Sunday, August 23, 2015

Just a Thought "42"

In the world, but no longer of the world, because we are now in Christ. The old things beings passed away, does not mean that people in Christ are now sinless at all. Sins are no longer the issue in the mind of God, not when it comes to that which separates the human race from God.

The sin question was settled, we have got to have this established upfront, or we will confuse the Bema and we will confuse being praise worthy of God. Those who accepted this great wonderful news, the message of reconciliation, it is up to us to go to the world to the lost and tell them, God is not counting your sins against you.

The thing that is brand new, those who accept Paul’s good news in this Age of Grace are called a New Creation, but still in this body, and still subject to the same temptations. The Pastors roll is to prepare their people for the Bema, that is what teaching and pastoring is all about. 
Paul’s ministry was distinct, because Paul was the chief, the head architect for the Age of Grace for the building called the Body of Christ. The Bema of Christ, issues with which we need to be concerned, understand God does not want us to be unaware of the evaluation we will face. 
The Bema has to do with the building project, remember whenever we see those words “labour or work” in Paul’s epistle, they are always in direct connection to the Bema of Christ. What is this blueprint? Paul’s epistles are laid out in the manner of Doctrine, Reproof, Correction, issues. 
Paul tells us what those issues are in those epistles, and when it comes to our reward worthiness or not being worthy of reward, Faith, Hope, Love, are the maturity of the believer is all about, and the maturity of the believer is what the evaluation at the Bema of Christ is all about. 
The Bema has to do with the building project. The building is the Body of Christ. We as members of the Body of Christ, are co-labors with God in the building project. The Chief Architect for the building project, the master builder is the apostle Paul. The blueprint for the proper construction of this building has been given to apostle Paul for the work crew of which we are apart. 

If one considers the mind as the engine of understanding, then the engine of understanding must be fueled with the word of God, if it is fueled with emotions, what happens when the fuel runs out?

The Last Days of this Age of Grace, the ever increasing tendency of people to focus their thoughts on self, to be self centered. Satisfy me, satisfy my interest, if people do not satisfy my interest, I will go else where, selfish is as good as term as any.

A major satanic goal is to hide the justification aspect of the good news of the grace of God, the lost include many of the most moral and religious people in history. The natural inclination of religious people is to conceive of salvation as resulting from merit, based on something they can do for God, have done or commit to do for the future.

There are people that live in a state that is opposite of happiness, they always seems to be down, always be angry, always be ready for disappointment. Happiness is a state of mind that can be created, happiness is a state of mind that can be mustered up, happiness is a choice.

There are many who lack joy from not understanding that justification is complete, so we can not look at people and say that person gave their life for what they believed, religious, but lost.

The pride nature in people have a difficult time understanding how righteousness from God’s viewpoint can be granted apart from their conduct or commitment. Performing that which is good and ceasing from that which is bad, is directly related in most people’s minds, especially the religious mindset today to the way that God views a person.

Many people believe they are God, and therefore, they do not need salvation, they need enlightenment. They need to be able to find some way to get in touch with that God that is in them, that God-Spark! And of course, the God-Spark is not stationary.

The God-Spark is moving all the time called “Ying-Yang” in some belief systems. That God-Spark can sometimes just get jammed up, and they need to free it so it can operate, which is what yoga was based on. Currently the fastest growing trend within brief systems that humankind has ever seen, reincarnation is all wrapped up in the Pantheist mind-set, coming back again and again until they get it right, then when a person gets it right, “Nirvana!”

Satan and his clan loves to propagate in the minds of people, they love it when people question God! When people begin to question God, that frees them up to develop their own concept of God and establish their own basis for a relationship with the god that they have invented in their minds.

Our brains are an engine of understanding, our transformation process that is taking place in our lives as we take in the Word of God and apply it to the details of our lives, it is only when we come to properly understand God from his perspective concerning ourselves.

Both before we came to understand Paul’s good news, and then what we are and who we are after we have believed Paul’s good news and have been joined to God’s son, then we can be capable of viewing others and relating to others accordingly who are also members of Christ’s body of his flesh and of his bones. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Just a Thought "41"

We are not to cleanse ourselves in order to gain something from God, when it comes to our holy standing before him, or to maintain something before God because we have been freely given something, namely a justified and sanctified position in God’s son, Jesus Christ.

How can those who have been justified freely, sanctified in Jesus Christ, how should we be conducting ourselves? We should conduct ourselves in a manner that goes sides by side or that goes in hand with what God has already called us to do, our ambassadorship of the message of reconciliation.

Paul was teaching grace, plus nothing, and that leads people with a sin nature and pride nature to say, Oh, we have got something! If we do not know what Justification and Sanctification are all about, and we think that we are justified on the basis of how we set ourself apart behaviorally, naturally we want other people to set themselves apart, and we want them to have to tow the mark, as you have to tow the mark to keep God happy.

May grace never be the cause, although grace is true, may grace never be the cause for a person to think they should now go out and sin all the more. May that type of reasoning not cross our minds, that is not the way a believer should be thinking!

People do what they want to do, we have always done what we want to do, and people continue to do what they want to do. We would naturally come to be thinking along those lines, if we fail to have an understanding of Justification and Sanctification.

Do we sin? But, we are dead to sin! Are we supposed to stop sinning? If we understand what the word “sin” means, coming short of God’s Glory, now that we are dead to sin, can we now measure up to God’s Glory? Positional truth, we were dead in sins, because we had our identity in Adam, Adam in rebellion.

We now have a brand new identity, “dead to sin” identity, but those who would die in their sins were those who would continue to have their identity in Adam, Adam in rebellion, understanding identity is key! Failing to understand positional truth will cause much confusion, because we want to go back to practical reality.

It is not probation, it is salvation! Forgiving us is not something God must decide to do, the only reason God could say through Paul, “Grace and Peace be unto you” is because his son fully paid the price. Faith is not something “do I have enough faith, have I believed firmly enough?”

Faith is simply taking your stand where God takes his stand. There are many who will spend an eternity apart from Christ, because they refuse to accept what Christ accomplished on their behalf. God’s given people the choice to reject or just to stand where he does.

Love does not force itself, people have the responsibility of making a decision, will I believe it or will I reject it. What God’s son did for everyone was was sufficient to absolve everyone of our sin debt, past, present, future, it is gone.

It is not a sin issue today, it is a son issue, because Christ died once for all, God’s justice was satisfied, salvation was accomplished, but unfortunately the gift will not be accepted by all. 

To accept the gift, is to receive the gift according to scripture, and to receive it simply means to take it to ones self, or acknowledge something as being true, to believe it. So believe and receive are one in the same thing, when it comes to this gift of salvation.

The fact that Christ did died for all, proves without a doubt that all were indeed dead in trespasses and sins. Paul’s good news must be accepted, it must be believed, understanding the grace of God is an intricate part of the joy, that should really be a part of every believer’s life.

God’s grace has abounded and therefore, the gift has abounded unto the many who were affected by Adam’s sin, Adam’s sin brought sin and death to all, Christ’s righteousness brings the gift of grace to all.

God provided the free gift of justification, because that one sin, provoked the many sins of the human race, but God provided a sufficient gift to solve the dilemma of humankind. To be justified means to receive that gift that came to all; by the one sin, to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses, unto justification.

The receiving that must be done as Paul goes on to say, God’s grace has abounded and therefore, the gift has abounded unto the many who were affected by the first Adam’s sin. Being placed into the second Adam, Jesus Christ, joined to Christ is the method whereby God justifies us.

The issue at the Great White Throne Judgment will be those standing there in their own righteousness, and not in God’s righteousness. Many will believe Satan’s message that righteousness comes by way of a person’s efforts, what they merit, what they desire through their performance.

The reality of our reign in life results in the joy, rejoice in hope of the glory of God, consequently, not everyone will end up with the benefits of this gift, because the gift is contingent upon receiving the good news message Paul was delivering.

Satan’s minions today, unknowingly in many cases, are having a hay-day, because they are keeping the issue of sins on the table of God’s justice, when they are no longer on the table of God’s justice.

Everybody believes or supposed to believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is not the message that saves, it is understanding the meaning of that message that saves today.

Will people accept or reject the payment Jesus Christ made for their redemption? God offers the gift of redemption, it is up to those of the world to either accept or reject their redeemer, but that does no less make Jesus Christ their redeemer.

When we accept our redeemer, and the price he paid, the ransom he paid, then we are joined to Christ, and we have his righteousness attributed to our account. Those who reject the gift, are thumbing their noses at the one who died to paid that price for their redemption.

The sin issue needs to be resolved in our minds, not in God’s. God wants people to look at the sacrifice his son made, and have their minds aligned with his. God wants people to view that sacrifice and say, “If God is satisfied, then I am going to be satisfied with what Christ accomplished for me.”

God wants people to believe the gospel Paul calls the ministry of reconciliation. Paul tells us that those who accept the redeemer, accept the gift of redemption are sealed unto the day of the redemption of that earthly tent in which they dwell, and placed into - at the point of their belief - their savior.

Thereby becoming the recipient of all that belongs to Christ, that includes his righteousness. Now you are worthy. Many people continue in their thinking that their sin is separating them from God, Paul’s gospel is hid from those people, they do not understand his gospel, they do not understand what reconciliation is all about.

So they think that new sin, needs a new measure of reconciliation, they seek forgiveness on the installment plan, is that not the golden thread woven through every denomination out there? The truth is they could not obtain an ounce of forgiveness if they tried, because God has already forgiven them all, God designed it, he provided the means by which it could be accomplished.

That is why Christ’s ambassadors have the responsibility and privilege of making the reality of what the reconciliation Christ’s sacrifice accomplished, known to those who know nothing of it.

We can set ourselves apart all we like, behaviorally speaking, we can start any number of things and cease doing any number of things in order to gain holiness before God, but we will do no better at reaching that goal than the foolish Galatians, who were themselves flirting with the idea of progressive sanctification.

Setting oneself apart for holiness is one thing, setting oneself apart because of the holy standing God has already given that individual in Christ, is something altogether different. We can do great wonders, when it comes to relative righteousness, but measuring up to God’s standard of righteousness?

None of us will ever do so apart from God decreeing that to be so, freely, a gift, the righteousness required to dwell with God or for God to dwell with us. Justification is a gift declaration of perfect righteousness, the very righteousness that belongs to Jesus Christ, given to the ungodly who simply take God at his word, concerning what Christ accomplished for them.

Justification and Sanctification are “much more” assurance  doctrines that Paul is giving us as to the security that we as believers have being placed into Christ. Paul wants to establish our minds in the “much more” assurance that we have, so we can have that stability of mind and stability of emotions, if the will is the governor of the emotions, and it is.

We are called “saints” today, “set apart ones,” that is the word God uses for those who have placed their faith in the all-sufficiency of the sin-resolving sacrifice of his son, Jesus Christ. Saint is God’s word for a believer, he sets us apart, sanctification depends upon the one who is doing the setting apart.

Paul even called the carnal believers at Corinth saints or set apart ones, because even though they were carnal, they had believed Paul’s good news. In fact, our sanctification and being in Christ are one and the same, but the sin nature does not disappear.

If sanctification is not the gradual removal or even the total eradication of the sin nature, if it is not a second work of grace that takes place at or after salvation, we need to look at God’s Word in light of these generally taught misconceptions. So that, we can see if they are correct, and then come to understand what sanctification really is, so that we are not fooled by what sanctification is not!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Our Ambassadorship

The difference between the two Adam’s in our history is the need to be sure we are identifying with the right one. Understanding and acting upon who we are in Jesus Christ is the basis for successful growth and maturity.

Our daily performance is often marked by personal failure and disobedience, which disappoints us and disrupts the harmony of our ambassadorship of God’s reconciliation. In our attempts to understand the disobedience which so often disturbs our ambassadorship, are we unwitting victims of our old identity?

Our old identity which we have inherited from the disobedience of the first Adam, is like a big black dog, but through the redemptive work of the second Adam, Jesus  Christ, God put his power from on high in us, when we got born anew, and that power is like a big white dog.

Whenever we involve ourselves in worldly thoughts or behavior, we are feeding the black dog. Whenever we focus our mind and activities on matters of our ambassadorship, we are feeding the white dog. The dog we feed the most will eventually grow stronger and overpower the other.

God has not given us the power to imitate him, he has made us partakers of his righteousness, so that we can actually dwell with him. He did not say, “Here are my standards, now you measure up.” God knows we cannot solve the problem of our old identity, Adam in rebellion, by simply improving our behavior.

When we choose to walk according to the old identity, in which we were trained before becoming born anew, such behavior violates our ambassadorship. When this happens, we feel convicted because our behavior is not in keeping with who we really are.

In fact, if a person does something which they know is morally wrong, but feels no conviction, we should seriously doubt that that person is part of the Body of Christ. We commit sin when we willfully allow ourselves to act independent of our ambassadorship, as our old identity  did as a matter of course. 

So why do we still react as if our old identity is still in control of our behavior? Because, while we served under it, our old identity trained and conditioned our actions, reactions, emotional responses, thought patterns, memories and habits in our brain. 

Our worldly experiences thoroughly programmed our brain with thought patterns, memory traces, responses and habits. Our brain still generates humanistic thoughts and ideas, and our old identity is that part of us which was trained and determined to succeed and survive by our own abilities.

When we became born anew, God did not press the “clear” button in our brain, our old identity persists in suggesting ways to live independent of our ambassadorship of God’s reconciliation. The first thing we need to know about the battle for our mind, is that the main targets which must be destroyed are the fortresses in our mind, or called strongholds.

Strongholds are negative patters of thought which are burned into our minds, either through repetition over time or through one-time traumatic experiences. The worldly stimulation we were exposed to was both brief and prevailing.

Every day we lived in this environment, we were influenced by it and preconditioned to conform to it. Brief stimulation includes individual events, situations, places, and personal encounter’s we experienced. We were influenced by books, movies, music, and traumatic events we experienced or witnessed.

We learned a way to cope with these experiences, and resolve the conflicts they produced. Prevailing stimulation consists of long-term exposure to our environment, such as the influence of our family, friends, peers, neighborhood, teachers, and jobs.

There are beings active in the world today who have opposed God before the Garden of Eden. Satan and his devil spirits are actively involved on trying to distract us from our ambassadorship, peppering our mind with their thoughts and ideas.

They are relentless in their attempts to establish negative, worldly patterns of thought in our mind, which will in turn produce negative, worldly patterns of behavior. Whenever we are stimulated to conform to our old identity, we are experiencing temptation.

The essence of all temptation is the invitation to live independent of our ambassadorship. Satan and his devil spirits knows just which buttons to push to tempt us away from our ambassadorship. They have observed our behavior over the years, and they know where we are vulnerable, and that is where they will attack.

The moment we are tempted to get our need met in the world, we are at the threshold of a decision. If we do not immediately choose to take that thought captive, we will begin to consider it as an option. And if we begin to mull it over in our mind, immediately our emotions will be affected and the likelihood of yielding to that temptation is increased.

We must capture the tempting thought in the first frame or it will probably capture us. Once our consideration of a temptation has triggered an emotional response, we will act upon that choice and own that behavior.

We may resent our actions or claim that we are not responsible for what we do, but we are responsible for our actions at this stage, because we failed to take a tempting thought captive when it first appeared at the threshold of our mind.

If we continue to repeat an act for more than six weeks, we will form a habit, and if we exercise that habit long enough, a stronghold will be established. Once a stronghold of thought and response is entrenched in our mind, our ability to choose and to act contrary to that pattern is virtually nonexistent, and negative thoughts and actions we cannot control, spring from a stronghold.

Somewhere in the past we consciously or unconsciously formed a pattern of thinking and behaving which now controls us. Simply putting on the armor of our Father at this stage will not solve our dilemma, these strongholds are already entrenched and fortified.

If the strongholds in our mind are the result of conditioning, then we can be reconditioned by the renewing of our mind. Anything that has been learned, can be unlearned, but we are also up against Satan and his devil spirits who are scheming to fill our mind with thoughts which are opposed to our ambassadorship.

Their strategy is to introduce their thoughts and ideas into our mind and deceive us into believing that they are ours. If they can place a thought in our mind-and they can, it is not much more of a trick for them to make us think it is our idea. If we knew that suggestion was theirs, we would reject the thought, but when they disguise their suggestion as our idea, we are more likely to accept it.

If they can get us to believe a lie, they can control our life. If we fail to take a thought captive to the obedience of our ambassadorship, but believe it, their power is in the lie. They have no power over us except what we give them by failing to take every thought captive, and thus being deceived into believing their lies, and since their primary weapon is the lie, our defense against them is the truth. 

Dealing with Satan and his devil spirits is not a power encounter, it is a truth encounter. When we expose their lie with God’s truth, their power is broken. By preparing our minds for action, we must be transformed by the renewing of our mind, by filling it with God’s truth, as we continue to stockpile our mind with his truth, we will equip ourselves to recognize the lie and take it captive.

We need to practice threshold, first-frame thinking, evaluate every thought by the truth, and do not give place to the lie. People may not always live what they profess, but they will always live what they believe. If our behavior is off, we need to correct what we believe, because our misbehavior is the result of our disbelief.

We can know on a moment-by-moment basis if our ambassadorship is properly aligned with his truth. God has established a feedback system which is designed to grab our attention, so we can examine the validity of our goal.

That system is our emotions. When an experience leaves us feeling angry, anxious, or depressed, those emotional signposts are there to alert us that we may be cherishing a faulty goal. When our activity results in feelings of anger, it is usually because someone or something has blocked our goal.

Any goal which can be blocked by forces we cannot control (other then God’s goal) is not a healthy goal, because our success in that arena is out of our hands. Feelings of anger should prompt us to reexamine our ambassadorship, and the mental goals we have formulated to accomplish God’s message of reconciliation.

When we feel anxious in a task, our anxiety may be signaling the uncertainty of a goal we have chosen. We are wishing something will happen, but we have no guarantee that it will. We can control some of the factors, but not all of them.

When we base our future success on something that can never happen, we have an impossible goal. Our depression is a signal that our goal, no matter how noble, may never be reached. Depression often signals that we are desperately clinging to a goal we have little or no chance of achieving, and that is not a healthy goal. 

Achieving God’s goals for our ambassadorship is learning to distinguish his goal, from his desire. It is a critical distinction, because it can spell the difference between success and failure. His goal is any specific result reflecting his purposes for our ambassadorship, that does not depend on people or circumstances beyond our ability. 

The only person who can block his goal or render it uncertain or impossible is us, and if we adopt the attitude of cooperation with his goals, his goal can be reached. His desire is any specific result that depends on the cooperation of other people or the success of events or favorable circumstances we cannot control.

We cannot base our self-worth or our personal success on our desires, no matter how godly they may be, because we cannot control their fulfillment. When a desire is wrongly elevated to a goal, and that goal is frustrated, we must deal with all the anger, anxiety, and depression which may accompany that failure.

Dealing with the disappointments of unmet desires is a lot easier then dealing with the anger, anxiety, and depression of goals, we would do well to distinguish goals from desires. When we begin to align our goals with God’s goals for our ambassadorship, and our desires with his desires, we will rid our life of a lot of anger, anxiety, and depression.

God’s basic goal for our life, is character development. The tribulations we face are actually a means of achieving our supreme goal of maturity, because persevering tribulations is the doorway to proven character, which is his goal for us.

Perhaps the greatest service performed by trails and tribulations in our lives is to reveal wrong goals. We need occasional mountaintop experiences, but the fertile soil for growth is alway down in the valleys of tribulation, not on the mountaintops.

It is during these times of pressure that our emotions raise their warning flags signaling blocked goals, uncertain goals and impossible goals which are based on our desires, instead of God’s goal for our ambassadorship. His plan is for us to hang in there and grow up, and tribulation just happens to be one of the primary stepping stones on the pathway.