“Are You Saved”

images“Are you saved?” I can remember as child a Baptist preacher saying every week without fail the words; ‘Are You saved?’ I believe those 3 words are possibly Baptist’s greatest contribution to the faith. You may know a lot about Him, but do you know Him? If there is no grieving or sorrow over your sinful condition…no witness of the Spirit, then you don’t know Him. For Jesus to truly save you, you must believe you are drowning and in need of saving—otherwise the broken cry for a savior is not heard and He cannot save. It is a matter of need…do you need Him? Do you see your very real need of His love and forgiveness? Or, do you see yourself ‘pretty good’– never considering that one sin…it’s rebellion like witchcraft that has you under a spell of deception never considering yourself that bad; it is your only weak link, but it is powerful enough to destroy your whole life with that one unredeemed failure. I see God is not mocked and sin must be atoned for. What are you doing and where are you taking your sin for atonement? Because what He takes, He covers–what He covers, He redeems, what He redeems He changes, and what He changes He keeps for Himself with a movement of the Spirit that directs my steps to increase as His disciple and witness. So, I ask you again, “Are You Saved…Are You Really Saved?”

The Miry Clay

In Psalm 40, David says of God, ‘He took me out of the miry clay and put my feet upon a rock!’  The miry clay is a picture of something, it represents a horrible place, but a timeless reminder of what to do when you get your feet stuck. While hopeless for the unbelieving, it holds a truth that there is great hope for all who call upon the name of the Lord by faith. Hear the lessons from the miry clay.  It’s a place of waiting, but with expectation. There’s an expectancy that God will deliver. It is a place God uses to bring about patience, but with it the ability to endure because God is faithful and He sits in the place of confident victory.  David says in that place, “He inclined to me.”  Do you recognize that place holds the inclinations of God’s heart. If you go on to read, it continues by saying, “many are your thoughts to me and too vast to number.” He inclines himself toward us by making that place abundant with his thoughts to lead, to guide, to encourage, to strengthen, to rise above, and to make our footsteps firm. The picture here is one producing a place of foundation out onto a rock.  The land longs for foundation, for when the foundations are shaken and men no more live by the principles of God’s word, things begin to crumble, and so goes the evolution of societies that failed to recognize God as Almighty!  But God has a foundation for those who cry out to him there in that horrible stuck place–it’s a place on the Rock, and it’s a place of comforting refuge! The miry clay represents a place of melody and song because David says out of that place, “He has put a new song in my heart a song of praise to our God”.  It is the sound of praise and singing that establishes us as victors and not victims. It will be a song that will call many to worship His name because of the testimony that the clay produces for the believing. It’s a super-natural place of Divine influence with a power able to raise us up because of Jesus Who says, ‘because I live, so shall you’.  Verse 4 of that same chapter says, “How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust”.

The Eye Doctor

“Then Jesus told them, I entered this world to render judgment, to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.” John 9:39; (NLT) What Jesus said then, he is still saying to us. He came for a great revelation, one that would obliterate our thinking making us fit to take up his cause. As with the blind man, when Jesus heals the eyes he does so to reveal himself in a way as to involve us in a greater, more devoted worship (Jn 9:38). This revelation knowledge has the power to destroy speculations that severely limit our potential to believe him and see great and mighty things. It obliterates the thoughts and intentions of the heart that held us guilty and bound and of no use to God (Jn 9:41). ‘This knowledge’ truly is power to remove the blindness we so easily stumble over. I don’t know about you, I can only speak for myself, but I need the “eye doctor” who can remove my limitations caused by sin and failure to see things clearly. I need the eye doctor!  He changes my view so that I might be able to see from his perspective thinking less of myself and more of him. He changes my slavish thoughts and the way that I think in an incorruptible fashion consistent with his potential to overcome my inadequacies. And finally, he changes my motives and the intentions of my heart, so that I am no longer stumbling for bread, but I’m owning the things that he gives me, so I may be used to reveal His cause and His glory. Do you need the eye doctor? If so, get in line and be willing to wait your turn. Get everything else off your agenda, you just need to see him.   He will come to you, and He will find you at your lowest point when you cry out to him. And If you’re wiling, he will show you great things you did not see.

‘Because of Who I Am’

I sometime get that sense of God’s purpose for humanity and truly experience a desire to be used to reach others for His kingdom. In the middle of one of those thoughts, God brought a revelation to me; ‘you have abilities, or you think you do, but it’s not your abilities I need; it’s not your charm or charisma, not your personality or persona, no matter if you think it’s strong or weak. No, reaching men has nothing to do with your good intentions, or even what you think! Remember, ‘I told you to come to the cross and surrender your thoughts, intentions, and abilities or lack of them. I told you to in My word to reckon ‘yourself’ to be dead, so I could live because this world doesn’t need to know who you think your are, it needs to know Me and who I Am! So surrender your thoughts to Me! As long as you live ‘your life’, you cannot reproduce Mine! The Apostle Paul said, ‘I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me….’ He further says, ‘whatever things were gain to me, I counted as loss that I could know Him and the power of His resurrection life!’ God says, ‘live My life and others will see Me through your surrender. They will see a brokenness that is evidence you serve me and not yourself, and you will prove to be my disciple whose actions reach many because of who I Am!’

The Word

The Enemy uses the fog of confusion to effectively disrupt the vision and purpose of God. It is important to understand no matter where we are relative to the fog–we will live by our faith. That’s right; it is never by sight anyway.  And when sight is clouded, my hearing becomes of utmost importance.  How is your hearing?  If we know faith comes by hearing the word of God, then God’s word and His voice is the key to our uncertainty.  Your life as a Christian will be defined, refined and ultimately proven by this word that you hear.  You simply will not have faith or even proper obedience unless you hear the word correctly.  Timing is everything and perceived need essential if I am going to find the divine directives the word offers me. Isaiah 55:1; offers us an invitation by saying, “Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink–even if you have no money! Come,…” The word brings an invitation into my life–a portal through which God’s thinking can flow into my darkness giving proper direction from my clouded judgement.  And where my foggy thoughts have left me stranded, this word would be the impetus to move me forward without fear.  This word promises a satisfaction that bread alone cannot.  Jesus said, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”  It has the power to strengthen your bones to make you stand up, fill out and fast forward you from dark to light in one single instance.  This word comes to impart the faith like Abraham as God Himself speaks to your own heart, calling you from the fog you’re living in.  It could be a fog of confusion, of doubt, of fear, of failure, of lies and deception so thick that this word could be wasted on you.  But make no mistake, the fog will break down communication of this word unless you recognize the invitation this word is making to you.   You need to see the absolute importance of this word–it’s a powerful thing!  You and I often spend money for things that leave us short and the fog remains, but God desires that we discover a line of communication that leaves us well informed and confident–ready to display His thoughts and a testimony that proves His word will affect my quality of life and living.  I have seen the fog of confusion, and I tell you this word can powerfully remove its effects to give you the will and way to move ahead toward the promise no matter what you see.  His invitation to you stands and His word will remove your fog.  I believe He is saying, ‘timing is everything, so come now, everyone who thirsts, come now…’

The Counsel of the Rock

I recently found myself thinking of the failures of the past and felt shame…are you living under shame? Shame is a covering of the enemy to protect his domain and he will use it to wrap you in his plans and identify your life with failure.  If you remain under its tutelage it will hinder or even destroy the plan of God for your life. Shame is a destroyer of confidence with God, unknowingly it seeks to wrap you in its garment to neutralize your purpose and steal away God’s plan for your life. I began seeing something about this shame and what I want to present this to you that shame is as counsel. Are you under its advisement? Are you hindered by doubts, fears, self-justification and feelings of inadequacy?  These thoughts are nothing more than idolatry, they are worried about preserving your life according to your own self centered view.  Think of it this way, these thoughts will lead you to fashion and shape life according to fears and not by faith.  I like the illustration I heard recently that man molds with butter, but God molds with clay.  They both are shaped to fit a useful ideal however, when the fires of opposition come, one melts, the other becomes hardened to a vessel fit for the Master’s use.  Isaiah 42:17 confirms that shame is rooted in idolatry by saying those who trust in idols will be put to shame.  Living under the counsel of shame upholds yesterday, it is old man thinking, self talk and self right living, but cannot provide the Grace necessary to walk uprightly, for it only skews my view of things.  Seeing my world view, real or imagined, only hindered me from moving in what I knew to be God’s will for those who find their identity in Him.   I began seeing my need for God’s presence because it magnifies my position in Christ, whose worth cannot be compared to my ideal which is idolatry and will counterfeit Christ but never produce His image.   I need the Counsel of the Rock!  Hebrews 12:1-2 says, ‘lay aside the sin that so easily entangles you’.  This sin has been the obsession of your whole life, it has colored and clouded your thoughts with shame and it keeps you from finding the steadfast counsel of the Rock.  Hebrews 12 continues by saying, ‘Fix your eyes on Jesus.’  He is the rock of your salvation, the perfecter of your faith. It is a faith cleft within the Rock to enable you to see yourself covered by the image of the son. There under His shadow will you find cleansing, covering and a counsel leading you to despise the covering of shame.  Hebrews 12:2 says in effect let your life be molded in the image of one who endured the cross, by despising the shame in order to obtain His place in the presence of God.

The Word of Life

The Word of God is an interesting tool. Hebrews 4:12 tells us it is sharper than any two edged sword. It is a sharp instrument of definition cutting shape into your life by getting to the heart of every matter. This word brings truth and makes a place for decision to everyone who will endure its precision cuts. It moves me to dwell with great thinkers and those who pondered the path of life. With this tool the Spirit of God moves me to the mind of Christ, when I would otherwise dwell with foolish thoughts and superficial things. Its reach is vast touching the heart of every matter making my life genuinely His by putting me on ready to be the vessel only He can use. Find yourself under the influence of this word. Read it exercise it and activate its power. It is the good news power of God to activate my role in the Kingdom. With this tool working in your life, you will see like He sees, hear like He would, and care like He does. Find yourself marked by this word in order that your outreach be His touch to save, heal, and deliver those who are in your field.