But Maybe That’s A Good Thing!
Day three of my recuperation from knee surgery has me contemplating many different things. (It’s not the drugs Just for the record!). The Lord has a way of bringing clarity to those who position themselves to wait on Him especially if you have desire for a work of the Spirit and you are becoming a person who anticipates the fullness of His Spirit as you walk in simple faith with Him. Regardless of whether or not this kind of pause and positioning in life are intentional and purposed or they are imposed like the recuperation process I am presently going through, God is faithful to teach us and grow us up through either posture or process but, that doesn’t mean you are going to always get what you want! One thing that I am learning is that all too often; pain, setbacks, weakness, inability to see what is ahead, are all the venues that the Lord has a tendency to show Himself strong in while at the same time He shapes us to be a perfect fit into the valleys that we go through so that we can be salt and light in difficult times. Post- Surgery I was optimistic that I was going to be breaking all the records for recovery. Raising the bar for other potential candidates of knee surgery! Day 3 has come and my resurrection has been postponed! What the Lord is teaching me in all of this is that He died and was resurrected so that I wouldn’t have to and so that none of us would be able to take any credit for what only He alone could do!
It’s funny how the Lord can position us in such a way so that when we are in our deepest need or things are toughest, He can turn the light on so to speak and reveal to us what His desires are for our life, along with what He wants us to learn, and what is important for us to understand in the process of shewing forth His Manifest Glory, and not ours! I have been able to reflect on how I view the world and how sometimes what I want is in conflict with what I need. I thought about how much stress I often create for myself by fixating on what I think I want instead of focusing on the things my mind, body and spirit need. I realized that if I stop chasing the things that I feel I should have, I won’t set myself up for disappointment when I don’t get them. It is becoming my belief that if I stop believing that something ought to be a certain way, I won’t be unfulfilled if it turns out differently than what I expected. Maybe the things that God has for me are better than the things I want anyway,! Maybe, building a sense of entitlement only hinders me from recognizing it.
Have you ever said to yourself. “I can’t just not go after the things I want in life because isn’t that what drive is all about anyway. If I don’t have drive, I won’t accomplish anything; if I don’t accomplish anything in life, I won’t be happy.” Thankfully, the more I grow in the Lord, those moments of panic become more brief and I realize that kind of thinking is incorrect. The Holy Spirit is faithful to bring a rush of calm when I am postured to tune in to Him. As it falls over me it is as if the God of this universe is gently telling me, “relax, I’ve got this!” He tells me to let go, and to trust that everything will be okay just rest in Me! Your personal drive and ambition may have gotten you far in life but, “how often have you tried to force a square peg in a round hole because you went after something you wanted just to say you achieved it? “ Or, “How often have you come up empty when I wasn’t the Author and Finisher of the direction you were going?”
Those thoughts sink in deeper as I consider how my actions can impact my kids, grandchildren, wife, family and those the Lord has given me. We can all remember experiences where If we look back there are situations where we wanted something for ourselves or someone else and the results were not what we expected. Or, we had a goal to make something happen because we wanted it, not because others did. That really makes us stop and think about whether or not our motives are in sync with His!
Wet can all understand the feeling when moments we thought were going our direction, build up and then fall flat on their face. Much like the process with my knee. Will I have a closer relationship with Christ if I stop worrying about the things I want and instead focus on what I really need and long for which is Him and the work that He has done?” The answer is a resounding… Yes!
All I know right now is that the Lord has given me the down time to try this on. In the process I will be learning to be better satisfied with His timing, His Flow, His perfect rest, and trust that He that is doing the work in me and for me because, when it comes down to it, the work is done! It is Finished! And although the finished results may look different in each of us, It still has the look of the Finished work of the Cross and the look of 3 days and a resurrection for those who walk in simple faith and who simply abide in what he is doing!
Allow me to give you the simple equation again! The work is done so, rest in it, and wait for it. This is the Simple walk of Faith that manifests his glorious resurrection in our lives.
Food for Thought!
Miracles Await! So Here’s Spit in Your Eyes!
When we finally get what it means to live a simple walk of faith and focus on the Faithful One... Your Miracles Await! So Here’s Spit in Your Eyes!
Did I just really say that?
I know the above statement may sound foreign to the typical culturally relevant train of thought so allow me to lay the groundwork for some simple thoughts and conversations that I have had all by my onesie with the Lord.
Have you ever wondered “Why did Jesus use spit for some of His miracles?” Our pastor Ben touched on this some time ago and because I am a big proponent of a walk of simple faith, I have often pondered this subject and worked through some things as I converse with the Lord bout stuff.
In Mark's Gospel, somewhere near Decapolis, some people brought Jesus a deaf man who could hardly talk. Jesus healed the man, of course, but in an interesting manner; “Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue” (Mark 7:33). Later, in the town of Bethsaida, Jesus healed a blind man. Again, the miracle was preceded by spitting: “He... spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him” (Mark 8:23). To heal a man born blind, Jesus “spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes” (John 9:6).
Certainly, Jesus, the divine Son of God, does not need physical props to work miracles. In many cases, Jesus merely spoke, and healing followed (Matthew 15:28; Luke 17:12-14). Yet, in three cases, Jesus used His spittle in the process of healing. One possible reason for Jesus’ use of His saliva has to do with the beliefs of His contemporary culture. Several Roman writers and Jewish rabbis considered saliva to be a valid treatment for blindness. Since the people of that day had a high view of saliva’s healing properties, Jesus used spit to communicate His intention to heal. Those being healed would have naturally interpreted Jesus’ spitting as a sign that they would soon be cured.
Whose Faith Is Really At Work Here?
Now the verse that really jumps out at me is the one in Mark 8:23. It says, “And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.”
There are those who would say that the greater need of each of those who were healed required the need for increased, proportional faith. I like to work through this perspective differently than others may so allow me to break it down this way. I say, "It was the Faith of Jesus that produced the miracle, not the profound faith of the person being healed."
We are all equally faithless when you think through it!
One thing to consider is that each individual was equally faithless; otherwise they all would have already been healed. Then, there is the matter of spit. The last time someone spit in your eye… Did it get your attention? I believe the whole point was not to increase their faith but rather to get them to put their focus on the One who is Faithful!
For too long in life I have tried to increase my faith, speak things into existence, exert my own spiritual fortitude. Could it be that Jesus the Faithful One just wants my focus and attention? Could it be that all this time He has been taking me away from the common beliefs on matters of profound faith to get me alone, to redirect my focus off of the issues and the questions about how I am going to survive or get through the day and simply put my focus on Him?
You see… When we are weak He is Faithful! Now feel free to go get rid of all those anointed prayer cloths you paid good money for while you were waiting for your miracles.
2 Tim 2:13 NIV
“if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”
Could it be that the key to seeing increased but simplistic faith produced in my life is as simple as getting away with Jesus? 1 Corinthians 1:9 says, “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”
In Mark 8, Jesus called this blind, faithless man away. He literally takes him by the hand and leads him out of town away from all other influence and the man begins to connect what little faith he has to the One who is faithful. Look at the flow in the process of developing simple faith. Let it saturate your heart.
First, Jesus, after spitting in this man’s eyes and putting His hands on the man, asked him, “Do you see anything?” I like that! Jesus is not expressing His own lack of faith, instead He is taking this man on a journey of anticipation and simple expectation that the work is being done. He is learning to lean on and depend on Jesus and His faithfulness. Slowly, the man begins to get it. Things are still fuzzy but he realizes there is something happening in His life. Jesus now puts His hands on the blind man’s eyes and he is fully restored.
The real miracle is not the physical eyesight being restored. It is this man embracing and understanding what a walk of simple trust and faith in Jesus is! Once this happens, Jesus tells the man, “Don’t go back!”
Mark 8:23-26 (KJV)
23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.
24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.
25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.
26 And he sent him away to his house, saying, neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.
I have a real tendency to revert back to the old perspectives that would imply that my profound faith had something to do with a needed miracle. I have an old cowboy poem called Jake the Rancher. It was handed down to me by a person I call a good friend because of the simplicity that he once shared with me when I was failing miserably in my walk and ministry. His name is Gayle Erwin and this poem is a perfect example of the misunderstandings we cultivate convoluting simplicity in our walk and the work Jesus does.
Jake, The Rancher
Jake, the rancher, went one day to fix a distant fence. The wind was cold and gusty and the clouds rolled gray and dense. As he pounded the last staples in and gathered tools to go, The temperature had fallen and the snow began to blow.
When he finally reached his pickup, he felt a heavy heart, from the sound of that ignition, he knew it wouldn't start. So Jake did what most of us do, if we'd have been there He humbly bowed his balding head and sent aloft a prayer.
As he turned the key for the last time, he knew he'd lost his luck, They found him three days later, frozen stiff in that old truck. Now Jake had been around in life and done his share of roamin' But when he saw Heaven, he was shocked -- it look just like Wyomin'.
Oh, there were some differences of course, but just some minor things, One place had simply disappeared -- the town they called Rock Springs. The BLM had been shut down, and there was no grazin' fees, and the wind in Rawlins and Cheyenne was now a gentle breeze. (cont…)
The Park and Forest Service folks -- they didn't fare so well, They'd all been sent to fight some fire in a wilderness called Hell. Though Heaven was a real nice place, Jake had a wondering mind, So he saddled up and lit a shuck, not know'n what he'd find.
Then one day up in Cody, on a cold fall afternoon, He saw St. Peter coming, and he knew he'd be there soon. Of all the saints in Heaven, his favorite was St. Peter, Now, this line, it ain't needed but it helps with rhyme and meter.
So they set and talked a minute or two, or maybe it was three, Nobody was keepin' score -- in Heaven time is free. "I've always heard," Jake said to Pete, "that God will answer prayers, But one time I asked for help, well he just plain wasn't there.
Does God answer prayers of some, and ignores the prayers of others? That don't seem exactly square -- I know all men are brothers. Or does he randomly reply, without good rhyme or reason? Maybe, it's the time of day, the weather or the season.
Now I ain't trying to act smart, it's just the way I feel, And I was wonderin', could you tell -- what the heck's the deal? Peter listened very patiently and when Jake was done, There were smiles of recognition, and he said, "So, you're the one!
That day your truck, it wouldn't start, and you sent your prayer a-flying, You gave us all a real bad time, with hundreds of us a trying. A thousand angels rushed to check the status of your file, But you know, Jake, we hadn't heard from you in quite a while
And though all prayers are answered, and God ain't got no quota, He didn't recognize your voice, and started a truck in North Dakota.
As humorous as it may seem, we go through life lacking in faith, and absent of the peace and rest that comes from the faithful one!
My final, stupid, simple, silly, observation.
Now, to further illustrate what simple faith is and that it has nothing to do with my merit, tune in to this for just one final moment. I was seated on the throne in our back throne room the other day pondering all the places I had looked for my keys over the last 45 minutes, while I did my morning business. I was late, frustrated, and had given up all hope when from my lofty perch, I threw up a prayer for a miracle. “Jesus,” I said, “You alone hold the keys, now would you help me find mine?” Three minutes later I had my keys and was on my way. I have had this scenario play out more times and in more ways than I can count now and I know you have too! You see, It is never because of our spiritual prowess or posture, rather, it is because of his faithfulness that miracles happen every day in the most naturally supernatural way.
Questions to Ponder…
Why you will hear a lot about SIMPLE here.
It is becoming increasingly harder for Christians to understand their purpose, lead their families, build their careers, and most importantly understand God’s voice. As time goes by, folks who gravitate towards religion rather than relationship begin to embrace perspectives that are not scriptural. They adapt scripture to propagate their spiritual pride. They then manipulate others with spiritual prowess and Biblical knowledge; everything seems to be in its perfect place but, at their core there is a continual battle raging. Our adversary is at war with us and wants to twist our understanding of God’s Word. Perpetuated by misnomers and the selfish motivations of religious folk, our failure and lack of desire to drink from the cistern of the Water of the Word has left us dry. There are many believers today, some who are considered to be folks of profound faith that will tell you that where the Lord is leading them and how to navigate it all for His glory is foggy or indiscernible and that a walk of faith in Christ is difficult at best.
It has taken many years for me to understand the path that the Lord has had me on and for many those years in ministry, construction, and various other occupations I have stumbled on and off of it. After a season of repentance, confession, and devotion to renewing the simplicity of a walk with the Lord it has been on my heart to share the simple truths of Christianity; Simple Faith; and a genuine, intimate, real-deal relationship with Jesus; that for so many years had evaded me and clouded my walk with the Lord because of my own sinful pride.
God Justifies the Ungodly!
Here is the Good News, (Romans 3:20-4:5) God justifies the ungodly who trust in him. God acquits the guilty! While I have frequently stumbled in life, God has been gracious! This understanding is crucial to the success of folks who desire to walk closely with the Lord, and are wanting to enjoy their freedom to be who God created them to be but who struggle with depression, isolation, their own sins, hearing from the Lord, and moving past the mistakes of their past. There are many who live in a perpetual state of condemnation or have been unable to accept forgiveness. They carry with them a constant reminder of their faults. This comes from many angles. Churches, family and loved ones, even friends often do not know how to navigate the messy side of forgiveness. Ultimately restoration through the justification of Christ is immediate but the rest of His followers have a tendency to dole it out over long periods of time and as they see fit. I have been on these types of journeys and have been learning how to walk in the full-on provisions of Christ. It is something that we as Christians need to revel in and I have committed to share this message and my story with those who will hear it, one on one, and in simple settings. It is my story! It is just one of the many things the Lord has began in me; Post Churchianity, post religiosity, post the acknowledgment of my personal depravity and forgiveness of my real and hidden sins, and all the other things that cultural christianity didn't want to bother with because it left their rooms messy! In His presence (His room) I, the ungodly, have been justified! I, the guilty, have been acquitted! Simply put, I am forgiven!
Should we constantly second guess our past decisions?
Stay with me because this is important to look at!
Now I know that is a lot to take in so allow me to blow some holes in the philosophical principles surrounding theoretical decision making.
Romans 1:17 KJV
 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Let’s get right to simplicity!
There was a young woman whose husband left her. Not long after that she went to school and became a lawyer, She married a great Christian guy and continued to practice law. It wasn’t long that the couple discovered that they were unable to have children. This is their story! She is quoted as saying “Theoretically, if I had been able to have children in my first marriage maybe things would be different.”
Hmmm! This just doesn’t jive with the idea that the just shall live by faith. Another problem is that it is horribly confusing for other christians to see conflicting views and mis-understandings of what God has been doing in any of our individual stories. At some point, we can't give credence to the ways that seem right in our own eyes. A walk of faith demonstrates rest and trust in the work that God is doing in us even when we don't fully understand how He is authoring our story. Furthermore, we all have to come to a place in our walk where we recognize our position in Christ in and reconcile it with what the Author and finisher of our faith has done in our story.
Now back to the story of this young woman. What if she did have children in her first marriage? Would she still be locked in an abusive relationship? Would she be where she is now? It’s all theoretical yes. but it has also been part of a bigger story of what God does in the lives of broken vessels like me and you.
The point of this thought is to free us from the chains of theoretical responses in our choices and in the navigation of lives. Just because you are in a rut doesn’t mean that God isn’t producing something in you. Just because you life has had storms doesn’t mean that shipwrecks didn’t have a purpose in your story. Grace positions us for being the winners in the fight of faith. Our strength is in the Lord.
Learning to be at rest with what the Lord is doing presently in our lives can be difficult at times. Going with the flow of what He is doing can bring peace and an empowering of His Holy Spirit!
And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.
The Pharisees were the primary antagonists of Jesus. They claimed Jesus and His disciples violated their rituals and traditions. Here in this story, however, the Sadducees are the primary challengers of the church. They were upset with the church because of the stories of miracles and resurrections, angels and healings that circulated throughout Jerusalem and that they could not explain or substantiate these phenomea’s.
Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
I would have to conclude that the Word was being lived out in a very naturally supernatural way in these early church folks and it was impacting those who heard and believed in very profound life changing way. Share the Word, and live the Word. It is powerfull and yet it has an ease and flow about it!
And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, and Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?
In (Deuteronomy 13). Old Testament Scriptures declare he who did a miracle in the name of any other besides Jehovah was to be stoned. Here, Caiaphas, Annas, and the boys—perhaps with rocks in hand—were hoping Peter would say, “We did it in the Name of Jesus.”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel.
This illustrates why it is so important to be filled and under the influence of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. You will remember that only two months previously, Peter stood by a fire and denied Jesus Christ (Luke 22:55–57). But now, this same Peter, having been empowered by fire in Acts 2, is a different person. By the enemy’s fire, Peter was burned. Touched and empowered with fire, he stands, he’s hot, he’s under fire, and it is those around him who are feeling the heat now! Lord fill us with Your Holy Spirit and with power so that we just naturally warm others with you!
Acts 4:9, 10…
If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead…
Look at Peter’s boldness. He’s saying, “We did this in the Name of Jesus Christ, whom you crucified.” I don’t think that Peter gave any conciderations whatsoever as to weather or not this statement was going to be politically correct or tollerable to the religious leaders. Under the naturally, supernatural power of the Holy Spirit he just shares his mind.
(Note! There are no alterior motives to build a church, get notariety, spawn a movement, or to subtantiate, validate, and cultivate a ministry). It is all done though the work of the Spirit as Christ builds His church.
…even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Quoting Psalm 118:22, Peter referenced the construction of the temple. He would later write that we as living stones are part of a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5). Sometimes we rub each other the wrong way, some of us are allowed to be crushed more than others so that the refining process we have gone through is more visible and easily evidenced by others. That’s what living stones are supposed to do. God puts living stone’s in our lives who will knock the rough edges and prepare you for heaven.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
They get it all wrong here when the Jewish leaders ask, “Who are these unlearned and ignorant men?”. How is it they understand the Scriptures?” How could Peter and John, uneducated men, get away with saying, “We did this in the Name of Jesus of Nazareth whom you crucified” (see Acts 4:10)? Because those who heard them perceived that they had been with Jesus, but they had not only studied under the tuteledge of Jesus, they were with Jesus then, in that moment – Just like He is with you and me now!
And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
We need the lame one’s in our midst, we need the broken people who are not perfect around us. It is in their brokeness that the annointing of the Holy Spirit is at work and on the move. They are the one’s who are the vehicle that the Lord uses to manifest His glory, They are the catalyst for the supernaturally, natural work of the Spirit and the venue that He will build His church through. They are Jesus to a lost and dying world! It is the lame guy or gal that the Lord uses to stimulate a profound work that goes much further than just his or her personal needs, weakness, brokeness, or issues in the big picture.
There is a real tendency in the body to use the term “come along side.” We use it to impart instruction, correction, and to look the part of an intentional community but, if it is too messy there is a tendancy to withdraw from one another and isolate. This should not be and that is not the case in our story here.
The lame man not only stood with Peter and John in the temple (Acts 3:11), but he stood with them in their trouble. Peter and John were in hot water here, and this guy could have said, “Hey, this is a little heavy. Thanks for healing me, but I gotta go.” But he didn’t. He stood by Peter and John, even though he could have been executed with them.
You see, it’s easy to be friends in the temple. But you can only find out who your true friends are when you’re in trouble. So, too, you will be able to evaluate the depth of your friendship with Jesus by how willing you are to stand with Him in times of testing and difficulty. Stand with the Lord, fellow lamoe’s, because He stood for you and stood by you.
And stand by your brothers and sisters even when they’re blowing it, even when they’re in hot water, even when they’re in difficulty, even when they’re in trouble. I’m appreciative of those who come along side of me and say “Hey, this is what the Lord has put upon our hearts to do.” We’ll just be there for you.” Because in the big picture, the Lord is also doing something bigger and beyond the scope of a lame man or women, but we are also an important part of that picture and both parts are required to move the Goodness of the Gospel.
Jesus stands for each and everyone of us so, if you are not lame walk along side someone who is, and if your are lame, stand with someone who isn’t. we need each other!
Acts 4:15, 16
But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.
The man who was lame previously had been healed—and all Jerusalem knew it.
Question! Without a lame man would there have been a healing?
Acts 4:17, 18
But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
Acts 4:19, 20
But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
Peter and John said, “We can’t help but speak that which we’ve seen and heard.”
Do you have a hard time speaking about the Lord? Perhaps it’s because you haven’t seen or heard much from Him lately. I find that my witness is proportional to what I am presently seeing and hearing from the Lord in my own life. If I am not seeing or hearing from Him, I find I don’t speak as boldly, as quickly, or as readily as during those times when I am hearing His Word and seeing His work.
So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.
The people who saw a lame man leap for joy glorified not Peter, but God. I encourage you to keep your antennae up and your eyes open concerning ministries that are built upon men, around men, and for men. The response to the healing of the lame man is how it should always be: people glorifying God. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they might see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.
How long will I have my struggles? Perhaps a better question to ask is, “How long will you pour out your spirit on me and use these struggle’s at the same time and for Your glory?” This man had been lame for forty years, but his healing came at the exact moment that would maximize glory to God and confirm the fact that although Jesus was no longer seen physically, He was still working through His church. So often we wonder, Lord, why aren’t You working? I’ve been praying. I’ve been believing. Where are You, Lord? It’s been forty minutes, forty days, or perhaps even forty years. In Luke Chapter 1 The Holy Spirit came apon Mary and she concieved as a virgin, conception however was not seen and birth was not realized for 9 months. Furthermore, it was not all accomplished without a great deal of scruteny, finger pointing and speculation that Mary would carry with her for 33 years. The lameness of here situation was ever with her and was not validated until the ressurection of her Son Jesus.
Take courage, dear friends. Don’t give up. At the right time, the Lord will work to His glory. You just watch. Just wait. You’ll see. He is faithful when we are weak and frail!
And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.
“They went to their own company.” When pressure mounts, when things come down, you’ll always go to your own company. When you face intimidation, problems, and potential difficulty, where do you go? Do you polish your gold chain and hang out with the lounge lizards? Or do you find yourself heading toward fellowship? Where do you go—to the lounge, or to the Lord?
And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is.
Remember who He Is
When you’re feeling lame or pressured, when you’re being threatened or feeling alone in you circumstances, it’s always a good idea to start prayer by remembering to whom you’re talking. Sometimes my problems seem so big and insurmountable until I start to worship and remember who He is—the Creator of all things so, start your prayers by remembering, “Father, You’re the Creator of all things. There is nothing too hard for You” (take a look at Jeremiah 32:17).
Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
Understand what is really going on here!
“In Psalm 2, Father,” the believers prayed, “You told us that the heathen would try to come against You and Your people—just as we’re seeing here. We acknowledge that this is all in accordance with Your will.”
David wrote that the heathen seem to prosper while the godly suffer (Psalm 73). Peter would later write, “Think it not strange when fiery trials come upon you” (see 1 Peter 4:12).
When persecution comes and when the Godly even suffer lameness, it is in accordance with the Word and the will of the Father.
Acts 4:29, 30
And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
Recognize what He is doing now and pray for more!
I have a tendancy to miss what the Lord is doing presently in my lameness and to instruct the Lord about when to take it away! I find the the circumstances and dialoge with the paralytic at the gate beuatiful in Acts 3 and Jesus’ healing of the man with the withered hand in Luke 6 interesting. In both instances the miracles done by the disciples in Acts and by Jesus in Luke were on the Sabbath. This was a day when everyone was to be at perfect rest in the Father yet, it could be observed that the religious leaders were doing a good job of keeping anyone from truly entering rest in the Lord. The paralytic was focused on financial relief and was strengthend through the disciples instead. He was still the lame guy in the story it’s just that God gave him exactly what He needed for the purpose of building His kingdom and for His glory and He went walking and leaping and praising God. The man with the withered hand was told by Jesu to stretch out his hand. Weather it was by rising and walking or by stretching out a hand, both individuals moved into a new work that the Lord was doing out of their lameness. Now here is why this interests me.
The early church didn’t pray that they might have a break from persecution, but that they might have boldness in persecution. And that kind of prayer prevails!
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together…
We often pray when we are shaken up. These guys prayed so they could be shaken up! They didn’t ask God to eliminate or allieviate there circumstances rather, it was a prayer for more of what the Lord was already doing! The result...
…and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spoke—not in tongues—but the Word of God. Never forget that the purpose of the empowering of the Spirit is not that we might speak in tongues. The purpose of the power of the Spirit is that we might be bold witnesses (Acts 1:8). That empowering keeps Scripture on our lips and His Words being lived out of our lives in an incarnational kind of way thay is indicative of a walk in the Spirit prevelent in even the lamest of recipients!
Give a dead guy this kind of armor and he'll be unstoppable!
Do you let Him fight all your battles?
I remember this question being sarcastically thrown out there as a child when defending my little brother. It still never bode well for his would be attacker!
One of the Adversary’s primary objectives is to destroy your simple faith in God. His intricate schemes and hidden diabolical drive is focused on one thing: diminishing the power of the Word of the Lord by undermining our trust in it. The very universe itself along with everything in it was created and is upheld by the Word of God according to John 1:3 and Hebrews 1:3, so in order for Satan to win, his efforts must be centered on discrediting the simple and freeing Good News of the Gospel.
Will the real you please stand up!
The enemy constantly seeks to alter our perception of reality. This is why so often we are prone to believe his condemnations rather than the Word of God, which frequently points to our righteousness in Christ being secured and in play while grace and peace are perpetually being multiplied to the weak!
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!
The enemy seeks to distort the truth. He does this by making destructive things look enticingly desirable. He seeks to make the most wonderful things look unbearably boring and dull. He seeks to make the most trustworthy things look unreliable through conjecture. He seeks to make the one, true fountain of joy look like a dry well, and a broken cistern look like a spring of refreshment. He will even try to convince you hell is entertaining.
Ever been lost?
It is the enemy’s tactic to cause disorientation through temptation, condemnation, intimidation discouragement, disappointment, doubt, illness, weakness, weariness, and to appeal to our pride and shame. The spiritual powers of evil seek to keep us off-balance, confused, and turned around. If we lose our focus on the truth, we lose our sense of direction and confidence in God, which ultimately leads to losing the simple faith that we have been chosen to walk in.
I had a feeling about that guy!
The enemy is the conjurer of suspicion and he accomplishes this by infiltration into our relationships. He seeks to pervert the exchange of trust between our loved ones and us. Marriages break, families fracture, friendships rupture, churches split, movements derail as sin infects, and suspicion breeds. In the skirmish we easily lose track of who the enemy really is and sometimes we end up fighting against even our own flesh and blood.
I hope you Croak
Jesus was right when He said that we would have tribulation and that the way would be hard. It has been far harder than you or I may have ever expected!
But Jesus was right about something else: In Matthew 16:18 He says, “the gates of hell will not prevail”. John 14:6 reads, “The way is hard, but the way is sure!” Well now that you think you have a pretty firm grip on the obvious, and have committed to go a few more rounds in the ring of hell, don’t miss the most simplistically profound statement of our faith that is found in the Bible. In John 1:1 it simply says "The Way is the Word."
While many of us will go for years struggling in the mire of self-sufficiency, attempting to deal a deathblow to our enemy, the simple secret of simple faith, the great mystery is…ready for it? Die! Die, die, die, die, croak! Stay with me because I know I may have lost you!
The Left Hook from Heaven
All the brutal forces of hell, with all the distortion it can conjure, disorientation it can cause, and suspicion it can sow, simply cannot break the Word of God. For that Word is God himself John 1:1. And the Word came to destroy the works of the devil, 1 John 3:8.
The Stand In
It seems illogical that someone would take my place in the Octagon! But, the Word of God destroyed the works of the devil by being broken. Yes, all hell broke loose upon the Word of God in a ring that spanned from Gethsemane to Calvary and the Word was broken. It was for you and me that he took all of the arm bars, left hooks, take downs, and all the rest but He was not broken in the way that the enemy tried to break Him. The Enemy tried to compromise the Word, but the Word held fast by being broken, by being submitted. What the enemy didn’t understand is that while Jesus was broken on the mat, he wasn’t submitting to Satan, He was submitting to His Father!
So Ur Say'n The Dead Guy Wins?
Catch the simplicity now! In being broken, the Word of God kept unbroken the word of God, the great covenant. Justice was upheld when Christ stood in the ring for me and became both “just and the justifier of the one who has simple faith in Jesus” see Romans 3:26.
That Word, otherwise known as “Jesus Death-Blow Christ,” stands above all earthly powers and smashes against the gates of hell.
Things may be hard for us. But Jesus, the Word, the Way, will pour out His wrath on our enemy - literally hell for hell.
The key to our clarity in the face of the enemy’s distortion, focus in the face of hell’s disorientation, and our persevering, longsuffering love in the face of our adversary’s suspicion, is to listen to the Word of God by soaking in the words of God in the Bible. The Word is our refuge, Psalm 18:30; the Word is our peace, Acts 10:36, Philippians 4:7; and the Word is our weapon, Ephesians 6:17. Scripture declares we are dead in Him and resurrected into a new life with Him.
Join the Resistance!
We must remember that the devil is after one thing our faith. And we must remember that we will overcome him by one thing: our faith,
1 John 5:4. Jesus summarized our one and supreme defense against hell in this statement: “believe in God; believe also in me” John 14:1.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him; be firm in the simple belief in the faith of Jesus. This faith is not yours but His faith in you. Know that everyone around you is experiencing the same kind of suffering. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:8-10)
Now, Grace and Peace be multiplied unto you!
Commoner, Sinner, Saved by Grace!
Simple Faith’s relationship with Righteousness.
2 Peter 1:1-4 (KJV)
1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Defining Simple Faith
First, we must have a simplistic understanding of what simple faith truly is and how it has provided for the sinner!
For too long now the Christian constituency has walked in perpetual defeat, I am amazed at how frequently we throw ourselves out there for examination from others and even more importantly the examination of self. I have hated exams since my early adolescence! Perpetually being measured against something or someone else and attempting to dodge the pressure of standing out in performance, acceptance, and achievement. Embedded in the realm of spiritualty, the idea of self-awareness has become an unbiblical doctrine where we are to constantly reflect on our failures, inconsistencies, and repetitive sin nature. This forever keeps us of point in that; simple faith, precious faith is living in and embracing the righteousness provided once and for all through the work of God and our Savior Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. This Grace and peace is also perpetually multiplied through the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ.
That folks, is what we are to examine. Are you walking in the simple faith that Jesus has provided everything pertaining to “life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue”?
I believe that the enemy of our faith catches us in a trap when we submit ourselves to a perpetual “I” exam! Peter gives encouragement that was never designed to be self-examination or to put a noose around our necks rather, it was to focus us on the only thing that matters, the only thing that effectively finalizes my right standing with God as a sinner saved by Grace. You are the Righteousness of Christ because Jesus passed the test! There is no more "I", no more self-examination, no more condemnation and no more on and off faith, based on how well you are doing at any given point in the day. For too long this has been the theological and doctrinal proclamation of self-righteous, sin sniffers in the world today.
(Example) A "Christian Phycologist" once told me that my approach to simple faith in the righteousness of Christ was too dogmatic and that it may be the result of some past hurt or deep burried sin that was never dealt with. What often follows is a lack of biblical support and nominal fees being charged!
So, how do I examine my faith in simplicity?
Simple! Start your day with the affirmation that you are in Christ! Ask yourself the question; Has Christ died for me? Has He completely restored me to right standing before the Father and hidden me in himself? If the answer is yes then you pass the exam! Not only that, but even though you are a weakling, you have also graduated into living with Him by the Power of God toward you!
Take some time to let the reality of these two passages soak in. Converse with the Lord and pray through each verse, everyday until you can naturally defend the assault of self-righteous and your adversary the Devil.
2 Corinthians 13:3-6 (KJV)
3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you. 4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. 5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 6 But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.
It doesn’t take long to wrap your brain around this new, and fun way of kicking the enemy in the booty!
Commoner, Sinner, Saved by Grace!
A lot of believers hear condemning thoughts, and some believers even think it's God telling them these things. In this day in age we have perpetuated the idea that God only speaks to a select few and are highly susceptible to the lie that God sends his direction for your life to another persons mailbox. Nothing could be further from the truth! God NEVER tells you what a loser you are nor does he send people around you that kind of message. Jesus said He came not to condemn the world, but to save it (John 12:47)!
So, How do I identify condemnation?
Condemnation comes from our advisory Satan and is meant to tear you down. Many professing believers are often the delivery system for the adversary because they have never gotten a grip on grace or, should I say grace has never gotten a grip on them. They will tell you in their legalistic approach that the grace you are embracing is sloppy or to good to be true. I would suggest to you that if the gospel of grace was easily understood or not to good to be true then it wouldn’t be the Good News at all! Unlike conviction, condemnation continually points out what a failure you are, and how badly you've messed up. Condemnation is showing you the problem, but avoiding the solution.
Jesus did NOT come to condemn the world (John 12:47). There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Satan on the other hand is KNOWN for accusing the brethren (Rev 12:10).
Why won't you ever hear God telling you what a failure you are? Because Jesus said, "I came not to judge the world, but to save the world." (John 12:47)
So, How do I identify conviction?
Conviction is known in the Bible as Godly sorrow. God's Word tells us that Godly sorrow is what leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Condemnation tells you, "You are such a flake! Look at what you did!" while conviction tells you, "Come to me... and I will forgive you!" “Cast all your cares upon Me.”
Not only is God willing to forgive your sins, but He longs (deeply desires) to do so!
"Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him." (NASB)
1 John 1:9
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness."
"Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"
Conviction shows you the answer to your problem and leads you to the cross of Christ. Conviction shows you the blood of Jesus that wipes away your sins!
So, What’s the difference?
Conviction shows you the answer (the Blood of Jesus, which washes away sin), while condemnation shows you the problem (the sin, the past and your failures). Condemnation shows you the problem, but conviction shows you the answer.
Condemnation shouts, "Your past! Your sins! You loser!" But conviction shouts, "The Blood of Jesus washes away sins! Come to Jesus and be forgiven of your sins! You can be forgiven! Your sins and past don't have to be a part of you anymore!"
Understanding the nature of God's forgiveness.
I have often said that one of the greatest attributes of God is His forgetfulness!
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
It's so important to understand the nature of God's forgiveness and His desire to wash us clean from our pasts.
Life is complicated and even stressful. In this every day environment, it’s easy to lose sight of how simple our walk with Jesus should be. Many are realizing the importance of getting "back to basics". While many stress the importance of the church and its many characterizations and facets of ministry, subtlety we have been lured into busyness and a walk absent of intimacy with Christ. Christianity becomes task oriented and the simplicity of our walk with Him becomes non-existent. The Bible warns us that our advisory wants us to believe that this is just the way life is, taking us away from “the simplicity that is in Christ”.
2 Corinthians 11:3, King James Version But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
This Blog is about re-prioritizing and rediscovering the simple walk with the Lord.
To stay caught up just click the FEED button in the right column!
Let me give you an understanding of what I have walked through as a man and a follower to prequalify what I am about to say to you. Please note that the intent is not to unearth a dead body here! The purpose is to simply identify everything that is common to man and relevant to the days we live in presently.
I am a man with a call on my life. It’s been difficult and convoluted for most of my life. There are many reasons for this. Some of the reasons deal with influence, others deal with denomination, some with family or work, and some of it has to do with being gifted with the ability to do many things. The one major underlying factor running congruent with and intertwined in all of what I have done and where I have been is that of my own Sin. Ah… There it is! The S… word. I ever avoid it to place the blame on my surrounding circumstances. With men, so often it is packed in an onboard characteristic called pride. From a young age we are taught to take pride in an assortment of things. We make them the object of our affections ultimately transferring our accomplishments to be a reflection of our self. It subtly roots itself into our very make-up without us being aware and then when it has its firm grasp, it manifests its ugly side in ways that clutter our ability to navigate life, make decisions, understand God’s will, and walk in the freedom of simple faith and justification that comes by the work of Christ. (We will talk about this important matter later.)
How did this play out in my life? At a very young age I can remember the very first lesson on how to hide my sin. A periodical was sent to our door that was not intended for our address. It was pornography! Rather than being immediately disposed of, it was, along with other mail quickly stashed and perhaps even forgotten about until I stumbled upon it. Needless to say, sin was introduced and I would deal with the consequences of it in many other areas of life simply because I did not have a good understanding of the work of Christ on the cross. We will talk more about the FINISHED work later.
As time goes by Sin polishes and packages our pride to be the perfect bedfellow. As Christians we learn scripture and twist it to our advantage. We manipulate others with our spiritual prowess and biblical knowledge; every thing seems to be in perfect place while at our core there is ever a continual battle. A battle for a right spirit, a clean heart, a clear conscience, and our very freedom seems to escape us at every turn leaving us confused, bitter, worked up, judgmental, isolated and alone.
This is where I found myself, disillusioned with ministry, unable to track the right path, the narrow path, and the old path of the Lord. I was buried in sin and pride to the point that it had affected those around me. At the point that spiritual pride had unraveled me internally, life around me began to unravel and in a season when I should have been at my best in life I was allowed to walk it in weakness. Here is the short list for your comparison as men. I experienced all of these things and more.
As a result of all of this and more, my discretion and ability to do what was right had been refashioned into the justification of my flawed state and blindness to my own sin. My loneliness and lack of intimacy in my relationship with God and my wife led to finding satisfaction elsewhere and the outcome ultimately destroyed relationships and trust. After having served others for so many years, very few knew our struggles and there was no one but Christ to walk through it with us.
Now you make your own list!
God had a purpose!
When I began to repent, my eyes were opened to not only my own depravity but I began to see the flaws in how we as believers navigate unbiblical perspectives handed down over generations and the impact that it has had on the church, families, and each other.
Justification at the foot of the cross is a level playing field. The sins of the accusers are just the same as the accused. This is especially hard for the religious to wrap their heads around. Even today there are only a handful of people I know who can and were willing to walk along side of us through this process. Even to this day many of the folks who were co-laborers in ministry or part of established accountability partnerships and who heard my confession have had little contact with me. There are many who teach and understand the biblical principles of Romans and the wonderful work of grace and justification but, very few who follow its Jesus Style pattern. Religious leaders can often be found rallying to the cause of the offended and hoping that the sin factor will just go away. Religious protocol is followed forgetting the fact that we all deserve the penalty of death as much as we all get to experience and receive restoration at the foot of the cross.
How do we know that we are all guilty?
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
David took responsibility for his sin. “Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned,” he said. Sin declares guilt.
People will ask, “What about Uriah and Bathsheba?” “Didn’t David sin against them?”
They were innocent victims perhaps but sinners nonetheless. We rush to place blame, thinking there must be someone who is wrong and someone who is innocent. But that’s not scriptural, for we’re all guilty (Romans 3:23). We’re all in need of salvation. Never the less so often the victim is embraced with open arms and the offender is left to isolation.
Not so with Jesus!
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.
1. Justification is apart from the law. If you’re trying to relate to the Father on the basis of your own goodness or devotion, your consistency or your Bible study, your do’s and dont’s—you’ll never be justified. The law cannot justify you. It can only bring you to the realization that you are a sinner in need of a Savior.
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith…
2. Justification is by faith in the Lord. Our justification comes from our being linked not to God generally, but to Jesus Christ personally. Do you have a general relationship where you say “I’m religious” or, do you have an intimate relationship with the Lord. James says the demons believe in God, but they’re not saved. They’re not justified. They won’t be in heaven (James 2:19). It’s not enough for a person to say, “I believe in God and go to church.” No, he must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ because the source of justification lies embedded in the Person and work of Jesus.
Romans 3:22 (cont.)
…of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.
3. Justification is for everyone. Whether Jew or Gentile, yuppie or hippie, heathen or Hebrew—there’s only one way to enter into salvation: by faith. It’s not faith in what you’ve done or who you are, it’s not my fickle faith in Jesus Christ. Simply put, it is just believing that it is the faithfulness of Jesus towards me, in me, and for me. And that he loved me while I was ungodly so much so that He gave up his own life so a wretch like me could have new life being perfectly, completely and instantaneously justified!
If you are a man or woman who has been weighed down with sinful pride then I hope that this will be a fresh starting point for you. It really is simple! And although there may be few around you who understand what you are going through, know this. If you can just place your faith in the faithfulness of Jesus and you can confess your sins and failures right now. It will put you back on the right path, the narrow path, the old path and you can take your next steps being fully, instantaneously, and gloriously justified through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Simple!
2 Corinthians 11:3, King James Version - But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.