Blessed, Not Cursed!

“He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:28 NIV)

While Jesus was teaching, a woman in the crowd (vs. 27) cried out and said to Jesus, “Blessed is the woman who gave you birth and nursed you.” She recognized that Jesus had been not just nursed, but nurtured in the way of righteousness from the time He was born. And His response to her was–in essence–the person who hears The Word and obeys it is more blessed than He was.

Something to think about. He knew who He was. The woman thought she knew who He was, and yet, He deferred–to all who hear The Word and obey as being the greater one blessed. If all who hear and obey are blessed, then all who don’t hear and won’t obey are not blessed. Simple logic for those who understand syllogisms.

Right before He said this, He was discussing the state of a person who had been harboring a demonic spirit and what they did. We have to be careful about what we claim because demonic spirits are looking a place to reside. If we think we have changed for the better and yet do those things that are not of God, our fate is worse than it was before we made any proclamations.

The bottom line for me is this–when we did not claim to know God or understand His purpose in coming to earth, we were better off than if we claim to know Him and understand His purpose and yet live in opposition to His Word. If we live in opposition to His Word after claiming to know Him, we very simply, lie to ourselves.

And like everything else–we can go to The Word for understanding and Truth–if we hear The Word and obey–we’re blessed and if we don’t, we aren’t.

Today, we need more than ever for people to hear The Word and obey it because if they don’t, what we think has been calamity will seem like a walk in the park on a warm, sunny day, when God removes His hand from the nation. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to obey His Word and promote His truth, no matter what a Supreme Court says about anything that opposes God’s Word. I’d rather be found on the side of right than the side of might–when it opposes God.

Living Water!

“Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)” John 7:38,39 NLT)

Without water, not much lives on our planet. Even though water covers most the planet, if we do not have water and many don’t have access to water, people and things die. The deserts are dry because of a lack of water. In a drought when the rain doesn’t fall, things die because of a lack of water. Even though our bodies contain a great deal of water, when we get dehydrated, some people faint and others may die because of a lack of water.

Without water, nothing grows–all vegetation suffers, animal life suffers, and we as people suffer for if there is nothing growing, there is no food and we die. This is the result of a lack of “natural” water. Without water, there is no life.

Spiritual water gives life, too–it is born and ignited within us by Holy Spirit and only those who believe that Jesus is will be able to drink the “living water” and have it flow from them. Without the living water, there is no life in the lives of Christians because it is Holy Spirit that gives life-flowing water (the ability to share The Word accurately and love unconditionally).

If Holy Spirit is not in charge of our worship services–there is no life in the building and the service is dry and dead. This is one of the reasons that many churches cease to exist–they have no life–and Holy Spirit was not allowed to ignite those who say they believe.

There are many people who claim they are “filled with the Spirit” but I often wonder–which spirit fills them. Angry, jealous, envious people cannot be filled with Holy Spirit. Mean, abusive, derogatory people cannot be filled with Holy Spirit. Deceitful, manipulative, criminal-minded people cannot be filled with Holy Spirit–so there is only one other spirit left to fill them–the demonic spirits that reign in the land, and easily influence those who are not filled with Holy Spirit.

Those who are filled with demonic spirits oppose everything God has said. The church leadership does not lead according to God’s plan (clearly spelled out in His Word), but according to their own plans. The praise and worship is manipulated by cheerleaders and the service becomes a rally and Satan sits back enjoying every moment. By the time The Word should come forth for the benefit of the people, the people are too tired to received from all their jumping, dancing and shouting and The Word (from them or from God), falls upon “dry ground.”

When Jesus told Nicodemus that a man must be born of water (the natural water involved in child-birth) and of the spirit, Nicodemus wondered how he could return to his mother’s womb a second time. He did not understand–the natural water allows a child to survive within the womb, but it is the “living water” of Holy Spirit that helps to survive outside of the womb.

Without water we die–without living water–we fade away into nothingness–devoid of true feelings and lacking true knowledge.

Let’s go to the fountain and drink–believing Jesus is all He said He is and be filled with “living water” so out of our bellies, living water (God’s Truth) will also flow.

Hearing and Practicing!

“As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” (Luke 6:47-49 NIV) [For context–read the entire chapter]

When Jesus was teaching those who followed Him, He wanted them to understand clearly how they were to respond to what they were being taught. In verse 39, He asks them how “the blind could lead the blind” and what could happen to them (both falling into a pit). If there are those who are hearing the Word, but are not practicing it as a model for others to see, they are doomed!

Church leaders–any and all in a position of authority–must take heed to The Word and know that when we are not doing what we have heard, we will be responsible for the demise of those we lead. We cannot turn God’s Word around and say that “it does not mean what it says.” We cannot say God has changed His mind about anything that He said. And more importantly, if we do not have proficient reading comprehension skills in which we have developed the ability to understand “inference” we should not be teaching anyone, anything. We become “the blind, leading the blind.”

We–the corporate Body of Christ–need to spend time not only reading The Word, but studying what it means with resources available to us and in seeking God for understanding. Then when we understand The Word, we must practice doing The Word on a daily basis. Our role is the bring the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people–not the perverted word of those who scorn and mock God’s Word. Know when the enemy has influenced people against The Word. Don’t be deceived by those who “mention the name of Jesus” and yet have no knowledge of who He really is or His purpose while here on earth. He has said, not everyone calling Him Lord will be allowed to enter in the Father’s presence because in all actuality, they were hypocrites.

We cannot fool God with a superficial Christianity–in name only–and we don’t fool people who are able to discern which spirits are influencing people. When we know The Word, we know which spirits are working in people and we should know how to combat them and cause all to be victorious in the name of Jesus.

Let us not be just hearers (or readers) only, but let’s practice what we know we have learned in The Word. We should endeavor to do all things that please God–showing mercy because He is merciful, loving all because He is love, and obeying Him in all things rather than man because He is the Master Teacher.

Lord, help us to be better at hearing You and doing what You say, not man. Help us to stay focused on You, not man’s inability to receive what You have said. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen!

Spirit Truths!

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15 NIV).

Which spirit is governing your life today?

We often get confused with the discussion of The Spirit (depends on who is referencing this), Holy Spirit, and spirits to the point where we have an entire subculture of people engaged in the study of the paranormal and ghosts. From a biblical perspective–we all have a spirit, a soul, and a physical body which houses our spirit. The bible–God’s Word–tells that our spirit and flesh often battle against knowledge and instruction by Holy Spirit. When we die a physical death–our spirit goes back to God from which it came. The soul of a person which must be saved–our thoughts and actions comprise our soul–will be judged for eternity’s selection. The physical body–goes back to the dust from which it came. That’s for our bodies.

In the earth realm, there are spirits–demonic spirits–directed by Lucifer himself–who engage the minds of people and influence their behavior and that behavior is contrary to everything God has said. How do we know? The evil that exists in the land did not “suddenly appear” as some would believe. It was planned by the one who knows evil intimately and hates God and everything that God loves. And anyone who doubts God, disbelieves in God, or is in opposition to God, is subject to be influenced by the enemy. However, they are not necessarily the targets; Lucifer (Satan) already has them enlisted in his army. The targets are those who profess a belief in God, try to live godly lives as God would have us to do, but are just vulnerable enough to believe a lie if it is couched in enough truth, to make it appear true. 

Look at the conversations Satan had with Jesus–and he knew who He was. “If you are…” And Satan will make promises that he cannot fulfill, but he will also set us up to fail and then laugh at us and our stupidity.

Spirits do influence us–whether we realize it or not–but to make sure we are not being influence by demons; make sure what your thinking aligns with God’s Word in totality, not just a superficial understanding that leaves out the core of truth.

When we have received Holy Spirit–we no longer have to be afraid, and we are not subject to being enslaved by the demonic spirits that seek our destruction and eventual death. It is Holy Spirit’s role to guide us into all truth, to bring back to our remembrance of all we have been taught (pertaining to righteousness), and to show us things to come.  He authors (by permission of the One who sent Him) our visions and creativity and encourages us to run this race with patience–keeping our eyes on the prize–living with Jesus at our end.

For God has said, “I have not given you the spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind.” So, when people are afraid–what spirit is at work? When people cannot love–what spirit is at work? When people lack the inner strength to keep moving forward because of who He is, not us–what spirit is at work? When people are incapable of thinking rational thoughts–what spirit is at work?

A person doesn’t need to be an Albert Einstein or rocket scientist to draw accurate conclusions with this. We simply need “to know” The Word so we can never be deceived by the demons who plot our destruction. If what is happening around does not align with God’s Word, know who is at work, influencing the behavior you see.

Give us understanding today, O God, that we are never again deceived by the spirits at work in our land. Open our hearts to receive Holy Spirit and all that He will do to keep us focused on You and Your Word.