Archive for the ‘commandments’ Category

The Deception

August 25th, 2014

God is so good and He continually wants us to grow in Him.  I’ve heard it said that His word is like an onion, you just keep peeling back the layers for more revelation.  My son asked me one afternoon, while driving in the car, about Adam and Eve.  We began talking more about what had transpired in the Garden and it was a good talk.  When I turned on the radio, Dr Tony Evans was on and discussing the same topic.  I thought, “wow, that’s cool!”  Isn’t it funny…we don’t always put 2 and 2 together in the moment.  Sometimes, God has to gently nudge us later.  Well, it was a short time later and I was still chewing on the verses in Genesis regarding the fall.  I was also reading where it says that he (Satan) said, “I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

God was stirring all of this in my heart when a lightbulb went off.  Read with me…

Genesis 3:1-5  Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

What was really at the heart of this whole thing?  God shone a bright light on this one part…Satan was saying to Eve that God did not want them to eat the fruit because when they did, they’d be “like God”.  What God showed me was that THEY ALREADY WERE!  They were created in His image, walking in His authority, covered by His glory.  What I felt God showing me was that Satan was trying to get them to want what HE wanted.  Satan wanted to be like God and got booted out of heaven.  Maybe if Adam and Eve chose the same, they’d get booted out of earth and then Satan could have a lesser version of his truest desire come to pass, perhaps, to become a demigod as overlord of earth.  After all, if he couldn’t rule heaven, maybe earth would be enough.  But, God had other plans!

The Two Greatest Commandments Part Two

May 14th, 2012

Satan’s favorite lie is that there’s a cost to serving God and following after Him.  When we submit to God, we don’t lose, WE WIN!  We go from victim to victor with Christ.  In fact, Jesus said in John 14:21 that “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.  And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest [exhibit in person, or disclose by words, appear, declare plainly, inform, manifest, signify] Myself to him”.  In my previous post – The Two Greatest Commandments, Part One – we discussed that loving God is the greatest of all commandments.  Can you see why?  Don’t you want Jesus to manifest Himself to you?

Let’s discuss the next part – the Second Greatest Commandment.  In Mark 12:31 it states, “And the second, like it, is this:  ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no other commandment greater than these”.  Reading on further in this same chapter in Mark, verse 33, it says that to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself is MORE than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.  There’s nothing you can do that will ever be worth more to God than giving Him your love and sharing Him with those around you.

This commandment stands in (Leviticus 19:18) and respects not an Israelite only, or one of the same religion, nor just an intimate friend or acquaintance…not even someone in your same neighborhood…but, ANY man.  There is no other commandment greater than these, in the whole law, moral or ceremonial.  Galatians reminds us in 5:14, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself”.  Let me ask you, “How much do you love yourself?”  The word says that you can know if you are truly a minister of God’s love to others by sincere love.  Look at 2 Corinthians 6:4,6 “But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God…by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by SINCERE love”.

In fact, Peter tells us that “since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in SINCERE love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22).

Paul was such an awesome man of God – so many people still look up to him.  Why was he so powerful in the Lord?  Because he had done what God asked and loved with a love beyond himself.  John 15:13 teaches that “greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends”.  We understand this scripture is not necessarily about dying physically for someone, although it can mean that.  But it truly means to prostrate, commit, purpose, ordain, set forth and humble your will, your agenda, your mind, your soul…Paul lived this!   Just look at 2 Corinthians 11:23…”Are they ministers of Christ?  I speak as a fool – I am more:  in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.  From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of water, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness–besides the other things that come upon me daily:  my deep concern for all the churches.  

His concern was not for himself, but for the Body!  God isn’t asking you to die for Him, He’s asking you to LIVE for Him!  Paul followed Christ’s example.  Ephesians 5:1 tells us to be imitators of God as dear children and to walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.  Jesus understood that our love for God would not be complete and whole if we did not love those around us.  The entire premise for the Great Commission is built on this.  Each of these are built upon each other.  Precept upon precept.  It is impossible to fulfill the second commandment without first loving God with all that you are.  You need to be totally sold out to His purposes for your life because that is what will bring you joy and into the fulfillment of your destiny.  When we love God with all that we are, that love penetrates our hearts, mind, soul and strength.  We are infused with God’s heart, God’s mind, God’s soul and God’s strength.  His desire is for you to see others through His eyes.  Understand their potential and destiny.  Exalting them above your “self” – your flesh, your soulish realm.  We can become so wrapped up in our own circumstances,catastrophies and dramas that we are consumed.  But, by continuing in our pursuit of God’s kind of love, we overcome and we overcome faster because our whole being is submitted to God.

There’s a song that says, “I want to see through your eyes, I want to grow closer and closer to you ’til what breaks your heart, breaks mine, too.”  That’s how we need to feel about God.  The backslid and the lost break His heart because satan is stealing their destiny, their joy, their eternity.  In Hebrews 13:3 is says to remember the prisoners as if chained with them.  I remember back to the days I was a prisoner in the world and I don’t like thinking about being chained to someone still stuck there.  But that’s my “self” not God’s heart.  In fact, you will start to see spiritual death in your relationship with God if you don’t cultivate a love for those around you.  “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.  He who does not love his brother abides in death” (1John 3:14).  Why?  Because that means your soul, your fleshly desires are winning out over the Spirit of God in you.  If we can remember what it was like to be that prisoner, we will cry out for the deliverance of others.  It will make you want to see them set free, as you were.

If you haven’t been able to see past your own circumstances to reach out to those around you…if you’ve found it to be a struggle sometimes to abide in God’s word and will for your life, then it’s time to submit your mind, your will, your heart and your strength to the Lord.  It starts with repentance.  Just ask Him to forgive you and to lead you by His Spirit.  Walk in the fullness of God’s blessings for your life and help others to do the same.

The Two Greatest Commandments Part One

February 19th, 2012

What is a commandment?  Well, it is a precept, an authoritative prescription or an order.  God has laid out two very specific commandments upon which hang all the law and the prophets.  We begin in Mark 12:29-30…

“Jesus answered, The first and principal one of all commands is: Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord;    And you shall love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first [foremost – in time, place order or importance; chiefest; best; first of all] and principal commandment.”

Where did Jesus get this from?  Did He make it up?  No, he was quoting from Deuteronomy 6:4-9.  This passage of Scripture is the first of the sections which were put into the phylacteries (2 small leather boxes containing parchment strips inscribed with scriptural quotations that are worn on the forehead and left arm by Jewish men).  Twice every day they read, “Hear, O Israel…”  In the morning and in the evening as it is instructed in Deuteronomy 6:7.  It was read in conjunction with Deuteronomy 11:13 and Exodus 13:3…yet the “Hear, O Israel” was first because in it is the unity of God – and the love of Him and His doctrine.  For it is the “Great Root” on which all hangs or depends.  It is a precept of great esteem and veneration and attended to with much solemnity.  It is their confession of faith in God.

Did you know it takes faith to love God?  I know that seems funny, but how did you come to salvation?  By faith!  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17).  We need to have God as the ONE God in our lives.  As stated in Deuteronomy 6:14, we need to rid ourselves of our idols and of the idols of the world in which we live.  We are not to hold in esteem that which is worldly and carnal.  Idols can be self, our kids, our spouse, famous people, lifestyles, our desire for a spouse, finances, status, etc.  You should have no other gods before Him.  You are to love Him with all that you are and will be.  Let’s look at what He’s asking of us…

1. Love YOUR God.  He’s a personal God.  He wants to relate to you one-on-One.  He is intimately acquainted with all of your ways.  Do you remember when Moses had to cover his face because he had been with God?  The Israelites basically said – “you be the go-between for us and God”.  But, that wasn’t God’s heart – He desires to be yours!

Hebrews 1:1-3 tells us that “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.”  In the past, God spoke through the prophets, but today He will utilize a prophet if necessary, but He truly no longer desires a go-between.   He wants YOU to come boldly before His throne of grace.

We are to love Him – the whole of God, the God-head…Father, Son and Spirit.  There is no bias allowed – you can’t leave out one of the three because you don’t understand or comprehend His role. They are One and all deserving of honor.  God the Father, who has sent His beloved Son to reconcile you back unto Himself according to His abundant mercy.  Christ, the Son, who saved you from your sins by facing the shame of the cross and bearing your sins.  The Holy Spirit, who has quickened, guided, taught and comforted you – who translated you from darkness into His marvelous light.  What else does the Lord ask of us from this?

2.  Love Him with all your heart.  Your heart is the center of all physical and spiritual life; the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, affections, purposes and endeavors.  Our heart can be a well-spring of life or a seat of filth.

Matthew 15:18-19    “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”

The pure in heart shall see God.  Those who bear fruit, are willing to be “pruned”, those who impart no uncleanness (they have overflow, not undertow) and those who are free from corrupt desire and sin are pure in heart.

3.  Love Him with all of your soul.  Your soul is your very breath, spirit, life, mind, soul, appetite, living being, desire, emotion, your passion.  This can truly be difficult.  Read this passage from Galatians:

5:17  “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”   So, when your soul is not submitted to God, you walk by the flesh, giving into carnality, fleshly appetites and emotional instability.  When we walk by the Spirit, we do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.  Your desire should be to emulate David – whom God called a man after His own heart!

Psalm 42:1  “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God”

Psalm 84:2  “My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God”

Psalm 107:9  “For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness”

4.  Love Him with all of your mind. This implies deep thought, imagination, mind and understanding.  With our mind and our mouth we limit God.  After all, He said He could bless us above all that we ASK or THINK.  We limit God by our unbelief.  The mind is an easy entrance for the enemy.  Take your thoughts captive!

2 Corinthians 10:4-6  “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds [a castle, stronghold, fortress, ANYTHING on which one relies on the arguments and reasonings by which a disputant (that would be you) endeavors to fortify his/her opinion and defend it against his opponent (God) -we are in opposition to God when we erect a monument to our own opinion!]…

…casting down arguments [have you ever won an argument with God?] and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”  Whose disobedience is this referring to?  Yours!   You need to make your mind submit.  That means your memories from the past, your overly active imagination.  Don’t be double-minded!  It will squash your blessing.

5.  Love Him with all your strength.  This means your forcefulness, ability, might, power, strength.  You need God’s strength, not yours.  Otherwise, you will become weary in well doing and eventually quit.  Others make excuses regarding their lack of time, their busyness, when in reality many times it is a mask for laziness.  Submit to God your energies, your talents and abilities.  When we don’t, it’s because we don’t see the reward.  We are like the one in the parable of the talents that buried the talent the Master gave to him.

Matthew 25:24  “Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground.  Look, there you have what is yours”.

When God gave you a talent, an ability, He asked YOU to sow it…so that you both could reap.  What God showed me is that we say to God, by our actions, that He is not worthy of the harvest on our talent, He doesn’t deserve to reap where WE have sown the talent He gave us.  Oh, our pride!  If not for Him, we wouldn’t even have the talent in the first place!  The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof!  The nations are our inheritance, but you only inherit that which was not yours to begin with – only that which was willed to you!  The “will” explains the terms and conditions of your inheritance.  This will, the will of God, asks you to submit your ability and strength unto the Lord as a condition to your inheritance.

We bury our potential and tell God He’s a hard man, He asks too much of us.  But that’s a lie!  God will not only anoint you as He appoints you, He equips you and strengthens you!

2 Samuel 22:40  “For You have armed me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me those who rose against me”

We need to relinquish ALL of these areas God commanded as a love offering unto Him.  If we don’t, we are allowing something – an idol – to take the position only God deserves in our life.  God’s commandments always bear fruit and bring a blessing to us!  He is so good!

Deuteronomy 6:24 tells us that the observance of His statutes is for our good ALWAYS.  If we do, we will be abundantly blessed.

  • Deuteronomy 6:10 – you will reap where you did not sow!
  • :18 – you may go in and possess the GOOD land
  • :19 – your enemies will be cast our from before you
  • :25 – it will be to your righteousness (rightness and prosperity) if you observe His commands
  • 5:29 – it will be well (happy, successful, favorable, be content, benefit) with you and your children forever
  • Ps 112:1-10 – your descendants will be mighty on earth, blessed, wealth and riches in your house, you will never be shaken, never fear evil tidings, your heart will be steadfast, the desire of the wicked shall perish
  • Deut. 11:13-14 – He will give rain for your land in its season, the early and the late rain (the former or “early” rain watered the crops and the “latter” or late rain was just before the harvest.) that you may gather in your grain (harvest) and your new wine (revelation) and your oil (anointing).
  • Prov. 3:2 – length of days, long life and peace

When we submit to God, we don’t lose, we WIN!  We go from victim to victor in Christ.  “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the CHILDREN OF GOD!” (1 John 3:1).

This was just the first of the two greatest commandments!  What incredible love God has for us!

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