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THE POWER TO CHOOSE


by Neil Anderson

 

July 23
 
Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve. . . . As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD
 
Adam and Eve’s sin also affected the area of their will. Do you realize that in the Garden of Eden they could only make one wrong choice? Everything they wanted to do was okay except eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16, 17). They had the possibility of making a myriad of good choices and only one bad choice– only one !
 
Eventually, however, they made that one bad choice. As a result, you and I are confronted every day with a myriad of good and bad choices. You can choose to pray or not pray, read your Bible or not read your Bible, go to church or not go to church. You can choose to walk according to the flesh or according to the Spirit. You and I face countless choices like that every day, and we eventually make some bad ones.
 
Other than the Holy Spirit in your life, the greatest power you possess is the power to choose. Someone has said that pure Christianity lies in the exercise of the will. The animal kingdom operates out of divine instinct. But we are created in the image of God, which means we have a self-operated, independent will. The essence of temptation is to function independently of God. The basis for temptation is legitimate needs.
 
Sinful behavior is often a wrong attempt at meeting your basic needs. The real issue here is are you going to get your needs met by the world, the flesh and the devil, or are you going to allow God to meet your needs “according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19)? It’s an issue of identity and maturity. The more you understand your identity in Christ, the more you will grow in maturity. And the more mature you become, the easier it will be for you to choose to live your life in dependence on your heavenly Father.
 
Prayer: Lord, I determine to exercise my great power of choice to live in moment-by-moment dependence on You today.


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A Reflection

I made it! Today marked a milestone in my short 18 years of living. I graduated high school! The last four years have been an incredible time of growing and maturing, ups, downs, and fellowship. I wouldn’t change a single one of those years (except maybe to add time to my senior year). So, I’m about to take you on a quick reflection on the last four years. 

Freshman year: Oh boy. What a big step. I remember walking into my first day of high school as a little immature and scared kid. Now it didn’t take me long to get comfortable, but it was a little nerve-racking for awhile. As I told a friend a few weeks ago, I made some mistakes almost right off the bat. I let the people I was around and my own selfish ambitions shape who I was becoming, how I talked, and how I thought. Somewhere along the right I got back to who I was and I remembered Who I represented. God made me (and everyone of you) for a particular purpose. I forgot that for a time. Freshman year is when I started strengthening the friendships I began over my elementary and junior high career. I lost some friends, but I guess that happens. 

Sophomore year: Honestly, I dont recall much of my sophomore year. At least, nothing major really stick out for me. This was the first time I spoke at church though! That was more nerve-racking than my first day of high school for sure! 

Junior year: Wow. This was probably the hardest year I had academically. I was so busy with classes that legitimately challenged me. My intention here is not to brag, but school has always come fairly easily for me. I make good grades and most of what I learn will stick with me for quite awhile. Junior year was a test and I passed. I continue to do well in school and make friends. Some of those friends that made a lasting impact on me will be discussed in a minute. Junior year is really when I started maturing both as a person and in my faith. 

Senior year: This year was different than all the rest. I took a couple dual credit classes at a local university. That was a great experience! I also spent a lot of time in the front office (my school as a class where I got to work in the front office). I’m extremely glad I chose to do that (again I’ll tell you more about that in a moment). This year was incredibly fun and exciting! I met some new friends, I made a college decision, and obviously graduation was huge! As for my college decision, I will be attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago with the intent of going into some sort of ministry field after college. I have to do my first year online because of limited space on campus, but I have a good shot of moving to Chicago in the Fall of 2015. 

Friends that made a lasting impact: Now don’t get me wrong. I have a ton of friends that I will never forget. The thing is, if I wrote about all of them, I might as well write a book. I could fill pages. I’ll spare you the time and effort by just writing about a few that are really the closest to me. 

First, my brother and I have really formed the relationship brothers should have. We used to fight a lot as kids. We didn’t get along. Yes, it’s normal for sibling to quarrel. But, we just never got really close until around my eighth grade year. Maybe even my freshman year. The point is, now we are best friends. We set aside what was hindering our relationship from progressing and allowed our faith in Jesus to shape our friendship. I love Joey and I’m grateful for the relationship we have now. 

I have another friend named Craig. I knew Craig a little bit in elementary because we played on the same sports teams and of that good junk. He didn’t go to the same school though until eighth grade. What I love most about my friendship with Craig is the fact that I’ve gotten the opportunity to watch him grow in his walk with Christ. I don’t claim to have any huge part in that growth, but I’ve been completely delighted when we have had the opportunity to discuss the Word and I’ve been delighted when he has had questions about God that I was able to give him an answer to. He’s really been an encouragement to me through the years! He knows what it takes, or rather Who it takes to live the Good Life. He’s got a bright future ahead of him. 

Like Craig, I’ve knew the next guy just a little in elementary. Trace also came to my school in eighth grade. Trace is an incredible athlete! I know if he works hard, he can achieve a lot both in life and in his future athletic endeavors. Through high school, Trace and I would poke fun at each other (always in a friendly way, of course!), but he has also been an encouragement. Just watching how hard he works to be the best he can be is what has encouraged me the most. I wish him nothing but the best! 

The next friend is Drake. To be quite honest and a little blunt, Drake is good at aggravating people. It isn’t often I show frustration and anger in public, but at times Drake has successfully brought it out of me. And on purpose I might add! Regardless, he quickly became one of my best friends. Even though we spent much of our time together joking with each other, he’s always been a person I could talk to just to get things off my chest. All of these friends that I have listed (and the last one I will list) are people I can talk to if I need to. We’ve both share a love for golf. Now, Drake is better at golf than I’ll ever be, but I still enjoy the game. I remember one particular time on the golf course, we had a pretty serious discussion in which we basically shared some of the history in our lives. I won’t get into the actual conversation we had because it was just a talk between he two of us. However, the point is that that is a moment that really stuck out to me. 

Finally, the last friend I’m going to talk about. I’ve rambled enough. :) I met this girl for the first time this year. In the front office. Yep. Remember that blow off class I was talking about? It ended up being a bigger blessing than I thought possible. Saylor is an all-around incredible person. Just about every time I’ve been around her, she either laughing at random things, smiling about something, or blankly staring at me because I said something incredibly stupid. Many times this year when I’ve been stressed or down about something, she’s been able to lift me up just because of her attitude. She didn’t know it of course, but just being around her often brightened my day. I looked forward to that time in the office every day just because of the fun and uplifting time I knew was coming. I’ve only known Saylor for a year, but I’m glad I met her and I thank God for her daily. I hope we can continue to grow closer as individuals. 

I thank God for all of these relationships I have managed to make over the years. God is good! My time in high school has shaped me and matured me into the person I am now. My faith has grown tremendously as well! Again, there are many more friends I could talk about, but time would not permit me to do so. I sincerely hope to remain in contact with all of the ones I listed as I enter my college career and beyond. I know many classmates and other relationships formed in high school often lose contact after one or both people graduate. It’s just a fact of life. But you can bet that I will do everything within my power to keep in contact with my friends. 

I think this verse fits well for the relationships God has blessed me with:

“Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.”- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

 

-Austin


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Kingdom Power and Authority, part III

     god stuff 4

Ephesians 4:3-6 (NAS): Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is ONE body and ONE Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

We are never to war in the flesh. Satan will send his demons to coerce the unsuspecting to lash out at you. Resist temptation to verbally or physically defend your honor: for it is not your honor at stake, but God’s. With this mindset grounded in the Kingdom of heaven, you will be more self-disciplined when confronted with insults hurled at you. God WILL contend with those who contend with Him ambassadors – every time, but in His timing, not ours.

We must be patient to wait upon the Lord. Knowing this and the wrath that will be unleashed toward the unrepentant, we will more quickly intercede in prayer for mercy for our human foe. We should never wish destruction for mankind; God loves them and expects His people to intercede whether we want to or not. Again, as an ambassador, our personal opinion and desires are irrelevant. God and His desires alone are our motivating factors.

John 19:10-11, NAS: So Pilate said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?” Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over me, unless it had been given you from above…”

Here in John 19, we see where, without using pride behind His words, Jesus spoke plainly and with Kingdom confidence that Pilate had zero authority to do anything with Him lest God the Father granted him access. Jesus, even in the face of death, did not waver, but stood firmly in the knowledge and power and authority of God. This is how we, those filled with the Spirit of the Living God, should conduct ourselves at all times. This is Kingdom of God conduct. Anything less is earthly, of the evil one, and full of pride – that conduct will destroy you and it will chip away at God’s Kingdom.

 

I hope you’ll come back next time. If you’re interested in reading more, please go to my website and check out my books or my ministry Facebook page.

Peace and blessings,

Alexys V. Wolf

www.thefierysword.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fiery-Sword-Global-Ministries/185299884822251

http://thefierysword.wordpress.com/


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Kingdom of God: Power and Authority, part II

god stuff 4

“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly…not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and everycircumstance I have learned the secretof being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:10-13, NAS).”

“But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you (Matthew 12:28, NAS).”

 

What Paul is saying in Philippians four is pure power! Through choosing to recognize that his flesh was dead and he daily consigned it as such, he was allowing the Spirit of God within himself to be sharpened.

Peace and self-discipline in Christ in any situation are key to accessing Kingdom authority that unlocks the power of the Kingdom of God. Though the fleshly part of all people is to want more of whatever turns us on, Holy Spirit seeks only His kingdom. When led exclusively by Holy Spirit as was Paul, the only desire we will have is Kingdom expansion and all that goes along with that because that is God’s desire.

In this condition, Paul was equipped with supernatural power over fleshly desires, be it desiring more in his poverty or pride in his abundance. Basically speaking, Paul operated in neither shame of lack nor pride of abundance – Christ was his all-in-all – he was grounded in Christ regardless of circumstance.

Paul became the epitome of the unshakable Kingdom of God spoken of in Hebrews 12:28-29 which reads, “Therefore, since we receive a Kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” Paul was not shaken by hunger, for his trust was in The King. He was not moved by boasting in his bounty, for his praises to the Giver never ceased. He had single vision, Kingdom vision, God’s vision.

“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation and the POWER and the KINGDOM OF GOD and the AUTHORITY OF HIS CHRIST have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night (Revelation 12:10, NAS).”

“But of the Son He says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His Kingdom (Hebrews 1:8, NAS).”

Satan is a defeated foe though for a season he is allowed to torment, kill, steal and destroy we who are created in the image of God. We must keep in mind at all times that Satan must contend with the King who sent The Ambassador (Jesus) to earth. We, God’s ambassadors filled with the High Priest are merely the messengers of the High King. Knowing this, God has given us every tool necessary to defend ourselves to war against the evil one, not to wage war against one another.

The sooner we understand and begin to walk in the peace and self-discipline of Jesus as did the Apostle Paul, we will be able to access all the King has provided from His Kingdom of righteousness. In this, we will most certainly begin to do greater things than Jesus as promised by Jesus Himself – we will subdue the earth!

I hope you’ll come back next time. If you’re interested in reading more, please go to my website and check out my books or my ministry Facebook page.

Peace and blessings,

Alexys V. Wolf

www.thefierysword.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fiery-Sword-Global-Ministries/185299884822251

http://thefierysword.wordpress.com/


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Bad Bosses and Irritating People, part IV

god stuff 4

Standing in Judgment

“Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions…who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.” So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way…(Romans 14:1, 4, 7-13, NAS).”

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged (Matthew 7:1, NAS).”

It is exceedingly difficult, nay, impossible, for the flesh of mankind to not pass judgment on those who offend and/or irritate us. However, it is through the Spirit of God exclusively that we are supernaturally capable of overcoming such judgment against others. Sufficed to say, there is no one who can honestly say that judgment does not cross their mind and heart from time to time – after all, it is human nature and we dwell temporarily is this earthen vessel.

In order to be successful in this or any area of God’s commands, we must remember that we are no longer of the human race, but of the heavenly race – the Kingdom race. We are but strangers and aliens in the earth sent from heaven to bring heaven down to earth. This is so because we are dead and our only life is Christ. In other words, once in Christ, our earthly origin ceases and our heavenly origin begins.

If you are like I, people irritate you! In our irritation, judgment can easily take hold of our hearts and grow bitter roots. Hebrews 12:15 is clear about bitterness: “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.” Operating in a judgmental/critical spirit against others no matter how innocent it may seem, causes bitter roots to spring within our hearts like weeks and they taint not only our walk with God with it takes others down with us.

Because of the nature of the flesh in which we currently remain, it is altogether a necessity to hone in on the Spirit of God within us through our spirit-man. If we do not daily (moment to moment) purposefully tap into Holy Spirit, we will find ourselves in the midst of fleshly judgment. We can defend it all day long but unless we, one, choose to recognize that we have indeed passed critical judgment in our hearts as well as, two, choose to repent of it and lay it at the foot of the cross, things will not change as we would otherwise hope. Pray though we may for God to remove us or the irritant, nothing will change until we allow God to transform us from the inside out and love and accept others as they are.

We are not to regard a brother with contempt. This is why we are urged to go to a brother with whom we have a problem so as to resolve the matter. We are to conclude our conflicts, not simply for our selves, but for the greater good of the Kingdom of God. For this reason, there is to be unity between the brethren and we should seek peace at all times, respecting one another.

One who is rebellious, for instance, will be perpetually faced with people who “force” them to rebel because, from where God stands, He recognizes the need for the weaknesses of rebellion to be exposed so that the individual will choose to deal with it through God’s strength. Otherwise, if they continue in their rebellion, the same old obstacles and irritating people will continuously come in their path; hence, frustration remains.

Likewise, one who is impatient will continually come in contact with people who try their patience. One who is timid in their faith will continuously be put in situations where they need to be bold. One who is confrontational will be put in situations where they need to submit in both humility and silence, and so on.

For me personally, the nature of the flesh in which I dwell is exceedingly confrontational. I have to be diligent with my time tapping into Holy Spirit continuously so as to be able to clearly discern when to confront a situation and when to be silent. In everything we say and do, it is a walk of balance that can only come from personal intimacy with Holy Spirit. There should never be a break in our communion with Yahweh.

Until we begin to view everything in everyday life as for the Kingdom of God instead of for or against us personally, not only will circumstances not change, but they will invariably grow worse. Since everything ultimately originates from God whether it comes from Satan’s hand or wicked men, we must say with humility instead of irritation, “What is it You, Yahweh, are trying to show me that I have not yet seen? Reveal my weaknesses to me so that Your strength may prevail in order for Your Kingdom to be advanced through me in the earth. I trust You and submit to You for Your honor and Your glory. Whatever You desire, I desire. Whatever You love, I love. Whatever You hate, I hate.”

There’s always a lesson. There’s always a God-plan. There’s always hope. There’s always growth that He desires to come forth from us, for us and, most importantly, for His great name’s sake. No situation or scenario is in vain or to hurt us. It isn’t even for punishment’s sake; it is always for the Kingdom of God. May we keep our spiritual eye open to see the bigger picture always and remember that you do not belong to yourself, but to the Lord our Great God. I remind myself of this daily so as to stay on heavenly point instead of veering away from the path of God.

 

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33).”

 

I hope you’ll come back next week. If you’re interested in reading more, please go to my website and check out my books or my ministry Facebook page.

Peace and blessings,

Alexys V. Wolf

www.thefierysword.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fiery-Sword-Global-Ministries/185299884822251

http://thefierysword.wordpress.com/


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Forgive? You’re Kidding Me, Right?

Hug it out

(Hugging it out…)

The concept of forgiveness can be a hard thing to digest.  If someone wronged us, granting forgiveness can feel almost as if we’ve been hit twice.  The first time when we were so generously issued the wrong-doing; the second when we struggled to set-aside our ill-feelings and extended the gift of forgiveness.  After all, he/she may have deserved anything but a gift.

Our minds cannot grasp some acts deserving forgiveness.  Can you think of something that has been or would be hard to forgive?  I’m sure you could—I just thought of three in about five seconds flat.  Forgiveness doesn’t always appear justifiable.  Why should we let our perpetrator off the hook?  Withholding forgiveness can deceivingly present itself as our last hope to even the stakes.  However, is keeping the culprit on that hook really enforcing justice … or do we feel the weight ten-fold from supporting the hook itself?

 “Forgiving those who hurt us is the key to personal peace.”

~ G. Weatherly

This residual weight strapped to our shoulders is not only a nuisance, but can be draining, tormenting, and even suffocating.  To choose to carry this pain can feel as if the incident is recurring with each passing day.  Neither party wins.

My Glimpse in the Mirror

I’ve recently asked myself, “Where would I be if I was never granted forgiveness for my own transgressions?”  Sadly, the answer wasn’t pretty.  We all appreciate forgiveness for our mistakes.  God forgives us over and over again every single day.  Upon acknowledgement of our blunder and a sincere request for forgiveness, His mercy awaits.  So wouldn’t it be hypocritical not to reciprocate this generosity to others?  

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” 

Ephesians 4:31-32  

(NIV)

We are left with a choice:  do we forgive, or do we carry the weight?  It’s not an easy decision.  Given we make the decision to forgive, our next step(s) toward allowing that act to transpire can be even harder.  Here’s where prayer comes in, asking God to locate the strength and perspective within us to not only want to forgive but also follow through with that desire, surrendering to His wisdom when our need for justice yanks us backward.  We give our Father our torment and baggage and embrace the metamorphous of our heart.  We do this each and every day, over and over again until we are able to welcome this road as if no other choice had ever been appealing.  We simply can’t do it alone.

But How Often Should We Have to Forgive?

Ever feel like your forgiveness is constant?  Why do we continue to hand out forgiveness—shouldn’t we reach a threshold at some point?  We don’t have a limited bank of forgiveness to grant.  God emulates for us limitless love, grace and mercy.  He doesn’t issue this sparingly.  Forgiveness is a choice, not a well that will run dry.  The option will always be available.  So what stops us from giving it?  Only ourselves.

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?‘ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”

Matthew 18: 21-22

(NIV)

Wow.  Seventy-seven times.  Does your mind present this as, “seventy-seven opportunities for another to take advantage of me”?  Or instead, “seventy-seven opportunities for personal peace”?  The choice is yours.

Always wishing you peace,

Alicia M. Smith

Twitter:  @AliciaMSmith7

 


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Bad Bosses and Irritating People, part III

god stuff 4

Bad Bosses and Irritating People, Part III

Philippians 1:27 (NAS): “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

Ephesians 6:5-8 (NAS): “Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, AS TO CHRIST…as SLAVES OF CHRIST, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, AS TO THE LORD, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this HE WILL RECEIVE BACK FROM THE LORD…”

I Timothy 6:1-2 (NAS): “All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that (here’s the “why” of it) the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles.”

 

Verse after verse we read God’s instruction as to how to treat a boss, believer or non-believer. Since all authority is placed by God, good or bad in the natural, they are there to serve so as to refine us in our walk with Yahweh. We are to honor them, not for our sake or theirs, but more so for the sake of God’s great name and His kingdom. When we refuse to obey, we are refusing obedience to God; of course we are not speaking of doing that which is ungodly.

If you, for instance, have a boss that is constantly making demands of you that you feel are unreasonable, you should do it without grumbling or complaining. Certainly if you need to go up the chain of command, that is not out of the question. However, in the mean time, you are commanded of God to honor and respect whoever is in a position of authority over you. This is when you would need to rely solely upon the promise of Yahweh that says that God will repay you. When God’s people honor those in authority, we honor God. Our reward if forthcoming; it is not an if, but a when.

If you are dealing with law enforcement, they are not your boss from whom you receive your pay, but they are in fact your authority. If you don’t want to be in fear of them, it would behoove us all to obey the law. Romans 13-7, reads “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.  Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves…therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake… render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.”

I often think of Daniel when the law was set against him for the purpose of entrapment. He did not kick and scream and shout profanities at the king or his enforcers. He did not protest by chaining himself to a tree or hold a sit-in. He did not demand that they make things right and boastfully state, “Don’t you know who I am? I’m the servant of the Most High God! You better make things right or else!” – on the contrary.

Daniel being the true man of God that he was quietly continued to do as he always did. He didn’t change anything. He wasn’t loud or obnoxious – he remained steady and sure. He did not obey the wicked law because it was against God. At the same time, he did not disrespect the king who made the law, foolish though it was. By humbly conducting himself in a manner worthy of the King of kings, God protected him. Even the king who made the law did everything he could to release and save Daniel.

That is how the supernatural Kingdom of God is able to manifest itself in the earth! When we do things God’s way, solely depending upon God to render good back to His people, the atmosphere shifts in ways that we ourselves could never make happen. Because of Daniel’s humility, faith, and steadfastness, multitudes witnessed the righteous, supernatural, mighty had of God.

Let us be ever mindful of doing things God’s way as unto Him so as to preserve the good name of Yahweh whom we say we serve. Taking matters into our own hands will surely cause chaos. Hebrews 13:17 states “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”

I hope you’ll come back next week. If you’re interested in reading more, please go to my website and check out my books or my ministry Facebook page.

Peace and blessings,

Alexys V. Wolf

www.thefierysword.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fiery-Sword-Global-Ministries/185299884822251

http://thefierysword.wordpress.com/


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THE ONLY LIMIT TO FAITH

Neil Andeerson

By Neil Anderson

March 22

Romans 10:17 
Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ

When people struggle with their faith in God, it’s not because their faith-object is insufficient. It’s because people have unreal expectations of God. They expect Him to operate a certain way or answer prayer a certain way–their way, not His–and when He doesn’t comply they say, “Forget You, God.” But God doesn’t change; He’s the perfect faith-object. Faith in God only fails when people hold a faulty understanding of Him.

If you want your faith in God to increase, you must increase your understanding of Him as the object of your faith. If you have little knowledge about God and His Word, you will have little faith. If you have great knowledge of God and His Word, you will have great faith. Faith cannot be pumped up by coaxing yourself, “If only I can believe! If only I can believe!” Any attempt to push yourself beyond what you know about God and his ways is to move from faith to presumption. You choose to believe God according to what you already know to be true from His Word. And the only way to increase your faith is to increase your knowledge of God, your faith-object (Romans 10:17).
 
“Well,” you may say, “that means there’s a limit to our faith.” Yes, there’s a limit. But God isn’t controlling it; you are. As the object of your faith, He is infinite. The only limit to your faith is your knowledge and understanding of God, which grows every time you read your Bible, memorize a new Scripture verse, participate in a Bible study, or meditate on a scriptural truth. Can you see the practical, tangible potential for your faith to grow as you endeavor to know God through His Word? It’s boundless!
 
Furthermore, it is important to know that God is under no obligation to us. There is no way you can cleverly word a prayer so that God must act on your behalf. If God declares something to be true, you simply believe Him and live according to what is true. If God didn’t say it, no amount of faith in the world will make it so. Believing doesn’t make God’s Word true; His Word is true, therefore I believe it.
 
Prayer: Dear Lord, increase the boundaries of my faith today as I increase my understanding of You through Your Word.


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RELATIONSHIP, NOT REGIMEN

By Neil Anderson

Neil Anderson

February 23
 
Romans 8:2 
The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death
 
Walking according to the Spirit is more a relationship than a regimen. Think about your marriage as an illustration. You may have started out relying on some rules for effective communication, meeting each other’s sexual needs, etc. But if after several years you can’t even talk to each other or make love without following an outline or list of steps, your marriage is still in infancy. The goal of a marriage is to develop a relationship which supersedes rules.
 
Or think about prayer. Perhaps you learned to pray using the simple acrostic ACTS: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication. But if you have been a Christian for a few years and your prayer life is no deeper than an acrostic, you’ve missed the point of prayer. Prayer is not a formula; it’s the language of your relationship with God. Similarly, walking in the Spirit is essentially a relationship with the indwelling Spirit which defies quantification.
 
Even though Scripture doesn’t give us a formula, it does help us see what the Spirit-filled walk is and what it is not . Helpful parameters are found in Galatians 5:16-18: “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”
 
So how do you walk by the Spirit? If I answered by giving you a rigid formula, I would be putting you back under the law. The Spirit is not an “it”; the Holy Spirit is a “He”–a person. Walking by the Spirit is a relationship issue, not a legal issue or ritualistic exercise. It is a walk with God.
 
Over the next several days we will examine what the Spirit-walk is and what it is not.
 
Prayer: Father, thank You that my life in You is a relationship, not a set of rules.


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Christ the Lowly, Part V

“…thus says the Lord God, ‘Remove the turban and take off the crown; this will no longer be the same. Exalt that which is low and abase that which is high (Ezekiel 21:26, NAS).”

 “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls (Matthew 11:29, KJV).”

 “I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit… (Isaiah 57:15, NAS).”

 “For though the Lord is exalted, yet He regards the lowly, but the haughty He knows from afar (Psalm 138:6, NAS).”

 

We who are within the Body of Christ are not here to be served, but to serve. Those who desire to be great will be brought down. Christ states that those who serve are the greatest among His people. Those who purpose in the name of Christ Jesus to serve the Body will be highly exalted in due season. Many misunderstand, but there is a huge difference between a slave and a servant. A slave is in bondage to his master and has no choice, therefore becomes easily embittered. A servant, on the other hand, is employed by choice by his superior. He serves with diligence because his payment is eminent.

A bondservant is a person who is released from slavery by their master, yet chooses to stay from a heart of dedication and love. Therefore this person is willing to do anything they are asked without hesitation or grudge. God’s bondservants who serve with a grateful heart will be rewarded by the Kingdom of heaven. The lower we humble ourselves before Christ and His people, the higher we are moved toward Christ. We lend more service as time goes by, not less. This honors God.

Our only purpose in this life is to glorify the Father. When we are focused on ourselves, we take the focus from God. Pride can be very subtle. Remember what I said about those most at risk? It is very easy to find ourselves out of spiritual sync with God because we forget whom we serve and the One who gives all ability to do what we do. We can easily allow the praises we receive from those around us to puff us internally.

When we are in a place of servitude, we must remember that there is no good but God, as. Therefore, if there is good coming from us, it is not us. We can tend to look down in judgment on those not doing what we are or how we are. To be judgmental comes from a spirit of pride. We all pass judgment. The key is being so aware of it that we don’t allow it to remain and take root. We must be quick to repent of a judgmental spirit and remove that foothold of the enemy. Keep in mind that we as the Body of Christ are to judge things according to the Spirit of God; this is righteous judgment – discernment. That differs greatly from being judgmental (viewing ourselves as better than another).

We, God’s holy people, also need to be careful about starting a testimony wanting to exalt God yet talk endlessly about ourselves and what we did or said in a certain situation. Human nature is to glorify self and get people to be in awe over how humble and selfless we seem to be.

Obviously, according to the Word, pride is an issue everyone somehow, somewhere, needs to deal with. Pride takes constant pruning. It grows like weeds and spreads itself as fast and as far as it can. It is unrelenting! It cannot be assumed that, once we have dealt with pride, it is never to be faced again. Our hearts require constant supervision. The fleshly nature is driven by pride; therefore, we all need to be alert to it on a regular basis.

 

I hope you’ll come back next week as we continue to explore the subject of humility. If you’re interested in reading more on this subject, please go to my website and check out my books.

Peace and blessings,

 

Alexys V. Wolf

www.thefierysword.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fiery-Sword-Global-Ministries/185299884822251

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