Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Purpose of Grace


 

[Continued from last week….]

“But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it). ”
(James 4:6)

The Spirit of God is well aware of the iniquities that dwell within in hearts. In spite of this, He continues to bestow upon us greater grace because He is aware of our frailties. He yields up a divine influence upon our hearts. This grace, or divine influence, is not given to us so that we may continue to sin without guilt, living in a way that is not pleasing to God. Instead, this grace is given to us so that we may overcome. With this grace, we can humble ourselves before God that we may “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

So how do we apply this to our daily lives?

When teaching on humility, Nancy Leigh Demoss says:

“…What happens when God convicts me of sin, if, instead of going to Mt. Sinai…I go to Mt. Calvary, where grace was given through Jesus Christ? I humble myself. Lord, You’re right. I have sinned. I agree with God. Write those words down. Agree with God. That’s a response of humility to the conviction of God’s Spirit in our hearts.”
(emphasis mine)

Grace has no effect in the proud heart. It is only in the heart of the humbled and broken spirit that grace is able to bring about proper fruits of righteousness. It is the humbled heart that agrees with God and with His Word. It is a broken spirit that is able to say, “God, you are right and I am wrong. I have no excuse and I choose not to hide my wrongdoing.” To receive His grace, we must be able to open our hearts, minds, and souls to Him – even our very lives – so that He can make us a vessel of honor unto Him.

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God is Jealous for Your Heart


 

We continue our study on James 4:4-10. Today, we look at James 4:5, which says

 “Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?”

 God doesn’t want to share our hearts. He desires to have us wholly to Himself. He definitely doesn’t desire to share in our affections with the world.

The Spirit of God makes permanent residence within our hearts. He does not come for a temporary visit, but to dwell within and make habitation within our hearts. He intensely craves our hearts and our affections and our desire and our will. When we deny of Him of this, it is grievous to Him.

He has known the heart of God and He knows the plans and purposes that God intends for each of us. It grieves Him to see us living in a state lower than what God intends for us. He knows the power that He possesses and it grieves Him to know that we have not accessed that unlimited power. Even more so, it grieves Him to know that we exchange His power and His ability to chase of the perishing things of this world.

 

 


Spiritual Adultery (Part 2)


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There are some Christians that seem to always be in and out. Their walk with Christ is similar to a merry-go-round: always moving but never getting anywhere. Does this describe you or someone you know? Sure enough, spiritual adultery is the reason for their unstable behavior. God commands that we love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (see Deut. 6:5 and Matt. 22:37). To love God any less will lead to a wandering heart. If or when we find ourselves in this place, we must “root it out” of our hearts. In other words, we must seek within ourselves until we come to the root of the problem and destroy that root so that it will never grow again.

So, what is at the root of spiritual adultery?

In yesterday’s post, we discussed James 4:4 and Jeremiah 9:2-7. If we have become friends with the world, James calls us adulterers and adultresses. In Jeremiah 9, we were able to get a description of adulterous followers of God. Jeremiah further identifies the root of spiritual adultery by pointing out that Israel had continually “walked after the imagination of their own hearts” (Jeremiah 9:14). In other words, whatever they felt like doing, whatever they thought to do, that they did. They followed after their hearts instead of following after God.

This is the way of the world. “Whatever makes you feel good, do it.” “Follow your heart.” There is, however, one problem with this: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…” (Jeremiah 17:9). When we find ourselves continually drifting and wandering from the path of righteousness, it is clear that we have a wandering heart. Quite simply, discontentment causes our hearts to drift. For if we were satisfied with God alone, we would have no reason to wander.

Instead of following our hearts, we must teach ourselves to choose to follow God and His Word alone. Unlike Old Testament saints, we have a Helper who is able to keep us. Being led by the Holy Spirit, we can defend our hearts against the vanities of this life. We cannot trust our heart: it will lead us astray every time. Therefore, let us be conscious to acknowledge God and allow Him alone to direct our plans and our paths.


Spiritual Adultery (Part 1)


Stop adultery - fear hell!

Stop adultery – fear hell! (Photo credit: bering)

Oftentimes, when we think of adultery, we think of situations where a husband or wife has cheated on their spouse with someone outside of the marriage. This may take place in form of a sexual or emotional relationship. Either way, sacred marriage vows are when   intimacy – which was meant for their spouse – is shared with someone outside of the marriage relationship. As a result, there are often feelings of betrayal, rejection, deep hurt, and bitterness.

But what about spiritual adultery? James 4:4 (Amplified Version) states:

You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God.

In Jeremiah 9, the prophet lists several characteristics that identified the children of Israel as adulterers:

  • They were unfaithful (9:2)
  • They were untrustworthy (9:2)
  • They were liars  (9:3)
  • They were constantly pursuing evil and doing wrong (9:3)
  • They told stories that damage the reputations of others (9:4)
  • They were not loving one another (9:4)
  • They refused to speak God’s Word (9:4)
  • They had a heart full of lies (9:5)
  • They loved sin more than God (9:5)
  • They refused to know God (9:6)
  • They refused to seek God, even though it was not difficult to find Him (9:6)

 Look at this list and take an honest assessment of your own heart and your own life. Do you find that any of these characteristics are true for you? Let us examine our hearts and see ourselves for what we truly are. God can help us, but we must be honest with Him and honest with ourselves.

God requires holiness from us. And He desires that we should be wholly and totally devoted to Him. We hope that you will continue to follow this Bible Study on tomorrow when we look at the root cause of spiritual adultery.

 

 


Repent


I have noticed that there is a word that is going out all over America. That message is “repent and return to God with our whole hearts and our whole souls.” There are Bible teachers and preachers who have gained a reputation for giving a “watered down” version of God’s Word. Even these men and women of God have begun to proclaim this Word across the Nation. We would be wise to heed their words.

For the next couple of days, we will be focusing on the following verses from the book of James:

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Some of us will find, during our Christian journey, that we have strayed from the narrow path. The purpose of this Bible Study is to give instruction on how to return to that path of righteousness, and how to return with our whole heart.

Follow along and share this with others. You may not have strayed away from God, but someone else in your life has strayed. Don’t be so selfish as to go to Heaven and help anyone else to get there.

Continue to pray for us and we will continue to pray for you.


A Garment of Praise


When the Spirit of heaviness weighs upon us, it can feel like a dark cloud has clouded our very souls. The cares of this life weighs upon us and it is hard to see the silver lining of the clouds. Hopelessness sets in and we wonder whether God sees and knows what we are going through. We wonder whether things will change. We wonder if we will ever come out of our present trials. Oh…. But God is faithful! He can and He will do it.

Here’s some information I gleaned while browsing the Internet:

THE EFFECT OF A SPIRIT OF HEAVINESS

  • It darkens our countenance: Our hearts are down cast. This spirit brings a “heaviness” over us..
  • It dims our vision, robs our hope. The room may actually look darker.
  • It brings a heavy, oppressive feeling. It quenches our faith.
  • It may come over many at once , like a plague. It can be like a cloud, hanging over a place.
  • It causes us to isolate, it steals our love, makes us feel alone.

OVERTHROWING THE SPIRIT OF HEAVINESS

  • Recognize it. This is not you, you are a child of God. This is not God’s will for you. Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
  • Don’t believe anything negative you think under its influence. Accept no criticism of yourself or others. 2 Corinthians 10:5 We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
  • Put on the Garment of Praise (Is 61:3) This literally means to be “Wrapped Up In Praise” God has given it to you to put on. Take action including adoration, thanksgiving, singing and glorifying. Get loud, get definite, aggressive! Wrestle it down. (Eph.6) and break into the anointing.

So, when we are afflicted with heaviness, we can wrap ourselves in the promises of God and with memories of His goodness. Truly, God has done great things for us and He is the lifter of our heads. He is our comfort. He is our praise.


Enemies and Foes


Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because is he that is in you, than he that is in the world”
(1 John 4:4)

You can quote me on this: the Devil doesn’t fight fair. He will come with his best tricks and heaviest artillery to take us down. He will cause people from our past to reemerge. He will stir up unresolved pains and hurts. He will stir up people to attack us — verbally and physically. But why does he do this?

Simply because he hates us. He hates us because we have believed upon and trusted in Christ for salvation and sanctification. Before Christ, the enemy’s goal was to keep us blinded to the Truth. After Christ, the enemy’s goal is to keep us from realizing our true identity in Christ and walking in the power of His Spirit. The enemy wants to take us down. By. Any. Means. Necessary.

Yet, there is One who is more powerful than the Devil. There is One who has made the Devil his footstool. There is one who has defeated him. And we have His Spirit dwelling within us. He reveals the Truth to us when the enemy tells us lies. He convicts us when we are wrong. He comforts us when we are hurt. He strengthens us when we are weak. Yes. The Holy Spirit dwells within us and He has overcome all things. There is a victor dwelling within us, encouraging us to fight. We have already overcome. We have already won. Now…. Let us walk in it.


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