Fire Insurance or Life Insurance

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As we approach another religious observation of Easter, aka Resurrection Sunday, what is the take away from reflection on the Cross? I have spoken with many Christians on the topic; it seems the prevailing take-a-way is “Fire Insurance”. The carnal man, as we all are initially, is mostly concerned about avoiding hell fire. He wants that fire insurance. Knowing this, many churches have parked on the gospel of forgiveness to fill the pews. Most see the Cross of Christ as a means of avoiding damnation and relieving the burden of guilt. These are great blessings, but they are not the benefits most emphasized in scripture. A gospel centered primarily on the Cross as a means of forgiveness will always promote sin consciousness. This is so prevalent that most Christians see themselves as mere sinners. What is the result of this perspective? …more sin. Proverbs states, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” If you see yourself as a sinner, then you expect that you will sin. This mindset binds you to the habits of death that the Savior came to free you from. This fire insurance is a carnal interpretation of salvation from those who have failed to understand the true virtue of the Cross.

As far as fire goes Christ doesn’t save us from fire, He assures us of fire. He tells us that our life’s work will be tested by fire, we will be purified by fire, and the Holy Spirit is the Baptism by fire. In fact, He desires that we would be ablaze for Him and His Kingdom. Fire is common for believers.

When I was a teenager, I had a discussion with a man on the bus who tried to persuade me that Christianity was a religion taught to me by my oppressor. He also told me that the cross symbolized death. He went onto to say that he couldn’t understand why people would wear a symbol that represented death. While the Cross does remind us of the death of Yeshua, it also reminds us more importantly of the power of His resurrection. Yes, Christ died for all, but He was also resurrected and obtained new life for all. The teaching of the Cross in Holy Scripture emphasizes this new Life. Yeshua said, “I come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly.” The Cross of the Gospel of Christ is where the eternal life of Yeshua is made available to those willing to lay down their own interpretation of living. Existence outside of the life that Christ gives is filled with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, the pride of life, and fear. The life given to us through the Cross of Christ is the life of an obedient son of GOD. The obedience in this new life is rooted in Love and is lived out in Spirit and Truth. It is a life that is pleasing to GOD; a life that is centered in GOD.

When the teaching of the Cross is limited only to forgiveness, it leaves men attached to their carnal lives. It offers them compassion without a cure for their suffering. So much more has been provisioned through the Cross. It was nearly impossible to know GOD before the Life of Christ was made available through the Cross. The only life obtainable was the life inherited through Adam, which rebels against GOD and questions His Love in unbelief. This carnal life from Adam is alienated from GOD in that it has made a god of its own carnal reasoning.

We have to leverage the love manifested to us in the Cross of Christ unto a new hope and belief, and to faith in the promises of GOD’s love, which goes beyond forgiveness but also brings the promise of a new and powerful Life.

The powers of darkness don’t want you to know the fullness of the Love manifested through the Cross. It is a divine Love that breaks the shackles of sin and enables you to manifest the Light of GOD. All sin is rooted in selfishness and fear. The scripture teaches us that GOD’s perfect Love cast out fear. Fear is diminished in us as we grow in our understanding of the Love of GOD. The secure embrace of GOD’s love frees us from self-concern and empowers us to love others with divine love. Divine love being that beautiful and sacrificial love, that gives at the cost of self to benefit others.

The true sign that we understand and appreciate the Cross of Christ is that we have also taken up our own cross, by daily sacrificing carnal living, that the spiritual Life of Yeshua might be manifest in us. Just as the Spirit raised Yeshua from the dead, the Holy Spirit is present in the earth to empower new life in us. The Holy Spirit opens the life-giving teachings of Yeshua to us, and affirms the love of the Father in our hearts. He who the Son makes free is free indeed. He frees us through the workings of the Cross.

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Let No Man Take Your Crown

Crowns

As a father, my goal is to equip my children to be successful in life and to align them with a future that is fulfilling and sure. It is to make sure that they are in a place to enjoy all the true riches of life that have been freely given by their Heavenly Father. I don’t just desire this for my children but it is my wish for all of GOD’s children. GOD the Father sent us a savior who is Himself the road map, the Light, the Truth, the Word, the Way but we have to follow Him at all cost for success. He chooses us, but we also have to choose Him. The bride has to agree and surrender herself that she may become one with the bridegroom. There are others people and other things vying for our affections but we must stay true to our first Love, Yeshua the Christ.

“I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one may rob you and deprive you of your crown..”   (Revelation 3:11 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition)

A warning to the children of GOD in regards to guarding their crowns. The crowns represent the spiritual authority they have as a result of being unified with Christ, in having taking up the sufferings of Christ through crucifying their flesh with its carnal affections, in walking in obedience to the spirit as children of GOD, and in putting on the mind of Christ. The crown goes on the head and it reflects the Glory of Christ through all of those who have made Christ their head by putting on the mindset of Christ; the mindset of being obedient, even unto to death.

 

We have an adversary trying to trick us out of our inheritance and rob us of our very life. The alarm system that alerts us when evil is present is judgment. Darkness pervades where there is no judgment, which is why the enemy promotes tolerance without judgment. Judgment with tolerance can save lives but tolerance without judgment is the real condemnation to death. Judgment will save all of those seeking the light but those that love darkness will detest the light that judgment brings. Tolerance without judgment is subtle and tricky, and comes as counterfeit love, but it proliferates evil and causes the destruction of life. We all have the same chance to make it in, but only the ones that lose their life will find it. Go through the pain of releasing that thing that the Word of GOD has judged as cursed and you will find life.

 

So, since Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God],  So that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living by [his] human appetites and desires, but [he lives] for what God wills.” (1 Peter 4:1-3 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition)

 

I have throughout my life encountered people who would discourage me from harshly regulating my carnal appetites, but I have ignored their carnal counsel understanding that some things look like liberty but the end is bondage. There are spiritual things that look very restricting to carnal people, but they bring great freedom. Don’t let the carnal counsel of the world cause you to lose your crown waiting in heaven.

 

Yeshua the Savior has always told us the truth. He is love and He is what love looks like. We don’t have to wonder what it means to love; we can just look at the testimony of Christ and His teachings and be in the know. Our heart may utter things just as the disciples did, “Yeshua, that is too harsh,” “Yeshua, that is offensive,” “Yeshua, who then can be saved.” We just have to humble ourselves for the rebuke that comes when we are out of line with the spirit. When Yeshua informed the disciples that he had to suffer great things and be put to death, Peter told Him that He was speaking non-sense. Yeshua rebuked the spirit speaking through Peter saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Yeshua went on to tell the disciples that if they were going to be in unity with Him, then they would have to take up there cross as well, and so it is with us. People will try and talk you out of it, you will try and talk yourself out of it, but there is no way around it if you want to keep your crown.

 

This is a long post but it is important. I have one more scripture I wanted to share.

Ephesians 5:1-7 (Amplified Bible, Classic Edition)

“Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].  And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a [slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.  But immorality (sexual vice) and all impurity [[of lustful, rich, wasteful living] or greediness must not even be named among you, as is fitting and proper among saints (God’s consecrated people).  Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness [to God].  For be sure of this: that no person practicing sexual vice or impurity in thought or in life, or one who is covetous [who has lustful desire for the property of others and is greedy for gain]—for he [in effect] is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no one delude and deceive you with empty excuses and groundless arguments [for these sins], for through these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of rebellion and disobedience.  So do not associate or be sharers with them.”

Love is about what you need and what is best for you, not what pacifies you. Speaking the truth will bring conflict because there is so much falsehood in the world, but it is the way of salvation. It is better to walk in truth and be alienated from the world, than to compromise for carnal affection and be alienated from the true love and liberty in Christ and lose your crown. Don’t be lukewarm, be on fire for GOD and plan out your salvation in fear and trembling. The one with whom we have to do is very tolerant but with judgment. Read revelations chapter 2 and 3 for a sobering perspective of Love.

Love Prevails Over Leviathan

Bossmonster_Leviathan1

When he raises himself up, the mighty are afraid;
Because of his crashings they are beside themselves.
Though the sword reaches him, it cannot avail;
Nor does spear, dart, or javelin.
He regards iron as straw,
And bronze as rotten wood.
The arrow cannot make him flee;
Slingstones become like stubble to him.
Darts are regarded as straw;
He laughs at the threat of javelins.
His undersides are like sharp potsherds;
He spreads pointed marks in the mire.
He makes the deep boil like a pot;
He makes the sea like a pot of ointment.
He leaves a shining wake behind him;
One would think the deep had white hair.
On earth there is nothing like him,
Which is made without fear.

(Job 41:25-33)

As you read the description of this creature, you get the picture of a monster that is indestructible to man and indeed it is. The creature is Leviathan and there are more descriptions of him in Job 41, like his sharp teeth and impenetrable scales. Leviathan’s rule over man would be absolute without divine intervention. In the book of Job, Leviathan is called the king of all the children of pride. Leviathan rules like the pharaoh that contended with God to keep the Hebrews enslaved. Just as Yahweh sent Moses to deliver the Hebrew slaves from the tyranny of pharaoh, so has He sent Yeshua to deliver all of man from the tyranny of Leviathan. The Hebrew slaves, under the tyranny of pharaoh, were not free to worship God according to His will and had to be delivered. A person dominated by a spirit of pride and selfishness, under the rule Leviathan, also needs to be delivered in order to do God’s will.

Leviathan’s domination is evident in what is known as the first law of nature; Self-preservation. The focus on self is the signature of egotistical pride. Compare being ruled by the first law of carnal nature, to the two greatest laws in Yahweh’s kingdom, which also reflects His nature;

  1. Love the lord your God with all of your heart, mind and strength.

  2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

The only mention of self is in reference to how one cares for another. The nature of God’s kingdom is Love, versus the nature of those ruled by Leviathan, which is selfishness. You will be ruled by selfishness of pride until you are set free by Yeshua the Savior.

In order to be part of the body of Christ, you have to see and care for others as your self, you must have the ability to Love. You can never truly be unified with anyone else without Love. Marriage, families, and communities, fall apart without Love. This is why the Salvation of Christ begins with putting SELF on the cross; renouncing the law of self-preservation through entrusting the preserving of your life to Yeshua. Surrendering your life, by taking up the cross, makes way for divine Love to be birthed into your life. As Love delivers us from the oppressive phobias of selfishness, we are free to experience life as never before. He whom the son makes free, is free indeed!

Once you start to experience true freedom, you realize your were not free to even enjoy free things until you were freed your self. It’s true, only free people can really enjoy free things. People in bondage to selfishness through pride turn free things into more bondage. You see this manifested through hording, gluttony, and greed. Sometimes you can’t even give a selfish person a free gift, because they are to concerned about the hidden cost that the phobias of selfishness are projecting. This is why the free gift of Salvation through Christ is often left on the table, that is until we become broken and there is no more confidence in self. They that seek their life will lose it, and they that lose their life will find it. Through embracing the Cross of Christ you find true love, true freedom, and true Life.

(The image of Leviathan was found at BuddyJiang’s Portfolio: http://hokiboshi.net/portfolio/leviathan/)

Where is the Church that Christ built?

Easter after Easter, Resurrection Sunday after Resurrection Sunday, Christians reflect on the death and resurrection of Christ yet they still don’t understand it. I say this because the resurrection life that Yeshua made available to us is not being lived NOW. Yeshua told the religious leaders if they tore down the temple or church, that he would rebuild it in three days. Where is the Church rebuilt by Christ? Where is the Church filled with the righteousness of Christ, the Love of Christ, the obedience of Christ, the faithfulness of Christ, the power of Christ, the glory of the Son? I am not talking about a building somewhere with a congregation. The church that Christ rebuilt is made of living stones instead of lifeless stones. Where are the individuals who fulfill the righteousness of the Law through living by the Spirit: glorifying Yahweh as the resurrected body of Christ?

Most people today that say they believe on the Son of God, (Jesus-Messiah-Yeshua) aren’t willing to suffer for righteousness sake.  The death of the cross has been limited to somethimg experienced only by Yeshua. Consequently, the resurrection life that comes after the cross has also been limited to a life lived only by Yeshua. Churches today don’t hold their members accountable to living like Yeshua. The understanding is that we all try to be like Yeshua while knowing it is impossible; it’s just the religious thing to do. How does this mindset compare to what Yeshua said when He declared that those that believed on Him would be able to do even greater works than what He performed. In fact, most confessing Christians have the misconception that we won’t be able to live like Yeshua until we get to Heaven. Church members are taught they will only be free from sin once they get to heaven; after shedding the flesh. Yeshua didn’t say, tear down this church and I will rebuild it again in the Kingdom of Heaven; He said He would rebuild it in three days!

On the third day after Yeshua was crucified, He was raised again. After His resurrection, He ascended to Heaven to make available the same resurrection power to any man that would be willing to be an extension of His body in the earth. To be an extension of His body, you have to submit your body to the rulership of His mind. This is what is meant by making Yeshua Lord and Savior. Yeshua is the head of the body or the mind of the church. The believer surrenders his body to serve the will of Christ. Resurrection life is the life of Christ flowing through a believer that has surrendered his body to be governed by the mind of Christ. Since no man knows the mind of Yahweh but the spirit of Yahweh, the Holy Spirit has been sent to indwell and fill all those that make room by getting off of the throne through taking up the cross.

Romans 6:5-7

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

The death of Christ was on this wise; no man took His life but He laid it down. To be buried in the likeness of His death is to lay your life down through taking up your own cross. It follows that as the Spirit quickened Christ and raised Him again, if we deny carnal living through mortifying the deeds of the flesh then the Spirit will quicken us with new life to live spiritually. So then, after we bury our old habits through the baptism of repentance, we then look for the baptism of fire; the power of the Holy Spirit unto newness of life. Just as Christ was grieved in Gethsemane, we will be grieved in denying the cravings of the flesh but they that wait upon the Lord will renew in strength and mount up with wings as eagles. This is to say, if we will put our bodies on the alter, sprinkled with the blood of the lamb, fire will come down from Heaven and consume the offering; we will be filled with the Spirit. He that has an ear let him hear the good news of the Gospel. Resurrection life for NOW!

Don’t let another observance of the resurrection of Christ pass by without embracing your own cross and realizing that resurrection life is available now. Resurrection life is real. I am intentionally not referencing a bunch of scriptures to support what I have written here because every man is going to have to subdue His flesh with all the carnal reasoning as Yeshua did in Gethsemane until they come to the same conclusion that He came too: “Not my will but yours be done.” I am a new creature in Christ. I am living a life that only Yahweh could show me. I am learning things from the Holy Spirit that no man has taught me. Taking up the cross is a very personal and intimate experience between an individual and the God head. The decision to take up the cross is made in an obscure place alone but the resurrection life that follows shines for all to see; bringing glory to Yeshua.

Let go and let God Almighty.

Being Hard Core Requires Firm Decisions

The subject of the previous post “To Soar in the Spirit You Have to Be Hardcore” deals more with the preparation needed to effectively deal with the nature of sin rather than the subject of dealing with sin directly. A key part of aligning ourselves for deliverance from sin is making a firm decision on whether we are going to yield our bodies to serve sin or if we are going to yield our bodies to serve righteousness as discussed in Romans 6.  Yielding to the power of the Holy Spirit leads to righteousness and life, while yielding to the carnal nature leads to sin and death.

Before the Holy Spirit comes, we don’t even have the light to identify what carnal is because there is only the carnal nature and the carnal mind driving our actions. We do have a conscience that lets us know when we are treating someone in a lesser way than what we would like to be treated but that is fathoms below the heavenly ways of the spirit of Yahweh. When the Holy Spirit comes we are illuminated and understand when we are being compelled to be selfish, or lustful, or greedy, or spiteful or idolatrous. Once we are aware, we still have to make a decision on how we will respond. Remember, the spirit is subject to the prophet, we have to yield to the moving of the spirit. If we have not made a firm decision on whether we are done serving the flesh, we may choose to ignore the compelling of the spirit and satisfy the carnal appetite. When the scriptures speak of crucifying the flesh, it is speaking to exactly what Christ speaks of when he says, “If any man will be my disciple let him take up his cross and deny himself and follow me.” The crucifixion of the carnal man occurs anytime we deny ourselves the freedom to serve the flesh to obey the compelling of the spirit. As Yeshua mandated, to be His disciple, you have to give up your tendency to wander about and follow him only.  As followers of Christ, we choose to take up our cross daily which mindset is, I will look for and obey the compelling of the Spirit that Yahweh’s will is done and not my own.

Before the Spirit of Truth comes we are fettered to the lies and deceits about what we are and what we are capable of along with all the rejection and condemnation that comes with all of that, BUT after we are quickened by the spirit, we come to understand that we were created in the image of Yahweh and even as He is Holy we CAN be holy too, and even as He is Righteousness, we can be righteous also. We gain the ability to discern what is of the spirit and what is of the flesh. We then have a choice. Even though now we have the power to live spiritually and fulfill the law, we still have to choose to obey. If we have taken up our cross and the time comes, we do what is holy and righteous. If we have not taken up the cross and the time comes then we are double minded, meaning we may choose to serve our flesh sometimes we and we may do what we know to be right other times depending on the level of discomfort to the flesh.

To mortify the flesh means to subdue it or deaden it especially by abstinence or self-inflicted pain or discomfort (Merriam Webster).

1 Peter 4:1,

“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.”

We have to be willing to suffer in the flesh for the reward of righteousness the way we suffered in the flesh to fulfill the lust and pride of carnal living. You have heard the expression that people will cut off their nose to spite their face, it comes from watching people endure pain and suffering out of spite or pride. Animals and people fight and endure pain for the chance to mate. Men fight wars for riches and land. People go on crash diets and workout hard to prepare their bodies for display on the beach. There are numerous examples of people subjecting themselves to sufferings willfully for causes that are fleshy. We just have to be honest with ourselves about what we really believe and were our allegiance really lies because Yahweh deals in spirit and in truth. People stand in awe of Yeshua for what He suffered but the glory and beauty really lies in why He suffered. He endured it all so that we could be set free and have an opportunity to have true life in abundance. He knew that some of us would still reject Him and not value the benefits that He purchased with His own flesh but he did it anyway. The suffering of the flesh that is required of us is just reasonable to sustain life, unity, and peace for our self and with our fellow man according to the Word.