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Flesh vs. Spirit: “God Just Wants Me To Be Happy,” part V

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Philippians 3:8 (NAS): More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.

James 1:2-4: Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

 

“God just wants me to be happy” is a lie from the deepest cracks of hell. Nowhere do we read any such nonsense in the Bible. Nowhere does God say anything about happiness. This does not mean that we, God’s holy people, are to live a miserable life – on the contrary! Happiness is based on what happens – it is temporal. Joy, on the other hand, is steadfast regardless of what happens.

The “God just wants me to be happy” folks don’t understand God or His Word at all. We who are hidden in Christ are to “deny ourselves” and “take up our cross.” No part of either of those instructions point toward being happy. So, so many use the “happy theory” to excuse sin of every kind.

For those who choose to take up their cross and follow Christ, they are a people who endure through every hardship and, despite the hardship, are joyous. No matter what the cost, no matter what relationship they must forfeit, no matter what belongings they must lose, no matter how their reputation is tarnished, no matter what the cost, Christ is their very life breath – the Kingdom of God is their only focus.

God does not call His holy priesthood to happiness but to holiness. The only way to be holy is to accept that the nature of the flesh was buried with Christ at His death, and the only life we now have is Christ alone. This eliminates all the desires of the flesh which are always at war with the Spirit who reigns within.

We must count the cost. We must not be as the rich man who, when Christ explained the price to walk with Him, walked away because the cost was too high. Your “riches” can be anything in any form that stand between you and holiness and the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is eternal and priceless. You must count ALL THINGS as loss so that you may gain the greatest gift of all: the everlasting, eternal Kingdom of God.

Matthew 13:45-46: Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

 

Stay tuned for next week’s Flesh vs. Spirit! 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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Flesh vs. Spirit, part IV

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Hebrews 4:15 (NAS): For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

Matthew 16:24 (NAS): Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must DENY HIMSELF, and take up his cross and follow Me.

Romans 9:6-8 (NAS): For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

 

Homosexuality is a huge debate these days; should they marry, shouldn’t they marry? The problem is that we’re focused on the sin (flesh) which leads to condemnation instead of the God (Spirit) who brings freedom. Instead of God’s holy people acting in outrage, condemnation, bigotry, and hatred (all equally sin), God’s royal priesthood should be led by Holy Spirit in our conduct. We need to deal with the nature of the flesh which is hostile against God instead of individual sins. To be tempted by anything ungodly (homosexuality or anything else), is NOT sin lest Christ is a sinner.

Since Christ established that temptation alone is not sin, we must address the nature of hostile flesh as a whole. For one who desires to “take up his or her cross and follow Christ,” they must actually deny any desire that is set against God. Old and New Testament Scriptures speak against homosexuality, therefore, any person who is tempted by homosexuality must understand that they must deny the sexual urges so as to truly follow Christ. It does not mean that they suddenly desire the opposite sex, but rather that they choose the way of Christ over their natural urges; they choose to be a eunuch unto God as written in Matthew 19. In this, it isn’t a matter of homosexuality vs. heterosexuality, but unholy vs. holy.

This is where we need to understand how to “count ALL as loss” considering the magnitude of the Kingdom of God. Counting all as loss debunks the whole “God wants me to be happy” theory. I can’t think of one account where God directs us to fulfill the desires of our flesh so as to be “happy.” That theory was born in the flesh and is death; it has zero to do with holiness. Imagine if we all did whatever we wanted, whenever, however, to whomever. This is not merely an issue of morality but of holiness.

God’s people led by emotions of any kind are not in obedience to Christ. Those operating in hatred, wrath, gossip, malice, rage, perversion, thievery, gluttony, etc. – the same rules apply. If you love God and desire to follow Him, your “cross” is giving up whatever fleshly temptation you may have that is against God. If we would begin to teach holiness instead of hatred and condemnation, I’d imagine that we’d all walk closer to God!

Whatever your temptation, God is sympathetic. He understands. He has no desire to shame you, but to heal you from the inside out. The flesh will always desire that which is contrary to the cross and the Kingdom of God. Don’t be surprised or ashamed in your temptation (whatever it is), but in it, walk away from it toward the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

 

I Peter 1:16: Because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy.

 

Philippians 3:8 (NAS): More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.

 

Stay tuned for next week’s Flesh vs. Spirit! 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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Flesh vs. Spirit, part II

god stuff 4

“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 (Galatians 5:17, NAS).”

 

Self-discipline is a huge part of spiritual warfare. We have been given authority over demons, absolutely, but too often we focus more on that than learning to simply discipline our bodies so as to “make them a slave” as did the Apostle Paul (I Corinthians 9:27). After all, the first place one should take authority is over their own temple.

Time and time again we read that self-control is an attribute of the fruit of the Spirit. Just because we’re tired, angry, sad, mad, stressed, or whatever, does not give us license to sin. In fact, it’s in these tricky situations that God is actually at hand. He allows us to be tested so as to reveal to us our remaining ungodliness – not for condemnation, but for further refinement. God is not punishing us, He is perfecting us.

First, we need to correct an untruth. Many say, “Followers of Christ have two natures.” This is false. God’s people have one nature – God’s – Holy Spirit. Though we (the spirit) temporarily dwell in a compartment made of flesh, its nature does not belong to us. It’s like living in your house; you are not the house, you merely dwell there temporarily. If the house is old and creaky, that does not me you have to be. You must upkeep the earthen temple in which you dwell, but it isn’t who you are. It’s our downfall when we think, “Well, that’s just who and how I am. I can’t help it when I act this or that way.” Likewise, if it’s our downfall, it’s equally the downfall of the Kingdom of God because we represent the King and His Kingdom.

Secondly, emotionalism will always dictate “do whatever makes you feel better.” Truth will dictate the polar opposite. When I walk with God, I choose self-control when otherwise I want to use profanities, lash out at someone, or anything of the like. When I give in to emotionalism and conduct myself in a fleshly (evil) manner, I cease walking with God. Everyone’s trigger point is different and we need to be aware of what they are and purpose to surrender them to Christ.

It’s simply being pro-active by knowing who we are in Christ and allowing Christ to overrule the flesh in everything. No one has perfected this, I certainly haven’t, but we need to purpose to strive toward the mark of Christ choosing to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ always and in everything. When we falter, repent, receive forgiveness and begin again. His mercies are new every day! 

 

For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin (Romans 7:14-25, NAS).”

 

Stay tuned for next week’s part III! 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 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

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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/