesus and reap the benefits of eternal life with Him while living a wretchedly troubled life here on earth. It is only the followers of Jesus who enter into the fullness of all that He has generously given us for living life abundantly now. And to be a follower, we must be doers of the Word. We must diligently listen, and faithfully obey teachings like this of Mark chapter four.  Obedience to the Holy Spirit, Who has been given to us, qualifies us to be partakers of the rights and privileges as Children of God here and now.

It is up to us to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit as He informs us on the condition of the Word Seed in our hearts. He warns us when our seed is in danger. He tells us how to protect it. He guides us through the growing season and into the harvest of the Word. But He does not do the work for us. We cannot pray and ask God to protect our seed. He gave us full responsibility over His seed in our hearts.

Whether or not that seed brings forth the harvest of answers to our prayers, to meet every need, is totally up to our response and sensitivity to His Spirit. Praying to ask God to do something more than what He has already done is ignorance and disrespectful. This is why we are admonished to “acknowledge God in all His ways, and He directs our path.” When we acknowledge the amazing gift He’s given to us by trusting us with the Seed of His Word, and acknowledge the precious and powerful gift He’s given to us in the Holy Spirit, we realize that He has already empowered us to bring forth the answers we need. The answers are within us! Guarding our hearts (the soil where the seed is sown) with all diligence is vital for the life of the Seed to take root and grow, and produce.

Satan cannot steal the seed unless we allow it. The weeds cannot choke out the Word unless we allow it. He has given all power and authority to us over all the power of the enemy. There is nothing more powerful than the Word of God within the heart of a follower of Jesus. A person who is doing the Word ia following the instructions that Jesus taught in Mark 4.

If you aren’t living the quality of life you want, and the life that you believe God wants you to be living, its time to get off your knees in begging God to do something. Its time for you to take full responsibility for the cultivation and growth of God’s seed in your own heart and bring it to bear fruit. He holds you accountable for the growth and harvest of that seed.

He has graciously provided everything we need to equip us with success as gardeners over our hearts. It’s work—ask any gardener if gardening is work—but it’s required that we DO not just ask. Faith without works is dead. When we stay yoked with Jesus via the Holy Spirit, His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He is right there beside us, laboring with us, showing us how to get it done right. His grace makes using our faith so easy!

I would appreciate hearing from you today! Please let me know how the Holy Spirit taught you through these words. It is my prayer and endeavor to bring the Word that is Light before your feet, and a Lamp unto your path.

In His Great Love,

Pastor Carole

Love Gifts Ministries International

“Healing For a Broken World, One Life at a Time”

www.lovegiftsministries.com

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THE GREATEST THREAT to Christians

Scripture warns the followers of Christ Jesus to “… be sober, be vigilant. For your enemy the devil goes about as a roaring lion, seeking those whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8)

And Paul warns in II Cor. 2:11, “Lest satan should get an advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” Paul was speaking to the born-again people in the church at Corinth.

What is the biggest threat (or device) that we Christians are to be alert to and on guard against? If we don’t know then it seems likely that we will fall prey to the devil, to be devoured by him.

We know of course that satan is the “father of all liars.” Deceit is who satan is. Its not just a characteristic, its his DNA. Satan’s tactics — his only weapon — is to deceive. And those who’ve been pierced by this weapon cannot recognize deception. This is why it is vital to be able to identify and guard against deception.

Satan doesn’t really care about you or me. But he does care about the truth of God’s Word in us. When Christians are walking in the Light of their redemption, even as Christ Jesus is the Light, they are not just a threat to satan, but they are weapons of mass destruction against all that he has worked for. Jesus said it is the Word of God that satan immediately comes to steal.

Satan cannot show up in a Christians life dressed in a red suit, with a pointed tail and a pitchfork. That would be obvious — no deception involved. So he has to appear AS something else. What is it that satan could wear as a cloak of disguise to deceive the followers of God? It would have to be something that looks like God! Christians are always seeking God–and without using the amazing gift of God’s grace to them, in the form of His precious Holy Spirit, they will easily be led astray. Thinking they are following God, but are not.

The Bible says that satan himself can appear as an angel of light. So there is no debate about his ability to take the form of anything or anyone, as he sees appropriate to use as bait to deceive. Paul wrote repeatedly about this very real threat. “should anyone come preaching to you any other doctrine–even if it is an angel–let them be cursed!”

What is it that makes the followers of Christ Jesus so powerful? It is the Word of God in them. The very source of our light and truth is the Word of God. Therefore, satan comes immediately every time we hear the Word. He comes to steal it before it can operate in our lives. If he can get us to question the effectiveness of the Word, if he can get us to dilute the Word, or even to forsake the Word, then he has stolen its ability to be performed, or accomplished in our lives. The very Word that God has sent to help us, is often the tool used to turn us against believing that God’s Word is true!

When we hear the Word and receive the Word, the Word immediately begins to work in our hearts. Jesus gave clear instructions on how this works in Mark chapter four. So when satan shows up to steal the Word from us, he doesn’t just march up to us and demand it. He subtly maneuvers situations and circumstances in our lives to put pressure on us to give up the Word. To quit believing it. To rationalize why the Word didn’t work. And to reason out the promises of God so the Word is diluted and no longer resembles the Truth.

The method by which satan masterminds this thief is so covert, so undercover, so devious that it is the last place Christians look! The greatest threat to our faith and belief in God’s Word typically comes from behind the pulpit of our churches! And its name is RELIGION.

If we do not know how to follow the Spirit of God for ourselves, then we are easy prey for the devil and his tactics. We walk in darkness if we are not giving entrance on a continual, constant basis to the work of the Holy Spirit. If we are putting our confidence in any person to be the source of truth and light to us, we are denying the greatest gift that our heavenly Father gave to us. Jesus told His disciples “it is imperative that I go away, for when I go I will send you the Holy Spirit.” If Jesus said it was for our benefit to have the Holy Spirit rather than the bodily form of Jesus, it is true!

God’s Word sets us free! Satan is so afraid of the revelation of righteousness that the Word proclaims, that he will remove it at any cost. If he can get us to believe that what is God, is not God, or that what is not God in our lives, is God, then the Light that God has given to us becomes darkness. Satan cannot convince a Christian that God does not exist. However, just as he did with the Pharisees, he gives us a belief system–religion–to keep us from knowing and operating in the Wonder Working Power of God’s Word.

Like the Pharisees of old, many religious leaders twist and use the teachings of the Bible for their own purpose. Eventually they are so far from the truth that they just look like the real deal, but inside they are dead and filled with decay. (Matt 23:27) These priests got so far away from the Truth that when Jesus walked among them ministering they did not recognize Him as God’s son! Satan had deceived them and they continue to walk in darkness. Under the guise of religion, the weapon of deception was and is, working its poison. This explains why so many churches today have “… a form of godliness but denying the power”.

How do you protect yourself and your family from the greatest threat to your walk with God? But employing the work of the Spirit of God! He has been sent to “lead and guide you into all truth.” By simply allowing Him to do His work, we position ourselves with that armor of protection against “all the fiery darts of the evil one.”

Jesus said “I can of My own self do nothing.” Jesus required the power of the Holy Spirit to keep Him operating in the place of God. We do must keep a submitted heart attitude of genuine need for and submission to God in order to receive the protection and care of Almighty God. God alone is our only source of protection from this threat of deception.

By acknowledging our need for God, we take advantage of the gift of grace through the presence and power of our Lord Jesus. This is the ‘secret place’ of abiding in Him’ (Ps 91) where ‘the wicked one touches him not.’ Letting Him be Lord, not just saying the words, but by yielding to Him, is our guarantee against all fear of missing out on His great plan for our lives.

Satan is real. He is our adversary. He is out to steal, to kill, and to destroy. And he does it most often and with the greatest success, through religion. Walking in the Light of God’s Word no matter what circumstances surround us, is our guarantee of receiving the promises of God manifested in our lives.
Be alert. Be aware. Stay on guard. And you’ll be resisting the devil while the Word is powerfully working in you for good!

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RUSTY OLD FENCES

I was pondering the comment posted by “shaken in seaside” in reference to holding onto a rusty old fence for stability. The opportunity to reach out for something that’s been around us for a long time, that can seem like a good thing to grab hold of, and even something that was designed with the view in mind to support, is often the very thing that will damage us the most.

This problem has been around all the way back to the days when Jesus walked the earth, as He too addressed the problem of Rusty Old Fences. To each of us individually, the fence is going to be a little different, but the risk of infection, of being cut, and wounded is there for each of us the same.

The biggest culprit is one veiled and hidden behind the most unlikely source. Like a crippled man reaching for his crutch is a shaken person going through a crisis who reaches for what professes to be supportive, stable, strong, and helpful–religion.

The biggest threat to the lives of people who are lovers of God and are eager to please God, is religion. Religion looks good, sounds good, and even feels good. But it is a false god that will cut, hurt, wound, and disappoint everyone who looks to it. Religion will let you down because religion is not what God is all about, and He doesn’t participate in religion.

God is all about relationship with His children. Not about ‘do this to appease Me’ or ‘don’t do this because I’ll hurt you’. That is the way religion talks. “say this prayer this many times, in this manner, and God will hear you. And maybe, if you’re real good, He’ll answer your prayer.”  The New Testament story of Saul of Tarsus is an excellent example of a devoted God-fearing man who was deeply religious. He memorized scripture, prayed, and followed every religious tradition set before him. Yet he totally missed out on the fulfillment of scripture when Jesus was born, lived, and died during Saul’s lifetime.

After Jesus’ death, Saul thought he was pleasing to God by killing the followers of Christ Jesus. He was so religious that under that cloak of tradition and the doctrines of men in the Church,  his eyes were completely blinded to the truth. When he was confronted by Jesus, the darkness of his soul was exposed through the blinding of his eyesight. It was because Saul was teachable and had a seeking heart that Jesus revealed Himself to Saul.

Saul was hanging onto a rusty old fence called Jewish Law. He was living his life in peril though he thought he was hanging onto something stable, good, and useful. The very thing that he lived for was what was killing him. And so too it is for many  people now. People that love God, people that are devoted to God are often missing Him completely because they try to steady their lives by hanging onto religious traditions and the doctrines of men that tell them to do this, don’t do that, eat this–not that, etc.

Life by the Spirit is the freedom that Christ came to set before us. So that in all times of shaking, our foothold would be solid, our strength would be sure, our arms held up by His. As we inquire of the Lord, in that same teachable spirit that Saul showed, He will always show up to reveal light and truth to us. Even if we are living in complete darkness, He will break through with blinding light that sets us free from the works of darkness, so that we can walk in the glorious light of stability and safety in Him.

There is nothing outside of Jesus Himself that can ever provide the safety and security that is needed to live successfully and victoriously in these shaky times. I pray you are able to let go of everything that holds you back from complete abandoned trust in Him.

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HOLD ON TIGHT!

“Everything that can be shaken, will be shaken…”

When we were kids, we’d climb into the tangled mess of an old lilac bush in the corner of our gigantic yard. This bush must have been quite old as its main branches were a good 8″ diameter. We’d squeeze in through the old and new growth to get as high as we could from the ground. Then a sibling or visiting friend would shake those branches as hard as they could to give us a wild ride that left us with innumerable scratches and a tangled mess of hair. We’d hold on tight to our mainstay branch–to lose the grip would mean to fall into the ugly mess of broken branches piling up in the core of the bush.
These days remind me somewhat of that lilac tree, only it doesn’t feel the same as the lighthearted glee of childhood silly games. Doesn’t it seem that we’re holding on for dear life to the mainstay of all that we’ve placed our hopes and dreams in? And some crazy person–the world system–is violently shaking our tree, trying to unnerve us, trying to cause us to lose our grip, determined to make us fall?
It’s a time for understanding what or WHO we are hanging onto. To ensure our ability to keep our grip, we must be firmly holding onto that which cannot be shaken!
What am I holding onto? It is God’s Word. The Word and God are One. So “I’m standing on the promises that cannot fail…”
How about you? No doubt you’re holding on tight — but what are you placing your trust and confidence in?

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LIGHT THAT SHINES IN DARKNESS

“…Among whom you are seen as bright lights (beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world. Holding out [to it] and offering [to all men] the Word of Life …” (Philippians 2: 15 & 16 Amplified Translation).
There is probably no one who would challenge me when I state that our world is very dark right now. But rather than focus on the current affairs of the world, let us look closly to the darkness that may surround us personally, in our own home and workplace.
Are you seen as a bright light? Are you holding out to and offering help to all men around you the “Word of Life”? And what does that expression really mean? To some religious people, the Word of Life translates Scripture, which indeed the Bible truly is. But is what the Lord asks is that we quote Scripture to everyone we meet? Or is this in reference to all the words we speak?
The apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, says, “You are our epistle … known and read of all men. For in so much as you are …written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God, not in tables of stone but in fleshly tables of the heart.” (2 Cor. 3:2,3). An epistle is the revealing of God’s will communicated to men.
How is your life, more specifically the words you speak, revealing God’s will to the people around you? Are you speaking words of comfort and hope? Or have you unknowingly joined in the ranks of the majority of people on the earth today who are quick to complain, demanding their rights, identifying wrongs, stirring up trouble, weighed down with resentment, anger, and negative words?
In the preceding verse in Philippians 2, we are told to “Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining, and questioning and doubting [among yourselves].” This is the standard by which God expects—even requires—from us, in order that we can fulfill His will to obtain His blessing, and to be a blessing to others.
It’s easy to get caught up in the reality of what most people are experiencing in our world today by complaining and discussing all the negative aspects of life. From the poor economy, loss of jobs, collapse of the housing market, government and business corruption, etc. There are 1001 reasons we face daily to join our voices in the social networks of Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, blogs, and so forth. Our society has become an information interstate where everyone is free to express their opinions, even touting “expert opinions”. But is this glorifying to God?
I’m a Twitterer. I follow many government officials as well as political reporters. And I can be just as witty and critical as the next in expressing my views within the 140 character limit. But am I glorifying the God I serve when I focus on the problem along with everyone else? Or can I be part of the solution by always holding out to all my readers the Word of Life?
Are the words we speak words that offer encouragement which is as refreshing as a cool drink of water to parched lips or do I go along with the crowd as a faultfinder, beating people and establishments up with the words of my mouth? A distributer of polluted, warm water to the thirsty?
When I focus on the negative and spew negative words out of my mouth, I am revealing my heart condition. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” From my polluted thoughts comes polluted words. Like an industrial factory spewing pollution into the air, my attitude and words determine the air quality of not only my own life, but as an influencer to those around me. “Can the same well bring forth water that is good and salty water as well?” This is impossible. The salty water cannot be drunk—it is polluted and cannot offer life. So too, the words which we speak cannot be beneficial to the hearer if they are words of darkness, gripping, and grumbling. When we speak this way we become a part of the problem, not the solution!
I realize that it is natural and normal for people to feel the need to vent–to expose–to inform. There are all sorts of justifications that we can give to oppose the Word of God. Unfortunately, the venting rarely satisfies or resolves the problem. Why? Because the problem is in our hearts—in what we’re thinking on and mulling over in our minds. It’s one thing to vent by resolving with finality the solution … like the Psalmist David did. Ending all his venting with “I will praise the Lord Who is the rock of my salvation!” If we will continually turn our thoughts to the realities of who we are in Christ, Who He is in us, and to the Covenant by which our Father God has sworn to enforce in our lives, we will turn the fruit of our lips into praises rather than leave them with the bitter fruit of doubting.
Why do we complain? Because we feel our ‘rights’ have been violated. “That person should not have treated me that way”. But what if we follow God’s ways in giving up all rights? Giving up rights releases ME from being hurt when my rights are violated!
It is very clear from God’s Word that He has called us to live, not as mere men, but out of the Nature of God. If anyone has a ‘right’ to complain and grumble, it is God! But He does not. His Words are always holding out to us comfort, strength, hope, and blessing. He is faithful to speak Words of Life to us. This is what He is asking from us in our service to others. From our homes to our workplaces we too must hold out to everyone and offer to them Words of Life. Words that ease the suffering, satisfy the longing for change, and bring hope through Christ to the hearer.
Dare to be different. God has made you a person of influence by giving you the ability to impact people’s lives with Words of Life. Don’t go down the same wide muddy road of mankind but chose the road less-traveled and speak words that are positive and satisfying to this hurting world around you. What is God saying to you? These are the powerful Words that you should be speaking to others! This means of course, that you are making room all the time to be hearing from your heavenly Father. He doesn’t just have the answers—He reveals those answers to you. Hear from Him and be His mouthpiece of peace and life to each one around you. Always speak Words of Life–“That you may show yourself to be blameless, innocent, uncontaminated, children of God”. You can do it! I can do it! We are the voice that shines in the darkness because we speak Words of Life that penetrate through the darkness!
“…Who talked to them and urged them to continue to trust themselves to and to stand fast in the grace [the unmerited favor and blessing] of God!” (Acts 13:43 Amplified Translation).

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A CHRISTMAS GIFT

A Christmas Message sent as a gift of love, to you!

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…” John 3:16

As we enter this holiday season, and our thoughts are turned toward the manger scene and Jesus birth, I encourage each of us to remember the reason why He was sent to the world, to us.  Pure and simple, out of God’s deep love for us!

“And we know and believe the love God cherishes for us.  God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God and God dwells and continues in him.  In this union, love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment (with assurance and boldness to face Him), because as He is, so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love, but full-grown, complete and perfect love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror.” I John 4:16-18

“For whatever is born of God IS victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith.” I John 5:4

I’ve witnessed an increase of knowledge to the body of Christ — the Church of the Living God.  The teachings are of deeper truths, the preaching of greater power and prophecies of greater measure.  This is the fruit of the increased anointing that the Lord told us He was bringing to His people, several years ago.  We truly are in the midst of the outpouring of His Spirit and are going forward in the strength and power that He has imparted unto us.  It is my belief that we are coming into a historical time, where the necessity to walk in the fullness of God will become greater and greater, as the intensity of the evil forces try to take us away from our position of victory.  There is a force coming upon the earth that will absolutely destroy us if we do not know how to trust in and experience God’s love.

Proverbs 29:18 is a warning from our Father, to us, His children.  “My people perish for a lack of knowledge.” Growing in knowledge is good when it is the knowledge revealed by the Holy Spirit as we sit and feast on His Word, and our minds are renewed as we meditate on His Word.  But I believe we must increase in a specific area of knowledge, one that when we comprehend and walk in its fullness, we will have the knowledge that is essential to save our very lives from the coming destruction upon this world.  The one piece of knowledge that shadows all other.  The one truth that will keep us from perishing, no matter what battle we face.  This knowledge that is so vital to our full salvation is this: GOD LOVES US! Continue reading

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