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Archive for December, 2014

Emmanuel – the promise of God with us

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
– Matthew 1:23

Emmanuel. The promise of God with us.

I often wonder if we fully understand the powerful truth in that single word. The glorious promise held within that statement. Emmanuel, God with us. It was a prophetic word of truth, Jesus, God in the flesh literally walking with mankind. Can you imagine having an early morning stroll through Jerusalem with Jesus Christ beside you? Can you imagine how great it would be to have a real fish fry with the man who made them so popular?

Yet Jesus said that he must go away. In fact, he said that it was beneficial that he goes away, for then the Holy Spirit would come and dwell within us. God with us, not walking along the side of us, but within us!

The Kingdom of God is within you and I – now! This brings us a refreshing way of looking at Christmas. We all know that Christmas was the birth of Jesus, and we only pray that the truth of his birth would take precedence over the commercialized business of the season. However, his birth also introduced to us, Emmanuel – God with us.

Now, nearly two thousand years later, the Lord is still with us, through the Holy Spirit within the believer. The Kingdom of God is within you – and with the Kingdom within us we can take it to a lost and dying world.

Jesus, told us to pray “Thy Kingdom Come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven” – we can faithfully pray that expecting His will to come forth on the earth, because he is within you and I! Christ in you, Christ in me, and Christ in every believer that has accepted his salvation. This revelation of Christmas is an eye-opener once you receive it. Yes, Jesus came to die for our sins, yet Jesus also went back to the Father and sent us the Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

Emmanuel is no longer just a banner over a sales rack at Christmas time, nor is it merely a song to be caroled at the door of our neighbors. Emmanuel is now, today and everyday, for it is truly God with us. It is God within us. God being divinely shared with the world though our daily walk and our actions.

Thank you Lord for your son Jesus, and thank you Lord for your presence within us. Emmanuel – Amen!

Wayne Sutton

Righteousness Consciousness

It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of righteousness consciousness in order to live a life of victory as a believer. Nothing steals and taps our confidence, joy and power as quickly as an attitude of sin or law consciousness. We will radiate that which we are most conscious of, whether it be our mistakes (which we have already been forgiven for), or our unfaltering right standing before God, a right standing not based on our works, but based on the finished work of Christ.

Rom 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (NKJV)

The code of the Old Testament which stood pointing at us with an accusing finger, has been ended and replaced with a welcome sign for all who believe. We can now approach God’s throne with boldness 24/7. Not just when we feel righteous, no, even when we feel like we have disappointed God or like we have badly messed up. Especially then.

Heb 10:19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (NKJV)

In order to rid ourselves of any doubt that our Father really loves us, we need to rid our minds of law based thinking. We cannot view ourselves through an Old Covenant mindset. The rule keeping system under which Israel lived has been replaced with a new, better order. An order which was designed to remind us of how right, good, loved and forgiven we are, unlike the Old code which served to remind Israel of their sins and their constant need to “get right” with God. The priests had to continually bring burnt sacrifices to atone for their sins.

Heb 10:11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

But praise be to God, who declared us righteous, and made us sit with Christ in heavenly places (Eph 2:6), our eternal, secure position from which we can never be removed.

The Kind of Love John Spoke About

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. John 15:9

There’s a kind of love John spoke about, a kind of love one can only know when their love is tested beyond what they can control. There’s a kind of love John spoke about that we all need more of if the world will truly know Him, for they (the world) will know us by our love! There’s a kind of love John spoke about from experience, through testimony, because he had pressed against the heart of Jesus Himself and passed through trials we can only imagine.

There’s a kind of love John spoke about that doesn’t come through easy lessons or reputable training, a kind of love that is beyond explanation and only known through absorption. There’s a kind of love John spoke about that God Himself entrusted to him, a kind of love that many of us have been trained in for such a time as this.

These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:11-12

Most of us wouldn’t choose the trials and journeys that prove and re-prove such love in our lives. These are the kind of trials the enemy thinks will water down or steal our love, or even make it grow cold while we walk through the process. One of the enemy’s top goals is the wearing down of the saints, and at the top of his list is our love.

Many have been through long, seemingly unfulfilled journeys, broken moments, isolation, rejection, offenses, mistakes, loss, and round after round of patient perseverance. The enemy would like nothing more than to steal your love, but God knows you’ll dig deeper and rise higher at the same time. He knows He has made you an overcomer WITH Him, and not only are you coming out the other side, but you will come out the other side with your love fully intact, and more richly powerful than ever before!

Do You Love Me?

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.” John 21:17

The journey has not just been about possessing your promises, but about the agape version of unconquerable love, the kind of love John spoke about that will transform the world. He doesn’t just question our love, but challenges our love to dig deeper and rise higher because He knows the abundant life it is capable of. The promises and breakthroughs many of us wait for are the end goal we often keep in sight, and they are very much part of God’s vision for our lives. But the process is equally important, and it’s a process that takes our human love and makes it more like His in His agape, unconquerable form.

For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God… Exodus 20:5

I love that He is a jealous God! The apostle John was whisked away to the Island of Patmos, a supposed desert and wilderness that would normally be viewed as a punishment. But, truly, it was a wilderness of oneness, a place God set John apart for Himself so that He could empower Him and share with Him secrets He couldn’t reveal to anyone else. Such a season was not punishment or judgment, but was about God being jealous over John and his heart and calling! The fact that we love a jealous God should confound us!

Many are emerging from their own wilderness of oneness to realize a new season and life they hope will not disappoint – and it won’t! But let’s leave that part up to God, surrendered into His more-than-capable hands. May we focus on the love He has been procuring during the process, the love that the enemy has wanted to grow cold, wear down, or turn bitter. Let us grab hold of the love God has refined through fire and let it become a witness to the world, and then the promises He has also given us will no doubt take shape. Now that is a double portion!

My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. 1 John 3:18-19

John spoke about a love that is too often known by head more than heart, but that is changing. He spoke about a love that in its true nature is really more lived and persevered than taught. It was John who translated Jesus’ love letters to the churches in Revelation, and they were in fact love letters – words to woo people back to the original fire God grew them from, or for. John, in his Gospel, as well as his letters that later followed, spoke about love in more depth and width than many of us have ever in reality known – but we are about to, for we have been through a season that will bring such “Love,” the Person, to life in ways He has interceded for ever since the Cross.

God Is Love, So We Must Be Love

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 1 John 4:17

John spoke about a love you have been living and training in, through the pits perhaps, but it’s a love that will be stronger now on this side, a love that is beyond mere words and definitions, beyond doctrine or denomination, a love that is known through lives who have absorbed what John absorbed.

You have been trained and are being released to live the kind of love John spoke about, toward God, your neighbors, your persecutors, and even your enemies. Love has overcome the thief of the season you’ve passed through, and now Love will overcome much in the world through you! That is the kind of Love John spoke about. His name is Jesus.

Blessings on your adventures of love with Him.

Joey LeTourneau

Louder and Louder! by Robert Hotchkin

The Key To Changing How You Look At Things

According to Matthew 4:17, when Jesus stepped into His earthly ministry, the recurring word that He shared with people was, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is here.” When Jesus ministered to lost, sick, oppressed, fearful, doubtful, confused, deceived or hurting people, His first encouragement to them was to “repent.” And it’s the same today because repentance is a key to the Kingdom of Heaven invading our lives.

For too long, too many have approached the word “repent” as if it means to hang our heads in shame over our sins. And if we repent of our sins, then the Kingdom of Heaven can invade and we might see breakthrough in the challenging areas of our lives. But that really isn’t what “repent” means. The word in the Greek that Jesus uses in Matthew 4:17 is “metanoeo,” and what this powerful and important word means is “to think differently.”

Jesus is giving us a key when He invites us to repent. It is not a key to guilt and shame that will make us feel bad about what we have done because the Kingdom of God hovers nearby in judgment. It is a key to changing how we look at things, to shifting our perspective from the report of the world and the view of our current circumstances, to the expectation of the goodness of God and reality of His Kingdom that is right there to grab hold of in all things at all times, no matter what.

Repentance does not bring the Kingdom to us. The Kingdom is right there all along. Repentance is the willingness to turn away from mindsets and behavior patterns of the past that have trapped us in sin and negative behavior, and shift our way of thinking and level of expectation to that of the reality that the Kingdom of God is at hand for us right now. We just need to see it. We just need to change our focus from our circumstances to His Kingdom. We just need to repent.

Repentance absolutely involves a turning away from sin, but it is not a behavioral thing performed from guilt and shame in the hopes that if we do better God might bless us. No, true repentance causes us to embrace the conviction of the Lord and turn from sin because all of a sudden we see things from a different perspective. All of a sudden we see things from the perspective of Heaven on earth.

All of a sudden we are gratefully aware that death, destruction, depression, disease, or any other manifestation of darkness is not our portion – no matter what the report of our past or present might be. Who in their right mind would want to sin when they realize that the fullness of Heaven is simply a choice of agreement and change of perspective away? Repentance is Jesus’ key for us that helps us get into the right(eous) mind!

His Word, His Promises, His Perspective, His Eternal Truth – Will Become Louder and Louder For You

Consider the widow of Zarephath in 1 Kings 17. Her region is in the midst of a massive, long-term drought. The report of the world and of her circumstances is nothing but poverty, lack despair, and death. When we first meet her in verses 10-12, she is out gathering sticks for a fire so that she can go home, cook her last meal, and then die. But the prophet Elijah shows up with the word of the Lord offering a different perspective. He tells her not to be afraid (see 1 Kings 17:13), not to give into the negative report of the world, but instead embrace a Kingdom opportunity to step into supernatural abundance.

She chooses to believe. She chooses to change how she looks at things from the lack of her temporal circumstances and shift into the perspective of Heaven’s eternal truth that with God there is always enough. She chooses to repent, to change how she thinks about things, and when she does she opens a portal of plenty in her life.

Right now secular media is shouting the report that the world is in crisis. Economies are collapsing. Jobs are disappearing. Disease is running rampant. Wars are raging. Despite how loud the voice of the world might be, God has a promise for you. It is the same one He gave Abram in Genesis 15:1“Fear not…I AM…Thy exceeding great reward.”

That word “exceeding” in the Hebrew is “m’od,” and one of its meanings is “louder and louder.” I am believing that as you read this devotional and pray through the prayer directives, God’s voice – His word, His promises, His perspective, His eternal truth – will become louder and louder for you until it drowns out every negative report that would trap you in fear or lack of any kind. Instead of heeding the report of the world, you will repent – change how you look at things – and enter into the expectation of the goodness of God in every situation you face.

The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, we simply need to reach out and take hold of it by declaring its eternal truth louder and louder than our temporary circumstances. That’s called decreeing His word. And it always produces fruit (see Isaiah 55:11).

Prayer Directives

So let’s pray that:

[1] The certainty of God’s Word and the reality of His Kingdom will become “louder and louder,” drowning out the report of the world and all negativity.

[2] A spirit of repentance will come upon us, gracing us to shift our way of thinking and looking at things so that we have Heaven’s perspective in all things at all times.

[3] Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom, and as Holy Spirit fills and overflows each of us, we will be free of all fear and full of faith in every battle God blesses us with.

[4] There is always enough with God, and portals of plenty will open in every Believer’s life so that we have supernatural abundance in every area – provision, health, favor, love, peace, joy, wisdom, faith, compassion, kindness, revelation, and intimacy with God.

[5] We will arise and shine as the Body of Christ, shining His love, light, and life brighter and brighter even if the world gets darker and darker.

[6] As we walk in a different spirit and expectation than that of the world, the lost will take note and seek us out for the source of our peace and plenty, and they will come to know Jesus through what they see of Him in our lives.

From darkness to light

Greatness is birthed in the darkest recesses of our soul. The extraction of this precious oil requires a season of pressure, pain and a desperate search for the light of God’s truth. Only when the necessary changes have taken place within the soul, will the anointing that reflects God’s glory bubble to the surface.

God conceals Himself in darkness so we are not able to discern the movement of His hands, though they are always at work on our behalf. God gets angry at our sin, not at us; because He knows our sin causes tears of regret to flow when we miss the highest goal, settling for less than He desires. God’s anger only last for a solitary moment in the night. Once Holy Spirit’s truth is discovered and embraced, God’s favor brings great joy at the rising of the morning sun.
We are called to see, apprehend and continually experience God’s loving kindnesses. We gain much wisdom through the depths of the process that God works into us in the valley of the shadow of death. His grace enables us to die to self, surrender to His perfect will and learn to walk in His higher ways. God desires to cut the chains that bind us, to release the burdens we carry and the things that weigh us down. When we yield to the pruning we will exit the dark night of the soul, enlightened to a new day, understanding that as we draw closer to knowing God and His redemptive ways, His light will now shine brighter in us than in our past.  Barbie Breathitt

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