A Successful Christian

There is an unfortunate perspective that creeps into the Body of Christ at

times which tends to twist the definition of success, making it much like the

world’s interpretation.  In so doing, significance becomes inseparable from those

shallow definitions.    

Such misperception can be exampled in a clouded view that God’s

expectations are not being met because you don’t do enough, touch enough lives,

spend enough time serving, or any host of items on a list of requirements.  At other

times it can be silly perceptions such as your worship lacks purity because you are

not jumping, shouting, dancing wildly or falling on the floor.  Or, you are

worshipping excessively, singing too loud, dancing with abandon, and therefore

irreverent and out of order.  People thus spy out the liberty of their brother,

demanding conformity to an expectation, measuring someone else’s success

thereby. Honestly, these types of misguided perceptions are why many churches

and Pastors measure the move of God amongst them by the response of the crowd

and steady numerical growth, rather than the person, presence and power of God

being the singular objective. It is an absurd standard to say the least.    

Never let anyone challenge your significance, nor let the expectation of

success assigned for you by others be the gauge of accomplishment. Success can

only be measured in the pleasure of our Father.  If I sound out my singular voice

like a small pebble cast into a vast ocean, can I measure my success by the tepid

response of people?  If I do, my small ripple will seem incredibly insignificant. 

Perhaps I cease to cast my pebble altogether because the potential for impact with

people on the pre-measured scale of accomplishment is minimal at best.  

But if I cast my small pebble for the pleasure of my Father, the joy of His

approval stands as the only success I need- the only ripple that matters.  Suddenly,

my small ripple seems so important.  If I cast my pebble faithfully, at the pleasure

of my Father, is that not great accomplishment in the eyes of God?  Though my

heart is for people, the power of my ripple is by no means measured by their

response, nor the volume of my success heard in the cry of approval from the

crowd.  One only need to look at the life of Jesus and know this to be true.  Crowds

came and went depending on their fickle response to the challenge of His

teaching.  In the end, virtually all abandoned Him in the hour of His greatest

success.  Whether they stayed or left never determined His course of action. The

driving motivation of His life was to always do those things that pleased the

Father; things the crowd often did not understand.

A friend of mine commonly asks, “If God calls you to sit in a cubical the rest

of your life, with no prominence amongst people or great following behind you,

would you be satisfied?”  Though the point is multi-faceted, it provokes the heart

to be content with who you are in Christ and let His pleasure be the measure of

your success.  If I live from such a place, impact on people around me is

inevitable.  After all, a small pebble from God slays giants, while a giant stone

from the world serves only as a weight upon the soul.

Who is My Enemy

A good friend of mine died some time ago after a long battle with lung

cancer. Everyone who knew him would agree that he was as caring, joyful and

positive a person you could ever meet. His heart for people was such a rare gem to

encounter and so much of what we hope for in humanity. People like that make it

easy for you to love them. Undoubtedly, it’s natural to love someone who displays

genuine care and concern for others, or those to whom we are joined as family.

But, Jesus sets a standard beyond that.

Matthew 5:43-48

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your

enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good

to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute

you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise

on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if

you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors

do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than

others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect,

just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Jesus was once asked, “who is my neighbor?” From that question came the

parable of the Good Samaritan. This passage in Matthew provokes a different

question, “who is my enemy?” Is my enemy the person with a different political

view, a corrupt system of values, or even disregard for God? Clearly, Jesus

identifies an “enemy” as someone who purposely seeks to harm you, whose

sentiment is born from a heart of hate or animosity, and their intent for you is never

good.

The distinction matters because often someone may be regarded as an enemy

for the most absurd reasons. One who was not a foe becomes one because of the

hardness birthed from a false perspective. Such false perspective is often driven by

the narrative of a fallen world that holds dissension in the sum of its’ nature,

compelling us to become like it. Thus, we make ourselves into enemies by

allowing the corruption of the world to define how we see.

God makes His sun shine on the just and unjust. In other words, the blessing

of life, provision, and the opportunity to discover His goodness is provided to all.

Even the most unrighteousness partake of His benevolence in so many ways.

These blessings are given to every person who draws breath, even those who

despise Him. God does good to those who would kill Him if they could. Such

virtue is exampled in His Son.

Within His perfect love and graciousness towards people, there is not only a

desire of good, but also a displeasure in their harm. In Ezekiel 33:11, God

declares, “As I live, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the

wicked turn from his way and live.” Never does God rejoice in the demise of

people.

The standard of truth never gives us occasion to celebrate the harm of

another. When people pass into eternity without Christ it is an occasion of

mourning, even for the most heinous. There are certain realities that will never

change. For example, you reap what you sow is an unfailing, Biblical truth. If a

person sows to the flesh, in whatever form, they will reap corruption. The outcome

is inevitable. However, our part in the matter cannot be disregard for who they

were made to be, or celebration of their loss. How we love the world around us

matters.

If we truly understand what has been lost, the permanence of their death, we

cannot help but recognize the tragedy. How sorrowful that a person created for the

glory of God, intended to be in His image, did all they could to be everything else.

What a dreadful thought that a person would spend so much of their time in this

world sowing poisonous seeds and it be the testimony they take into eternity.

To love our enemies means we desire good for them, regardless of their

actions. It also means we don’t let the narrative of this age define to us what our

sentiments should be toward others. The world only knows division and requires

all participants to choose one corrupted side or the other.

Jesus expressed the image of love perfectly. In Him, there is no deficiency

in such expression. “The Son of man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to

save them” (Luke 9:56). A survey of the scripture reveals this declaration was

made regarding people who altogether rejected Him. Yet, His desire for them

never changed. We must be the same.

Our world doesn’t need us to pick a side as though doing so will eliminate

its’ injustices. Our world needs us to become love, stand for the truth of the

gospel, and shine His inexpressible light in the midst of gross darkness. We are the

expression of His image in the Earth. Don’t forget who you are. Don’t let the

world take it from you.

Darkness or Light

Perhaps nothing provokes a more vitriolic reaction than the issue of sin.

When breached as a subject, people often respond with statements such as, “Don’t

judge me just because I sin different than you”or, “Only God can judge me.” The

latter is often sorrowfully perplexing because it is typically made with no sense of

concern that God will, indeed, judge them. By and large, there is little concern for

God at all. These statements are hardly more than automated arguments,

programmed into the hardened consciousness of one who has virtually no interest

in departing from sin in any capacity and looks for justification to remain

unrepentant.

Jesus makes this bold statement in John 3:19-20:

And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved

darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  20  For everyone

practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should

be exposed.  21  But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be

clearly seen, that they have been done in God.

There are many self-righteous voices belting out condemnation in the name

of God; that much is true. But God never does, even when He speaks plainly of

our condition without Him. In His correction is always the earnest cry of one who

desires life and wholeness to all who will hear. Nonetheless, despite the heart of

God, love for darkness rather than light leaves many with either the inability, or

lack of desire, to hear the tone of His love in the call to repentance.

There is so much sorrow in seeing a soul cleave to sin. Knowing the poison

it is and will always be to them is inexpressible tragedy. Light has come into the

world and the brilliance of His glory is without compare. Yet, desiring darkness,

they deprive themselves of gain they would never regret if apprehended.

Sometimes darkness so dominates perception there is no awareness

whatsoever that true life might be experienced. In such a condition, a person

simply does not have the means to perceive existence absent what they have

always known. At other times, people who only know darkness have no interest in

abandoning the coldness therein, whatever might be gained. In either condition,

only the hope of the gospel, declared to all, opens the eyes of those who are

unaware of their blindness.

When we come to new life in Christ the warmth of eternal light fills the

entire essence of our being. In those moments, the intimate embrace of God makes

Him fully known and experienced. The change occurring within is more than self-

disciplined behavior modification. The Light makes all things new. One of the

lasting effects is an absolute unwillingness to casually accept sin- in ourselves or

others.

What is difficult for those still in darkness to understand is our distaste for

sin has nothing to do with an oppressive condemnation of their state. True love

longs for life to be birthed in every, last person on Earth. True love recognizes the

deceit of sin mercilessly robbing people, leaving them broken and tattered on the

wayside. Though in utter darkness, God never stops pursuing them. Neither

should we.

The Reward of Obedience

John 14:21

He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me. And he who

loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to

him.

Jesus makes clear, the one who loves God most certainly keeps His

commandments. Observance to a form of religious dogma, even if one is

convinced they are obeying His word, is insufficient. The one who loves Him

keeps HIS commandments. How do we know the difference?

Herein is a fantastic revelation. Expressed in this declaration by Jesus is the

unchanging promise of God. This promise states that if a person loves Him, and

because of such love obeys Him, then God Himself will be manifest to them. The

breadth of what that means is astonishing.

For one thing, in the form of religion you follow, if Jesus as a person and in

His power is not being manifest to you personally and often, it is an evidence you

are not keeping His commandments. Despite the religious practice you observe, or

the piety in which you believe yourself to live, true obedience to Him, in love, is

the inevitable precursor to His manifestation. This truth marks for us an invaluable

standard. In evaluating the form of doctrine we hold, the practice of faith we

observe, there is a clear indicator for us concerning the certainty of our perspective

and belief. When it is real, He is manifest to us. Conversely, when it is misguided

or in error, He is not manifest; despite how diligently we hold to certain doctrines,

insisting they belong to Him.

When I met the Lord twenty-five years ago, it was a dramatic, life changing

experience. God was manifest to me. Immediately, I knew I had passed from

darkness to light, though I could not articulate in spiritual terms exactly what had

happened. What I did know was the hunger I had for God was insatiable and my

desire was to learn all I could about Him.

As I have shared on numerous occasions, a short time after I came to know

The Lord I allowed myself to be misled by a group of people that seemed as

knowledgeable and well versed as anyone I had ever met. In short, I immersed

myself in the religion of a group that was harshly legalistic and oppressive.

For two years this was the “Christian” life I lived. Though I learned much

of the Bible in that time, I learned little of God. In that time period, the

overwhelming peace and joy of new life I had previously known was greatly

suppressed. Though I observed many commands, the manifestation of God on a

personal level was virtually absent.

John 14:21explains the standard of Godly living and spiritual vibrancy. This

is not simply a heavy handed order to keep His command, or else. The intention of

God is explained in saying, “I will manifest myself to him.” This promise belongs

only to the one who truly loves Him with all they are, sincerely and passionately.

Within the essence and being of a person possessed by such love is the

unquenchable desire to obey Him, to keep His word. We can lose perspective by

forgetting what the result MUST be if we obey. In our natural thinking, we can

form personal expectations of what God should do based on carnal, self-fulfilling

desires, instead of promise. In other words, people sometimes set an expectation

on God that obedience should lead to in an inevitable outcome based on results

they expect and desire, rather than the singular hope of God being manifest and

known. However, for the one who loves Him, this is the only result they truly

desire. Yet, this trap has caused many to stumble because a carnally formed

expectation often leads to the conclusion there is no reward for obedience.

The value of obedience to God is not necessarily measured by our personal

expectations being met if we yield, but our joy being full because we have. What

we are offered is all He is, in presence, nature, character and ability. What we are

promised is Him, personally becoming our reality. To encounter God in any

capacity is the greatest experience anyone can know. Consequently, every time we

see God move or encounter His presence, it causes us to delight ourselves all the

more in submitting to Him. The deeper our obedience and surrender, the deeper

our encounter. The deeper our encounter, the more we desire obedience.

Obedience bears in it the purpose of God being known. His commandments

mark the journey, always leading us to fuller revelation of Him. They are not

chains upon our neck, but a light unto our path. What He speaks is not

burdensome.

Additionally, the commandments Jesus is speaking of in this verse are not

calling us to an observance of the law of Moses, which could never be kept, nor

any other form of legalistic doctrine. The commandment of His covenant is

written on our heart, established by His blood, apprehended exclusively by faith,

and is utterly transformative. You know you love Him if the commandment you

set your heart to observe bears with it the ever increasing desire of yielding to Him.

You know you love Him and are truly keeping His commandment because He is

manifest to you.

When God speaks, when He is manifest, all the noise of a chaotic world is

quieted. The arguments and debates suddenly seem so senseless. The demands of

a fallen world upon God to prove Himself according to its’ specifications no longer

compel you to meet such low standards of proof. The greatest evidence of God’s

existence is God himself. Unto the person who sets their heart to love and follow,

the evidence will be overwhelming.

Testimony

Testimony is a powerful thing. From it flows indisputable evidence of the

truth of God- real and relevant. Not only does the word of our testimony express

the wonderful works of God on our behalf, but also His willingness to pour out the

same overflow of goodness and grace to the hearer.

The beginning of my testimony occurred in the chill of a winter night in

January 1994. Up until that time, misery accompanied me every moment of every

day. Sometimes I hid it well, sometimes I didn’t. Under the sway of drugs and

alcohol, I wrestled with depression, heard voices and considered suicide on more

than one occasion. However, on that night God met me at the place of my

weakness and brought transformation unlike anything I could have imagined.

Everything was new in a moment.

For the first eight months, there was richness to life which was, and still is,

difficult to describe. I felt innocent. I felt clean. Every day offered the fantastic

opportunity to know God and experience His love.

What I soon discovered was that not everyone who bears His name bears His

image. In my zeal, I was hungry to know more about God. So, when I

encountered a group of people who seemed to have more knowledge and insight

than anyone I had heard or met up until that point, it was very appealing. As I

began to take steps and draw deeper into this group, I could feel something

changing within. Until that time, I was flooded with peace and joy. But, soon I

found it waning and didn’t understand why; at least that is what I told myself.

The truth is, God was showing me, warning me, about the path I had set

myself on. In my inexperience, or pride, I could not reconcile the remarkable

knowledge I found in my new brethren, with the awful drying of my soul. For the

first few weeks there was turmoil, a battle within me as to what path I would

follow. Then, I found myself in a moment where I had to make a choice. Though

I knew something wasn’t right, I ignored the beckoning of God and chose to listen

to man. It was a terrible mistake.

The group I joined was somewhat of a cult. It centered around one man who

represented himself as God’s final authority and everyone fell in line behind him.

Over the next two years I found myself in an extremely toxic, oppressive,

unhealthy environment which almost destroyed me.

Eventually, the group disintegrated, but the damage was done. For the next

seven years or so, my walk with God was severely hindered. Looking back, I

know it was His grace which sustained me through a period which was a far cry

from the beautiful existence I knew with God in the beginning. Though I was no

longer in the cult, the cult was still in me.

My heart was hardened against much of Christianity. As a result, I found it

challenging to connect with other believers. Furthermore, my way of thinking was

so entrenched in the twisted view of God I had learned that it made it difficult to

receive from anyone. All I heard preached or spoken about Jesus was processed

through a hardened, critical heart which rejected just about everything.

After a few years, and a tremendous amount of ministry from The Holy

Spirit, my heart began to open up again. While things were better at times, there

was still turmoil. There was little stability, which caused me to struggle with sin

and even issues of serious doubt on a couple of occasions. Through it all, The

Holy Spirit continued to rebuild, restore and reshape my heart.

As I emerged from this dark period, I found myself back at the same

dilemma which led me astray to begin with. There were many people saying many

things about God. Each of them had a platform of doctrine. Many of them

claimed to have a foothold on the “new” move of God. It was confusing and

somewhat frustrating trying to weed through all the self-proclamation. Just as with

the cult, there were the same challenges to the vibrant walk with God I

remembered, and so desperately longed for. But, this time was different.

A valuable lesson had been given to me. In the midst of the noise and chaos,

when things are unclear as to the truth, look to God and not man. That’s exactly

what I did. I wanted to know what was real. In this place of seeking and trying to

discern what was God, I began to ask Him to give me clarity. Within this chorus

of voices proclaiming their message, and these huge personalities promoting their

movement, where do I find you?

The answer came one night in a dream. In the dream, I was lying on a bed,

in a place of rest. While lying there, Jesus walked up beside me. While I did not

see Him, I knew He was there. What He said to me totally transformed and healed

all the madness and mess within me. What He said was this, “The message you

will preach is Christ in you.”

I awoke with such clarity and and excitement in my heart. There was no

doubt in my mind this was the heart of what God was speaking in the Earth. The

problem was, I had no idea what it meant. What I did have was direction.

The first place God took me in the scriptures was Colossians 1:27-28 which

states,

To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery

among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach,

warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present

every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

Paul makes a remarkable statement concerning the mystery which had been

hidden for ages and generations; a mystery now meant to be known by all people.

In this, the profound will of God is made clear. The great mystery, and marvelous

accomplishment which God had intended for us throughout time, even before the

foundation of the world, was that Christ should live in us.

As I continued to search I found it everywhere. It was the ultimate purpose

for which Jesus died, the central theme detailed not only within the New

Testament, but the entirety of scripture. In this is revealed God’s ultimate intent

toward man. His sacrifice was not simply so we could receive forgiveness of sins,

though it certainly includes that. Neither is His purpose for us to just hang on until

we get to heaven. Through His death, burial and resurrection Jesus Christ has

made it possible for the God of the universe to dwell in and inhabit His people in

perfect harmony.

What that means for us, at least in part, is that the fullness of who He is now

dwells within. One with God, we may now know Him intimately and personally.

Within oneness, the person of Christ living in me expresses Himself through and in

my nature and existence. That being the case, I am empowered to live out this life

in the body through the faith, peace, joy, power and presence of God almighty-

because we are wholly and intimately one.

So much more could be explained. In fact, it feels far too brief to only

mention it in a few sentences. Within this once hidden mystery is a breadth of

discovery that can be spoken of and joyfully explored in endless pages. The more

it is perceived, the more it expands into a beautiful, complex tapestry revealing the

wealth of Heaven.

The Place of Rest

The Kingdom of God is a paradox in many respects.   For example, if we want to become great

we become the least; we are strongest when we are weak and reliant upon the grace of God.  Or,

to truly find life we must lose it; to gain all we need we become self-less love, and cease looking

for the fulfillment of what we need altogether.  

One of the most remarkable paradoxes is knowing the place of rest is the place of power. 

Only from the place of rest can we discern the mysteries of God.  Only from the place of rest can

we hear God clearly, determine definite direction, and most effectively minister His presence and

power to others.  The place of rest is the platform from which we truly work the works of God.

For those who have never experienced the rest and overwhelming peace of God, it can be

somewhat of an enigma trying to understand what, exactly, such rest entails.  For those who have

experienced and enjoyed the rest of God, it can be somewhat of an enigma trying to explain it. 

Jesus paid a price for us to not only be forgiven and reconciled to God, but to become

partakers of His nature and presence.  Essentially, oneness and unity with Him is the rich reward

of our faith.  Put another way, God takes the fragmented, broken, twisted nature of a fallen man

and redeems him back to complete wholeness with Him.  He makes all things new in the sum

and substance of all we are.

Wholeness and harmonious oneness with God leads us to cease striving inwardly, as well

as within our own will and works, becoming perfectly united with His.  Rest then, is the inward

quietness and clarity sounding out into the consciousness of one who abides as one with God,

and in the wholeness enjoyed from such a union.

As wonderfully noble as such a description sounds, the unfortunate reality is many

Christians do not live in the place of rest.  Some simply don’t understand it, while others allow

certain thoughts and perspectives which are not sourced in the truth of God to take a place within

them.  The unfortunate consequence is habitually trading His immeasurable peace for the turmoil

of a moment.

How then does one come to, and remain in, the place of rest and wholeness?  Allow me

to present an illustration.  When you strike a tuning fork, the vibration of a specific sound, or

note, emits as a result.  When a tuning fork is struck the vibrations cause the note to emit and

continue for a period of time thereafter.  Musicians can then use the sound to harmonize their

instruments to a perfect note, uniting their music to a common sound. 

When we truly commune with God in the secret place, there is a striking of our heart with

the sound of Heaven, and with the perfect melody of our Father’s voice.  Truthfully, that sound is

the note our spirit is designed to play.  The note struck in the secret place not only attunes us to

the voice and presence of God in those moments, but reverberates in our thoughts, decisions and

perspectives as we move through each day.  There again is the paradox of The Kingdom- that the

thundering chorus of Heaven quiets the soul of all who hear it.  Thus, we enter into His rest.

In the natural, we regard rest as the necessary recovery period following a day or week of

tiring work.  What we see from the story of creation is that the paradox of God’s Kingdom, and

the unchanging intention of His will.  God chose to form and create man near the end of the sixth

day.  What God desired and designed for man to do before all other things, was enter into rest

with Him. Before he labored and tended the garden, before he took dominion over the earth and

established the order of God, man entered into rest and communion with his Creator. 

Furthermore, God set in place the order of each day thereafter to begin with the

evening, at the setting of the sun.  Herein is an incredibly important truth revealed about the will

of God.  The inception of man’s existence began with rest, and every day thereafter was to

reflect the same.  Start from rest with God, then endeavor into the works of His Kingdom.  Rest

always precedes labor, not the other way around.  

In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus makes a compelling cry to all who labor and are heavy

laden.  What He promised is that all who come to Him in such weariness will find rest. 

Ironically, the means by which one would become a partaker of such is to take the yoke of Jesus

upon oneself.  A yoke is an instrument of labor by which two oxen plowing a field are joined

together.  Often, a younger, more inexperienced ox would be yoked with an older one that

understood the pace and nature of their task.  In so doing, the younger ox would learn from, and

follow the lead of, the more experienced.  Jesus said, “take my yoke upon you and learn from

me.”  To rest we take on the instrument of His work.  Makes perfect sense, right? 

In the beginning, God labored for man to become one with Him, then labored with man

in their oneness.  Rest is the outcome of communion and oneness with God.  It is a condition of

complete wholeness and fulfillment lived out in response to His word and presence.  We don’t

strive and strain to hear with our natural ear, because it is designed to receive the sounds of the

world around us.  In the same way, the heart of a born again person is designed to hear the voice

of God.  In restful communion, striving to hear is unnecessary.  We are created to hear Him. 

This is the lesson from the beginning.  Enter into rest with God, labor with Him therein. 

Yoked with Him, the quieted soul perceives the voice of God with far greater clarity, discerns

direction more thoroughly, and understands the ways of God with greater depth. When

everything goes quiet, everything became clear.

Rest always precedes work.  Worship always precedes commission.  Presence always

precedes placement.  Attempting to endeavor into the call of God separate from rest is a fool’s

errand.  Seeking to labor apart from rest is exhausting. Living this life without solely desiring the

presence and voice of God, misses the point all together.

The Gift of Grace

Grace is a gift. As such, everything bestowed upon us and empowered

within us by grace, is also a gift. Any honest survey of the scripture makes this

obvious. Furthermore, grace must be received as a gift, or it cannot be received at

all.

This wondrous gift, benevolently conferred by God, leaves no room for self-

righteousness, ego, or pride. Grace came to you before you ever gained

recognition of its presence, brought empowerment before you knew you needed

strength or change, and prepared the path before you perceived there was a journey

to undertake. All of it a gift, given to you, that must be received as such to truly

know the sufficiency therein.

The admonition of scripture is this, “As you received Christ, so walk in

Him”. We were saved by grace through faith. Therefore, having come to Him in

such a way, we continue to walk and live by the same means. Faith is the

mechanism by which we access and receive such abundance.

The marvel in it, the great mystery, is that grace itself is what birthed faith in

us to begin with.  We do not initiate grace working on our behalf because we

manage to gain some adequate measure of faith first.  Grace was first. Grace is

always first. As previously stated, grace was at work on our behalf before we

EVER had an awareness of its’ accomplishment, much less any degree of faith to

provoke the intended benefit.  Faith itself is a response; the joyful acceptance of a

wondrous gift already given.  

Where many have stumbled, myself included, is when we mistakenly

attempt to turn faith into an effort to provoke a positive action from God. Within

our misperception, we assume a work performed for God creates an obligation of

reward from Him. That is called a wage, not a gift. God will never be indebted to

us, nor will He owe us anything. Healing will not become earned because I used

the right words in prayer. Deliverance will not be received because I force an

obligation from God through lengthy fasting. I will not warrant transformation and

abundance of life because I choke down a pre-determined number of chapters per

day.

Am I minimizing or negating that we are to live by faith?  Certainly not.

Rather, I am insisting, if what we esteem to be faith ever leaves God owing us

something, it cannot be faith. God will not be indebted to us.

Before I came to truly know God, in my blindness, I was incapable of

conceiving a life apart from sin. The moment grace truly captured me, I was still

holding the dope pipe in my hand. My point being, there was no measure of faith

in that moment which provoked God to bring deliverance to me. Quite the

contrary. Grace provoked me to repentance and response when I had no capacity

to see beyond my desperation.

A true encounter with grace, revealing Jesus Christ, is a more compelling

call to repentance and change than any heavy message we might hear from a

pulpit, or harsh accusation concerning our sin. Always, and in all circumstances,

grace is expressed before repentance is experienced. Therefore, all true obedience

to God is preceded by the empowerment of grace.

Genuine change comes as a gift. And, make no mistake, the grace of God

will change you. In fact, Paul writes in Titus 2:11-14 that it is grace which teaches

us to deny ungodliness, while simultaneously teaching and empowering us to live

in a way that demonstrates His character and nature. Until grace teaches us such

things, we are utterly incapable of perceiving our condition, much less find

freedom from it. Once grace teaches us such things, we are fully capable of living

beyond the veil of a fallen, human condition.  

You see then, that the deceleration of God’s grace is not the sugar of a candy

coated message.  Rather, it is the sweet, pure goodness of God arriving at the bed

of your infirmity, the depth of your depravity, the hopelessness of your

insufficiency, and the pain of your weakness; raising you up to the high place of

His calling and the beauty of His holy sanctuary.

So, I adamantly say again- grace is a gift, as is everything it brings and

bestows. It must be received as a gift, or it cannot be received at all.

Stand In The Truth

There is a declaration I have made for some years now, in more than a few

sermons and writings. This truth I will declare until the day I die- God sent revival

two thousand years ago and He never took it back.

Religious dogma and man made doctrine would have us believe revival

comes in waves; that somehow God sends it, then takes it back, then sends it again

when He feels like it or we’ve done enough to persuade Him to do so. False

teachers have used this notion to create honor for themselves, and their own

following, for centuries.

What’s more, because people are taught such a thing, it raises the question in

their mind as to when God will send again this thing called revival, and how do we

get Him to do so? That very question, that very outlook, is absurd.  Such

perspective is a darkened window which obstructs a clear view of all that is

fulfilled in Christ, of all God has done in Him and continues to do through Him. 

Because our vision is obscured, it creates the doubtful question in our mind of how

and when it will come.  Revival is already sent.  Experiencing it is not contingent

upon whether God intends to release it or if He desires for us to experience it, but

whether we will- whether we will drink from the fountain of truth, or not.

The abundance of life, vibrancy and honor we desire from God, which we

call revival, is something people don’t experience because they choose to NOT

abide in the truth.  There are countless voices, many of them standing in pulpits

bearing famous names, which we unwittingly give ear to.  Those voices declare to

us a feckless gospel which lays the blame for our spiritual dryness on God, as

though it is of His design. The fact of the matter is, they are more concerned with

gathering honor for themselves than seeing God honored amongst His people. 

They are more interested in convincing you that we must call down His glory, call

down revival, because they can use such perversion to create their own movement,

and call it God. The longer they keep you dry, the more dependent you become

upon them as your source.

It is incumbent upon us to abide in the truth.  Understand though, we can

willingly refuse the truth for any number of reasons. Whatever those reasons may

be, they always keep us from the freedom and abundance Jesus paid so high a price

for us to possess.

To what degree can we compromise the truth and expect to see revival

amongst us?  To what degree can we play the game of religion and expect to gain

honor from God alone?

Please understand, I am not setting aside the reality that many of us have

been taught, have been inundated, with doctrines within our religious upbringing or

experience that are deeply ingrained in our thinking.  Those things can certainly

take time to weed out and uproot- believe me I know.  But, the greater tragedy is

when we, like those who taught such lifeless doctrines to us, make excuses for the

barrenness it produces because we love the lie more than the truth.  What a

sorrowful shame for one to recognize the hollowness within, but refuse change,

refuse truth, because it does not agree with the doctrines he or she has bound

themselves to. Doing so means loving the honor gained from dead dogma of one’s

own creation MORE THAN the truth which makes us free.

You can be in the deadest church there is and still experience fullness,

experience revival, if you do not take on the form of religion causing that church to

be dead. Conversely, you can be in a church filled with the Spirit and on fire, but

you, yourself be utterly dead or dry spiritually.  It’s up to you to decide if you will

seek the honor of people, or the honor of God; if you will cleave to truth or cleave

to a lie. Whether you will live in abundance or barrenness is ultimately decided by

what master you choose to obey.

Correction

Scripture gives us an admonition, “Today if you will hear His voice.”  What

is partly made known to us by this glorious declaration is the voice of God can be

heard today.  However, there is more than an offer to hear, but an instruction to do

so.  If you go on to read the next part, it says, “Do not harden your heart as in the

rebellion.”  The truth is, everyday of our lives we do one or the other- hear or

harden.

Though much could be said about this passage, there is a main point I wish

to make.  Some of the most wonderful words we will ever hear God say are in the

form of correction. Like the children of Israel, we have the choice to either hear

His correction and respond, or harden our hearts and resist. How we respond is

typically determined by whether we see God as an oppressor and question His

motives, or if we genuinely know Him as a loving Father filled with grace and

good intent.

There is vitality in remembering that the word of correction from our Father

is not a condemnation for where we are, but an invitation to where He is.  His word

is always for good and never to tear down.

The problem for the children of Israel was not an absence of His word,

which is even more true for us now that Christ has come.  Their problem was they

simply didn’t like what He was saying.  We either hear and respond, or we harden

against Him.  The tragedy for them was that hardening their hearts against God

was so, utterly self-destructive.  Somehow, in their hardness of heart, they

concluded it better to return to bondage and slavery in Egypt rather than enter the

rest and purpose prepared for them.  In other words, hardness of heart makes the

destructive nature of sin and selfishness look appealing, while making the love and

grace of God valueless and to be avoided.

What an awful irony, wishing to return to Pharaoh as if he were a friend. 

Pharaoh- a brutal oppressor, about whom they had cried out to God for

deliverance. The same condition of hardness led then to esteem God as a foe,

though He possessed far more care and love for them than they had for themselves.

 

How do we know we are hearing His word, responding to His instruction,

delightfully being changed by His correction?  The simple, yet profound answer is

this, we enter and remain in His rest.  

Multitudes embrace a destiny of disaster, spiritually dying in the wilderness

under the delusion it is better to self-determine their own steps rather than letting

His word establish their journey.  Hearing His voice every day is the richest reward

we can ever know.  Nothing compares.  Hardening against His voice, and the

instruction thereof, leads us blindly back to Egypt.

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

Beginning on the day we are born, the stimulus of fear becomes one of the chiefest means

by which the world seeks to condition us.  In so doing, we are pressured to conform to the image

and nature of all that is not God.  Poisoned by its’ fruit, we learn to hate others, live selfishly,

self-medicate through addiction, or avoid meaningful relationships.  The world tells us what

success looks like, how our life should be shaped, then demands we be afraid of not attaining it. 

 

A person fears not being accepted by others, so they conform themselves to the image of

people’s expectations.  Perhaps they fear rejection from a love interest, so they compromise

purity and self-worth.  People fear the future so they never truly live in the present.  Or, they fear

inadequacy and put on a front to make others believe them to be something they are not. 

Tragically, people fear failure, so they never venture beyond the familiar shores, and thus go to

the grave with their song still in them.  

Fear is one of the most powerful forces influencing a world which demands we be

molded by it, thus sacrificing our created value for the inevitability of emptiness and loss.  The

truth is, we were never meant to be shaped by the narrative of our age, or by daily headlines- but

by the word and presence of God.

What then is the remedy to fear?  How do we avoid the dictates of fear as a primary,

guiding source for our life, outlook and actions?

What God would have us know is that fear is simply absence of the nature we were

created to possess.  In 1 John 4:17 we are told, “He who fears is not perfected in love”.  In other

words, the presence of fear as a governing force within only has the ability to exist when the love

of God is absent because, “there is no fear in love”.  In fact, the perfect love of God zealously

casts fear from us.   

Our prayer then is not about asking God to remove fear.  Our prayer is, let me become

perfect love, not as a remedy for fear, but because perfect love is who God is.  

Love is not simply a warm emotion.  Neither is love merely an action.  And, despite what

the world says, love is not an empty acceptance of sin, or a life lived in conditions less than what

Jesus Christ paid a price for.  Love is a person, and the nature of that person.  

Within God’s nature, perfect love is in complete harmony with every aspect of who He

is.  Love is perfectly holy.  Holiness is pure and loving.  Righteousness is filled with love.  Love

produces boldness in adversity.  There is never a time when certain aspects of His nature are

diminished in preference to other aspects of His nature.  Within Him, there is only oneness and

harmony.  

Our destiny, what we were created for, is to be the very image of God in the Earth.  His

loving will is for our nature to be as His nature.  Shaped then by His perfect nature, I come to

love God in such a way that I gain all I need by His presence, and my love for God is not

conditioned upon self-centered requirements placed upon Him.  Furthermore, I learn to love

people the same way.

Thus, knowing and becoming like Him becomes the why behind my life.  Perfect love in

this world becomes my nature.  And fear is no longer the master of my soul.

Dry Places

Some years ago I found myself in what is an all too common occurrence for many

Christians.   My prayer life, my time with God, had become the habit of a day rather than an

encounter with The King.  Consequently, my walk with God became dry, ineffective, and

lacking any form of flow and vibrancy.  Though many believe dry seasons with God are part of a

normal cycle in spiritual life, nothing could be further from the truth.  Such perspective is little

more than the excuse of empty religion drinking from a dry cup.  

In that season of dryness, I was desperate for more.  My Father is ever faithful, and did

not disappoint.  There was profound grace and instruction to me given to me in a single moment

of time; yet it changed the course of my days. What He revealed is this-  Prayer must become

His dance to lead and not our agenda to demand.  Let me repeat, prayer MUST become His

dance to lead and not our agenda to demand.   

What I learned, what become health to my bones, was the simplicity of joyfully following

God into the secret place.  Until then, prayer was part of the agenda, a list of my requests or

demands, part of the practices of an empty process.

  Put in practical terms, from the moment my eyes open, my heart does as well.  When I

rise, and as I prepare to meet with Him, my heart is already searching, listening, and waiting for

direction to the nature of our encounter.  I greet Him with delight and ask with all sincerity of

heart, “how would you like me to meet with you today?”  Sometimes He leads me into intensive

Bible studies.  At other times, He will take me to the park and grant me the honor of beholding

the peaceful worship of creation.  Sometimes I sit quietly and say nothing, delighting in the

whisper of His presence.    

Every morning is unique in some way and bears endless opportunity for encounter,

spontaneity, response and communion.  So He leads me in the dance of everlasting life, in the

secluded place of His presence, where no one else may witness the privilege of my delight.  

A heart selfishly demanding of God becomes lifeless soil- hardened, dried and

grotesquely cracked in the scorching sun.  However, A heart yielded to God is positioned and

prepared to receive all the outpouring of Heaven.  Here is the paradox of the Kingdom of God. 

The heart surrendered and yielded will speak the most freely with Him.  The heart led by Him in

the dance will intercede for others with the most fervency, hear the resonance of His voice with

uninterrupted continuity, and see into the vast unknown with profound clarity.

In the beauty of our dance there is no labor for my soul, nor striving to overcome.  I am

already free in the glory of His presence and Jesus has already overcome on my behalf.  The

rhythm of His steps lead me into green pastures, and an endless outpouring of His presence

wherein dry seasons have no place.

Is God Strange?

Recently, I heard a quote from a Pastor stating, “God’s not weird, we’re

weird.” The point was to assert that when weird things occur amongst people,

specifically Christians, it typically does not involve God. Also implied is the

notion that as long as what is being called God does not offend our sensibilities,

then we will allow and accept it as possibly being from Him. Such a point of view

makes me wonder how they would respond watching Jesus cast devils into a herd

of swine, or seeing a decaying corpse walk out of a tomb.

There are those who act weird, call it God, and He is nowhere near it- that

much is true. But which is stranger, an insecure person flopping on the floor for

attention, or one who calls himself a “normal” Christian who secretly hates his

spouse, while insatiable lust fills his heart? With that said, measuring how strange

something is to our sensibilities is a terrible way to discern what is, or is not, God.

Because it seems weird does not mean it’s not from God. Because it seems weird

doesn’t mean it is from God.

Saying, “God’s not weird, we are” is actually spot on if we consider it from

another perspective. What God does, the way He manifests Himself, can certainly

seem strange to people. In those occasions, God’s not the weird one. In fact, He is

the standard of normalcy. Within the scope of His mind and nature, there is

absolutely nothing abnormal about donkeys talking, the sun standing still, walking

on water, tongues of fire upon His people, or any other of the myriads of examples

revealed in scripture.

He is always the normal one and what He does only seems strange to a mind

separated from Divine order. A stranger in the realm of His Kingdom will never

understand the manner of His governance. A carnal mind will always be at war

with anything born of God. To compensate, people will instead create a religious

order meant to tame God, fashioning Him into the image of a purely natural man.

In so doing, the carnal mind can then comprehend the idol it has formed.

We have the marvelous invitation to know God, to participate in His

presence, partake of His nature. Doing so will change us. In many respects, it will

make us unlike most people and strange to the world around us. Doing so will also

bring us into conformity with the ultimate standard of normalcy.

Obscurity

In a search for significance, people often measure their worth by the recognition or notoriety they have amongst others. So, they trade in the overpriced commodity of acknowledgement in the eyes of man.  This becomes the standard by which worth and self-value are measured.  The unfortunate truth is, one of the primary forces which drives many people is fear of being insignificant in the eyes of others, lost in obscurity.  The dread of being unimportant, unaccomplished, or unknown in the eyes of the world, in the eyes of people, is overwhelming.  Society and surroundings define to them what success should look like, what it means to be somebody, thus becoming the internal motivator of decisions, actions and perspective.  Consequently, they live their life chasing what others say they should, for the useless approval of those who have set such a standard for them.  

If you look at the example of David, obscurity was the most important time of his life.  In that time was when he learned the truth of who he was, and more importantly, who God is.  When he was a nobody to those around him, David found significance, faith, and overwhelming might while joyfully obscure- alone in the fields with a few sheep and an incredibly mighty God.

When David showed up in the valley of Elah he was nobody.  In fact, his reason for going was to bring a food delivery to his esteemed, significant brothers.  Interestingly enough, those who considered him so lowly, trembled in fear at the enemy across the valley.  Yet, even in their fear, they mocked David for his place amongst the sheep.  

People will evaluate you through the limited scope of a human point of view.  What’s more, they will consistently tell you who you are and who you are not, what you can do and cannot do.  

David was significant to God long before he was regarded by man.  In our obscurity, it is the same for us, if we are hidden on the hill with God.  When he finally appeared before Saul, this was the compelling conversation

 

1 Samuel 17:32-37

 32 Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”

33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”

34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”  And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

 

God prepares us for the great victories in our life in obscurity, set aside from the high esteem and position valued by man.  As such, obscurity is not a place to be shunned, but sought.  The pattern of godly people before us demonstrates that the one who hides himself with God gains the great reward.  The one who hides himself, values the very person and presence of God above all else.

Capturing the eye of our loving Father is never shared with an ambition to capture the accolades of human esteem.  Whatever we may offer of eternal value to mankind can only be the open reward and display of what has been gained by one willing and longing to be seen by Christ alone.  In fact, they have learned that God is unveiled to one who is content to be ever unseen by the eyes of men; gladly choosing the hidden hill.  

A mystery of the Kingdom is this- he who is most capable of openly revealing the majesty of God is the one least interested in being on display.  This is the child chosen to slay the giant, because in such a person God may expose and empower the grand reward gained in the secret place, when no one was watching.

 

 -Brian Salazar

 

 

Heaven on Earth

By William C. Hinn

The Holy Spirit lives in you. What an amazing gift from the Father, but what an amazing responsibility that comes with hosting in us the same Spirit that caused creation to vibrate into existence and raise our Savior Jesus Christ from the dead.

God the Father chose us to be His everlasting habitation and through His Holy Spirit dwelling within us we have become citizens in the Kingdom of heaven right here on earth. Jesus didn’t die so you could go to heaven one day, He died to get heaven into you. Ephesians 2:6 says it so clearly, “…Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,”

Not one thing in that verse is spoken in a futuristic tense. His promise is now and forever. Heaven is a state of being in God and Him in us (see John chapter 17). So often the mentality in the church today is believing that one day when we die will be with the Father and experience heaven. The problem with that mentality is that it makes death our crown and victory onto eternal life. This is a lie that the enemy has used in getting men to believe that their only way to true eternal freedom is through death. This is simply not true or found in Scripture. Freedom comes through Jesus Christ who died on our behalf and gave us an entrance to experience the Father and His freedom right here on earth. My flesh going into the ground someday doesn’t determine my life in eternity, my acceptance of Jesus Christ and His Spirit dwelling within me determines my life in eternity. As for me, I have received Christ into my heart and all the inheritance that comes along with it right here on earth. I have made it my mandate to bring heaven to earth every single day as Jesus did.

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John‬ ‭17:3‬ ‭NKJV

Eternal life is not a place we go when we die, it’s a person that we get to experience right now and nothing, not even death can keep me from being with the One in whom I love right now and forever. We have a great responsibility to be the perfect hosts to the Spirit that now dwells within us and desires to be released out of us. When we stewart His presence in our lives correctly heaven shows up everyday everywhere we go. The time has come that we stop desiring to get to Him one day when we die but begin to realize that He’s already died and we died with Him (see Romans chapter 6). Your flesh going to the grave is not your entrance into heaven, receiving Jesus into your heart is the entrance. Jesus doesn’t make His home in heart when you die, He makes His home in your heart when you accept Him into it. He’s home is called heaven. So what does that make you? A walking heavenly place on earth just like Jesus was.

Let it be your driven purpose to bring heaven to earth for a living and walk in your inheritance that sits in a heavenly place right now.

“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”

‭‭I Corinthians‬ ‭3:16-17‬ (‭NKJV‬‬)

God Met Us on the Street

By William C. Hinn

On September 28, 2013, my cousin Josh, my friend Jody and I, had just finished working the last service of my Uncle Benny’s two- night crusade in Charlotte.  On this particular night however we walked back to the hotel from the venue down and discouraged because only a few hours before Jody had told us he was diagnosed with cancer earlier that week.  Josh and I were in shock because we had all grown very close over the course of a year while working together.  As we approached the entrance to the hotel almost in tears, a young man walked past us that smelled of alcohol and cigarettes.  Suddenly something came over me and urged me to stop this man.  I said, “Do you know Jesus?”  The man,  with a stunned look on his face, answered, “No. I don’t.”   Next thing I know, my cousin Josh begins to pour out his heart to him and give this man his testimony.  For about 30 minutes we stood there as Josh told him about the love of Jesus, then the man told us that he had been contemplating suicide and we had stopped him just in time.  It was amazing to watch the Father lavish His lost child with His love.  After the man left, we turned around and Jody was no where to be found; when we found him he was leaning against a tree crying.  Josh and I approached him thinking he was worried about his diagnosis of cancer but instead he said, “I’m crying because of what I just witnessed with this man.”  We decided it was a good moment for all of us to pray together and believe for Jody’s healing.  The moment we bowed our heads and closed our eyes it was as if a weight from Heaven fell on us; it was so heavy we couldn’t even stand.  I had never felt anything like this in my entire life.  So many times we have tried to explain to others what happened that night, but there are no words that can describe it.  The only thing I can say that somewhat makes sense is that we were caught up in the Spirit right there on the street crying uncontrollably.  The only thing I can recall is all three of us uttering words of what seemed like prayer and prophecy, and people coming up to us to make sure we were okay.  Next thing I know, I am pushing myself up from the pavement feeling like a man who had been drunk the night before and it was close to 7:00 am in the morning.  We had been there for more than 5 hours and it felt like no more than 10 minutes!  That night God showed us His tangibility and touched us in way that would affect the rest of our lives.  
After that night my prayer life changed and I began to feel His Presence in a new way.  When I would kneel before my bed at night to pray and that overwhelming Presence would come back; often times my body would go numb from head to toe.  In church services I would have trouble standing and no matter how much I would attempt to hide it, in efforts of not looking weird, I just couldn’t help it.  From that night forward I knew I could feel His tangible Presence, and it seemed to only be getting stronger and happening everywhere I went.  I wondered why I felt like this after that night and how come I didn’t have these experiences before that?  I wasn’t doing anything differently or doing some sort of magic trick to feel His Presence like that.  Then I remembered a statement I heard my dad say one time, “Recognition is Presence” and I thought, “Wait. That makes sense!”  The fact is, that night God showed me a new dimension of His presence and what seemed impossible became possible to me.  I got to the point where I recognized and accepted that God can touch me in tangible ways that are outside my understanding and it became ever present in my life.  I came to a place where I shifted my mind and opened up my heart to The Holy Spirit revealing Himself to me in new ways even if it was outside my understanding.

Before that experience I had put God in a box called “understanding” like so many others do, anytime there is a new dimension of experience in Gods presence that goes beyond our understanding we run from it and assume it’s not true.  I had a wide awaking in realizing that God is always going to be outside my understanding, I might as well open up my mind and heart to experience Him in new ways even if it looks weird. Weird in the eyes of the world is normal in the eye of God.  However,  it is absolutely crucial that as heavenly encounters come that we keep our eyes on the one bringing us into those encounters. Sometimes it’s easy to unconsciously worship and desire the encounter rather than the One giving it to you.  Intimate relationship with the Father should be our only aching desire, when our affection is constantly on that relationship He rewards us openly with His presence. 
“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:6
Whether you feel anything or not press into Him, but I promise a time will come when He openly shows up to you in a very real tangible way as He did for us on a street in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Heaven's Substance

By William C. Hinn

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Without faith it is absolutely impossible to please God because the operation of His Kingdom requires it. In fact, you can’t be a son of God without it; “…We are sons of God through faith.” (Galatians 3:26) Whether you believe it or not, there are two realities we are always simultaneously apart of; the superior invisible realm and the inferior visible realm. The visible realm contains all that we see with our physical eyes and the invisible realm contains all that is Spirit. Hebrews 11:3 says it like this, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Understanding that everything visible was created from something that is invisible we begin realize that the invisible realm of Spirit is much more powerful. Too often Christians believe more in their circumstances and physical limitations rather than the reality of The God they believe in. Living bound to the physical realm and accepting its powerlessness is inexcusable. We must begin to switch our minds and start living from His realm and reality rather than this physical worlds. The Kingdom of heaven is the true realm that we can choose to live in everyday, a choice made available to us through the blood of Jesus Christ. By faith must make this choice to take our position in our heavenly place right now. Ephesians 2:5-6 tells us "Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus."Being seated and grounded in heavenly places is a promised truth that belongs to you everyday. Faith is the anchor that keeps us grounded to that truth. We can actually produce the substance of heaven and bring it into evidence through the faith that we carry. For example; When I have faith for healing in someone’s body and they get healed, heavens substance was the faith and heavens evidence was the healing. Faith is the currency of heaven because it produces its substance on the earth. That's why faith produces healing because there is no sickness in heaven, faith brings what is true in heaven and produces that truth on earth. It takes what is true and brings it as evidence to announce the King and His Kingdom; Kingdom possibilities always overthrow earthly impossibilities.

Through faith we are anchored in the supernatural realm and able to tap into all that it has to offer, the substance of heaven and God Himself upon us. Allow faith to shape your world, not the other way around.

Lean Into The Invisible

By: William C. Hinn

Lean into the invisible as you focus on the person of the Holy Spirit that dwells within you. He is more real then everything around you. Press into Him, the reality of your maker Who formed the very matter that holds you together. How the troubles of this world become so insignificant in the vastness of our King. He is all in all and before all. He is the light that illuminates your face and causes the sun to shine upon you. He causes heaven to surround you when you turn your heart towards Him. All the hosts of heaven and presence of the Kingdom follow you as you go throughout your life. If we could just change our minds and realize that He is at hand and we don't have to die to experience Him, we would walk in the impossible. We can lean into Him right here, right now. Heaven is so much more than a location, it cannot be bound or limited. Heaven is a person that dwells within you and causes eternal life to flow through you.  "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John‬ ‭17:3.‬ ‭He surrounds you at all times and will never leave you alone. Lean into the invisible and experience the Kingdom of heaven today.

“Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus..” ‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:5-6‬ ‭

Closeness

By: Emily Hinn

Lately I have found myself glued to my journal, asking God questions and telling Him all of my hearts desires (even though He already knows them). This is a peak into one of my journal entries, that lead me to write this devotional. I pray that my quiet moments with the Lord can bring inspiration and new perspective to you: 

Take me to a new place. A place You and I only know. A secret place where we can be alone and I can learn every intimate detail about You. How amazing that You already know every intimate detail of my life and of my heart. Yet I want to know You inside and out. What Your heart wants. What grieves You. How can I know this? How can I know You more? Reveal to me the details of Your heart, the details of Your cry for the nations.

 “And I will give them a heart to know (recognize, understand, and be acquainted with) Me, that I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.”

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭24:7‬ ‭AMP‬‬

[Closeness] How can we stay close to You at all times? You are constant. You will never let circumstances or situations change the fact that You are closer than the air we breathe. You chose closeness in the beginning because You were in love with the ones You created. 

You. Are. Always. Close. 

I desire to be in a constant state of leaning, resting, and pressing my head against Your heart, so that Your heartbeat becomes the rhythm of my life. The pace at which it beats becomes the pace at which I step, not too fast or far ahead, but whatever the pace, I stay close. 

 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”

‭‭John‬ ‭15:4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

We must choose closeness with God to be in rhythm with His heart. Our lives will be directed and in accordance with His purposes when we keep the pace and stay near. Psalm 73:28 AMP says it beautifully: “But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God and made Him my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.”

Without closeness to Him we direct the pace of our own life. We go ahead of Him or we stay behind because of fear holding us back. When in reality all that is needed is closeness with the Father and then our hearts will start to beat at the same pace. We won't even think to go ahead or let fear hold us behind. Because the reality of the closeness of His presence in our lives and our choice to be close to Him, will direct us in His exact movements of where He is taking us. "Us" as individual children of God and "us" as the nations that He yearns for.  

 “I will bring him near and he will come close to me— for who is he who will devote himself to be close to me?’ declares the Lord.”

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭30:21‬b NIV‬‬

Spiritually Minded

 By: Brian Salazar 

There is a way of thinking that is not so uncommon among Christians.  This perspective has within it the conclusion that if they could see something supernatural with their own eyes, it would either cause their faith to increase or some measure of spiritual growth.  For example, someone might conclude witnessing a miracle, a dramatic healing or even seeing Jesus Himself would most certainly lead to a strengthening of faith.  The unfortunate reality is such a perspective is completely carnal.  Thus, within a carnal perspective is an inability to observe what God is doing though it is right in front of them. The Bible shows us a distinction between those who are spiritual, thus spiritually minded, and those who are carnal and therefore carnally minded.  Though it is a term used with some frequency, many Christians don’t have a clear sense of what the term “carnal” means.  Simply put, it is a description of someone whose entire existence and consciousness is governed exclusively by their natural senses.  Most often it references one who is not born again nor received the Spirit. For a carnal person, what they see, smell, touch, taste and hear defines reality.  Within their consciousness, there is a limitation of what they are capable of knowing and how they think according to the natural stimulus around them.  Furthermore, that stimulus must pass through the filter of sin which dominates them.  As such, their perspectives, patterns of thought, decisions and actions are governed exclusively by their natural senses and a fallen nature. Though The Bible references those who are carnal primarily as those without God, it does make clear the unfortunate truth that a person may be born again and still be carnal.  A perfect example of this is found in the first three chapters of 1 Corinthians where Paul admonishes this church for the divisive attitudes and practices they are engaged in.  Then, he lays bare the truth of their inability to receive the deep things of God because they were still carnal and behaving like mere men.

         Jesus explains in John 14:17 that the world, those who are carnal, cannot receive the Spirit because they neither see Him nor know Him.  Because their vision is limited to their physical eyes, there is no capacity whatsoever to observe God or what He is doing. The clear declaration that the world does not see or know Him implies that we who are not of the world do see Him, or at least should.  When we are born again, when we become one Spirit with him, we gain the capacity to carefully observe who He is and what He is doing.  Such vision occurs in the heart, in our innermost being.  Our inner man, in perfect union with God, possesses the full revelation of all He is.  Within our perfected spirit is the fullness of His nature, character and goodness. So then, when a carnally minded Christian desires a visual demonstration of God or the miraculous, it is conditioned within a lack of fulfillment.  From this place of spiritual deficiency, they are expecting an external observation to bring them inner satisfaction.  When a person is carnal, they hunger for carnal fulfillment, even in regard to what appears Godly.  In a sense, they want God to prove Himself according to the expectations of their flesh. For the spiritually minded, inner satisfaction and fulfillment are already realities. While the carnal person concludes they must see to believe, or believe more, the spiritual person truly sees because they already believe. There is vision greater than the limitations of natural, carnal sight.

In Matthew 16:1-4 there is an incredibly pertinent event.

"Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; 3 and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed."

The most carnal of people asked a sign of Him.  The reply is profound in that His final statement is that they would receive no sign except His death, burial and resurrection- the most profound sign of all.  Though He declared the sign that would be coming, in their carnality was a complete inability to see it when it arrived, though it was right in front of their eyes.  Furthermore, Jesus makes clear that the signs were all around them, yet they were completely incapable of recognizing them.  This illustration shows that what God was doing was as open and obvious as the changing face of the sky.  However, they could not see it because of the wicked, carnal condition of their heart. The truest vision we will ever have of God in this world occurs within our heart and is viewed through the eyes of faith.  It is from within that we behold the grandest of revelations.  From within, where Christ becomes our most intimate acquaintance, is where the miracle of God is manifest from.  With such profound perspective we clearly see the signs of God in us and all around us.  No longer is there a sense of needing God to do something external to prop us up internally.  For those who live by His Spirit, there is strength and awareness beyond the comprehension of carnal man.  For those who live by His Spirit, the miracles are everywhere.      

Our Father

By: William C. Hinn

           Jesus - our savior, our brother, our friend, our redeemer, our source of life. The winds obeyed Him, the seas supported Him, and darkness trembled at His presence. My perfect Jesus came as a man under law to show me what a real man looks like. What amazes me is that everything Jesus did, He did as a man. Now, I am not saying Jesus wasn't fully God because I believe He was yet He humbled and confined Himself to the flesh to save us and show us what man was intended to be like. Hebrews 5:7-9 declares "who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, [yet] He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him," This man Jesus felt every weakness and struggle we could ever experience yet became the author of our salvation through the things He suffered. He overcame it all and modeled for us what is possible as a man that is in right relationship with the Father. If Jesus did everything on earth above the law as God that still would be simply amazing and put me in a state of awe before Him. However, the fact that He did everything on earth as a man under the law puts me into a greater state of awe yet makes me hungry for something that seems impossible.

         What could life be like if grace was fully embraced in right relationship with the Father? In order to answer this question correctly we first must know what grace is. The meaning of grace is commonly know as unmerited favor and although that is true, there is so much more too it than just that. In the Greek grace fully means - Divine influence upon the heart and the reflection of that life. Grace is NOT a license to sin but actually the complete opposite; grace is a license to completely rid your life of sin and walk like Jesus walked. Grace empowers us to be "As He is, so are we in this world." 1 John 4:17. Our hearts should be so influenced and taken over by the Spirit of Jesus that reflecting Him isn't something we have to work but rather something that we become. Romans 8:29 declares, "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined [to be] conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." What that verse is telling me is that Jesus came to introduce me to OUR Father. Jesus came to earth as the first born son to bring many sons into His glorious family and reveal our Father to us. Now all those who would believe in Jesus are received into this family and Jesus no longer has to be an only child. Romans 8:16-17 says it like this, "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs -- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with [Him,] that we may also be glorified together." 

        This family has all authority and power over creation. Just as the world and everything in it responded and obeyed Jesus so the world ought to respond and obey you. You are either in the same family carrying the same power or you're not, there should be no inbetween. In the midst of your sin and shame God said, I want that one. He takes us from sinners to sons, from outsiders to family. WHAT GRACE! All of creation is eagerly waiting for the SONS of God to take their rightful place and live as the redeemed of the Lord. To live in that rightful place is to be the authority over your world. We come as the Fathers authority in the earth because we now carry His name upon our hearts. It's time we step into who our Father says we are and represent well with all power and authority. 

"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that [pertain] to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption [that is] in the world through lust." 2 Peter 1:2-4