Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sit - Walk - Stand

"One Year Bible" New Testament Passage (for Fri., Sept. 28, 2012)

Ephesians 6:1-24

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Ephesians 6:13 (NKJV)

The great Chinese Christian leader and martyr Watchman Nee gave us a simple but profound outline for the book of Ephesians. He divided this wonderful letter into three sections: SIT, WALK, and STAND. 

Our passage today deals with STANDING. We are called to stand against all the strategies and attacks of the devil. Many believers seek to stand against the devil, but they must also know how to SIT and how to WALK. Without successful SITTING and WALKING, our STANDING becomes ineffective. 

Ephesians 2:6 states that we have been raised up to SIT with Christ in heavenly places. This speaks to our IDENTITY in Christ. 

Ephesians 4:1 calls us to WALK worthy of our high calling. This speaks to our CONDUCT.

Finally, we are called to STAND against the devil. These three elements must be foremost in every believer's life. Like a three-legged stool, we must have all three.  So, today, reaffirm who you are in Christ!  This involves knowing that you are RIGHTEOUS IN CHRIST. 

Then, bring your conduct under the Lordship of Christ. Learn to obey His calls and His commands. Then, being built up in Christ, you can address the enemy with authority.  This is part of what it means to stand up in the fullness of the stature of Christ. And that is EXCITING!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Will of God For You

"One Year Bible" New Testament Passage (for Thurs., Sept. 27, 2012)
Ephesians 5:1-33

17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.  Ephesians 5:17-18 (NKJV)

Are you in the will of God for your life?  This is a very important question. All serious followers of Jesus have at one time or another prayed a prayer asking God to show him or her His will for them. We should daily be asking God to show us the steps we are to take - to help us make the right decisions. 

When most people think about the will of God, it is usually in terms of the big outward things. Am I in the right job? Am I doing the things I should be doing?  It can even be bigger things, like: Did I make the right choice 20 years ago?  Should I have gone other directions? Did I marry the right person?  Have I missed God's best plan for me?

The will of God for you really is on a totally different level. It is not so much a matter of people and places as it is of right relationships. This is where the Spirit-filled life comes in. God is not so much interested in what you do as He is in how close you are to Him!

No matter what has happened or where you are, you can NOW be in the will of God. You get that by being filled with His Spirit. As you are filled with God, He lifts you above the muck and the mire. He gives you a firm path on which to walk. THAT is the will of God for you. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Give No Place

"One Year Bible" New Testament Passage (for Wed., Sept. 26, 2012)
Ephesians 4:17-32

and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:27 (NIV)

Scripture is clear: we have an enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy.  He goes about seeking opportunity to invade and inflict pain upon believers.

This should not throw us into fear or anxiety.  Scripture describes many ways and weapons whereby we can always defeat the devil.  God promises us that He will never leave us defenseless.

Perhaps our biggest challenge is not in the area of straight-up confrontation with the enemy.  It is in the secret and sly ways he seeks to slip in the "back door."  Concerning this, the Lord instructs us to be vigilant, not allowing a foothold in our lives.

The devil uses small things.  Perhaps it is a stray thought, or a season of tiredness. Perhaps it is an unintentional comment made by a "friend" that is then misunderstood.  Perhaps it is a growing friendship that one day goes beyond normal limits. 

Satan's traps are deceptive.  At first they look good.  Then they turn bad.  They make promises that cannot be kept.  Once the devil gets his foot in the door, he then seeks to take up permanent residence. 

It is a wise thing to periodically take inventory.  In what areas am I vulnerable?  In what ways am I letting my guard down?  It is far easier to KEEP THE DEVIL FROM ENTERRING than it is to KICK HIM OUT once he has built his nest.  May the Lord guide you today in resisting the devil in all his endeavors to ensnare. 

Supernatural: Gathered for Power

Here are the notes from the message at New Life Community Church this past Sunday, September 23, 2012.  If you would like to listen to this message, please go to our website at  Thanks and God bless you.

Supernatural, Part 4                                                          Sunday, September 23, 2012
 “Gathered for Power”

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:  I Corinthians 12:1 (NKJV)

There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: I Corinthians 12:4-7 (NKJV)

Vs. 4.  Gifts – Charismata.
Vs. 5.  Ministries – Diakonia.
Vs. 6.  Activities – Energema.

There are two basic themes that run through the entirety of Scripture.

16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”  Genesis 28:16-17 (ESV)

Two Themes:
1.     The GATE of Heaven
2.     The HOUSE of God

26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. Ezekiel 37:26-27 (NIV)

Today we’re going to talk about this idea of GOD DWELLING IN OUR MIDST.  How does God make Himself known on earth?  What does it look like when Heaven invades earth?

This is where it becomes important for us to understand how God operates in terms of the supernatural.  Few people have difficulty about the supernatural in terms of getting to Heaven.  It is in terms of how that operates on earth that we have questions.

37 If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. 38 If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. 39 So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.  I Corinthians 14:37-39 (ESV)

40 But all things should be done decently and in order.  I Corinthians 14:40 (ESV)

What is the purpose of the church service?
What happens when the church comes together?
There are two ways churches usually answer that question:
1.      To reach the LOST.
2.      To BUILD UP the church.

For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”  Luke 19:10 (NLT)

25 as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”  26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.  I Corinthians 14:25-26 (NIV)Cross references:
25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  Hebrews 10:25 (NIV)

Illustration:  I like you but I don’t like your wife.
When we come together:

1.     JESUS is walking among us.

11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”  Hebrews 2:11-12 (ESV)

2.     ANGELS are in the room.

Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?  Hebrews 1:14 (NKJV)

It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels.  I Corinthians 11:10 (NIV)

3.     The MINISTRIES of God are released.

11 I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people. 13 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves. And I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect. Leviticus 26:11-13 (ESV)

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Way Down is the Way Up

"One Year Bible" New Testament Passage (for Tues., Sept. 25, 2012)
Ephesians 4:1-16

(Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)  Ephesians 4:9-10 (NKJV)

One of the most important truths of Scripture is what we call the INCARNATION.  God became man.  In the Person of Jesus, God took on human flesh and human limitations.  He became a servant. 

Have you ever been called upon to humble yourself and serve others in a truly sacrificial way?  It is a very difficult thing to do.  Our human nature cries out for EXALTATION rather than HUMILIATION.  We want to be served -- not to be the servant.

It is in this respect that the glory of Jesus shines brightest.  He laid aside all His divine RIGHTS and became a servant.  He submitted to the authority of the Father rather than assert His own will.

This is a pattern for our own advancement.  THE WAY DOWN IS THE WAY UP.  If we will humble ourselves, God will exalt us.  The very same Jesus that "descended" is the one that also "ascended."  If you will humble yourself before God, there is a day lying ahead in which you will be exalted.  That is a promise from God.


"One Year Bible" New Testament Passage (for Mon., Sept. 24, 2012)
Ephesians 3:1-21

19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.  Ephesians 3:19-21 (NKJV)

What does it mean to be "filled with God?"  What does it mean to be "filled with the Holy Spirit?"  We find in Ephesians 3 an amazing prayer.  It talks about being strengthened in your inner man, and about allowing Christ to take over your heart.  It talks about having a profound knowledge of the dimensions of God's love for us.  This is grand territory!

As if this is not enough, Paul leads us in one of the most audacious prayers in all of Scripture.  He prays that we will "filled with all the fullness of God."  This is God's great plan for you and me.  He wants us to be filled to overflowing with Himself.  Here are a couple of observations.

First, God can fill and use normal, flawed people like you and me.  We are his vessels.  He does not require that we be perfect -- just yielded and available.

Second, when He fills us, we take on His abilities.  We are like a glove.  What is a glove able to do?  Well, virtually nothing other than wait for the hand to be inserted.  But, when it has a hand inside it, it takes on the abilities of the hand.  The glove has just as much ability as the one who fills it.  It might be able to play a piano, or write a magnificent piece of literature.  It might be able to paint a beautiful painting.  When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we take on the abilities of the Holy Spirit.

Paul finishes this prayer by calling us to even higher vistas.  He says, "Just think of the grandest thing God could do through you.  Think of your best day.  Then realize that God can surpass that!"

The end of all things is the GLORY OF GOD.  We who have seen the depths of sin, can now rise to see the heights of God's glory.  That is worth saying "AMEN!" to.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Visitation or Habitation

"One Year Bible" New Testament Passage (for Sun., Sept. 23, 2012)
Ephesians 2:1-22

In whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 1:22 (NKJV)

There is a difference between "coming to visit" and "coming to stay". We, at times speak of a VISITATION by God. These are times when He shows up for a special time of blessing. But, God wants to do more than come for a short visit. He wants to come to STAY. He want more than visitation. He wants HABITATION.

The Church is more than a meeting - more than a place - more than a set of human relationships. The Church is WHERE GOD LIVES. The Church is God's house on earth.

Correspondingly, the Church should be the pace on earth where God does His mighty works. When we come together, His power is released in multiplied fashion. For this reason, we must be faithful to stay in fellowship. When we gather in His Name, He is IN THE MIDST.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

He Knows My Name

"One Year Bible" New Testament Passage (for Sat., Sept. 22, 2012)
Ephesians 1:1-23

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Hin in love.  Ephesians 1:3-4 (NKJV)

If I knew nothing about the Bible and the God of the Bible, yet somehow, had become a Christian - come to faith in Jesus - and then someone handed me a Bible and I began to read - let's say that the first place I turned happened to be Ephesians Chapter 1.  What do you think I would immediately say?

If, in child-like faith, I took every word that I read as true and applicable to me, what would Ephesians 1 tell me?  First off, it would be MIND BLOWING. There is so much packed into every phrase that I would have to chew on practically every word. But here are some truths I would carry away from this chapter.

1.  GOD KNEW ME LONG BEFORE I EVER THOUGHT OF HIM. There are words here that are beyond my ability to understand. Words like "predestined" and "fore-ordained" (same word as "purposed").  I would take this PERSONAL. He knew ME. Wow!  I would take note of the tense of the verbs. It's mostly passed tense. HE'S ALREADY DONE THIS STUFF!

2.  GOD DEVISED THE PLAN TO COME SAVE ME. He did it because He wanted to. He is the force working behind all this. I really am only on the receiving end. I would take note that there aren't any big rules and requirements laid on me to make this happen.

3.  GOD GIVES ME A GUARANTEE ABOUT MY FUTURE. He is going to take care of me. This is incredibly comforting. Out of nowhere, God shows up and not only delivers me, He sets me up so that I can't fail.

4.  GOD WANTS TO SHOW ME MORE. I read about a prayer I should be praying. God wants to open my eyes even more!  He wants to show me some incredible things about Himself, His power, and His plans for me.

If I found Ephesians 1 on a seashore somewhere and read it - if I became a Christian and started trying to live out these words - I would find myself living in a higher dimension than this world. I would find myself walking in an incredible confidence and security.

That's the way Jesus wants us to walk with Hin today. This word of Scripture is true and it belongs to you!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Exponential Sowing and Reaping.

"One Year Bible" New Testament Passage (for Fri., Sept. 21, 2012)
Galatians 6:1-18

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart Galatians 6:7-9 (NKJV)

You are closer to a breakthrough than you realise. It sometimes seems that life is a succession of WAITING. But, it is far more than that. 

Life is a succession of decisions. We, each of us, are building our future right now. You are planting seeds by your decisions and your actions. What you sow, you will reap. 

But, once again, we must go further. This "sowing and reaping" thing is EXPONENTIAL. We don't just get what we sow. God operates BY GRACE to give you far more than you deserve. The rewards are beyond what we could ask or think. 

If this were investments, it would be like investing one dollar and reaping a FORTUNE. That's the way God works. Therefore, the apostle encourages us to not let up or slow down. KEEP INVESTING. 

Conversely, the flesh pays back IN KIND as well. The lesson is clear. Our actions set a trajectory of reward. God LOVES to take our little bit and multiply it many times over. The rewards outweigh the 
offering. In the same way, the fruit of the flesh never justifies the temporary moment of sinful 
pleasure. DON'T LOSE HEART. Your breakthrough is nearer than you think. 

Two Desires

"One Year Bible" New Testament Passage (for Thurs., Sept. 20, 2012)
Galatians 5:13-26

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. Galatians 5:16-17 (NKJV)

There are two forces at work in the life of every follower of Jesus. There is the "desire of the flesh" and the "desire of the Spirit." 

Our flesh is what C.S. Lewis once called a "factory of desires." It constantly generates intense need for a wide variety of things. Most people spend their entire lives seeking to fill this deep well of want. 

On the other hand, Scripture says that God's Spirit has birthed in us another entire kind of desire.  The desire of the flesh can never be satisfied to the full. The desire of the Spirit finds fulfilment in the person and presence of Jesus. 

The key to happiness is getting your heart and your desire set in the right direction. Scripture makes an incredible promise - GET YOUR HEART SET IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION AND GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF ALL THOSE LESSER DESIRES! (Matt. 6:33)

This is the altar that each of us faces every day. Will we lay OUR FLESHLY DESIRES on the altar or will we hold on to them. By faith, we turn from our own needs, and in so doing, find all our needs met.  Amazing!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Supernatural: "Our Supernatural Mandate II"

Here's the notes from the message at New Life Community Church, Sunday, September 16, 2012.  You can listen to this message by going to our website at

Supernatural, Part 3                                      Sunday, September 16, 2012
 “Our Supernatural Mandate, II”

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  II Corinthians 4:16,18 (NIV)

Two Mistakes in Response to the Supernatural:

God expects us to walk in the Spirit.  He expects us to move in the supernatural. 

in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.  You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.  Romans 8:4-9 (NIV)

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. … 18 But if you are led by the Spirit … 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:16,18,25 (NKJV)

Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.  Luke 10:19 (NLT)

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. John 14:12 (NKJV)

As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.  Matthew 10:7-8 (NIV)

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  Genesis 1:26-28 (ESV)
Fill the earth – Heb. Mahleh with means to replenish or bring to fullness.
Subdue it – Heb. Kabash means to bring in into bondage or under control.
Two Dimensions of Advance:
1.     Positive – Extending the BLESSINGS of the Kingdom
2.     Negative – Pushing back the DARKNESS of Satan’s activity

So how do we begin to move in the supernatural
1.     You must be TEACHABLE.
2.     You must be HUNGRY.
3.     You must be IN FELLOWSHIP.
4.     You must know your IDENTITY in Christ

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Walking in Freedom

"One Year Bible" New Testament Passage (for Wed., Sept. 19, 2012)
Galatians 5:1-12

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage Galatians 5:1 (NKJV)

"If Christ has set me free, why do I feel so in bondage?" This is the cry and confession of very many followers of Christ.   There is a dramatic dilemma every believer must face. It is the difference between what I BELIEVE and what I EXPERIENCE. 

We believe and confess that we are free in Christ (and this is very true).  At the same time we might live with paralysing fear, with heart-hardening hatred, with the crushing weight of condemnation. 

There are strong forces that seek to draw the free man back into slavery. Though we have found a glorious liberation, yet there is a treacherous trap that seeks to ensnare us and return us to prison. 

We are called to cling to the Cross. The Cross is the source and strength of our liberation. Though it seems too simple, the stance that conquers is not effort or will-power. It is FAITH in the One Who has won this war. IN HIM we are free.

When this reality fills my mind and grips my heart, I find that I am truly and fundamentally a free man. The temporary distractions of temptation or trial CANNOT destroy my freedom. Therefore, I will walk in that which God has done. I am free.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Growing in Sonship

"One Year Bible" New Testament Passage (for Tues., Sept. 18, 2012)
Galatians 3:23-4:31

Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all. Galatians 4:1 (NKJV)

It is an awesome thing to discover your NEW IDENTITY IN CHRIST. Through Jesus you have become royalty. You have undergone a massive transformation from slavery to freedom to rulership. God has called you to a high place.

There is a force however that seeks to hold you in your former identity. It seeks to draw you back into old ways. This is one of the great battles. Every Christian faces.

We must learn a new way to live - a new way to think - a new way to operate. Even though you have EVERYTHING, you can still live as if you have NOTHING. We live like beggars, when all along we are millionaires.

So, the Lord calls us to GROW UP. Have done with childish ways. Stand up today as a son or daughter of the King. You have a rich inheritance. You must learn what it is, and how to draw upon it. God is looking for SONS.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cursing and Blessing

"One Year Bible" New Testament Passage (for Mon., Sept. 17, 2012)
Galatians 3:10-22

13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.  Galatians 3:13-14 (NKJV)

Words have power. They carry more than just ideas or thoughts. Words carry spiritual force. Jesus taught this. He said, "The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63). 

Words have the ability to bless and they have the ability to curse. We all have experienced this in the course of interacting with this world. Words of encouragement fill us with hope and power. Negative words of anger, animosity, and inordinate criticism cause us to wilt on the inside. 

There is a gigantic word that has been spoken AGAINST us. It is found in God's holy law. It convicts us because we can never measure up to the demands of such holiness. If we live by the law, we can come to no other conclusion than that we are CURSED. 

But, Another has stepped in. Another has taken our curse. But even more than that, He PERFECTLY FULFILLED the law. Not only does He absorb our curse, He releases to us His blessing. We no longer labor under the cloud of the curse. We can thrive and grow in the clean air of God's blessing. Praise God!

The Uniqueness of Christianity

"One Year Bible" New Testament Passage (for Sun., Sept. 16, 2012)
Galatians 2:17-3:9

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 
21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes
 through the law, then Christ died in vain.” Galatians 2:20-21 (NKJV)

The biggest question in the universe is, "How can fallen, sinful, polluted men be made right with a perfect, holy God?" The answer of the Gospel is GRACE and GRACE ALONE. The answer of religion is LAW and HUMAN EFFORT. 
It is in this light that true Christianity is UNIQUE. Judaism requires the keeping of the law. Islam requires surrender to the Koran. Buddhism requires selfless detachment. Hinduism calls for endless ritualism toward a vast host of gods. Christianity says that Jesus HAS DONE IT ALL FOR YOU and He will LIVE HIS LIFE OUT THROUGH YOU. 

Christianity is not a LADDER that we climb. It is the POWER OF GOD that carries us. It is radically simple. 

I am dead. 

He is alive in me. 

I have life and power now only through Him. 

I am not asked to define my relationship by rules. I am called only to love the One who has saved me. He is now the center - the sun around which my life orbits. In Him we live.