Choosing Joy

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Choosing Joy

Luke 1:46-47, “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”

Here, Mary makes a very clear distinction between her soul magnifying the Lord and her spirit rejoicing.

Our soul is the part of us that is considered to be our personality. It is our intellect, emotions and will. Our spirit is the part that gets changed at salvation and it is always operating in “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance”, 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:22-23. That’s true whether our souls (feelings and emotions) “feel” it or not.

Many believers wait until their emotions feel like praising the Lord before they enter in to worship. They think it’s hypocritical to act like they are rejoicing in the Lord if they don’t “feel” it. But our spirits are always rejoicing in the Lord. It’s actually hypocritical to go by our feelings and not magnify the Lord with our souls when our born again spirits are already rejoicing.

Our born again spirits are always in tune with the Lord and walking in the joy of the Lord. Our flesh is often dominated by what it sees and feels.

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like praising the Lord, but the choice rests with our souls. If we choose to praise the Lord, our emotions will follow.

The decision is yours, Deteronomy 30:19.

Today, choose to walk in the joy of the Lord.

Nothing Is Impossible

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Nothing Is Impossible

Luke 1:37 “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

What a statement! If we just believed this, how different our lives would be!

From birth we are trained to know our limitations. You can’t have this. Don’t touch that. Don’t put things in your mouth. You can’t touch the fire. On and on the list goes.

As we grow up, it’s actually a sign of maturity to recognize our limitations and learn to live within them. There are limits to everything. It’s a fact of life.

But God has no limits. When we enter into the realm of the supernatural, we have to take off all the limits. We have to renew our minds with the truth that God is not like us. He can do anything.

We have an awesome God whose power is so great that we can’t even comprehend it. He created the universe and it didn’t even tax His ability. Yet many times we find ourselves wondering if our situation is too hard for the Lord. We can’t see how even God can pull us through.

The Lord said to Jeremiah, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?”, Jeremiah 32:27, The answer is a resounding NO! The only thing that limits God is our unbelief, Deuteronomy 7:17. Today, let’s honor God by believing that nothing is too difficult for Him.

 

Can You Believe It?

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Can You Believe It?

Luke 1:18, “And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.”

Zacharias and Elisabeth were righteous people (v. 6) who prayed for a child for many years. They felt the same disappointments and frustrations that any of us would feel and yet they kept believing God. The Lord finally answered their prayers and sent His angel to announce the good news.

What was Zacharias’ reaction? He couldn’t believe it! The very thing that he had been praying for was granted and he doubted that it was true. In Zacharias’ case he received his miracle anyway. Perhaps his wife’s faith pulled him through.

Likewise, you may be praying for the right things. You may even be sincere and earnest, but would you be surprised if those prayers were suddenly answered today? Have you made preparations for your prayers to be answered?

Before the children of Israel were actually delivered from Egypt, they ate the passover meal by faith. Their bags were packed and ready to go. We need to anticipate our prayers being answered.

Right now, imagine how you would feel or what you would do if the answer to your prayers was manifested this very minute. Then, as much as possible begin to think and act that way. You’ll find out that your whole attitude will change as you focus on your answer instead of the problem.

Jesus – The Name Above Names

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Jesus – The Name Above Names

Luke 23:9 “Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.”

Not only does Jesus’ refusal to defend Himself show His humility, but His refraining from venting His wrath against the man who senselessly killed His friend who was the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, Matthew 11:11, also displays His humble nature.

Because of Christ’s humility and obedience to the Father, God gave Him a name that is above every name in heaven, earth and under the earth. There is no exemption for anyone or anything from coming under the Lordship of Jesus. He is Lord of ALL.

Jesus has not only been exalted above every “being” that has a name, but He is also highly exalted above anything else that can be named. If you can put a name on it, Jesus is above it. Sickness, poverty, depression, anger – everything has to bow its knee to the Lordship of Jesus.

Every knee of men, angels, and demons will bow and confess that Jesus is Lord. Those who have denied His existence will bow in worship. Those who have spent their lives rebelling His authority will finally bow in submission.

Every being from all ages will ultimately bow and worship Jesus. If we bow our knee to His Lordship now, we will enjoy a wonderful life here on earth, and an eternity in His blessings hereafter. Those who deny His rightful claim to the Lordship of their lives will suffer for it in this life as well as in the next. They still will have to bow their knee to His authority, so there is nothing to gain and everything to lose if they refuse to make Jesus Lord of their life.

 

God’s Awesome Power

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God’s Awesome Power

John 18:6 “As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.”

It is evident that it was the power of God that made these six hundred men fall backwards to the ground, but why did it happen when He said, “I am he”?

In this verse, and also in verse eight, the word “he” is italicized. That means that the word “he” was not in the original text but was added by the translators to make the sentence grammatically correct. This serves a useful purpose and is very helpful in most cases. However, the translators put these additions in italics so that we could be aware of what the text literally said.

In this instance, Jesus literally said, “I am.” Since Jesus was God manifest in the flesh, His statement of “I am,” carried just as much weight as when He expressed it to Mose, Exodus 3:14. This is nothing less than the Almighty God releasing His glory through the powerful statement, “I AM.” No wonder these men were knocked to the ground.

This graphically illustrates how Jesus could have easily defended Himself against any size army that would come to take His life. As He said in John 10:18, “No man taketh it (i.e. His life) from me, but I lay it down of myself. …”

There are many instances recorded in scripture where people fell to the ground as a result of being in God’s presence. The same thing still happens today. Just as some people faint when they experience fear, when they experience the awesome presence of God, they become weak, and lose strength in their physical body

Learn The Word By Doing It

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Learn The Word By Doing It

Matthew 26:55 “In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.”

The four gospels refer to Jesus teaching 43 times, preaching 19 times, and preaching and teaching in the same verse, six times. This indicates that Jesus spent twice as much time teaching as He did preaching. Teaching is the basic building block for making disciples. Jesus was making disciples, not just converts.

The Greek word for “disciple” literally means “a learner,” and indicates “learning by endeavor” or what we would call “on-the-job training.” Jesus said in John 8:31, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;” Anyone who meets this criterion is Jesus’ disciple.

“Jailhouse religion,” where a person is only sorry he got caught and is trying to get out of a bad situation, will not produce true discipleship. It takes a forsaking of all to be Jesus’ disciple. Jesus wants us to “count the cost.” It is definitely a commitment.

What the Lord has started in you, He will also continue and complete. That is not to say that your success will be automatic; we have to cooperate with what God is wanting to do in our lives. Our faithfulness may always be suspect, but God’s faithfulness is never in question. It is always God’s will to continue and complete the good work He began in us.

The “Old Man” Is Dead

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The “Old Man” Is Dead

Mark 14:41 “And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”

It is not our individual acts of sin that make us a sinner. It is our sin nature that makes us commit individual acts of sin. Adam’s one sin produced a sin nature in all men that in turn, caused each person to commit individual acts of sin. Jesus not only dealt with the original sin that contaminated the human race, but He also dealt with each individual act of sin.

Anyone who is trying to obtain righteousness through their actions is totally missing the point. Believers are made righteous through faith in Christ, independent of their actions. It’s the same way that everyone was made a sinner: through Adam’s one sin, not through our individual sins.

At salvation, our old man, Romans 6:6, or sin nature died, but the tendency to sin remains in the thoughts and emotions that the old man left behind. No longer does the Christian have a sin nature that compels him to sin, but he must simply deal with renewing his mind.

Sin ruled like a king through condemnation to bring death upon everyone.

Condemnation is like the general of sin that enforces its power. Likewise, God’s grace now rules like a king through righteousness to bring all who are in Christ into eternal life. Righteousness is the general of grace who defends us against all the wiles of the devil.

Remove guilt or condemnation and sin loses its strength to rule, 1 Corinthians 15:56. Remove the knowledge of righteousness by faith, and grace loses its power to release eternal life into our daily lives.

Walk In The Light

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Walk In The Light

Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

How do you walk in the Spirit? The way you do this is through living by, conducting your actions according to, and following the leading of the Word of God as quickened to you by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God agree perfectly because the Holy Spirit is the one who inspired the written Word of God.

Denying the flesh will not result in walking in the Spirit. Walking in the Spirit will result in denying the flesh. This may seem like a subtle difference to some, but the difference is truly profound. As a whole, false religions teach that as we overcome our flesh, there is a noticeable increase in the presence and power of God in our lives. That was what the Pharisees of Jesus’ day and the legalistic Jews of Paul’s day taught. Just the opposite is true. As we experience more of the presence and power of the Spirit of God, then the influence of the flesh is diminished. Victory must come in this order. We don’t walk in the Spirit as a result of overcoming the flesh, rather overcoming the flesh is the result of walking in the Spirit.

It’s similar to how you fill a dark room with light. You don’t shovel out the darkness and then light appears. No! You simply turn on the light and the darkness flees. Much of religion preaches to stop sinning (get rid of the darkness) and then the Holy Spirit will come and empower you (the light will come). That’s not the way it works. Man can no more get rid of the power of the flesh on his own than he can get rid of the power of darkness without light. We have to receive the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives by grace and then the union with the Holy Spirit breaks the power of the flesh. The key to breaking the dominion of the flesh is to appropriate the power of the Spirit through faith, while the flesh is still causing us problems. Those who are waiting for the Spirit to manifest after they have subdued the flesh, will wait as long as the man who is trying to get rid of the darkness so the light will appear.