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Delight yourself in the LORD


by Neil Anderson

July 1

Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).
 
Jeremiah said, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick”
 
I had very little desire to read until I came to Christ. Now I read volumes. After I received Christ, I wanted to serve Him full time. I had completed engineering school and was preparing to do anything God wanted–except go back to school. But within a year, I could hardly wait to get to seminary. It was the best educational experience of my life and the only one I enjoyed up to that point. Since then I have finished four more degrees. If we delight in the Lord, He changes our desires!
 
We struggle between the desires of the flesh and the desires of righteousness. Jesus told us, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6). Do you believe that? I guarantee that if you try to satisfy the desires of the flesh, you will never satisfy them. The more you feed them, the greater the hunger.
 
When we first come to Christ, nothing contests our will more than the lusts of the flesh: “For the flesh sets its desires against the Spirit, and Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another” (Galatians 5:17). Our will is like a toggle switch, but it’s initially spring-loaded to the flesh. As we delight in the Lord, it becomes spring-loaded to the Spirit.
 
Prayer: My heart’s desire, Father, is to be totally responsive to You and to delight in whatever gives You glory.


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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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YIELDING CONTROL

By Neil Anderson

 Neil Anderson

March 5
2 Corinthians 2:11 
For we are not ignorant of his [Satan's] schemes
 
We generally agree that Christians are vulnerable to the enemy’s temptation, accusation and deception. But for some reason, we hesitate to admit that Christians can lose their freedom and can surrender to demonic influences. However, the evidence of Scripture is abundant and clear that believers who repeatedly succumb to Satan can come under bondage.
 
Demonic control does not mean satanic ownership. You have been purchased by the blood of the Lamb, and not even the powers of hell can take your salvation away from you (1 Peter 1:17-19; Romans 8:35-39). Satan knows he can never own you again. But if he can deceive you into yielding control of your life to him in some way, he can neutralize your growth and your impact in the world for Christ.
 
Since we live in a world whose god is Satan, the possibility of being tempted, deceived and accused is continuous. If you allow his schemes to influence you, you can lose control to the degree that you have been deceived. If he can persuade you to believe a lie, he can control your life.
 
The term demon possessed never occurs in the Bible after the cross. We lack theological precision as to what demon possession constitutes in the church age. But don’t come to any conclusion that you can’t be affected by Satan. We are more a target than we are immune to his strategies. However, we have all the sanctuary we need in Christ, and we have the armor of God to protect us.
 
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the armor You have provided to protect me from Satan. Keep me aware of his schemes today and help me resist him in the power and authority You provide.


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IDENTIFYING A CHRISTIAN LEADER

By Neil Anderson

 banner_secondary_who i am in christ

January 10
 
2 Peter 2:1 
There will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves
 
What comes to mind when you hear the terms false prophets and false teachers ? Many people tend to thing of Eastern mystics and gurus, the spokespersons for nonbiblical religions or dynamic cult leaders–people who are recognizably outside the boundaries of the Christian church. But the apostle Peter devoted an entire chapter in one of his letters (2 Peter 2) to false prophets and teachers who operate within the church. False teachers may operate in our churches disguised as workers of righteousness.
 
Notice that the lure of false teachers is not primarily their doctrine: “And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned” (verse 2). What does Peter mean by “follow their sensuality”? He is talking about Christians who evaluate a ministry based on the outward appearance and charm of its leaders. We say, “He’s such a nice guy”; “She’s a very charismatic person”; “He’s a real dynamic speaker”; “She’s so sweet and sounds so sincere.” But is physical attractiveness or a syrupy personality a biblical criterion for validating a ministry or a teacher? Of course not! The issue is always truth and righteousness . A Christian leader should be identified by his commitment to the truth, his righteous life and his servant’s heart.
 
Prayer: Dear God, keep me from playing to the grandstand; I want only to live for You. Keep me accountable as a person of truth, righteousness, and love, ever fearful of discrediting Your name.


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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

http://thefierysword.wordpress.com/


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Prophetic Messages

By Neil Anderson

 banner_secondary_who i am in christ

November 22
Jeremiah 23:29 
“Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, and like a hammer which shatters a rock?”
 
If you attend a Christian fellowship where prophecies are part of public worship, I wonder if we should expect from God generic messages like, “I love you, My children” or “I’m coming soon.” These statements are certainly true, but why would they need to be prophesied, since the Bible already clearly asserts God’s love and Christ’s imminent return? I have heard “prophecies” like these given in churches where many people were living in sin, lulling them into an unrighteous complacency.
 
The voice of a prophet is a consuming fire and a shattering hammer. A prophetic message should motivate people to righteousness, not placate them in their sin (1 Peter 4:17). God is more concerned about church purity than about church growth. Comfort only comes to those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake by allowing God’s Word to purge their sin and shatter their self-centeredness.
 
Jeremiah relates two other evidences of false prophets: “‘Behold, I am against the prophets,’ declares the LORD, ‘who steal My words from each other’” (23:30). That’s plagiarism: taking what God gave someone else and using it as if it were your own. “‘I am against the prophets,’ declares the LORD, ‘who use their tongues and declare, “the Lord declares”‘” (verse 31).
 
Declaring that what you are saying is directly from the Lord when it isn’t is an incredible offense to God. If God wants me to know something He will tell me directly. I believe in the priesthood of believers; however, God can and will encourage us and confirm His Word to us through others. “There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). If someone says to you “God told me to tell you . . .” that person may be functioning as a medium. The gift of prophecy should reveal the secrets of the heart so people will fall on their faces and worship God (1 Corinthians 14:25). Then God will guide them by His Holy Spirit.
 
Prayer: Lord, teach me not to quench Your Spirit nor to despise prophetic utterances but to examine everything and hold fast to what is good.


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YOUR CHOICE

By Neil Anderson

 banner_secondary_who i am in christ

September 27
 
Romans 6:12, 13 
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God
 
In Romans 6:1-11 Paul uses the past tense to emphasize that we died to sin the moment we placed faith in Christ. For example: “We who died to sin” (verse 2); “Our old self was crucified with Him” (verse 6); “For he who has died is freed from sin” (verse 7). Since these verses are past tense, indicating what is already true about us, we can only believe them.
 
On the basis of what Romans 6:1-11 instructs us to believe, Romans 6:12, 13, tells us how to relate to sin. Sin is a taskmaster which demands service from its subjects. You are dead to sin, but you still have the capacity to serve it by putting your body at sin’s disposal. It’s up to you to choose whether you’re going to let your body be used for sin or for righteousness. Satan, who is at the root of all sin, will take advantage of anyone who uses their body as an instrument of unrighteousness. For example, it is impossible to commit a sexual sin and not use your body, and sin will reign in your mortal body.
 
To further illustrate, suppose your pastor asks to use your car to deliver food baskets to the needy, and a thief asks to use it to rob a bank. It’s your car and you can choose to lend it however you want, for good or for evil. Which would you choose? There should be no question!
 
Your body is also yours to use to serve either God or sin and Satan, but the choice is up to you. That’s why Paul wrote so insistently: “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1). Because of Christ’s victory over sin, you are completely free to choose not to give yourself to obey sin as your master. It is your responsibility not to let sin reign in your mortal body.
 
Prayer: Lord, I renounce every use of my body as an instrument of unrighteousness, and I yield it to You today as a living sacrifice.


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OUR FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE

By Neil Anderson

banner_secondary_who i am in christ

September 2

Ecclesiastes 8:5, 6 NIV
The wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter

I had dear friends who were being used by the Lord in full-time ministry. Some difficulty developed in their marriage so they consulted a pastor/counselor. The wife’s response after the initial meeting was negative, but they continued with this particular counselor because other people they respected said he was a good man.

Over the next year, the ministry my friends were in, as well as our relationship, deteriorated. A short time later their pastor/counselor was exposed for having sex with a number of counselees. The damage he did to several women was incredible. He justified his behavior by explaining, “What we do in the flesh doesn’t matter. Only what we do in the spirit counts!”

My friends were confronted with an ultimatum by their ministry group: “Choose your ministry or choose him.” They chose to stay with him!

Why won’t people judge righteously? “Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil” (1 John 3:7, 8). The authoritative, arrogant spirit of this man had some kind of hold on many since half his church stayed with him. The initial discernment of my friends was correct, but they ignored the warning of the Holy Spirit.

I believe discernment is a critical part of our walk with God. This divine enablement is our first line of defense when our ability to reason is insufficient. Jesus demonstrated spiritual discernment throughout His earthly ministry. We need to learn how to develop our ability to discern good from evil, truth from lies.

Prayer: Dear Father, I want to have a wise and discerning spirit. Teach me to be responsive to Your leading so I can have my senses trained to discern good and evil.


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Reverse Logic

So many things in the circumstances around me lately have been confirming how absolutely wise and true  the bible is. It is so clear to see that when we are self seeking, we reap chaos, disorder and destruction around us and for us. Yet, when we choose to seek peace with others and allow ourselves to die, righteousness is sown.

James 3:13-18 is clear on sin and its consequences; as well as what is righteousness and its consequences. Godly wisdom puts others above ourselves. Demonic wisdom is self-seeking, seeking only to satisfy ourselves. Being at peace with others, sows righteousness. Self seeking sows disorder and every evil practice. In order to follow Jesus, we cannot seek to satisfy ourselves; on the contrary, we need to die to ourselves so that all that Jesus represents and is will live in us. We see this in John 12:24 & 25 where Jesus says that unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it will not produce life; and a man who seeks to save his own life will lose it but if he loses it, will keep it forever.

To our human logic, it makes terrible sense. Our whole sinful nature is to preserve ourselves at all costs, especially our desires, lusts and envy. Yet, here is the Master teaching that to be self-seeking will bring us death while to allow ourselves to die, we will live.  No human logic can understand that, only one who walks by the Spirit and has his mind renewed by the Word can understand this.

Fennel seed

Fennel seed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A seed or a kernel of corn can remain all its life on a shelf in a pantry; dry, cool, comfortable. Nothing needs to change in the course of its life on the shelf. But, it could get eaten by mice or go all mildewy and stale. Apart from that, it could remain all its life on the shelf; comfortable and thinking that it is living its life the way it should.

Yet, it is not living out its purpose.

A seed’s purpose is to become a plant, a bush or a tree. It was never meant to sit on a shelf and be there forever, no matter how comfortable it is. However, to become a plant means it has to get off the shelf and become really, really uncomfortable. 

It has to get into soil; dank, dark and damp. No light, no one to keep it company, just the insects and slimy worms. It will be all alone. When it gets wet, as it will, the seed will have to change. And change is not comfortable. It has to allow itself to become something else, it has to agree to be distorted, to burst out of its skin and lose all semblance of its former self. With it getting wet, it will bloat up, and then its outer covering will start to rip at the bottom and roots will start to push out. Later on, shoots will start to come forth from its top. The seed will be disfigured and changed to become unrecognizable as this other form takes shape.

While this takes place, the seed as we know it will be completely destroyed and unrecognizable.

A plant will take root where the seed died. A plant that will produce seeds of the same fruit and perhaps be shade or food to some small animals will have come from the one seed. From that one seed, much life will come forth but in order for that to happen, the seed had to get into an uncomfortable spot and die to its own self seeking desires.

Zwiesprache

Zwiesprache (Photo credit: BlueRidgeKitties)

We do not like to be uncomfortable. We like to be “safe” and to each of us that means something different. Yet, to follow Jesus is not to be safe. It is allowing ourselves to be uncomfortable and to die to our self seeking desires so that Jesus’ character can grow roots and sprout shoots in us. We, like the seed in the ground, need to break; and most times when we have to go through a transformation in our lives and hearts, we go through it alone with only the Master Gardener and many ugly insects that come to scare us while we are vulnerable. When we go through this transformation, we tend to focus on the pain or the cost to us as well as the loneliness and the scary surroundings. We mourn the demise of the seed, now unrecognizable, but we fail to recognize that roots have formed and tender shoots and leaves are being pushed out upwards towards the light to give life.

As human beings, we are self seeking and the wages of this nature is death. Life comes only when we become like the One who gives life, when we allow our self seeking natures to be destroyed, so that our purpose to bring forth life will be fulfilled by Him.