HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Are you ready for a journey with me this year?!
I have signed up to be a part of a School of Supernatural Ministry -locally – but through/with the curriculum from Bethel Church in Redding, CA – Bill Johnson’s church. If you haven’t read any of his books . . . GO GET ONE! They will change your life – they way you think – the way you live! And the proof of what he teaches in in the pudding . . . . his life, his church, and the students at his school are living it out! They are living radical, transformed, supernatural lives for God – and touching the lives of people where ever they go – even in Walmart!!
So – I wanted to include you in my journey through this school. Part of our “homework” is to read – 3 chapters of the Bible a day, as well as several books. I wanted to share with you what God is showing me. Bear with me. I’m not sure what this will look like – or how theologically “perfect” I will be – but it will be me . . . and God . . . and you! My heart’s desire is to love God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind – and then love others as I love myself! I can’t love others if I don’t love myself – and I can’t love myself unless I love God and know His love for me! So, in order to reach people with God’s love – I need to know it, experience it myself – firsthand. You do too. And one way in which He shows us His love is through His love letters – His word – the Bible. We get to know more about Him – who He is, what He is like, what He is NOT like, and more.
So journey with me this year – and let’s see what God has to say to us – to me – to you! Will you? Let me know what you think too – what God is saying to you! Read along with me – 3 chapters a day. I even went to the library to get the audio Bible on CD (dramatized version!) to listen to as I read along in my Bible (or online at Biblegateway.com). And if you want – you can also read the books that I am reading. Currently I am reading Bill Johnson’s book – “When Heaven invades Earth“.
Here we go!! . . .
1:6 – “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”
(Ok – so I have to ask this first . . . though it’s not what I wanted to talk about! Was Adam with her the whole time that Eve and the serpent were having their conversation? Was he just not listening or paying attention? Or did he hear it all, but didn’t decide to participate until his wife convinced him? Hmmm . . . . )
I was struck by this verse – mainly because I can see how the enemy still uses this tactic today – in my life and in so many people’s lives.
How many times are we presented with something in our lives that looks good, sounds good, tastes good, seems good for us, etc . . . and yet it goes against what we know God has told us not to do? . . . . And how many times do we “take a bite” after reasoning that it must be good for us . . . just look at it . . .just smell it . . . it will make me smarter . . it will increase my salary to provide for my family (so I can give more to my church too) . . . it will save me money so I don’t have to buy that item – I’ll just copy it . . . it makes me feel good inside when I drink/eat it . . . I feel all happy when I watch/listen to it . . . what could be wrong with that?! Plus – we have something that Eve didn’t have or couldn’t say – “Everyone else is doing it!”
Oh how we are deceived! And oh how sad it is that we don’t realize what we’ve done immediately afterwards like Adam and Eve did. Why not? Why did they? Why did they realize right away that what they had done was wrong? Their “eyes were opened” (vs 7 – “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made covering for themselves.”). How were their eyes opened? Were they blind before? No, of course not. But they now saw something they had never seen before . . .their sin . . their nakedness. This was something that was new to them. However, in the world we live in . . . we see and experience it everyday – don’t we? We’ve become numb/blind to some of it. So how can we become more aware – how can we become more sensitive to our sin and grieving the Holy Spirit?
Spend time with the Lord, in the presence of God – the Holy Spirit. Get to know Him, His ways, His commands, His love, His power and more. It’s like wearing a dirty shirt. When you are in a darkened room, you don’t – and can’t – really see the dirt or stains on your shirt. It might even feel or smell clean. However, start shining a light on it, or step into a room that has better lighting, and you start to notice the stains, the dirt. You are amazed that you never saw them before! You are embarrassed. How could you have walked around with such a dirty shirt on and never know it. When you start walking with the “light” of this world – you will become more aware of the dirt and stains that had been on your shirt. But when you accept Christ and his forgiveness – He gives you a NEW shirt! Stay in the light. If you do – you will quickly see and realize if you accidentally (or intentionally) get your new shirt dirty – and you can deal with it quickly then. If you wander back into the darker room – you won’t be as aware (you might feel/smell clean there – but it’s a false sense of purity.).
Adam and Eve had a life that we all, deep down – in our spirits, desire. We want to walk and talk with our Lord all throughout the day – to have an intimate and personal relationship with God in a tangible way. They lived with Him, ate with Him, talked and laughed with Him – every day. It was all they knew. They wouldn’t have even thought about the tree in the middle of the garden – the forbidden fruit. Why should they? They had all they needed. It wasn’t even a consideration. But the enemy threw a thought in there . . . he planted a seed in their minds. Once he saw that the seed was definitely planted (when Eve responded to him and told him that God said they couldn’t even “touch it” or they would die – which God never said not to touch it) – then Satan watered that seed. “You will not surely die!” He got Eve thinking about it more – allowing that thought to take root and grow. Look how good that fruit looks. Why would such a good God keep something so good from you? He would want you to have it! And it’s not just good to eat, and good to look at – but it will give you wisdom, so you can be more like God! Don’t you think that if God really loved you that He would want you to be more like Him? Why is He keeping that from you?
Satan got her thinking, doubting, analyzing, being introspective and rationalizing . . . which all sound like good things (God gave us a mind didn’t He? So why not use it?!). However – as good as it all sounded, looked, etc . . . it still went against what God had said. And just THAT fact alone – made it “not good” – made it wrong – made it a sin. It doesn’t matter how “good” something looks, feels, tastes, seems, etc in our own rationalizing mind . . . . if it goes against what God has said – then it is wrong – it is sin – and it leads to death.
How many times have you compromised in your life . . . this past year . . . this month . . . today? How many times have you said – “It’s not that big a deal. . . . . It will help us out in the long run. . . . It’s just this once. . . . . It won’t affect me. . . “ etc? How many “little” compromises . . . aka – “bites” have you taken?
I challenge you to DECLARE WAR ON COMPROMISE today. Don’t take a bite. In fact – to make it even easier on you (to not take a bite . . . compromise) – don’t even entertain the idea – the thoughts. Stop it before it starts! Kick the enemy out of your “garden” – out of your mind – and life! Don’t’ let him whisper things to you. Yes – they sound and look good . . . but they are not. They lead to death! The thoughts will come – but we need to take them captive – 2 Cor. 10:5 – “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Colossians 2:8 – “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”
The enemy has kept us trapped – captive (2 Tim 2:26) – and he starts with our thoughts. Let’s not let him continue to have access and the ability to trap us and keep us captive anymore! DECLARE WAR ON COMPROMISE!
I was asked once –what the difference really was between drinking alcohol to get a buzz – to feel good, relaxed, drunk, happy, etc. . . . and wanting to be “drunk in the Holy Spirit’s presence”? Both of them make you feel good – but you still have to keep going back for more to keep feeling good. So what makes one better than the other? Is there really a difference?
Yes - One leads to life . . . the other leads to death. Plain and simple.
When you are filled with the Holy Spirit and enjoying his presence and power – the feeling is indescribable (actually waaay better than when you are drunk on alcohol!). You are on cloud nine! You are flying high! And it’s not just the nice (drunk) feeling – You are experiencing a love you have never known! It’s beyond anything I could even describe – a love so pure, so holy, so perfect, so safe (which you don’t get from alcohol or drugs). When the experience is over though . . . here’s the difference . . . you don’t wake up with a hangover! You wake up happy (not depressed, lonely, sad, regretful, with a headache) – and feeling totally loved and peaceful!
What does this have to do with compromise? Everything. I’m not saying that if you drink a glass of wine here and there with dinner, or if you go see a movie or listen to “non-christian music” that you are on your way to hell. I’m definitely not anti-wine, anti-media, anit-pleasure. And this isn’t just about drinking – but about all kinds of compromise – financial, work, relationships, physical intimacy, what we watch, listen to, what we say – or don’t say, etc. What I am trying to say is . . . Does what you are doing go against what God has said – to you personally – or through His word – etc? Are you looking to find the real thing – the tree of LIFE – in the alternative – the tree of “death” (sin)? It’s a cheap imitation. It can never be truly the same. It looks, sounds, tastes, smells, seems good and similar . . . but it’s not. It’s the devil’s cheap imitation of the real thing – of what God can give you – of what He has for you. Follow God’s ways – and you will be amazed! His ways are soooo much better! You don’t have to take my word for it . . . listen to God’s . . .
I want to leave you with the words of God spoken to Moses and the Israelites (Deuteronomy 30: 11-20)
The Offer of Life or Death
11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws, then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Love (God) . . . Walk (in His ways) . . . Keep (His commands)!
Love (God) . . . Listen (to His voice) . . .Hold fast (to Him)!
THEN you will live and increase!
The Lord IS your LIFE!
No more excuses – DECLARE WAR ON COMPROMISE Today!
Make a decision to go deeper today!