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Costly Sight

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I am loving this book! It’s a no-nonsense book that fortifies the right mindset and focus in spiritual maturity. Every Christian serious about their walk, purpose, and relationship with God should read this book. Definitely, the ones in leadership. It’s the real deal.

As I was reading (and listening) to this part, it stopped me in my tracks, I remember being so deep in my lust that when I decided to cooperate with God to dig me out, it was a constant fight to focus on God. The enemy would pass images from my past in my mind or imaginations I used to entertain because my eyes were used to paying attention to what the devil and my flesh wanted me to see. I had given the enemy open access through my eyes and thoughts not knowing the torment it would cause me later. I definitely didn’t know it would work against me when I’m trying to pray, worship, listen to the word at church and sometimes during worship. The devil had my attention for a really long time and I had to retrain my eyes to see and focus on God, the things of God and from His perspective. That agony made me start checking my eye gates (what I watch), ear gates (what I’m listening to), fasting, feverishly reading my word (to see through God’s perspective and nature), and be unreserved in my worship to God (keep worship intimate, complete focus on Him, not people, no distractions). It made me realized my distance and chase after Him. If you love God you go after Him by obeying Him, every devil in hell may come through all the doors you didn’t know you opened, but God will give you the ability to clean house and snatch the enemy’s keys back as you give him the boot! Now the devil will come knocking again, but it’s easier to make someone leave at your door than someone you already let in. Especially when Jesus lives there. Thank you God! Thank you God that You are faithful and you draw near to those who draw near to You. Thank you God for freedom. Thank you God for the right sight.

John 14:23 Jesus answered anyone who loves me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

James 4:8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people!

Psalm 101:3-4
I will not set anything worthless before my eyes. I hate the practice of transgression; it will not cling to me. A devious heart will be far from me; I will not be involved with evil

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We tear down arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.

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The Mindset of an Effective Witness

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Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit       Matthew 28:19

To be effective in bringing someone to Christ, we must keep at the forefront of our minds to be intentional, full of God’s love and living a lifestyle of worship to God. Just as God was very intentional in initiating His relationship with us; He is also intentional and purposeful in using us to initiate His relationship with others. We should be moved by His purpose and His love for humanity and not our own. Furthermore, our lifestyle should reflect our belief that He is God.

Be Intentional

In fact, if we are going to be effective in our witness, we have to make sure we keep our purpose present in mind every where God places us. Are we intentional when we “go” to work? Are we intentional in our purpose when we “go” home to our families? How about when we “go” to the store, or when we’re driving or “go” to school? In every place we go (especially within our circle of influence), we should have an intentional mindset of making disciples (Matt 28:19).

The Power of God’s Love

In addition to that, God is the initiator. Therefore, God’s love should always be our primary motivator. Not our love for others, but the love God has for others. Not our perception of love, but His Love working through us. Sometimes, we forget that though we are passionate about winning others to Christ, it has no comparison to the love and passion of Christ. It was no other love, but the love of Christ that compelled us. Many believers get weary in their witness because they are motivated for the wrong reasons or for their own conveniences. What often happens is the moment they are inconvenienced, they’re unwilling to be used. Being driven by our selfishness, frustration, status, pride or self-righteousness dismisses God’s power. In fact, any motive outside of God’s love working in us, is outside or devoid of God’s power or anointing (1 Cor. 13: 1-3). God is Love (1 John 4:16). Just as He gives us His breath to live, breathe, and worship Him; It has to be His Love working through us to express love to Him, ourselves, and others. Without love, true love, God’s Love; our witness is without power and perverted.

For instance, this week (and every week), I’ve been blessed to be ministered to by a powerful worship leader. Her ministry literally demands the presence of God. This woman opens her mouth and God shows himself. More times than I can count, I have received everything I needed to hear by God directly in worship lead by her. For over 14 years, I have yet to see her ministry fall to the ground. What makes her so powerful to me is that her ministry is so transparently intimate. It flows straight from her heart to God. Not to the people, to God. Her ministry has nothing to do with us who benefit, and everything to do with us at the same time. The power in her ministry flows out of her intimate relationship with God. Her love for God is a motivation behind her ministry. Just as Jesus principally said to Peter, “if you love me, feed my lambs” (John 21:15-17). Her love for God connects to her ability to love and minister to who He loves and wants to reveal Himself to. Her ministry illustrates a great example of how we are to be in our everyday lives. As we all should be leading somebody to worship God, essentially, we are worship leaders as well.

The Lifestyle of an Effective Witness is a Lifestyle of Worship

As a rule, a lifestyle manifests the truth in belief. In other words, your lifestyle will provide evidence of who or what you worship. So, an observer will know who you worship through your behavior. An effective witness consistently has worship on their mind, in their heart, and behavior. As Christians, our worship is the undivided expression of love and obedience or submission to Christ. Undivided means exclusive, meaning there can only be one (Ex.20:3). Above all else, God has to be “God”. We have to have Him crowned in this position in our hearts, our minds, and our behavior ( Luke 10:27, Deut. 6:5) . In the lifestyle of an effective witness, love and obedience are like identical twins (John 14:15 John 15:10, 1 John 5:2-3, 2 John 1:6). They have the same DNA . When you look at the love twin, you see obedience. When you look at the obedience twin, it should look like love. They could really be Siamese twins because one is never really absent from the other. They are interchangeable. Obedience requires love and love requires obedience. This is why worship should always exceed a moment of expression at church. Not that church worship is bad, it’s beautiful and is pleasing to God when sincere (John 4:24). However, that expression should proceed from a lifestyle of worship. We can only lead someone to worship through our lifestyle of worship. Remember, nobody outside the church doors can be inspired by worship they can’t see. Furthermore, no one inside the church doors including GOD will be inspired by worship your heart and lifestyle contradicts. Bottom line: If we don’t obey God, we cannot reflect God (1 John 5:2). Finally, if we truly love God and are motivated by His Love working in us, we will be an effective witness.

 

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of Him. This is how we know that we love God’s children when we love God and obey His commands.For this is what love for God is: to keep His commands. Now His commands are not a burden, because whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. And who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?         1 John 5:1-5 HCSB

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is perfected in us. 13 This is how we know that we remain in Him and He in us: He has given assurance to us from His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent His Son as the world’s Savior. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God—God remains in him and he in God. 16 And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.     1 John 4:7-16 HCSB

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Why so curious?

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For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6

Ever notice how it’s harder to resist the temptation of “taking a little peek” than to straightaway look over? There’s nothing wrong with being curious in general.  Curiosity is the desire to know things, but the curiosity of the flesh is the exception to the rule. The curiosity of the flesh is the desire to know sin. Our fleshly/carnal nature is the thirstiest, “Can I get just a sip? Dip my toe in? I’ll do anything just for a little bit of sin…” most desperate, ravenous harlot for sin.  No matter how holy you try to live, we all have a personal THOT we have to contend with. It will always want more no matter how much you give in. That craving will never be satisfied; if you allow yourself to be exposed to a little bit, you only strengthen the influence for more.

Now unfortunately, the enemy knows this information and knows what to do with it. Satan has mastered the ability to game up our flesh. Think about it, the moment you say no to that temptation; what does the enemy do? Start making negotiations a.k.a. throwing game at your flesh….”You ain’t gotta smoke, just go over there and hang out…you can hang out.”  GAME. “Ok you ain’t going over his/her house, but you can call them. No? Well just text them and see what he/ she doing…you can say Hi.” GAAAAME! Who is first to co-sign on these (compromises) negotiations??? Your flesh.  You say no, but you weighing the pros and cons….. Meantime, that carnal desire has become even stronger because now you’ve entertained the enemy by allowing him to occupy space in your head. That hang out turns into a smoke out, for the purpose of leading to you being strung out. That text lead to being in somebody’s bed; illegally connected to them and legally separated from God.

 

And so what do we do with this wretched, ratchet, fleshly nature that we have?

 

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. Romans 13:14

Putting on the LORD Jesus

When we put on Jesus, we put Him on as a garment tailored in His size that we must conform ourselves to, in order to wear Him. Jesus doesn’t conform to fit us. That’s done. He wore us on the cross.  We are supposed to fit in Christ. Publicly and privately. When you represent Him, you look like Him. Yes, it can be challenging; but we get more wearing Jesus than wearing our carnality. When we put on Jesus, we put on His righteousness, peace, love, discernment, power, authority and then some! Everything we need to be spiritually minded, free and strong. We need to take on the nature of Jesus Christ and live a lifestyle that plainly identifies that Jesus is Lord over our lives.

Make No Provision

We have to STARVE our Flesh. Don’t give it a crumb, a peek, a call, a text, a picture…you get what I’m saying. The less you feed it; the less influence it will have. I have found my flesh reacts spiritually the same way it does naturally to starvation. When I don’t eat food, I get hunger pains. When I starve my flesh from sin, my flesh starts giving me hunger pains for sin. The Good part is: Much like the natural rule, the longer you withhold, the strength in the hunger pains wanes. The hunger pains dwindle to the point where you forget you was hungry is the first place. Then, your fleshly nature becomes weak. Weak flesh sucks in the natural, weak flesh is great spiritually, dead flesh is even better.  But the caveat is we only have the power to make the choice to starve our flesh and diminish its influence through the power of Jesus Christ.

 

Roman 8:5-13

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

 

Post Script: Don’t listen to enemy and don’t look at what he’s pointed at. Nothing he says or does is useful to us; it’s only useful to his goal.  That goal is to kill us, steal from us, and destroy us. (John 10:10) The Bible says in James 4:7 Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Resist means: to take action in opposition to. If you keep responding to temptation with Reading your word, or prayer or worship…he will eventually stop messing with you in that area because when you put on Jesus, you break down his power of influence.

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Because I Love Him, I am Patient with Him ~ How I overcame “Me” to be Patient with “Him”

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I don’t want to be romantic about patience, but it is, all about love (1 Corinth. 13:4).  I believe patience is an essential and beautiful display of love in marriage. When I married Jason, I vowed before God to permanently unify my journey of life with his. Patience gives me and my husband the ability to persist in loving each other through difficult or frustrating situations. Love expressed through patience is essentially saying, “I will lovingly wait for you and facilitate a loving atmosphere for us to grow together.”

Now with that being said, it was definitely a process for me to become a patient wife.  Patience can only be manifested under antagonistic conditions. I can’t speak for everybody, but when challenges present themselves, especially in my marriage; my flesh likes to volunteer itself as a hindrance to responding correctly. There were two specific stumbling blocks I had to avoid when I wanted to be patient.

At first, what reared itself was pride. It was very enticing to look down at my husband because I am stronger than he is in particular areas. When I was prideful, even my approach to help him was unconsciously and sorry to say, effortlessly; condescending. I don’t have to tell you how counterproductive that is. Nobody likes to be treated or perceived less than who they are, especially from their spouse. My arrogant pride, had done, just that. Definitely not the most loving way to help someone. However, pride didn’t distract me very long. God reminded me that I didn’t just jump out the womb, knowing the things I know. I had to go through the process of learning, and I wasn’t taught just for my benefit. I was also being prepared to become a resourceful, life-long helpmate to my husband. Besides, Jason is stronger in areas that I struggle with. I am pretty sure patience with me is much required in those areas. Moreover, God also recapped how patient He has been, and still is with me. That reminder, pretty much shut down any temptation to be prideful.

 

Secondly, perhaps the biggest struggle, the one I really found to have enmity with my patience, was selfishness. The Bible says that love isn’t selfish or self-seeking (1 Corinthians 13:5). Patience unites where selfishness divides. I say “where” because the exact place where patience is needed; selfishness volunteers itself as an instrument of division in marriage. In my selfishness, I have found myself thinking, “I know this. Why can’t he figure it out?  Why can’t he just…..or why do I have to deal with this and I already know this?”  My selfish thinking had me completely dismiss myself from my role in my husband’s journey for success. Which means we both were in position to fail. Selfishness puts me in position to fail as his helpmeet; and him in position to fail because I left him without one.  Patience has always challenged me to think outside of myself.  It demands that I intimately connect my development of maturity to my husband’s development of maturity.

Essentially, we are growing as One.  Patience has become a motivator for praying more, speaking in Love, consistency in my worship, exercising wisdom, gaining understanding, and learning how to function as One with my husband. Doing these things has made me not only a better wife, but spiritually stronger and disciplined.  My husband is also growing in a loving atmosphere that empowers him to be all God has called him to be.  I have found peace in being patient because I am more focused on the bigger picture. I love him better in patience, than in frustration.