The Book of Revelation is the spiritual book of the future!
Naturally, the whole Bible is the spiritual word of God however, on the lsle of Patmos; a little point in the sea several miles southwest of Ephesus, John was exiled to die of exposure and starvation. However, the power of the Lord even there appeared to John in a glorious vision. This vision as we understand it today is the book of the Bible we call Revelation of John, meaning, “the unveiling.” Therefore, the uncovering of Jesus Christ in His glory, in His majesty, and in His kingdom, is the reward that God gave Jesus for saving our souls. After the vision of the exalted and glorified Christ: it is the prophetic words concerning the seven churches in chapters two and three that chapter one has the vision that opens the book of Revelation. While we see John, being transported in the spirit into the kingdom of heaven what John sees is the things that must shortly come to pass. Jesus our Savior in heaven shows John the judgment of things to come as well as the unveiling of the great tribulation, the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and finally the seven bowls. Also in the book of Revelation is the mark of the beast the antichrist: however, the most important is the promise of God to them who endure to the end.
One of the things that John sees I feel is important is that in chapter seven concerning the twelve tribes of Juda are the blood-washed, blood-bought redeemed with the seals of God. The announcement made here through one of the elders that these are them who have come out of great tribulation and have washed their and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. These are the 144,000 of the house of Israel.
When we study the messages to the seven churches, you will find in one way or another that the rest of issues written about the things that must come to pass relates to these seven churches as well as the church today. It may sound like I am repeating myself: you will find in the seven seals the wrath of God. Furthermore, you will find the antichrist, who professes to be the leader of the nations of the world, right now the antichrist is gathering his army of the earth to do battle with Christ. Therefore, this is the final battle between Christ and Satan and when this battle takes place, all of the saint in the kingdom of heaven will come with Christ. This battle take place according to the Hebrew tongue Megddio, the armies of the earth will be millions. Although this will be an unimaginable battle, Christ will intervenes in humankind’s salvation. Christ delivers His people, who have been shut in the holy city, and take Satan and binds him for a thousand years in the bottomless pit.
After the binding of Satan for a thousand years, which is called the millennium, Satan is released and thereafter goes forth once again to lead humankind in rebellion against God. And at the end of time on this earth the final resurrection of the wicked and dead will be judge this is called the Great White Throne Judgment and the book of life is opened. Those names who are not found in the Lamb’s Book of Life are cast out and rewarded according to their deeds. The reward is not a good reward it is the lake of fire. According to the scriptures of Revelation are cast alive into the lake of fire. To my understanding the lake of fire is prepare for Satan and his angels. However, the scripture also states that hell delivers up her dead to be judge and after death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.
Therefore seeing what the book of Revelation states about the end and the Day of Judgment what would be a good spiritual practice? Well here are some things that I try to do prayer, give thanks daily for all things, and take time to be quite and listen to Christ and Almighty God speak to me. Furthermore reading the Bible is a good spiritual practice for sharpens your awareness of the spiritual doctrine of God’s Word. Going on with this practice take the time to see the spiritual opportunity to show the love of God to others as well as yourself. Making a commitment to the church the community as a spiritual player for the spiritual well-being of God’s will. I would feel safe in saying that if you do this kind of spiritual practice you will find healing power as well as your spiritual health will improve. I remember answers something like this: were all to busy?
Furthermore if you are going to have a spiritual practice in your life: I remember an old saying that I heard some years ago “if you are going to walk the walk you are going to have to talk the talk.” There are many scriptures that states the spiritual walk and therefore one way we can understand better walking in the spirit is searching for it. In Colossians 2: 20-24 you will find this description of what Paul tells the Colossians about how not to walk. I find these three issues regulations, commandments, and doctrines of men. Let us look closer at each of these issues to get a better idea. When I began to look, at this issue of regulation Christ started me with this thought after the entire whole Bible is full of regulation for example: “let every soul be subject to the higher power.” I must say what many have said before me you are going to have to learn what is what and what is not in accordance with God’s will.
I feel that is why I have such a spiritual drive to search for the spiritual truth so that I may possess an accurate knowledge of what is spiritual. In addition, I must say spiritual life is not simple and that is evident. God has taught me that there is in all human nature and in the church that we want to do what is right. In my years of being a pastor, I learned that every individual during the week in one way or another is challenge in a spiritual situation. Take some of the situation that happen to Peter, John, and Paul and furthermore the devotion they had even in their abuse and yet was not ashamed of the Lord. Paul made it clear that the good news of Christ needs to be revealed to everyone and not excluding anyone. The revealed word of the good news allows an individual person to become righteous through trust and faith therefore as a minister of the gospel this is desperately needed. Any Christian that is a teacher or defender of the message of the Bible should become righteous through faith.
What is spiritual confrontation?
I want to focus my attention to an issue that I feel is not being taught much in the body of Christ today and that is to be a moral person. Back when I first started church that was all you heard from the preacher and the Sunday school class. Another way of saying it was a common characteristic of the church then. In Romans chapter, one describes what morals that will bring the judgment of God is. When we think that we can make excuse of ungodliness by doing those things that are convenient for us, we will face the judgment of Christ eternal power. I focus my attention to the issue of morals to relate to spiritual corruption in the world and church and consider this concept. Why? If you look at everything that is going on around you in the world, today you will find what Paul writes to the church at Galatia in Galatians on the works of the flesh. Paul writes seventeen issues that are contrary to the things of the spirit:
Gal. 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of which I tell you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Personal thought by allowing ourselves to become involved in these seventeen works of the flesh we demonstrate the sinful nature of our life. Therefore brings about issues of spiritual confrontation in spiritual living. I will only use a few of the seventeen issues of sin that brings about this confrontation.
The Christian must believe that the Holy Ghost is with them at all times sent by Christ and the Father to help in their spiritual confrontation. It is through the Holy Ghost that our trust and faith that we do not bring to ourselves strife, seditions, heresies which characterize the work of the flesh. When Paul writes these words “ye which are spiritual Paul is referring to the fact that you are walking in the spirit not in the flesh. In spiritual confrontation Christ and Almighty God makes it clear in their holy word why we need help. Furthermore, it is in our spiritual confrontation when we make a major move for God that is when Satan brings about every issue of life that can go wrong. What Satan does he will tell you that this will bring hardship upon you and your family and try to convince you that it is not of God in this move. Therefore in our spiritual confrontation there should be a spiritual zeal and done within a spiritual understanding of the scriptures.
Spiritual confrontation is a daily struggle found in Christian living. Perhaps the clearest definition of spiritual confrontation comes to us from Paul’s letters to the church then and today. Paul’s letters provides us with the spiritual weapons to fight the offensive strategy of Satan. However, we could say spiritual confrontation is part of the great spiritual confrontation or battle that began long before we were created with the one who opposed God. I am speaking about Satan.
Biblical let us look at these examples from the scriptures about spiritual confrontation one in the book of Job 1-2 where Satan appears unto God and says take away Your protection and Job will cruse You. What I believe Job seen when God allowed Satan to bring evil against him: I think that Job seen the need of forbearance to keep close to his friends to show the element of mercy as well as to restrain wrath. Why does God allow spiritual confrontation or confrontation of any kind? In you do not have any kind of confrontation in your life would you know how to solve the confrontation? My answer is no you would not.
The second example I want to use is found in the book of Daniel where we find Daniel’s companions in a spiritual confrontation with the king Nebuchadnezzar over God and the golden idol Dan.3. In addition, by their faith the receive God’s deliverance. Faith and trust in God and Christ Jesus is a sure means of deliverance from the evil confrontation of Satan. You can also find in the book of Matthew that Christ lets it be known the His church will soon be established. What does Christ warn the new church to be of what will happen to them? I believe that Christ is saying that they will face the power of hell against them and furthermore that they will engage in a great spiritual confrontation. Therefore, Christians as well as non-Christian must know how to bind the force of evil meaning Satan.
Paul in the book of Romans 3 contrasts the Jews and the Gentiles concerning faith and the law with regards to personal sin. Christ through Paul reveals the righteous nature of God and our righteous nature and therefore by that nature our witness through faith exists. Every Christian needs to reveal his or her faith that allows others to see the gift of grace in their life. Furthermore, it makes a clear manner of what Christ exactly die for by the shedding of His blood. Consider this fact that because of God’s forbearance, you and I can be children of God.
What I have learned about geography and road maps.
Unfortunately, there are some who make an argument over what is spiritual even back in the days of Christ the leaders of the church did. I feel safe in saying that the Jewish leaders would imply what Christ proclaims to be in error with the Law of Moses. When I was going to school, I hated history and geography it seem like it was so cut and dry. Furthermore, my family was always on the move from one job to the next. However, in all of that moving I learned a lot about the United States that I would have never known and if some one had told me about that part of the country I would not of known the truth and would have thought that they was in error. Therefore, in my search for what is spiritual I also learned about the spiritual geography of the Bible. Furthermore, it has help me to map out my spiritual life. What I mean by this the map starts with spiritual conversion, to a spiritual walk with Christ and is strengthen by your spiritual trust and faith.
Spiritual geography therefore, defines the world we live in and relates to the word of God and Christ growing in us. Many biblical scholars emphasize Christ through the Holy Ghost poured out upon the church. What I learned in my own walk in spiritual geography Christ is helping me to define my spiritual gifts. It is also our spiritual confrontation of daily living in our walk with Christ. Where do we get our help from in our spiritual road map well the foundation for this map lay in the Word of God through God’s prophet’s, evangelists, pastors, teachers that draw the map.
Down through the centuries there has been a lot of teaching in the church to help humankind define their spiritual gift or gifts. I feel that is good however, would it not be better if the leaders of the church not to be trying so hard to help individuals find what their gift is but to help them to learn to be the gift for Christ. From the map of the scriptures, God list a variety of activities for our spiritual goals. The spiritual purpose in all this teaching the map of Christ is that all come into the unity of God through Christ Jesus to grow into spiritual maturity that is the full stature of Christ.
Spiritual geography or the spiritual road map we need to include spiritual growth, spiritual testing, spiritual servants, and the list could go on. When we look into the deep meaning of what Christ is saying to every individual man woman and child is these are parts of life that build spiritual integrity, spiritual skills, spiritual poise, and spiritual virtue. Of course, in all things of life there are exciting times and discouraging times. Serving the Lord can be exciting for I want to live a full life for the Lord and for God. Where it is discouraging is when I hear so many saying that it is hopeless for them and in the spiritual geography Paul, writes don’t be discouraged for we all are struggling.
As a pastor, I have found in my ministry, hotter tempers, bad habits, bitterness, jealousy, and those with a real attitude problem. On the other hand, you will find in drawing spiritual road map times of weakness to where you feel utterly discouraged. Therefore, I must say that this is God working in our lives that helps us with our hot tempers and bad habits and attitudes. In order for to really understand what spiritual geography is we must go beyond ourselves into the challenges of spiritual life. First and foremost, spiritual geography is dealing with the spiritual resources and climates of spiritual life. Therefore, it is with people, events, and challenges in our lives. When we see with the spiritual eye and our spiritual insight, we therefore understand what creates the spiritual pain in our lives.
By gaining spiritual knowledge, we become more aware of our spiritual energy of how we can manifest the spirit of Christ in others. Let us look at the spiritual body from what we feel in the natural body. In the natural body, we have heart problems we have the same in the spiritual body. In the spiritual, we have the problem of blocking love in our lives the same problem that the church at Ephesus had. Two we have back problems that can be a real pain as well as worry the spiritual is worry about sins in our life as well as the congregation in the church and most of all financial.
Third is cancer this is an illnesses that cause emotional and physical problems; in the spiritual, it causes problems from past spiritual connections emotional issues and finally betrayal. Finally, blood disorders this can cause many problems and diseases in the natural body in like manner we have to consider the doctrine of the blood. Why I make this statement is because what will happen in the last days which will cause a conflict between good and evil within the church over the blood of Christ.
We need to remember the church of Thyatira and the eating of things offered for sacrifice unto idols and out of that act come spiritual adultery. Therefore, I must point out two facts of two types of individuals in the world and in the church. There are two kinds of individuals in the church they are spiritual and non-spiritual. The spiritual individual talks about the blood of Christ all the time in a manner that throws a cloud over the blood. However, the non-spiritual individual avoids referring to the blood of Christ altogether.
Therefore, in spiritual geography it is the history where Christ walked upon this earth. The maps of the Bible show most of Christ walk in the land of Judea, Samaria, Phoenicia. However, this geography relates the past and presents and the future as well as personal and professional relationship in the church. This spiritual road map relates the teaching of Christ, the power of Christ, and the image of God. Personally the most important thing I can say to you is that what ever or however, you want to base your faith on is up to you.
What is the spiritual geography do you want written in the Lambs Book of Life? I can only speak for myself I do not want to be a child all the time in the word and faith of God so I therefore want my geography to be according to the prophet Isaiah when: Isaiah 28 9-10 states it very well “precept by precept, line by line, and a little here, and a little there.” In addition, I want my worship to be pure and sound based upon the doctrine and commandments of God. I read some place that there are preachers who say that they do not teach sound doctrine but teach the practical aspects of Christianity. Furthermore what I believe is this any preacher or teacher that does not proclaim the sound doctrine of God is not teaching the complete word of God.
A very important part of spiritual geography is spiritual testing and how we go about that testing. Personally, I feel that spiritual testing is God’s way and principal of spiritual growth and spiritual maturity in the church’s life. Therefore, there are many blessing that we can enjoy in Christ when we mature. As a pastor down through the years, I can honestly say that those individuals who do not mature spiritually do not fully appreciate their blessing they have from Christ. How about you are you spiritually growing as a Christian? What are the marks of spiritual maturity? This is just a few of the marks I have learned as a pastor. They are spiritual hearing, spiritual sowing, and spiritual insight, spiritual love, however, to my way of thinking is our spiritual walk with the Lord. Furthermore, Christ and the disciples taught about growth as the principles to be sufficient for spiritual life.
Are you able to teach others what is spiritual?
This question comes to mind: Are you able to teach others what is spiritual? I pray that your answer is yes. I know from experience in my years as pastor what I have heard time and time again that individual has told me I do not have the capability to teach what is spiritual. Therefore, in this experience as a common issue in the congregation of the church and I hate to make the statement these are individual who are spiritually immature. However, I have seen them who wanted to teach and the church said they would say something to this effect that these individuals ability to teach.
What is your spiritual diet? Is a spiritual diet necessary in the church? I would feel safe in saying what Paul wrote to the church at Corinth; Paul told them of their lack of spiritual insight. Therefore, what Paul was saying was he would have to words as milk in order for them to adapt in their human weakness 1 Cor. 3: 1-3. If the congregation of the Body of Christ is going to understand the revelation of Almighty God and His Son concerning the last days they will have to include a spiritual diet describe in the word of God. Newborn Christian is a babe in Christ and they understand the oracles of God’s Words that they are needed for this new life.
In this day and age as I look around in the church I think to myself when it comes to the spiritual diet is there any solid food being given? Some would say yes and others will say no. However, this is a truth about a spiritual diet of what Paul wrote to the Hebrews about their spiritual ignorance for their spiritual growth. What Paul was really saying to them that they were unskilled in the word of righteousness. Furthermore, a newborn individual cannot mature in Christ unless they go beyond milk.
Personally, I feel that you will find that the Holy Scriptures teaches the Christian baby is spiritually immature and is limited in their ability to know heavenly prophecy. Therefore, as a Christian we must give others a spiritual diet more than milk to bridge the gap that separates us from understanding spiritual things. Without spiritual illumination or spiritual insight from God’s Spirit, we cannot grow or learn. This spiritual need for insight was the concept of the apostle Paul when Paul wrote to Timothy to reflect to Timothy about the insight he needed to be a spiritual leader.
“What Paul was saying to Timothy is that spiritual leaders need to make spiritual judgments concerning the sound doctrine of God.” Furthermore, to teach the principle of that doctrine, the principle I speak of is the doctrine of faith, baptism, laying on of hands and of the resurrection. Paul wrote about this doctrine to the Hebrews and is recorded in the book of Hebrews 6: 1-3. Paul goes on to tell the Hebrew people about the spiritual food needed for the spiritual power to come that would keep them from falling away for the will of God.
If we live by the Holy Ghost, we must live in unity in the church.
I remember my first charge that I served as their pastor I had seven churches and each one of them had a different need. Being it was my first charge and my first experience of being a pastor my message to the seven churches was unity and therefore, we are to become one in Christ Jesus. Unity is a very important part of what is the heart and soul of the church of then as well as today. Consider the seven churches of Asia Minor and list the characteristics of each church to distinguish their religious and social groups in Revelation. (1.) What type of unity did each church have or did not to have that the Lord Jesus sends them a message of warning. For example what I wrote about the seven churches earlier about the loss of love about spiritual adultery. These two alone can cause the church to be divide and therefore there is no unity. (2.) What was the basic meaning of that message from the Lord? The basic meaning of Christ message is for the church to overcome their spiritual lack to receive the promise of the kingdom of God. (3.) Jesus told them of their strong and weak points Christ also went on to tell them of how they had responded in the outward appearance of those who would be seen.
Paul write to the Philippians about their division that it further develops in their church, the faith of all of them will be incalculably injured and that there will be a lose in its church witness for the gospel of Christ. Paul adds that their standing for the gospel and faith must be united in one spirit. Paul wanted them to be totally committed to that one goal in one mind and one accorded. Personally, I feel that Paul brings to my mind a convincing context that focuses on attitudes of humility and unity. Therefore, Paul wants them to maintain unity for faith for spiritual well being.
Paul also says for them to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ living humble, loving, and united in the midst of their tribulation and persecution. It is certain, those individual Christian are victorious in life based on the blood of Christ. When we look at Philippians 1:27-28 Paul lets them know that their conversation should be the good that becometh the gospel of Christ. Furthermore that they should be consistent kind of life worthy of Christ and Christ teaching.
Keep in mind what Christ has commanded several times through the disciples to identify those who teach to you the doctrine not delivered through the scriptures and avoid them. Also, keep in mind that doctrine can cause division or unity. Personally, to my way of thinking, sound doctrine brings about unity and false doctrine brings about division. Furthermore, the scriptures tell us by “God’s Divine Will” we have been given the power of all things that pertains to life. Therefore, I must say that there will be a few dark areas that we will not be able to explain however, the scripture makes it clear about unity.
As a pastor when it comes to doctrine of God and how we are teach how to live and have fellowship and unity with God, I believe that all scriptures are quite clear. I must say this there are only a few areas that will be cloudy and it is therefore because we look at it through a dark glass. Furthermore, when it comes to godly understanding of the salvation of knowing God the scriptures will clear up all issue of doctrine of unity. Down through my years of ministry I have heard it said that we should never judge doctrine or determine what is right or wrong. To me the scriptures pulls no punches of misunderstanding as you will see from God’s word that there is little doubt that we are commanded to judge the doctrine and therefore to guard it.
I would feel safe in saying the churches or faiths of today seems to be more concerned than ever before about unity. I believe the reason for this there is much division in the world today. Furthermore, I believe that on a whole all are tired of the division. I could say that there are some degrees of unity but not all. As I talk, too other ministry and friends in my faith I hear this answer about this issue of unity and all of them say it in one form or another. These are the reasons I hear: (1) “teaching of humankind” (2) “the doctrines and commands of humankind” (3) “exalting humankind” (4) “accepting and following books other than the Bible, honestly these are issues that cause division. On the other hand, when we look at the real issue division or discord among the church people start back with the early church. You can find in 1 Corinthians 1:11 where Paul tells the church at Corinth that there are contentions among them.
What was the basic meaning of that message from the Lord? I feel safe in saying that the basic message of the Lord to all congregation in the world then and now is as follows. The Almighty God gave His Son a message to give the congregation about what they needed for obedience in trust in Him. Furthermore this message was to point out are spiritual abomination, spiritual accountability, spiritual abundance, and our spiritual adoption. Spiritual abomination is recorded through out the Bible and covers many issues concerning the law of God. Also spiritual accountability I feel is one of the issue we will face on the Day of Judgment. When God has the book of life before Him, how many pages will it take for each of our accountability?
Spiritual abundance is our abundant joy, life, grace, power, supplies, and entrance into the kingdom of God. Another way of saying it is our divine supplies into a fruitful land of the kingdom of God. When we really look at spiritual abundance, I personally feel that it is promise of God, that gives us life and more abundantly in the promises of God and Christ Jesus. If I was to try to tell you of all the blessing that Christ has gave to me alone I would have to write another book.
Spiritual adoption is our heir ship into the kingdom of heaven. This is an issue that we need to pay much attention to from the words of the scriptures. Every one of us in today’s world understands that adoption has to do with family therefore we also understand that spiritual adoption has to do with the family of God. You can find in the book of Deuteronomy 14:2 where God states that Israel in a holy people unto the Lord and a people above all people on the earth. Then we find in Isaiah 63:16; Isaiah states we see the Father as our Father through Abraham. Then in Ezekiel 16:8 you can find the covenant and the marriage, as well as the adoption in this verse of scripture.
Therefore, we can see the spiritual adoption as becoming part of God’s chosen. In the gospel of John, we find these words on adoption.
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
It is in this relationship that we secure the benefits of heirship with Christ and become part of the household of God. One of the titles used in the New Testament is children of God. Furthermore, this is also a promise of God through His Son and therefore must be done in faith and trust of this Holy Word.
We also understand that adoption means heirship and another meaning of this that I find is the elect, people of God, chosen ones that are written in the scriptures. The scriptures I refer to many times on this subject while I was pastoring Ga. 3:29; Ro. 8:17; and He.6:17. What Paul writes here to my understanding is God’s divine faithfulness and a truth about heirship and how that God is willing to show more abundantly to prove that heirship. Therefore, this should be our spiritual hope and furthermore our eternal hope.
In this spiritual adoption, how do we abuse it? I can honestly say that this issue represents a range of topics that could attack any issue regarding religious, social, and even denomination. What I mean by this is abuse of adoption is how that it weakens the individual’s spiritual empowerment as a child of God. There are several reasons why Christian should not abuse this adoption of God. Unfortunately, it is not surprising to see our churches this abusive righteousness. In reality, this is my example this abuse is just like being a raging drunk with their addiction.
However, the substance of this abuse of spiritual adoption when we truly look at through the scriptures is found in the messages to the seven churches. A good example of this is we have people running around testifying to the fact of their complete and total deliverance however, they still think like a sinner. Therefore, my personal feeling is this; the life style has not change according to what Paul wrote to the Romans in Romans 12:2. This scriptures state that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, which means to prove ourselves.
How Satan embattles us against the power of God
Throughout the book, I have written about many different issues on what is spiritual now I will turn my attention toward the evil host of the air, which is Satan. Let me begin in this manner Satan is the spiritual host of the doctrine of wickedness Eph. 6:12, tells us what manner of clothing we must ware to do battle against this evil host. This is a scripture that states that we do not fight against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers. Therefore, I am making reference to the nature of Satan as follows to show you the character or sinful moral quality of which Satan has had since the beginning of time. If we study God’s word you will find angels, man, devil, demons are the essence of “spiritual beings” of which the Bible and Christ tells us to take heed of these evil spirits. To my understanding of evil, there is no limited use of the word in the Old and New Testament. As I have studied what event took place in Sodom and Gomorrah I found the spiritual evil of Satan and why God destroyed it. Therefore, I must say that my studies brought out these facts that this was a city of people who were possessed by evil on every hand. Moreover, I found the comprehensive terms of the scripture to bring out this doctrine of morals, which includes immoral doctrine of corruption to my understanding that is homosexuality and many other issues regarding sins against God.
This doctrine includes the unspiritual ness and all that pertains to the spirit of evil that indwells in humanity that cause the spiritual embattlement with Satan and God in their life. With this statement made above then the expectation should be clear that flesh and blood in the New Testament can signifies moral sins. Therefore, the essence springing from the spirit of God and imparted to the spirit of humankind, which is not sinful. However, spiritual in this sense always presupposes the Holy Ghost to quicken, and inform the children of God. Going back to the book of Genesis Satan reveals himself to Eve and by deceiving Eve. Furthermore, Satan reveals himself to be the God’s enemy, and the enemy of God’s truth. Satan refutes God’s word, tempts Eve to disobey God, and brazenly declares himself to be greater than God. For Satan told Eve that she will know what God knows the moment she eats of the fruit that her eyes will be opened, and you will be like God. To my way of thinking, Satan has already put himself on the level of as God. Satan lied in the ancient day in the garden of Eden that day was a day that humankind fell into sin.
Therefore, Satan’s lied then as well as today Satan is in every setting where he can get someone to hear his lie. As Christ is the embodiment of truth, Satan is the embodiment of that which is a falsehood or lie. The scriptures refer to Satan as a liar and the father of it. Satan even lies to God by accusing believers to God that we are not telling the truth to God. Satan has the audacity to stand before God on His throne accusing all believers of spiritual wrongdoing and spiritual shortcomings. Thanks be to God for the promise that Jesus will intercedes for us at the throne of God.
There are many names of Satan in the scriptures one of these names is “opposer,” and he opposed God from the day he fell. Christians and the work of God are the special targets of Satan. Peter warned, “Be sober, and be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Pe. 5:8. Satan attempts to convince Christian people of his lies in order to destroy their personal relationship with God. Paul says Satan’s works are “power, signs, and lying wonders. Satan has always an imitator, which has form falseness. Satan imitates God; Satan imitates God’s beauty and goodness. Satan can transform himself into an angel of light and is known as the prince of this world. Satan desire to be like God in order to take over the kingdom of heaven therefore this is what caused Satan expulsion from the kingdom of heaven. Since that time, Satan has devoted himself to trying to conceal and confuse the truth of God in God’s people. An example of Satan trying to destroy people is found in the book of Job 1:6-11. In these scriptures, you will see that Satan goes before God and tells God if God will remove His hand from Job that Job will turn against God. However, Job had the strength to hold to his integrity and the integrity of God in the face of all that Satan threw at him. This strength of God’s integrity is still available to all who meet the conditions established by God’s word.
Satan tries to destroy our spiritual intellectual ability so we will be divorced from what is spiritual. However, I tell you that spiritual can never be divorced from spiritual intellectual being in God’s word. If a man or woman is spiritual, their spiritual intellect is touched with the divine will of God. This spiritual life comes under power of the divine power of God, baptism of the Holy Ghost. One word that comes to mind to describe this is spiritual quickening and spiritual illumination of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the pure intellect of humankind hearts shall God see in His kingdom. Paul affirms in 1 Cor. 2:12-13 that the Spirit of God operates directly on the spiritual faculties of humans, adjusting their spiritual reason and spiritual intellect to the divine reason, and spiritual enabling humankind to think God’s thoughts and discern God’s spiritual purposes, spiritual nature and spiritual will. The common use of the word spiritual is “spirituality” to my way of thinking is not to be limited however; it is for our religious experience in God and Christ Jesus. Not to be narrowly interpreted, but as spirituality which brings the spiritual intellect and spiritual harmony with the divine reason in every realm of our spiritual action, that it may be as manifested in our lives as the law of God.
Enter into spiritual Baptism
Entering into spiritual baptism to me has always related to the ideas of invisibility and of power of the Godhead that we cannot control. It has also been in the realm that I feared for years. Why is because I am the type of person that had to be in control of my individual life style. I feel safe in saying that there is not one of us that does not like the idea that we are not in control of our lives. Relating back to a vision I had in 1997 that I found out that Jesus had control and had given me more spiritual power, spiritual baptism through the Holy Ghost than I realized. However, maybe it would be good to go back to when it really began and that was in 1979. In 1979, I was doing a television ministry on channel 11 when the Holy Ghost appeared as a transparent figure of a human being in the middle of the television station while I was preaching the message. That night I was telling in my message how that a young man had come to me and ask me to help him in a problem that he had. Therefore, when I got to the station that night I was praying before the program went on the air and I began to groan in the spirit like I had never done before. That night the Holy Ghost put words in my mouth like I had never used before. It was that night that I realized that the power of God through the Holy Ghost was in control of my life and my message. It is hard to explain the power of God to how I felt at this time and at the appearing Holy Ghost. The only thing I can say is I felt the anointing of the Holy Ghost and the Godhead.
Jesus also said by His divine power that the Holy Ghost was to teach all scriptures in reference to who is given the spiritual baptism as well as the water baptism. Therefore, that does not mean that this occur in any given month of the year or day in any of the writings of the gospels but it is given to the individual. I may be wrong in what I am saying but this baptism does not become a real reality till the individual is ready for it to become so. Furthermore, I believe that leaders of the congregation are to teach that this baptism comes at conversion. Why I say this is because I believe that the individual person receives the power of the Holy Ghost at this time. Therefore, when the individual receives this spiritual baptism their whole life is changed. Why I make this statement is because that night in 1979 my whole life was changed. The Bible has many issues that are related to what is spiritual in both the Old and New Testament that I had never seen before that night of spiritual baptism with the Holy Ghost.
Therefore, I now can relate to how they felt in the upper room that day of Pentecost when the Holy Ghost filled the room. Furthermore, this was the day that the prophet Joel prophecy was fulfilled. At this time I need to explain why I use the word Holy Ghost instead of Holy Spirit: In the New Testament the word spirit can mean the angel, lower than; spiritual baptism as you can see indicated in Acts 2:38 of what an individual receive at this baptism. Therefore, this baptism is set forth not of itself; however, it is attended to show the purpose of Christ in the individual that they had received the Holy Ghost. Therefore, the power of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in us is Christ and God the Father that is the spiritual revelation in us. Spiritual indwelling in us is Christ’s way of matching or combining, spiritual things with spiritual words interpreting spiritual things unto humanity. Spiritual songs are sung with spiritual praise unto the Lord God that by doing so the burdens of our human problems are lifted by the Holy Ghost in our lives.
The revelation revealed to humankind by the Holy Ghost is spiritual wisdom, spiritual knowledge, spiritual understanding that God’s wisdom is our spiritual understanding. Those spiritual revelation, are given to men and women in Christ who walk so to please God in spirit and truth. The whole company of those who believe in Christ is a spiritual house of God in Christ Jesus or better known as the house of God. The blessing that accurse in the house of believers are to regenerate the belief of the power of God is still in the world today. Christian in this spiritual faith of the present time as well as then is called the spiritual blessing from heaven. Spiritual gifts in the Christian faith in the Holy Ghost are also make good disciples. These are spiritual appointed activities in the churches of the world today, which are the spiritual gifts of spiritual leaders. I can also say these are spiritual issues we as leaders are to give out for the kingdom of heaven.
Spiritually in our bodies in the body of Christ, our bodies therefore are for the resurrection of the dead in Christ spiritually. What I mean here are them that have taken on the heavenly environment, all which produce and maintain among brother and sister the operation of the word of God through the Holy Ghost. Thus, the apostle Paul suggests a contrast between this spiritual body and the natural body found in 1 Cor. 15. The state spirituality’s in Christ, of the man and the woman should be in their spiritual maturity and experience of their walk with the Lord. Yet humanity when it reached spirituality as Paul suggested that it is not by permitting jealousy and strife to which leads to losing our spirituality. Paul writes to the church at Galatia about the evil of the flesh of which they had sown that the emulations which means jealously. What is the evidence of true spirituality? Personally, it means walking in the faith and love of Christ Jesus.
Personally we all have desires of some kind some may be worldly some may be heavenly. I know before I had heavenly desires I had worldly desires. Therefore, I can honestly say without any doubt in my mind that I had to have Jesus come into my life before the heavenly desires came into my life. I also feel safe in saying that no one individual can know the other person desire of the heart until they have set in their place. You could also say that you don’t know how the person feels until you have walk in their shoes. Why I have said this is because it took me many years of living on both side of the fence to understand it. What I mean by both side of the fence is I had sin on one side and I had to have forgiveness of Christ that came into my life before I understood completely. Another way of saying this that I had desires the things of this world that would not and did not satisfy my hunger and thirst. In addition, I want to say that we can interpret heavenly desires as spiritual desires.
I have a lot of spiritual desires that the prophet Isaiah prophesies to the house of Israel and to the Gentiles. See if you have any of the spiritual desires prophesize to Israel.
Isaiah 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2. Wherefore, do you spend money for that which is not bread? And your labour for that whish satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. (KJV)
For I know that I hunger and thirst for the spiritual food and living water that Isaiah offers here. And the only place that I can receive this food and water right now is from the living words of the living God. Another spiritual desire is able to get that which is free. Like the free blessing from God the Father and His Son Jesus. Jesus said this “blessed our who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled”. Mt. 5:10 (KJV) Furthermore, this is one food that feeds the souls but gives the spiritual nutrition to the spiritual body.
The scriptures tells me of a spiritual desire to have the spiritual food that will fulfill our hunger for righteousness, which is to know God. Why does this make a difference in spiritual desires? I can only say that until I received that fro Christ and Almighty God this kind of food my life was void in that I personally could not fulfill this void with the things of the world. Furthermore, I could not quench this desire for things that were spiritual. My desires and thirst that burn in my soul with worldly things could not be filled. This is my testimony with you because of my experience of running from my calling of God to preach the word. The time period of running was thirty years. That a long time to be without spiritual food. I also can truly state that my life was without meaning until I done what Jesus ask me to do.
There is a lot of Christian that desire to have rest from work here on earth. However, we don’t want to be the way that it is stated in the book of Hebrews, which is that if we are at rest we are no longer here on this earth. He. 4 makes it quite clear that if we finished from our work here we our finish from the foundation of the world.
Hebrews 4:1 gives us a warning about rest “Let us therefore fear, a promise being left us of entering into rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
Also, tell the whole story on rest. Look at the warning that Paul gives the Hebrew people about rest. It state quite clear here that they who are at rest if they have not completed their work for the Lord they may be falling short of entering into eternal rest in the kingdom of heaven. This chapter alone tells us that if there had been a day of rest from the work of Christ our Lord He would have spoke of another day. Therefore, if I was to state that we have no spiritual rest until our work here is done Hebrews 4 would confirm it. I feel that Paul makes it quite clear that we are to labour for our Lord that we may enter into rest.
There is one desire that I want to hear the Lord say to me and that is enter into the kingdom of God thy good and faithful servant. Should not all-Christian desire to hear the Lord proclaim this to them also. Therefore, Christian desires should be to proclaim the word of God so that Jesus our Lord may give spiritual cleansing to all humanity so that they may be able to stand in the presence of God and hear God say welcome to my house good and faithful servant. I know that I have this desire in my heart to. What is written in the word of God is “enter into the joys of the Lord”. At the Day of Judgment won’t it be good for you to hear Christ say that you to will be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
How to give faith
Well I must say because there are so many different faiths or denomination and cultures on what we agree and disagree with does not mean that they ignore God’s eternal word. From my own experience through the trials of faith, God grace has compose in me proof that I am to stand with humankind in such trials of faith to give proof of sound faith. In 1953 when Christ called me into the ministry, I had question about faith: One was Jesus and Almighty God how I give God’s faith to others. Proof in my religion that it is sound, and evidence afforded to my mind that includes courage, to bear patiently, and persevere that faith. Therefore, the example for me to give is my spiritual standard to teach the important principle of faith in Christ Jesus and Almighty God.
It was not until 1979 when I began to understand the true purpose of a preacher and what Paul wrote in the book of Romans about how faith came.
Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear “without a preacher?” 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (KJV)
In the year of 1979 is when I began work the ministry that Christ had called me to do. That year I started a television ministry as well as a nursing home ministry. In these ministries, I found this to be the reality that I was showing the faith of God to a congregation I could not see and yet I could feel the spiritual relationship with them in Christ Jesus.
In 1986 is when I served my first appointment on the Arden Charge this was my beginning of working with a congregation as pastor relationship. However, after serving five appointments I can truly say the one thing I found out that the congregation wants to be part of the worship. What I mean by this is the pastor should find some way during the worship to have the congregation involved in the worship. One of the ways that I involved them was when I would say where the message was to be that morning: I would ask them what is a preacher favored music? My answer was the sound of the turning of pages. Therefore, I felt by doing so I was drawing the congregation into meaning of reading God’s word with me.
Two thoughts come to mind that we can draw from the expression of spiritual standard. First, if a statement is denominational or cultural expression then is there any spiritual principle that gave rise to that it is a denominational statement or cultural background. Secondly, if the interpreter were not sure whether a statement or expression is denominational or cultural. However, would it be better to be safe and view as eternal, lest a command of God be ignored? NO! We should always remember that just because a biblical passage can be set in its denominational or cultural standards, so can any one individual, be an interpreter that likewise controlled to some extent by their own thoughts in their denominational and cultural life. My fear is that this is where Satan is going to work on the people of God in the last days. One thing that the Bible does say here is that the church or congregation will be delivered if they follow the spiritual standard of the doctrine of God’s word.
When it comes right down to it when it comes to giving faith, does anyone ever approach a given situation with total openness of mind? Personally, in my years as a pastor I have never any individual to have their mind completely on the situation at the time. What I mean by this is and using this example the mind is always thinking about something. Have you ever seen someone looking off into space and you ask them what they are thinking about and this is the answer you get O nothing. However, I find this hard to believe because a person in any single day has to set in order what will take place and think about how they will do it. Furthermore, what take place is the person sets there attitude for the day of hope, habits, and perspectives. This has been one of my approaches to relate to a person the demand for an honest recognition for their faith for what can be spiritual in their life.
Faith indeed, is part of the Bible’s own purpose: for the word of God is living active part of the individual’s faith. God’s word is sharper than any
“double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing the soul and the spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
When an individual opens the spirit of their mind with all honesty and ask them self this question what does God want in my heart? Therefore, I can say honestly that the Bible answers all issues concerning faith and what is spiritual. Your Bible is a guide for living it show you obedience to faith and disobedience in faith and can help you rationalize faith in God and Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore, I must also give you this warning that you can not take just one scripture to guide there faith you need all of the scriptures to guide you. Furthermore, an honest approach to the Bible or scriptures should imply a recognition of biases and a willingness to receive scriptural judgment from the whole scripture for a full faith in Almighty God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
While you are trying to give faith there are times when you come to a spiritual drought. It is sad to say however many of us in our walk of faith experience a spiritual drought. What do I mean by spiritual drought it is a time in our spiritual walk in faith when we come to the spiritual wilderness of life of our doubt, and lack of concern. Maybe a better way of saying it is a time when nothing spiritual seems to go the way we want it and therefore it is then we really do not care. Furthermore I have been ask by many in the congregation I have served does God even pay attention to what I am doing or what going on in my life spiritually. And the way I, response to them is God always pays attention it is probably not the way we think God should. This kind of question most of the time came up during Bible study.
Then I would probably share with them some scriptures that have helped me in my time of drought. One of these is found in the book of Genesis 37 where Joseph came to his brothers for his father and is cast into the pit that has no water. My understanding we could look at this chapter in two ways (1) that no water meant that the well had dry up: (2) we could look at it from what the prophet use was. What does no water mean spiritually? Most individual Christian knows about living water that is the water of the soul. An example we are “living water” for our bodies are 98% water. You have heard doctors say that we should drink eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy. Furthermore, you know that we can live weeks without food, but only days without water. Therefore, the human body is a “body of water” it is a term that the scripture uses for body of people.
Throughout Christ ministry, from the start to finish, Jesus lifted up water as the source of life. However, the comparison of living water it is also the source of spiritual healing the souls of humankind. Therefore, we have to take into consideration that there is more than one kind of water that is used for more than one kind of body. Paul states about how many bodies we have in the book of 1 Corinthians chapter fifteen. Furthermore, because we know the Lord God and how God gave it for humankind use for regeneration, strengthening, and refreshment, therefore I feel that God felt that He had moved upon His people a surging of living water by sending His Son into this world to bring salvation to humankind.
In Christ Jesus, we can know and feel the spiritual regeneration, spiritual strengthening, and the spiritual refreshment of that gift of living water. God is still offering to all humankind today that living water. To my way of thinking, it is the water of faith that we need to give to others to influence them that the Holy Ghost of the Jesus and God moves in our lives. Why I say this is it is showing that the rushing waters of the river of life is flowing from our souls. Furthermore, this is three things you can to give others to experience Jesus in their life.
I feel that what I am about to say many other ministers as well as writers have stated many times before me: “If you haven’t experienced Christ, you really don’t know what I am talking about.” Take the example of the gospel of John four and the woman at the well when Christ said to her He would have give to her living water. The woman had no idea what Christ was telling her until Christ told her about her life and then in that experience she therefore experienced God’s grace.
Another issue on the giving of faith is telling and showing the life giving bread. So in the spiritual realm life giving bread is the necessary food for the souls of sinners’ Jesus is the absolute food for spiritual life. Our soul has a basic need for the bread of life however we must remember that there are all kinds of spiritual food that humankind has to offer to us in the world today. Christ is the only necessary bread of life. Jesus is the living bread able to give spiritual life as well as Jesus is able to keep it and therefore able to make us grow spiritually. Our souls, dear reader, must have Jesus or we will perish in this life. Therefore, it must be understood that there is no life, no health, apart from the bread of life.
I have said it as well as other pastor to their congregation spiritually Jesus is the bread and only bread of life. Therefore, we must have Jesus daily for our soul. Look at what Jesus says regarding His flesh in John 6:51 Jesus states that those who eat of the flesh of Jesus will live forever. Therefore, in this scripture we can see Christ doctrine of eternal life as the gift of Christ Jesus. However, when we really begin to search for the deep meaning of the bread of life in Bible studies I have found that it is quite misunderstood. Furthermore, when it comes to the bread of life it also brings out the reality of our future life.
In teaching of Christ, concerning the bread of life in John six verses 32-71, in them is all of the truth of the mystery of the bread of life. What I found to be very interesting about the bread of life is in worshiping and that is our failure for true worship, the giver of that bread of life. Furthermore, within the word of Christ in the chapter we find that Christ said something like this those who do not labor for what they eat will perish. Also in this chapter, you will find that Christ had problems with disciples. Why I say this is in this chapter you will find the discourse people in the bread of life, the living water of how they are to endure until Christ comes again. Therefore, because of this discourse many of Christ disciples left Christ and follow Him no more.
To my understanding of labor or work concerning the bread of life in John six I feel that Jesus is explaining to the people of that day as well as today the spiritual significance of the bread of life as well as the living water. Our understanding should be on spiritual feelings when it comes to the bread of life and Christ teaching about the bread of life. However, the scriptures say too many individual of how they are to understand how they are to receive the bread of life. Down through the years in my ministry I have served the communion and told how Christ was the bread of life. However, I can honestly say that I did not fully understand it myself until I started writing this book. Therefore, I would like to share my new understanding with you.
In the gospel of John chapter six Christ states many thing concerning the bread of life and why we should take that bread not only naturally but also spiritually. This chapter begins with the time of Passover and was with the multitude and Jesus asks the question “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” Jn. 6:5 (KJV). When we look at what Christ feelings was we can see the divine care He had for humanity. Not only that this was the time that Christ had to show the spiritual test for them around Him for Christ already knew what He was going to do. With the feeding of the five thousand proves to me that in the spiritual test of the divine abundance to fulfill the supply of life here and in the kingdom to come.
Furthermore, my personal feeling is that that in the body of Christ as Christ states that they look on the miracle in their own nature of being filled with food. However, the true meaning that Christ wanted you and me to receive first of all was the warning against worldliness in that warning we were not to look at the worldly for enduring in this life but the heavenly.
Personal Note: What Christ is saying to me at this moment as I write these words is are work begins at conversion WHY? First of all, according to the New Testament and all the authors or Disciples they write the deep truth of God the Father, His Son, and the Holy Ghost. Furthermore, they write about the universal opportunity that every individual has to face in this saving faith. Also about all of the spiritual attraction, spiritual knowledge that we can receive from the Lord God Almighty in the lesson of life.
We find here in John’s gospel the parable of the bread of life it begins in verse 43-51 where Christ speaks of the manna that came down from heaven that the house of Israel might eat. Therefore, today we still have the manna that came down from heaven that we might eat of that manna which is the bread of life. This bread is the food that provides strength for the labor Christ has called us to do. For in the New Testament as well as the Old Testament we find God providing food that brings life even eternal life. Spiritual labor means spiritual sowing for growing a spiritual crop to be spiritually harvested when the Lord comes again.
The True Basis of Christian Unity
1. Christian unity or like-mindedness recommended by Christ and Paul.
2. The basis or underlying principle of Christian unity written in the Bible.
3. The source of Christian unity or like-mindedness “Christ Jesus”.
If there is only “One Lord, one faith and one baptism” Ep. 4:5 (KJV) therefore, logically, there is only one real unity of fellowship in the Lord. I have always felt that there should be one faith not many different issues on and about faith. Church doctrine, which makes up many fellowships of faith, which is man-made in the creation of what we call denomination. When we look at the message of Jesus to the churches in Revelation, Christ deals with this issue of one faith, one Lord for the last days of the church.
If “Our fellowship is with the Father, and with His son Jesus Christ” and “if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another” then fellowship, according to the Scriptures, begins with the relationship between each individual, God and Christ. Therefore, responsibilities then start with each individual and show outward and inward unity in themselves with God and Christ. The focus is not only on the Church Institution, but also on a spiritual relationship between individuals, God and His Son in the Holy Ghost. Our position towards others then is not centrally controlled but rather in this manner: It is to exercised locally inward and outward unity to the extent that responsibility, spiritual opportunity with love and with the spiritual authority Christ has allowed. The Christian fellowship position starts by defining the boundaries of spirituality in the church and community and its working.
Does the Spirit of God ever advise men to “go where they feel the most comfortable”? I honestly can not really say that this is what Christ or God wants any individual to do. However, I do know that during the years of my ministry I have told people that they should go where they feel comfortable. However, I am not sure if that was the right thing to do for I may have been giving the away not to go to church and worship God.
This is a question I have ask myself: does the Spirit of God ever counsel humankind to make decisions on unity of fellowship based on avoiding problems, or persons, which they do not want to face? The only true answer I could come up with is no. WHY? My answers goes back to the time in my life when I first gave my life to Christ I do not know about others as for me at that time I needed other people helping me to avoid the problems in my spiritual life. Did Paul advise the faithful Corinthians to “start a new fellowship or church”? Isn’t there an obvious difference between “having no fellowship or no church” and starting or joining a new fellowship or church? I feel safe in saying that the answer to this question is clear that Paul did not advise the church at Corinth to do any such thing.
Personally, I feel this even if you were one of these individual people who faced this problem in any church or fellowship I feel that God will direct you through the problem however, will not take you out of the problem. Why would I states this it is because all my years as a Christian and being in the ministry God has always lead me through the problem but God has never taken away the problem. What God has said to me is that my wisdom and knowledge of how to handle the problem comes into meaning do you walk by faith in the spirit for me to guide you? Or to say it another way do we walk with God?
I must say this in regards to walking with God if you completely walked with God as Christ did for His Father Almighty God you would be the greatest, preacher, teacher, church leader on the face of this earth. However, we must also remember what is stated in the gospel of John 15 where John writes Jesus words in verse five “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (KJV) Therefore I ask you this question does nothing mean nothing here? Of course not: What Jesus meant was this that you could do a lot of things. However, I can not be spiritually fruitful in my Christian life of bearing the spiritual fruit if I do not abide in Christ.
Therefore, how do I tell you how to walk a Christian walk? A Christian walk is a spiritual walk. However, to walk in the worldly walk is a sinful walk. Look at this example in this question: Do you control your appetites for things or do they control you? Another way of saying it is do your wants or desires control you? Therefore, there are two issues you face the spiritual mind or the worldly mind in your daily walk. Therefore, it is in these two issues that I go back to what I wrote earlier about the messages Christ wrote to the seven churches about their spiritual walk. As being a pastor for years let us look at the unspoken truth and that is that if any one individual does not walk in the spirit of Christ and Almighty God this individual will obviously fulfill the lust of the flesh.
However, I know it has an old story as Christian we hear the message about spiritual walking, spiritual living and doing spiritually right and about following the spiritual rules of spiritual conduct. These are good reminders for us in the church however I feel that we need hear about our duties as servants of Christ. Why I make this statement is because the scriptures makes it clear about the duties of Christian living. In the Bible studies I have done on the book of James: James clearly states that we are to be “doers and not hearers of the word only” James 1:22. (KJV) What I feel that means is that we strive for a conduct within our self a spiritual Christ like manner.
Furthermore, we with other like-minded believers should help to maintain a lifestyle that is consistent with our belief and our profession of faith and trust in God and Christ Jesus. However, what I am about to state goes back to what I call and old problem not a new problem: Which is some lust to satisfy the flesh, some liquor, some cigarette, some sleeping pills, some drugs, some sex, and some say they are so tired on Sunday morning they just go back to sleep. What I have found in my ministry is that the strong believer views the spiritual struggle as the race to be won over the power of evil. Therefore, we must exert our spiritual power against all of the power of the flesh.
I have heard this time and time from the old saints of the church that if they had failed in their spiritual struggle it was because they had gave in. “I can’t walk as Christ walked. After all, He was God. And yes, I know I should not do this sin. But the urge is so powerful; my appetite for it is so strong, that after a while, I cannot ignore it. It occupies my every being is awaken to the thought. It drives me wild. Therefore, I am too weak to resist and so I give in. I must say that this is the cry of far, far too many Christian today. Furthermore, I must say it does not have to be that way. Christ made it clear and yet simple, yet every effective spiritual weapon that can be used against the evil of the flesh. HOWEVER MOST CHRISTIAN NEVER USES IT. FAITH!
Another thing I remember while I was pastoring that people would say to me and that was I can not be saved I have sinned so much that God would not forgive me. Take for example Peter when Christ was on trial and Peter denied that he knew Christ. In this act, we need to look at the human realization of weakness of the flesh. Therefore, if we look at the understanding of Peter: Peter did not do this willfully it was simply the prevailing weakness of the flesh. And after Peter seen, what he had done in his moment of weakness repented and God loves our repentance. For Christ bids, we come with our sins to the foot of the cross for His grace. For Christ said my grace is sufficient.
Question: How long has it been before you start your day that you have got down on your knees and asked the Lord Jesus for strength for the day? Personally, I can not believe that if we trust God for anything and fully expecting from God: that God would fail to give it to us what we are expecting. However, I do believe there are times that we may tell ourselves and others in such away that we may deceive ourselves in trusting our faith in God. However, I do believe this that we as human being can do many things that makes ourselves appear that we trust God. However it is going to take a supreme effort on our part of faith if not, we fail.
What is God’s testimony through the scriptures?
To answer the question I had many questions of my own that needed answered. So with much prayer and study these are some of the things I came up with. God’s testimony is found in God’s prophecies of the prophets starting with Moses. In other words the Holy Bible. Another way of stating it is the complete record from the beginning of time as we know it today. God’s testimony began with the creation of humankind or the seed of humankind. In addition, the conflicts that God would help humankind through, until the prophecy of time is fulfilled. Furthermore, you can find what is in the heart of God for His creation and what God wants fulfilled.
What God has revealed to me is His zeal and that He wants to be a friend and that He hates being hated. In a message I did I ask a question what is the question that all of us ask when it comes to understanding. What do you ask people to do when it comes to understanding you? My answer to them is all I ask you to do is just understand me. Through out the writing of the scriptures, we find the God bearing His testimony. Therefore, by God’s testimony God has provided issues of life that we are able to recognize, what is spiritual? However, in my years of ministry I have found out that many times people want to recognize it, as maybe it is spiritual. In the New Testament, we find that the apostles depended heavily upon the testimony of God to convince people about Christ and His Second Coming. Therefore, are you willing to accept God’s testimony concerning His feelings for His creation?
Taking this thought a step further, God knows us. God knows what we are; God knows also, what God meant us to be. Moreover, God does not love to say anything needlessly, what I mean is that God cannot say anything that is untrue. Furthermore, God does not have any motive to misrepresent Himself or us for God loves to tell us of good, not evil. God’s divine testimony concerning humankind is that we are sinners saved by grace His grace. God’s word bears witness of His testimony. God’s divine testimony concerning humankind is that humankind is a sinner.
Christ bears witness for God, not against God, Christ however, does say “there is none righteous”; and “none that doeth good”; none “that understandeth”. Christ goes on to say none that even seeks after God. Furthermore, on a personal note that in the world and church today still more individual that loves God like God loves them. Why I states this is God always speaks of humankind more kindly than they speak of Him.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Earlier I wrote about that all things were God’s. Now I want to write about what Paul wrote in the book of Philippians. In chapter, four it deals with God power and enabling grace. When I read this chapter of Philippians many thoughts come to mind. First was brotherly love, secondly the rules for living, thirdly victory over anxiety, fourth is adaptation to circumstances and finally liberality.
Believers have, been given a very neat challenge as followers of Christ. Because Almighty God has asks us in many ways, in the Old and New Testament to place God and Christ Jesus at the center of our lives. Did you ever play the game “follow the leader” as a child? Do you remember how to play? Take this game as an example, Jesus is the leader, where Jesus asks us to let Him be in our lives. Jesus does this in asking us to let Him lead the way. Furthermore, Jesus asks us to acknowledge Him as our resource in what we say and do in life. When we do this, we prosper because of the blessing of God is upon our lives. Moreover, it is not that we are aiming to prosper or aiming for the blessing. The things that matters when you are in this position it proves you are living for Jesus and that you care about the relationship you have with God and Christ Jesus and you guard it from harm.
Question as a theme for thought: The question is are you able to acknowledge Jesus as your resource of Life? Another question do you see Christ preparing the way for you? Do you see Christ at work in your life and are you doing things with your life that you could not if Christ did not do it for you? Personally all three of these questions are themes for thought in spiritual living.
Another neat thing about God. For example, God gives you and me what we are able to handle and then gives us more. For instant God gives you $50.00. It is not much. It is something though. God may watch over you, and to see what you do with this $50.00. I was teaching on tithing some years ago at one of my churches. Some of you may be thinking fifty cents is not much. However, God would be looking for your obedience. We come to God as we are. Some of you would leave fifty cents in the offering and leave yourself with $49.50. I would hope that you follow the Lord’s leading with the $50.00. Next time around God may trust you with $100.00. You were able to handle the $50.00 and so it is time for more. God looks at your heart for giving.
God places you and me in situations where we will be able to grow. God is looking for people who He may work through to help others to grow. Furthermore, I am not just talking about pastor and preachers. God is looking for individuals that He may use as well as letting Him be a vessel in their spiritual life. God is not about to intrude on your life. God is there and God wants in. When God created humankind, God was looking for someone who would be willing to respond to Him. We train dogs not to bark and we train birds to talk. God does not want to train humankind God wanted humankind to respond to Him and His love. God wanted a special relationship. God opened the door and you have responded. Therefore, we find ourselves in many positions.
Some of you may be in the place where you are serving the Lord and God is blessing you. Numbers may not be an issue to God, but what is going on in your heart is. Some of you may be in a position where you are receiving from the Lord and at this time, you are not pouring out your blessing into to others. Therefore, we find ourselves in a difficult place with the Lord. However, that is what we think. In addition, many of us fine ourselves in this position with the Lord and in this position, it is where we are working to move closer to Jesus and Almighty God. Furthermore, this may be the reason for the season where is God’s word in our life?
We need to realize something about Christian living. It is God is your resource. God is your resource of finances. God is your resource of employment and the activities you involve yourself. Because God is your resource, you are able to come to Him and pray that have a need for more money to pay the bills. You would be surprised what God will do when your sights are set on Him. When you are able to acknowledge the God is your resource, God is able to work through you in a mighty way. God is not out to destroy you. God is the Father and is the ideal parent. Our pride is what trips us up. God may be protecting you from giving you more until you deal with pride or things in your life that would block God from being your resource.
God has given to us an awesome tool of prayer to use. How many of us know how to use a computer? How many of you know how to pray? The computer is a tool and so is prayer. In prayer, God is able to communicate with you and direct you to make clear and certain decisions. God is able to help you with your finances. Maybe some of you need to head to God first before asking for help of others. When you are able to acknowledge God privately, God is going to bless you publicly or as the Bible states it openly. In addition, others around you are going to be spiritually blessed because you know God.
I wrote earlier some about spiritual joy that it comes from knowing God as Lord. Spiritual joy is a resource needed for spiritual living. You are in the position where you are saying “Jesus you are first” and so Jesus is overshadowing your life. There is now a spiritual relationship here. Furthermore, your testimony now is what God created in you to do will be to achieve what is spiritual in your life. In addition, you will be spiritually happy because of how you are created by God; and what you were made of and for you will be doing with life. It will not be all intellect, which is running your life, but the leading of the Holy Ghost. In everyday life, we are in various places in our relationship with Jesus. Therefore, I would like to give you some basic steps and prayers to pray. First, apply them to your life to see where it fits.
Spiritual Faith in a Power beyond Ourselves
We are looking in particular, at the biblical roots of the spiritual steps; a foundation clearly identified in the scriptures the steps of life. Consider when I Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us. When you are struggling to manage a spiritual problem, it is frustrating to hear someone say. “I’m too busy bailing water out of my sinking boat to bother with all that!” Here’s the rub: “Whoever would save his life must lose it [surrender], but whoever loses his life for me & the gospel will save it” Mk. 8:35 However, I remember back when I first was called by God into the ministry how many times I heard said “Until we give up, we cannot give in. Until we give in, we cannot get in. Until we get in, we cannot get well.”
Before we can believe in a Higher Power, have to admit our powerlessness. What is that suppose to mean? How spiritual reality is structured? Encounter with the real God begins when we come to grips with spiritual reality. However, this may be a new thought to you spiritual insanity: inability to deal with spiritual reality. When you admit powerlessness, it is like are first breath of spiritual reality, therefore, the realm where the real God is found. No one individual facing spiritual reality of God does not until they face the reality of self. It is us in a boat of our lives, bailing because our boat has sprung a leak, until we notice our bailing is not keeping up with leaking (we are powerless to save ourselves), stop bailing long enough to see Jesus walking on water toward our sinking boat.
You will not see him, until you stop bailing. What does this mean practically, if we are fighting a losing battle with natural life or spiritual life, or with some other manifestation of sin-sickness? Instead of fighting the problem, begin admitting the problems then you have it licked. Then put yourself in a position to have a faith-encounter with God. First, the gospel of Jesus is, according to the source of wisdom for the spiritual steps themselves. Jesus, more than any, would deserve, from a strictly historical perspective, the most credit for the wisdom of the steps, building as he did on the Hebraic biblical tradition. Secondly, among the higher powers, none, as far as I know, has willingly died for us, “while we were still helpless.” That, I think, commends Jesus quite highly.
Thirdly, “The most powerful idea that’s entered the world in the last few thousand years—the idea of grace—is the reason I want to be a Christian.” When facing one’s powerlessness, one is wise to seek the author of Grace, for help. Therefore, the faith of Romans is faith in Jesus, as “Lord.” In addition, it is a step of faith: that a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity both natural and spiritual. Saving in New Testament context almost always means, “Saved from our sins”. From spiritual point of view, our inability to love, is a stranglehold, it is anger on our heart…And, according to Romans; this faith comes by “hearing.” Hearing, in particular good news of Christ.
In addition, hearing this good news from a news-bearer. Telling what happens in spiritual life someone who has experienced saving power of good news and is passing it on to you. For sin, is not the bearer of good news or a recovering sinner. For those suffering from sin-sickness, others are recovering sinners. Therefore, putting yourself in a position to believe means being near people who have been set free by the blood of the Lamb. Near enough to hear so you can believe. For a sinner and non-sinners alike, is a setting where we can get near enough to hear good news, which are essential natural life as well as spiritual life. Settings natural life with spiritual life on a smaller setting, it is that the individual get near enough to hear question, examine, consider, and come to believe. Best hearing happens in conversational space, with someone you know and trust. Therefore, the faith that saves is personal.
If you believe, you will be saved anyone who trusts in God and Christ will never be put to shame. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on the Lord, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Whenever we come to the foot of the cross, we are coming to the place of help for our helplessness. If we could have helped ourselves, we would have, because we would rather do it ourselves. Nevertheless, we cannot. Bring whatever you cannot help yourself with along with you today… Let that act of realism; open your heart again to faith in a power greater than ourselves, who can restore us to what is spiritual.
There are three components to Jesus-Brand spirituality: healed sick, set captives free; spiritual rich inner life, transformative change for the better in real spiritual life; we become what we cannot be thru merely human effort. The steps are the best practical summary of the transformative power of Christ is change. When you walk in the steps of faith and grace, the result is a life-saving grace, becomes the life-enhancing transformation in God. The first two steps are like a cleansing breath: breathing out admitting our powerlessness, breathing in come to believe God could restore us to life. Step three is active: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God.
“I have made a decision” the spiritual capacity to decide is part of the spiritual mystery of what it means to be human. Like God, in whose image we are made, we decide. One of the most terrifying things about being human is our capacity of how we decide here is my example from God’s word “I set before you life and death, and cursing therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deut.30:19. Look at what God has stated life and death now choose life! “Multitudes! Multitudes in the valley of decision!” Joel 3:14 Whenever we look at the scriptures where Aaron enters the Holy Place, Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel on the breastplate of judgment Ex. 28: 29 Notice how judgment or decision is placed over the heart, in the most sacred and terrifying place on earth at the time: the Holy of Holies. What this verse of scriptures is saying is that our judgment or decision goes before the Lord God continually.
Jesus said to one “follow me” “and Peter left his nets and followed” “Follow me,” Jesus said to another, “ “the rich man’s face fell, he went away sad” The most frightening thing about growing up might well be making decisions and judgments. In our earliest years, the whole range of judgments and decisions and options lies open before us. However, with every choice, we narrow our options with judgment. When it comes to ultimate decisions or judgment the questions of God, is the safest bet is not to decide without God’s decision. On the other hand, so says conventional or natural wisdom. However, on the other hand the question of God in judgment, when it comes right down to it I would say we live in the age of procrastination. Some old thoughts “Let us wait ‘till we have better information or I am not comfortable seeing through a glass darkly and deciding on a question like this!”
However, to most individuals this assumes no sense of urgency. In addition, do we really have the luxury of waiting? Take for example, that we are like a starving man driving thru a fog to his next meal. However, we cannot just park and wait for the fog to lift. Another meaning is we are running on natural resources, therefore, time is not on our side. We have to proceed as best we can, with the light of Christ that has given to us. Furthermore, we hear all the time “I don’t know, I won’t decide” is not as safe an option as it appears for me at this time. Therefore, “To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is like choosing immobility as a means of transportation” Life compels decision. Moreover, not to decide is itself a decision. Actions have consequences, but so do inactions.
Ultimately, only you can decide life in Christ. One thing God will not do for us: exert our will for us in judgment. Not even to save us since that judgment would destroy us. I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God, as I understood God. Why is this necessary? Cost of non-spiritual addiction (sin): However, you get your way but you also lose your eternal life. In addition, look at this fact “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?” Mt. 16:26 Cost of recovery (salvation): You relinquish your way but give you back eternal life. “Whoever would save his life will lose it. But whoever loses his life for me and the gospel, will save it.” Mt. 16:25
Jesus in the garden, models the way forward. Jesus will is clean, good, yet Jesus turns it over: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me:” Furthermore, it was for Jesus wrenching, painful experience, one to sweat blood over humanity. To understand is to stand under, not over. There is no turning our will and our lives over to the care of Christ, unless we understand that Christ cared in the garden. That Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves loves us better than we love ourselves.
What is our spiritual factor in God’s love is? I feel that our existence, our actions, affects our spiritual factor. Look at the fact that the scripture states that the earth was corrupt in the sight of God and filled with violence, the Lord saw the wickedness of humankind, and God’s heart filled with pain! We are a factor in the life with God! There is no pain like parent pain. I have known precious little, but the little I have known convinces me there is no pain like a parents pain. Because as parents their children are a factor in their life. This brings us to Jesus. God is understandable in all his infinite Godliness. In Jesus, God comes to us in a way that we humans can understand. Jesus is the graspable factor in us with God. Jesus is the message that God cares! Furthermore, you are a factor in life with God! Therefore, our existence, actions, joys and sorrows, affect God!
That is the whole point of Jesus’ pain! When Lazarus died, “Jesus wept.” When Jesus carried our sins, Jesus also carried God’s pain. Jesus suffering is the ultimate sign that we are a factor to God. Nevertheless, it takes a decision, to turn our will and our life over to God’s care. Have you ever thought about an engagement to God comes about by the acts of our soul. I want to invite you, in God’s Name, to make a decision act of your soul: to turn over the keys of your life to the care of God as you understand God. I not talking about turning your will and your life over to some group, to an ideology, but to the care of God!
It is not like turning your keys to your car over to your 16 year old, for heaven’s sake! We are talking about God here! We are all dependent on God anyway! To turn our will and our lives over is simply to end the hypocrisy, spiritual illusion, and spiritual insanity of self-will run riot! To return to the heart is true home! The invitation is for now, for today! Why today? Because it is possible now today because tomorrow is the day that never comes. “Today is the day of salvation…” “Lord Jesus, I turn over my will and my life to your care. I hand over the keys to my life and I ask you to become the driving influence. I renounce my spiritual insanity of my self-will. Moreover, I embrace the peace, and the goodness and the power of your will.
A brief review of the steps we have already covered: 1. we admitted we were powerless over sin-sickness that our lives had become unmanageable. 2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore our spiritual sanity. 3. Made a decision to turn our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God. These first steps are all about surrender to God. Which begs the question, “What comes next?” Having surrendered, what do we do? Do we pat ourselves on back for becoming spiritual? Not exactly Step four we made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our self.
This journey toward spiritual transformation. In basic spiritual steps, should be manageable, one after other. We start out in life lost. Like you find yourself at a shopping mall like Wal Mart. However, before that information does you any good, you need to locate yourself on the spiritual road map: then say here I am! There is no getting from here to there, until you know where “here” is on the spiritual road map. However, since this is a spiritual journey, knowing where we are physically does not help. The question where am I in relationship to God and with God? The significant distance between God and us not physical but spiritual. God is Spirit, which means God is closer than our next breath. The significant distance between God and us is a moral distance. We find out where we are through a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
The Lord has given humankind a spiritual learning channel I will call a spiritual clean sweep. No, I am not going use scriptures in my first example. First, let us look at a homeowner. Hapless homeowners admit that they are powerless over gutters on the home. They come to believe that a power greater than them of keeping the gutters clean. With out a doubt they ask themselves there has to be a better away to keep up with this over powering problem with the gutters so that they can keep their sanity. The homeowner makes a decision to turn their home over to the care an individual person will care for the problem they have. What is the first thing they do, under the care of this individual? Start repairing the gutters. No, first they would take an inventory of the gutters by taking checking the gutter piece by piece on the home. Powerful things happen during this kind of inventory. They see this gutter with fresh eyes. Not only their own, but the eyes of another individual. Therefore, by getting another individual to care for the problem by doing so they, have to take blinders off so they can see their old, beat-up gutters as old and beat up, not just familiar and comforting. Therefore, they see all of it together and realize, “This is too much of a problem to replace a piece and a piece there. I cannot keep the home place looking right by doing it this way. Therefore, their decision based upon the inventory of the gutters they have taken.
Out of taking inventory of gutters of a home, the next idea is a moral inventory. My years as pastor I found with most people on a whole that morality bit is a little foggy. With the youth, I was told by the youth it is not cool. In fact, many individuals would like to remove the category of morals because it is fault trap with them. Note morals too many people is like a minefield they walk through. Then again, so is love. We have within ourselves a sense of the good, the less than good the bad, the un-good. Yes, morality can be murky around the edges, but the words of the prophet ring true.
“But he has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice and to love steadfast love and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
In fact, a moral inventory counts more than any other inventory we can do for spiritual life. Not only the spiritual trail of life, which is our moral trail, that goes along with life. Our deeds, good and bad. The footprints we make in the sand of life are our moral footprints. However, your moral character will be judge in the kingdom to come. Will Christ say your moral character has made you a faithful friend. Furthermore, will Christ be able to say to you that I loved your humility, honesty, generosity in the kingdom of heaven. We have all been at funerals where the moral bag of the deceased is so mixed little good is said. What I mean by this is for example you hear that they loved their dog, their beer, and their car! The moral good that individual is not inventoried at such service.
The next part of taking inventory is searching through our moral inventory. Searching to my understanding is a good biblical word. It has its roots of our spiritual life in the Bible beginnings, Genesis, where God comes looking for the first humans in hiding. “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’” (Genesis 3: 8-9) Taking this scripture and applying it to the world of human understanding a parent’s, worst nightmare, losing track of his kids. However, God is not searching because God has lost track of us. God is searching because we are hiding. I know wait a minute! Can we really hide from God?” Apparently, we think so! I do not know it as a fact however, I feel that some feel it is a function of their freedom of choice. Therefore, I would say this that Hell will be our permanent hiding place from God, if we insist on it.
More than anything, we hide our moral and spiritual failings. In the basic step of faith, answer for yourself the first question God ever asked: Where are you? However, I would feel safe in saying this it is almost as if you or me help God find us. The more we want to be found, the more searching our inventory we will search. Yes, “searching” is a biblical word. “The heart is deceitful above all things… ” I the Lord search the heart” Jeremiah 17: 9-10 “If we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves…” 1 John. 1:18 “In your anger do not sin, search you hearts and be silent [quiet]” Ps. 4: 4
Searching takes time. A certain deliberate calm made by Satan is where this individual invitation to the wedding feast is. I have missed many things in my life because I searched frantically for means to when it turned up the means to do was passed. I searched high and low like a mad individual. Later that night or the next day, when I would finally calmed down having missed the event, I went into my off one more time, and there, hidden in plain sight was my means would be sitting out in the open. My moral of this story: when you or me are searching for something, do not panic. Search. Calmly, deliberately.
A searching inventory should be a fearless moral inventory. I do not know if I am quoting it right, there is some fascinating research about how men and women that I have read that takes place typically their response internally during a “discussion.” Typically, not always of course we are speaking of trends the woman will be visibly upset, expressing herself to her husband. However, when the woman is linked to a blood pressure cuff, and her heart rate is measured, all the stress signs are low. She is relatively calm inside. The husband however, appears to be the paragon of serenity, sitting quietly, calmly listening. However, it is all quite misleading. On the inside, his blood pressure and heart rate are quite elevated. He is in turmoil! In addition, as a counselor once told me, “Fear makes us dumb.” All the stress reaction chemicals get us ready to fight or flee, but cause us not to think clearly. Therefore, to do a searching inventory well, it needs to be fearless. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God. We can only search fearlessly, knowing God cares. We are in God’s care. God is guiding the process. Whatever it is we find, God can handle.
If you grew up with alcohol or drugs in the family, this may be a real struggle in life for you. You may believe that something is wrong with you. Something you cannot put your finger on it. This is a symptom of the fact that your emotions were formed around the chaos in your family. However, no matter how hard you tried to make the chaos go away, it remained. Therefore, you grew up believing it was your fault. You may this experience to become a crippling fear that if you find what you are looking for in a searching moral inventory no one will be there to help you deal with it. Therefore, the care of God is all the more important for you. So that you can know that, God is with you, and can handle anything you discover in your moral inventory.
Made a searching, fearless, and moral inventory of ourselves. I have been speaking like making a searching and fearless moral inventory was difficult for us to do. A real mountain to climb. Nevertheless, in fact, making a searching and fearless moral inventory is easy. We do them all the time. However, not on our-self of course, but we do inventory of others. When it comes to moral inventories, we are like accountants who break in other peoples businesses uninvited, and walk around taking inventory. Nevertheless, the only heart we are authorized to make inventory on is our own. Jesus said, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Mt.7:3 Christ makes a good point.
First of all, if you find this intimidating, let me make a suggestion to you that no one knows that you are taking inventory only God. One is take it one-step at a time. Two get a notebook. Next start with the obvious things troubling your conscience that you have done for example, lying, stealing, and adultery, cheating and finally act of violence. Things you think you got away with. Things you have said or done to hurt somebody. The list of this moral inventory could cover issues of crimes as well as small crimes. Once you have all of these crimes out of the way in this part of the inventory now start the spiritual inventory of the attitudes of your mind. I the four gospels you will find in Jesus teaching on these issues judging others, contempt for others, and finally revenge. When you get older, include your mid-life crisis. Remember when all of these things come to mind write them down on your inventory list. Another point I need to make do not dwell on each item, or let yourself stew in guilt and shame. The point is to make moral inventory.
After the inventory if you are like me you will be eager to start to let God know your intention. A suggestion I would make is that you work diligently on relying on your conscience. What I mean by this is so you do not feel a distant between you and God. In your mind, you may believe that there is something wrong with you that you feel that you cannot make right. However, this is not an uncommon experience with a new convert to Jesus Christ. I have found in my studies of the Bible and my years as pastor three different sources of guilt feelings false guilt, true guilt, and finally what every individual would call shame. I do not know, however, I would feel safe in saying that shame is the one that plagues the most of us.
Furthermore, shame can set adults as well as children can that you realize something is wrong in your environment. You may do all that you can do to make it right and find that you cannot. What I feel that happens in this is most individuals feel that because they could not help that there was something wrong with them. However, it is not true of course, but to them it feels true. However, remember our Lord Jesus suffer our shame on the cross. Furthermore, look at all the things that happen to the Lord before the cross Jesus was shame publicly. Jesus did nothing wrong, yet He felt shame. Therefore, to my way of thinking Jesus carry our shame publicly before the cross and on the cross. It has been stated by the prophet Isaiah “and with his stripes we are healed.” KJV Therefore, we can let our shame go. This spiritual healing process occurs when we open the door of our heart into Jesus and God’s love. In addition, we let all of Jesus and God’s love teach us to be more compassionate with our self as well as others.
This part of faith and the next step of our spiritual awakening means for us at an altar admit to God, ourselves, and to others. Does not our heart leap with joy on that moment of conversion. Do I remember my response of joy at my conversion? Yes I do. What did Christ say about those coming to admit it before God? “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth,” therefore, with Christ own words that admitting we are a sinner is precious and all of heaven rejoices.
What is your response to joy? Now I know what Christ stated about joy however, what is to your understanding the nature of joy spiritual and natural? When it comes to the natural joy I cannot speak for anyone else only myself therefore, my natural joy is when I let others know that I am wrong this sets my mind at ease. For example of my natural joy and peace of mind is when I am keeping something to myself and I let it be known to others I then get a real joy and peace. My spiritual joy comes when I talk to the Lord and walk with the Lord.
Down through the years I have heard it said from time to time about the realities of the heart and its capacity for understanding right and wrong. A few months ago, I really had to start looking at this issue of the heart according to the scriptures. I know that it been said from the generation of Noah about the heart of humankind. However, personally I had a problem with that because to my understanding in my mind the heart is what makes the body work. The mind is the control over all things of the body. However, Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew five verse three states “poor in spirit” which means “poor in mind” however, it could also mean one with humility. However, God also show to my understanding why use heart. For example the scriptures uses the word heart many times in reference to evil, wicked, understanding, joy just to name a few.
What is the spiritual heart according to the scriptures? To start out with on the real issue of the heart I feel that we need to understand the relationship of humankind with God. Let us start with Deuteronomy 5:29 where God ask the question about the heart of Israel. In this scripture about the heart this feeling came to mind about maybe God is asking the question to Moses “Oh that there were such an heart in them,” My personally feeling I got when I read this does God have a doubt about the heart of humankind. The answer is no God was just pointing out the fact that humankind needed divine guidance.
Let us look at this reality of the heart and that is our capacity to deceive ourselves. Why I make this kind of a statement none of us is born with a full develop spiritual heart. The development of a full spiritual heart can only happen in the process of life. First, we need to at the sense truth of what we are saying and what we are not saying. How do we deceive ourselves and is it dangerous? To my personal feelings, the answer is yes. Back when I was young, I remember how I felt when I was caught in the act of getting into the cookie jar. Later in life I began to realizes that this is the spirit of truth of being caught of deceiving. In addition, what happens is that I began to tell a story of that was not what I was doing and furthermore, believe that story. Frightening, because I was taking away the reality of the truth within myself. What I am saying is that deceiving is blinding yourself.
What is the response of admitting wrong? Pastors down through the years would answers the question like to the individual come to confess their sins. I know that this may sound like to you a painful humiliation however, I want you to remember Christ humiliation on the cross. I feel they would go on to say that, this is the way of letting others know who we are confessing. These four things is the real facts on confessing to God, to ourselves, to another human being, all things. Why do I say all when there is just three? It is because when we confess all three are in the light of the gospel of 1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another.” (KJV)
After admitting then the next step is getting completely ready for God. Which means that we are entirely ready to let God remove all our defects. Oh, I know which defects am I talking about. The ones I am talking about is all of the searching of the heart and then admitting to others. In addition, being entirely ready is not complete without transformation. What I mean is big transformation, little ones, and single ones. Furthermore, all the in-between ones. Therefore, all means each and every step without exception.
What does it mean to be a spiritual grown up?
Remembering when I was five years old, I knew what it meant to be a grown up: you got to sit in the dining room for Thanksgiving dinner instead of the kitchen. You got to stay up as late as you wanted even on weeknights; and you got to have ice cream for dessert every night of the week instead of just Thursdays. To my kindergarten eyes, being an adult was all about being able to do special things. So I thought that when I could do those special things, that would mean I was a grown up. However, when I got to about seventh grade and was able to do all those things, it turned out I still did not feel like I had become a grown up. So I figured that well, the really adult things weren’t eating ice cream every night, but rather learning to drive, being able to vote. Well, eventually I received those privileges too, and got into college – but the feeling of having come into my own adulthood continued.
That way of thinking about adulthood, as a particular set of privileges to receive or challenges to accomplish, always left I feeling unsatisfied. As I gained each set of privileges or completed each set of challenges, I would feel very accomplished – but it would only last about a week. Then I would realize that though I had done something new or enjoyed another success, I did not feel much more mature. I did not feel like I was much different from the kindergartner who just wanted more ice cream. Although more and more people were treating me like I was an adult, and I certainly experienced the privileges and autonomy of getting older, my feelings of immaturity on the inside did not go away. Something was missing and I kept wondering how old I had to turn before I was finally going to FEEL like I had grown up.
What I was missing was a sense of spiritual maturity. The real journey to spiritual adulthood that I desperately wanted to make required more than just doing adult things or earning adult privileges, it required developing a deeper spiritual outlook on the world – coming to see life through a different paradigm than the one of my childhood. Facing the beginning of a new phase of life, coming into my own adulthood, I realized the importance of developing a spiritual outlook on the world as a pathway to my own natural maturity as well as my spiritual. Nevertheless, what exactly is a mature spiritual outlook?
My difficulties in feeling grown up because I was still looking at the world the way I did when I was a young adolescent – through a paradigm that emphasized individuality. What were my needs, what were my dreams, what were my hopes? These questions appear during our teenage years, those are important questions to ask. I think it is essential to gain a sense of individual identity and the work ethic that comes along with self-reliance and the rewards of individual accomplishment. In addition, over the course of our lives, that paradigm helps our spiritual motivate to identify our spiritual pursue of our own spiritual and legitimate needs.
However, I think that developing a mature spiritual outlook pushes us beyond individual responsibility towards an embrace of interdependence and mutuality in our daily decision-making. It recognizes more fully that our spiritual needs and spiritual hopes exist in relationship to the needs and hopes of others, and that as the needs and hopes of those around us change so to do our own spiritual outlook.
Let me bring to your attention relationally and mutual interdependence type of mature spiritual outlooks that Paul describes in the letter to the Ephesians. Christians in Ephesus were a rather pluralistic bunch made up of both Jews and Gentiles who wanted to follow Jesus. They were having a hard time getting along with each other because each group was asserting that fulfilling their own spiritual and religious needs was more important than recognizing the needs of the other group. Paul in advising the Ephesians on how to respond to that spiritual challenge, Paul uses the metaphor of coming of age, and speaks of “no longer being children” but instead “growing up in every way” into the body of Christ. For Paul, this kind of spiritual maturity means “bearing one another in love,” and recognizing that the “unity of the Spirit” exists among people despite the differences in their spiritual circumstances. This approach to life means seeing the world both through the lens of our own spiritual needs and hopes, and listening to our brothers and sisters speak to us through the lens of their spiritual needs and hopes. Recognizing it means that we have become aware of another’s spiritual needs, therefore, we may change our understanding of our own.
I imagine some of us have probably experienced this before — of coming face to face with the spiritual needs of others and in doing so, finding your own spiritual needs transformed. Oftentimes developing extended friendships with folks from parts of the world with high rates of poverty or violence, whether in developing countries or here in our own city, leads us to reevaluate our own sense of spiritual need. This can be a frightening proposition, it can throw us into stormy seas where we worry about being too naïve with our charity or about giving in to some kind of liberal guilt, our minds being “tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness.” Therefore, the very important issue is not to let such honest confusion, turn into fear or avoidance of our relationships just because they are challenging. Spiritual maturing into a truly interdependent way of looking at the world is not easy; it involves many false starts; and it takes time – perhaps a lifetime.
This brings us to the Gospel of Mark. More than any of the other Gospels, Mark is concerned with the disciples’ spiritual maturity, with their coming to embody a mature, interdependent spiritual outlook on life through their journeys with Jesus. The sense of urgency in Mark’s gospel, the constant foreshadowing of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the narrator’s harsh rebukes of the disciples’ spiritual shortcomings, all serve as reminders of a spiritual vocation, soon it will be our turn to proclaim the Spirit of God in the world. Will they be ready? Will they be able to go on when Jesus is no longer with them?
Given Mark’s focus on the urgency of the disciples’ spiritual maturity, Jesus sending his disciples forth continue their ministry on the other side of the Galilee, is not unlike Elijah passing his mantle of prophecy on to Elisha. Except that this is something of a dress rehearsal, an opportunity to practice carrying on their ministry without Jesus before his all-too-soon execution makes his absence more real.
It takes an entire lifetime to grow into spiritual maturity – even at the hour of the Cross, the disciples abandoned Jesus in their fear, only to come back after the resurrection and carry his message into the world. Repeatedly, each of us will face ghosts and become afraid along our journey into the interdependent Body of Christ. My fear of not having enough ice cream, or enough health insurance, to be really be a grown up. Do you know what your ghosts are? What seems so terrifying to you about living your life in a more truly a spiritual interdependent way?
Though some will judge you for being afraid of your shadow, and call you names just as the writer of Mark calls the disciples “hard-hearted” for their fear, Jesus has a different message for you. Knowing that the way to encourage spiritual maturity is through spiritual challenge and spiritual comfort, not spiritual guilt or spiritual chastisement Jesus said to His terrified disciples “Be Not Afraid.” Moreover, he gets into their boat, and goes forth with them once more, helping them in their need to become spiritually grown ups. Spiritual Index the A’s