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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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TEST EVERYTHING


by Neil Anderson

August 18

1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 NIV
Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good
 
Alvin was discouraged and defeated. For several years he believed he had a special gift of prophecy from God. But over a period of months his personal life began to fall apart. By the time he came to see me he had been unemployed for two years, he was being cared for by his father, and he was a slave to prescription drugs.
 
Alvin and I read 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21. I said, “Alvin, Satan can counterfeit spiritual gifts. That’s why the Scriptures instruct us to put everything to the test.”
 
Alvin admitted, “I think my problems began when I failed to test the ‘gifts’ of tongues and prophecy conferred on me by false teachers.”
 
“Would you be willing to put your gift of tongues to the test?” I asked. Alvin really wanted to be free. “Yes,” he answered.
 
I instructed Alvin to begin praying aloud in his “spiritual language.” As he began to chant an unintelligible prayer, I said, “In the name of Christ and in obedience to God’s Word, I command you, spirit, to identify yourself.”
 
Alvin stopped in the middle of his chanting and said, “I am he.”
 
“Are you the ‘He’ who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, buried, raised on the third day, and who now sits at the right hand of the Father?” I asked.
 
Alvin almost shouted the response: “No! Not He!” I led Alvin through a prayer renouncing Satan’s activity in his life, and he was free from that deception.
 
I am not against spiritual gifts, even prophecy and tongues. I am committed to obeying Scripture, and 1 Corinthians 14:39 says, “Desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues.” But Scripture also requires that all spiritual phenomena be tested. I believe that false prophets and teachers flourish today simply because Christians accept their ministry without testing the spirits behind it.
 
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to stay alert to spiritual seduction and reject all phenomena that do not come from God.
Fill My Heart w:Your JOY


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Joyful Hope

Fill My Heart w:Your JOY

I just submitted my 3rd manuscript (FACING STORMS: A DEVOTION FOR THOUGHT AND MEDITATION) to 40 Day publishing. It will be available on Amazon the first week of October. You can view my other two books at this site
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=cheryl%20zelenka&sprefix=chery%2Caps&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Acheryl%20zelenka

This is an excerpt from the devotion “Hope is Always Within Reach”

There is great joy to be had while holding hope in your heart. Sometimes this hope is a secret matter between you and the Lord, shared with no other. How precious these special thoughts and intimate conversational moments! To meditate on a desire not yet fulfilled, with glorious anticipation, is a blessing. Waiting on the fulfillment of this hope is an experience few learn to savor. Don’t let doubt or impatience rob you of this opportunity to draw near God in a new and intimate way. C.Zelenka


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SPIRITUAL WAR


by Neil Anderson

August 14

John 17:11 NIV 
I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your name
 
The Christian worldview perceives life through the grid of Scripture, not through culture or experience. And Scripture clearly teaches that supernatural, spiritual forces are at work in the natural world. For example, approximately one-fourth of all the healings recorded in the Gospel of Mark were actually deliverances from demon activity. The woman whom Jesus healed in Luke 13:11, 12, had been the victim of a “sickness caused by a spirit” for 18 years.
 
Many people I have counseled came with physical problems which disappeared shortly after the demonic influence was dealt with. The most common symptoms I have seen are headaches, dizziness, allergies, nausea and general pain throughout the body. The most conservative estimate by medical doctors is that 50 percent of their patients are suffering psychosomatic illnesses. Biblically, it is reasonable to expect that if a person’s personal and spiritual problems are resolved, the physical body will be benefited. Stress is a leading cause of heart disease and cancer. The peace of God alone will cure many diseases.
 
I’m not saying that everyone who is ill or in pain is being terrorized by a demon. But I am convinced that many Christians battle physical symptoms unsuccessfully through natural means when the essence of the problem and the solution is spiritual. “He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you” (Romans 8:11).
 
The fact that Jesus left us “in the world” (John 17:11) to wrestle against “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12) is a present-day reality. Supernatural forces are at work on planet Earth. We live in the natural world, but we are involved in a spiritual war.
 
Prayer: Dear God, keep me alert to the spiritual conflicts occurring around me and ready to respond in Your authority and power.
*Path


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Crossed Paths… Ordained By God?

*Path

A devotion from Cheryl Zelenka’s soon to be released book of devotions FACING STORMS. Available on Amazon this October.

“The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” Psalm 121:8

“The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Proverbs 12:26 (NKJV) 

In our lifetime we will cross paths with many different people. We ought to learn from and help those we meet by sharing our hearts, faith, and love. Pathways intersect for a reason. God has planned and ordained each one. 

There are some individuals who walk into our lives for a brief moment but then disappear never to be seen or heard from again. There are other folks whom we are certain to be life long friends, but as it turns out, they are not. We share a period of close intimacy with them but somehow the relationship ends or fizzles away, often unexpectedly.

Again, some folks enter our lives and we think it will be for just a moment. However, it turns out to be God’s design to keep them involved in our walk until the end of our days. Finally, there are some who were important to us in our earlier years but left to walk down a different footpath. Gone for but a time, they reappear in our later years. I guess in these cases there are more lessons to be learned and more service to be performed.

No matter the circumstance, paths cross for a reason. Maybe we have a job we need to do for the other person; say help them through a trial. Maybe they had an appointed calling to serve with us in a ministry, but then God calls them down a different path or into a new ministry.

There are also some people who have wounded us in life, intentionally or unintentionally. They may be in our lives until we grow up and move away, or they might remain attached to us for the remainder of our years. These folk may or may not have a place in our future. This is when we need to seek the face of God and ask for His advice. 

Maybe you are keeping some hurtful people in your life. Why? Pray about it. God will let you know if they need to remain permanently attached, to some degree, or not. They may not have a place in your present or future. Consider if God is asking you to cut ties or tighten knots. There could be a season when these people leave your life, only to have God bring them back years later, for a moment. Some relationship roads cross but then run parallel to each other. There are so many footpaths to the kingdom of God.

All in all, God has a reason for intersecting your life with specific individuals.

Pray about the relationships in your life. Are they drawing you into a closer walk with God, or are they drawing you into temptation and sin? Do you feel pressed to keep them close because you feel the need to pray, witness, or serve them? 

Not all relationships are balanced, but we should strive to have a Paul, Timothy, and Barnabas nearby. A “Paul” figure would be a mentor of sorts and a “Barnabas” would be a peer and encourager. A“Timothy” would be someone you could come alongside to disciple and mentor. You will probably not have all three of these examples in your life at the same time but if so, you are blessed! 

Reflect upon the relationships in your life. Lay them before God and ask Him to direct you regarding YOUR place in their lives. Then ask your Father if He wants them in your life and if so, for how long and how deeply. He may want you to draw back a bit, or He may want you to dive in a bit deeper. May our Lord give you ears to hear His answer and a heart to receive and obey His will. 

PRAY OVER THESE SCRIPTURES DURING YOUR QUIET TIME WITH GOD 

“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.”   Proverbs 13:20 (NKJV)

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”  Proverbs 17:17 (NKJV)

“Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”      1 Corinthians 15:33 (NKJV)

“The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;He shall preserve your soul.The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.” Psalm 121:7-8 (NKJV)


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CLEAR, LOVING COMMUNICATION


by Neil Anderson

August 9

Proverbs 18:13 
He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him
 
“I can’t get a handle on my problems, Neil,” Ruth complained. “I know my children are struggling at school, but they won’t share it with me. Why won’t they talk to me?”
 
“Do you really want to know, Ruth?”
 
“Of course!”
 
“They probably don’t feel they can trust you,” I responded.
 
“What do you mean they can’t trust me? I’m their mother!”
 
“Let me illustrate,” I said. “Suppose your 15-year-old daughter came home one day and said that her best friend was taking drugs. What would you say to her?”
 
Ruth paused for a moment, then said, “I’d probably tell her to find another friend.” “Exactly! And that’s why she doesn’t share that kind of information with you.”
 
Like a lot of parents, Ruth was in the habit of reacting to her kids before she knew what was really going on. Two or three reactions like this from you and your child is ready to clam up forever. Whenever your child tells you about “my friend’s problem,” there is a very good chance that he’s the one with the problem. He will drop little hints about his “friend” to see your reaction. If you are hasty and judgmental, you can bet he won’t share any more. You must listen without judgment and hold the advice until you are sure you know the whole story.
 
Clear, loving communication in your family is imperative if you are going to foil Satan’s attempt to seduce your child. After all, if you don’t listen when he tells you about his school problems, he may not bother to tell you about his evil thoughts. And if you criticize him when he admits his mistakes, he won’t want you to know about the terrifying dark presence he experiences in his room at night. Faulty communication doesn’t necessarily cause spiritual problems in your child, but it can certainly block or delay the resolution of those problems.
 
Prayer: Lord, make me a parent my children can trust and be comfortable with, and deliver me from being harsh and critical.


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Anointing Of A New Ministry

This week I have been attending the local Christian music festival. I’ve seen and got to meet some of the big names. I saw Third Day, Britt Nicole, Matthew West, Big Daddy Weave, among many others. I had the chance to meet Jason Gray, All Things New, and Big Daddy Weave. I have selfies, I might add them to this post.

The point of this isn’t to brag, I’m just building my point. So please bear with me. My family is not wealthy. We couldn’t afford tickets, but God provided complimentary tickets for my entire family!

I’ve been having tons of fun, the music is great, but the artists have also been ministering while on stage. Last night Matthew West blew us away. Such a great guy. Great songwriter.

As I was leaving the festival last night, I looked up and the moon. Then I heard the Holy Spirit begin to speak to my heart, and He said:

“Tonight is the night, Alicia. Did you think that I was only allowing you to come hear to have fun? No child, I have a greater purpose in mind. I am anointing you now to begin your own music ministry, and you will minister to the masses.”

You see, this gave me joy because all of my life I’ve been musical. I can play many different instruments, and my singing is on pitch. I thought that The Lord wasn’t going to use them, and it saddened me a bit because I wondered why God would give me the raw musical talent that I have if it was just going to be for personal worship to Him.

Listen, I don’t have money. I don’t have too many connections either. What I do have is faith. I completely trust God that if He orders this in my life, He will provide. He always does, amen?

This may seem a bit far out to some. You may say that I imagined this or that it’s the devil, but I know when my God speaks to my heart. It has a certain feeling and assurance that comes along with the message. A peace that surpasses all doubt.

My God is big, and He has big plans for me. He may have big plans for you too! Regardless of your age, God can allow you to magnify His glory through a ministry if you would only believe that He can! <3

As Jamie Grace would say, let's "do life big!"

I decided that I'll only include one selfie. ;)

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Be blessed my family in Christ. I will still be blogging here and over at Covered By Mercy. Until next time, peace be with you all.

*Fruit:Patience


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The Great Commission

*Fruit:Patience

This is a devotional from my next book FACING STORMS: A DEVOTIONAL FOR THOUGHT AND MEDITATION

We have a great commission in life. We are called to make disciples of all the nations, including our own country. So, the rude co-worker and obnoxious neighbor is part of our assignment. God loves His entire creation and wants every person to accept Him as his or her Lord and Savior. This is every Christian’s most important calling and mission in life.

“It is the duty of every Christian to be Christ to his neighbor.”   ~ Martin Luther

No, this appointment is not an easy one, but neither is loving a people who falls so short of God’s morality. Thankfully, God refuses to give up on us and throw in the towel. He perseveres in demonstrating His love daily and in every moment. He longs for our fellowship and makes Himself available at all times. He creates incredible sunsets for our enjoyment and gives pleasure in so many different ways. His heart and passion belongs to us so, to model Him, our passion should be for the lost…. Be they ever so challenging.

People who rub us the wrong way are the means God uses to sand off our rough edges. They are placed in our life for OUR benefit. For by having them near us, we soon see our shortcomings and identify the weak areas in our character and spiritual walk.

Are you an impatient person? Ask for patience and God will surely send someone your way that challenges your temperance. Only by God’s blessed grace will you see a righteous gift of compassion birthed in your heart. Your self-control and forbearance will astound you. The sincere love and affection you are meant to feel for this person will deepen over time. So profound will it become, if you practice it daily, you will find yourself perplexed at how you ever saw them as a thorn or irritant in your side.

Will you choose kindness over selfish actions of rudeness? Will you overlook an offense and remember the many times God has forgiven you? Through simple acts of love, you can change a stony heart into a softer one, a heart the Creator can easily fashion and mold into something new.

Discernment will be given for the sake of intercession. Do not gawk at their sin or find pleasure in fault-finding. The Spirit will guide you as you pray and witness to them. Once hard to love (only because their wounds had made them fearful and prickly) they will drop their thorns and rest in your company. Reckless words will cause much damage but wise words of encouragement bring much fruit. By establishing trust, they will share another side with you, one only a precious few have witnessed. It will be an honor to behold.

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go thereforeand make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me[a] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”Acts 1:8 (NKJV)

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:15 (NKJV)

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”Luke 19:10 (NKJV)

“Yet if we would know God and for other’s sake tell what we know we must try to speak of his love. All Christians have tried but none has ever done it very well. I can no more do justice to that awesome and wonder-filled theme than a child can grasp a star. Still by reaching toward the star the child may call attention to it and even indicate the direction one must look to see it. So as I stretch my heart toward the high shining love of God someone who has not before known about it may be encouraged to look up and have hope.” ~ A.W. Tozer

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” ~ C.S. Lewis

 


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HEARING VOICES


by Neil Anderson

 

August 8

Psalm 29:4 
The voice of the LORD is powerful, the voice of the LORD is majestic
 
The concept of hearing “voices” is openly espoused in the secular media. The main character in the popular movie Field of Dreams hears an inner voice while standing in his cornfield at night. It’s loud, direct and very spooky! At first he’s a little freaked out by the voice, but he is intrigued enough to test the voice’s advice. It leads to a grand adventure that culminates in meeting the ghost of his deceased father, reconciling with him, and saving the family farm from foreclosure. Was the movie just an entertaining fantasy or is Satan subtly promoting “nice” little spirit guides that will resolve all our problems?
 
According to New Age brain/mind researcher Willis Harmon, many people hear voices, but few are willing to admit it to anyone but their closest friends. “It’s just one of those things we don’t talk about,” said the president of the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Sausalito, California. “I’ve talked to businessmen, scientists, educators, well-educated professional people, and not only is it reasonably common, it’s cherished. It’s invited” ( Los Angeles Times, June 1989, part V, p. 1).
 
New Age proponents like Harmon are trying to give credibility to a phenomenon that was once understood as mental illness. Psychiatrists prescribe antipsychotic drugs for schizophrenics and others who admit that they hear voices. A common bit of advice among recovering alcoholics is: “Don’t pay attention to the committee in your head.” People seldom share the mental struggle going on inside them for fear that people will think they are going crazy. But I have counseled hundreds of troubled people who were hearing voices and every one of the voices was demonic. The only exceptions are legitimate cases of multiple personality disorder. You need to know that inner voices which don’t line up with God’s Word are the suggestions of a real devil that must be countered and dispelled by the truth (1 Timothy 4:1).
 
Prayer: Lord, I reject all voices in my mind, real or imagined, and accept only the authority of Your Word and Your Spirit.


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Flesh vs. Spirit, part III

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Romans 7:24-25 (NAS): 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!

 

Romans 8:1-2 (KJV): There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

 

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.

 

In the above verses, we read, “body of death,” “the flesh is hostile toward God,” “the mind set on the flesh is death,” and “those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” DEATH and HOSTILITY are the themes of flesh, but LIFE and PEACE are the themes of Holy Spirit. The sooner God’s Kingdom heirs understand this, the sooner we’ll walk in the freedom Christ died to grant mankind.

Many versions of the Bible, including my favored NAS, remove the part of, “…who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” found in Romans 8:1-2. It’s crucial to regain this missing link because otherwise, “saved” people can’t understand why they continue to sin, or why they continue to feel condemned when Christ said there is no more condemnation.

Anything of the flesh is DEATH – no exceptions.

Anything of the Spirit is LIFE – no exceptions.

Simply dealing with individual sins such as lying, addiction, homosexuality, theft, greed, malice, gossip, malice, hatred, so on and so forth, is errant in so much as the sins themselves have become the focus. Since “all have sinned” there is no way anyone has the right to point at a neighbor’s spec with planks in our own eyes! God’s people are to correct fellow brethren, but most don’t understand how to correct properly. Correction led by the flesh simply breeds more death!

The Bible is clear that the afore mentioned and more are in fact sins and we shouldn’t give way to them, but the Bible also always redirects to Holy Spirit leading and dying to the nature of the flesh as a whole – this can only come from a Kingdom mindset. All are born naturally in sin therefore we shouldn’t be surprised when we are drawn to sin of any kind. The shame and condemnation are not in the temptation, but in the acting on the temptation. People act on the temptations because we simply aren’t following the lead of Holy Spirit because we don’t understand the Kingdom of God.

Holy Spirit and His Kingdom should be our focus, not the sins. The, “do this but don’t do that” is worthless instruction if we’re not taught to understand how to be led, not by the flesh, but by the Spirit of the Living God. The “do this but not that” is based on law – you know, that thing no one can fulfill – and Christ fulfilled the entirety of the Law in His death, burial and resurrection. When we base instruction on law, it’s formulated merely from a morality stance and anyone can easily find their happy “grey areas” and feel justified.

 

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.

 

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

 

https://www.thefierysword.com

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

http://thefierysword.wordpress.com/