Dear Followers (Seekers), This is an exhortative wake-up call to The Church from MOVING UP IN THE SPIRIT (Part 2) by Bert Farias. I personally know full-gospel churches that are beginning to “stinketh” so do not think it could happen to yours! Read and be encouraged to keep being filled.
“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
“…Wise believers know that the will of the Lord is to be full of the Spirit as a drunk man would be full of wine. …When one is full of the Spirit his heart moves in prayer; he is moved for lost souls; he is holy and consecrated. …He’s full of love; he’s full of praise and thanksgiving; and he’s full of power.
“These Ephesian believers were already initially filled or baptized with the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was part of the essentials of first century Christian life. Unlike today it was not an option but a vital necessity in every single church. Since then the devil has diluted this essential and clouded it with so much controversy. The Church as a whole will never fully do the works of Jesus until they are filled with the Spirit and maintain that infilling.
“The Holy Spirit is the life of the Church. Being filled with the Spirit and staying filled with the Spirit produces a fresh anointing. The psalmist of old said, “I shall be anointed with fresh oil” (Ps. 92:10). Without the free flowing move of the Holy Spirit the Church dries up and becomes full of dead formalism. …
Dear Readers/Seekers, This is only an excerpt of the article. If you have read thus far, you truly are a “seeker”. I exhort you to click on the link to The Flaming Herald page; read Part 1, “How To Move Up In The Spirit” and Part 2 (this post) in their entireties. Read and be encouraged! Farias says, “Stay tuned for more…” ~NeeterWoman
TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION.
“…The initial physical evidence of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. These tongues are attached to the baptism of the Holy Spirit and are for our devotional use. They belong to every born again Christian, but the tongues is not the gift. The Holy Spirit is the gift (Acts 2:38-39). ….”
via The Flaming Herald, TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION.
Click to read more from The Flaming Herald by Bert Farias.
How does one lose salvation? Is it possible for one to become UN-“born-again”? What can separate us from the love of God? Does God ever disown His children? How important is God’s grace to your faith, your eternity?
Today, there is a liberal Pop-Grace Message out in the world being listened to by “itching ears” (2 Tim. 4:3). “Liberal” being the literal, strategic scratch, it tells the Body of Christ that confession and forgiveness of sin is no longer necessary. In short, Pop-Grace gives its congregations a license to sin, making holiness obsolete as a requirement to living the Christian life. However, God’s Word clearly addresses the subject of sin differently concerning ‘the world’ and ‘the church’. His way to treat a lost sinner is like one who is in need of a physician~ caring for him, presenting the ‘cure’ for his diseased heart. God is sterner in the way to treat a brother who has fallen into a sinful lifestyle; He tells us to forgive, but to separate ourselves from him and not to associate with him until he repents. (Mt.18:15-21) In John’s latter writings, he implores The Church to live holy lives. He also reminds them of God’s faithfulness to cleanse and forgive any sins they may haphazardly commit. The Voice Bible’s commentary on 1 John dispels the ‘pop’ view best:
The word “sin” has virtually disappeared from modern conversation. Afraid of sounding judgmental, we call sin something else—a mistake, an addiction, a tendency, a bad decision—and ignore it as normal and natural behavior. But John is calling the church to a radical holiness where those in the church will regularly remember their sins and seek God’s forgiveness. Each sin, small and large, injures us or someone else; it imprints on our soul, makes us imperfect, and separates us from the perfect God. If we confess our sins to God each day, then He will purify our hearts and draw us closer to Him. [VOICE]
For some time and much to my dismay, I have heard teachings on the opposite, conservative end of the Grace Pendulum which leave me just as perplexed by their philosophy as I am by the more popular. This end may appear more stable and conventional, but somewhat misleading. Its teachings are based upon the judgment that “faith keeps us connected to God” which is true at face value, but they take the verse beyond the limit of the contextual meaning by defining faith in connection to “works” in the strictest sense. I refer to this end as the “Working Grace Message”.
The followers from the ‘working’ end have a certain train of thought and use The Word as the basis for their ‘faithful conclusion’ about salvation. They begin with the truth of “faith comes by hearing the Word” (Ro.10:17). Secondly, they adhere to another truth, found in the book of Acts about the importance of devoting time to fellowship with like-believers and the studying of the “Apostles’ teachings”~ the only form of New Testament available to The Church at the time. Their reasoning seems to be if one cuts himself off from Christian fellowship, he will turn to corrupt worldly friends who will lead him astray, eventually “losing” his way, ending up in Hell (1Cor.13:33). Thirdly, they perceive the passage “faith without works is dead” found in the book of James as a literal translation meaning that if one is not known for his charitable good deeds, he must not be “saved”. Mainly, this falling from grace theory comes from a misinterpretation of The Vine teaching in John 15 where it says unfruitful branches will be cut off and thrown into the fire. On the contrary, “the cutting away” does not refer to damnation, but to a “lifting up” as in intervention of sorts for a time of healing and restoration. Time and space limits my expounding any further so I urge you to study the entire passage both in context and in depth. The source I found most helpful on this subject is “Secrets of The Vine” by Bruce Wilkinson. Some even go as far to say that those without fruit do not lose salvation, but was never in God’s graces?!
The Grace Pendulum is swinging in full force these days, and is gaining momentum. From one end it swings by a great grace with a little faith to the other where it’s energized by a little grace and great faith, with both sides getting its followers into Heaven by “their own understandings”. The ‘popular end’ guarantees Heaven with a grace blanket covering and the ‘working end’ ensures Heaven IF you “do” life right! I believe to some degree that the teachers who build doctrines from both ends are sincere, but as one pastor put it: “One can be sincere and still be sincerely WRONG!”
There is, yet, another trajectory to this ‘swaying’ pendulum. A position on grace where a hot air has blown the timing of the bob out of control, now encircling the world~ where grace never rests at all~ Universalism! This horde waves their “ALL ROADS LEAD TO HEAVEN” sign in the faces of the masses. In other words, they preach no grace or savior required! They seem to ignore most of the Old Testament and the New Testament teachings altogether. This fact leaves me speechless to say anything further on that subject. So there you have it; my quick, condensed version of the ‘grace’ swingings and goings on out there.
Whoa! Stop the pendulum! Exhale. Sigh. Breathe. Now, let’s consider a few pertinent questions. Does our faith keep us connected to God? Absolutely! Should the Christian lifestyle demonstrate faithfulness AND grace? Absolutely! Will we get just rewards in Heaven for the good works we do? Absolutely! Are we to live sinless lives; is it possible? Absolutely, on both counts! However, our salvation is not dependent upon any of these ‘absolutes’; we are simply “saved by grace through faith”. Is it not obvious that we should be asking the important question of where is that “amazing grace” we all so often sing about? Our individual faith is important, but let us remember it is God’s gracious plan which made it happen, and He continues making it available to whosoever believes!
The pivot is what gives the pendulum balance. It is in the middle where the cord is in its “equilibrium” position, where it is stabilized, where it is at REST! So, let all of us who want to be full of grace decide to be like Jesus Himself~ full of grace and full of truth. Let us land at Grace’s pivotal point, right in the middle, the place where grace does rest, where love of God and faith in Jesus reside. David Rials, my pastor, says, “Love and faith are the pivot of grace.” I agree. Grace and faith are equally important when initially presenting salvation’s plan to the ‘The World’. AND (that’s a big ‘and’), God’s Word has something else to say about salvation other than how to get it. It has a lot to say about what it actually IS!
Salvation IS a new birth. Salvation IS restoration to a relationship with Father-God by being spiritually BORN into His family. “Those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!” (2Cor.5:17) A commentary in The Voice Bible explains the ‘new birth’ and our reconciliation to God this way:
The power of sin and death has been eclipsed by the power of the Spirit. The Spirit breathes life into our mortal, sin-infested bodies—thanks to what Jesus has done for us. By sending His Son in “the likeness of sinful flesh,” God judges sin finally and completely. The sins of the world are concentrated and condemned in the flesh of Jesus as He hangs on the cross. So now there is no condemnation remaining for those who’ve entered into the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. [Voice, Ro.8]
The same power that raised Christ from the dead NOW makes alive your mortal bodies. ~Ro.8:11
The truth of salvation is simple. The life of God IN US sustains us NOW and will throughout eternity. You see, even though I was raised in a denomination that does not believe in “once saved, always saved”, I gave my heart to Jesus in one that teaches otherwise~ a teaching of an ‘Eternal Grace’. Labeling myself as nondenominational all my adult years, I still lean towards the Eternal Grace ideology I learned there. I keep to the belief “nothing can pluck me from the hand of God~ nothing can separate me from His love”. I trust in His saving grace to keep me. I trust His enabling grace to make me strong, to stand in face of adversities. I trust in His forgiving grace when I meet up with temptations. I trust the grace I found in the blood of Jesus flowing from The Cross that speaks “mercy” and tells me I am “the righteousness of God in Christ” when I “miss the mark of the high calling”. It is that eternal grace which gives me the confidence and boldness to go into His holy presence where I find even more grace in times of need.
~ ♥ ~
JESUS PRAYED THE NIGHT BEFORE GOING TO THE CROSS:
“Father, the time has come. Reveal the glory of your Son so that he can give the glory back to you… …I have come bearing the plentiful gifts of God; and all who receive Me will experience everlasting life, a new intimate relationship with You (the one True God) I brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you told me to and fulfilled the mission. And now, Father, reveal my glory as I stand in your presence, the glory we shared before the world began.”
~~ ♥ ~~
This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. …
… “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
For God was in Christ, restoring the world to himself,
no longer counting men’s sins against them but blotting them out.
…We are Christ’s ambassadors.
…pleading with you, receive the love he offers you—be reconciled to God…
If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins,
He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises)
and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness]
and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness…
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching
and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us
from the love of God
demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when
he died for us.
~ ~ ~ ♥ ~ ~ ~
NEETER NOTE: For a deeper understanding of ‘GRACE’ and sanctification, read about “SANCTIFYING GRACE“~ (I like that terminology!). A quote from that source reads: “The doctrine is chiefly associated with the followers of John Wesley, founder of Methodism, from Wesley’s understanding of sanctifying grace. The doctrine is defined in Wesley’s book, “A Plain Account of Christian Perfection”… Christian perfection is commonly referred to as “going on to perfection”. … Perfection is the process of sanctification which is both an instantaneous and a progressive work of grace….” May I also suggest other ‘works of grace’ on the subject? For further enlightenment, I recommend Grace Works by Dudley Hall and any writings by Phoebe Palmer, “The Mother of The Holiness Movement“. Grace be unto you, my dear fellow searchers.
Bible Gateway: https://www.biblegateway.com/
“Secrets of The Vine” by Bruce Wilkinson, http://catalog2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?DB=local&Search_Arg=2001001853&Search_Code=STNO&CNT=100
Picture: Praying Hands by George Hodan (public domain)
Christianity Today: http://www.christianitytoday.org/
Bible Versions: VOICE~ The Voice Bible; LB~ Living Bible; NLT~ New Living Translation; AMP~ Amplified; NASB~ New American Standard.
What we ever receive is only a mere refraction of what The Giver has to offer~ We can, however, enlarge our capacity to receive more of the offering. We must, first, expand our vision by allowing in more light and then reposition ourselves past our own zenith so we can see beyond the horizon. Then, and only then, are we enabled to reflect what we have received. ~ag(2015-0220)
~ ♥ ~
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
and comes down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning*.”
“But all things,
when their true quality is seen,
are made clear by the light:
because everything which is made clear is light.”
“If you are filled with light,
with no dark corners,
then your whole life will be radiant,…”
~Luke 11:36, NLT
“Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking.
The Voice was and is God.
…His speech shaped the entire cosmos.
Immersed in the practice of creating, all things that exist were birthed in Him.
His breath filled all things with a living, breathing light…”
“The unspiritual self… can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit.
There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness.
Spirit can be known only by spirit–
God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion.”
~ ♥ ~
*NetBible Note- Jms.1:17 “variation or shadow of turning” (referring to the motions of heavenly bodies causing variations of light and darkness).
Picture– unknown; public domain
Today, my thoughts are turned towards “FAITH”. Lack of faith is not a problem. Jesus said we only need mustard seed-sized faith, and He provides each of us with a measure! Therefore, we can confidently say that we do not have a FAITH PROBLEM in the Body of Christ.
When there is a problem concerning our faith, our problem is with relationship and memory! We need to remember that it is NOT OUR FAITH that brings our prayers to pass; it is God’s faithfulness to answer us if we ask. We simply need to remember to ask, believing He will do it when we ask. We have a relationship problem with The One who answers when we “ask amiss” ~with wrong motives or unsure of His will, praying not knowing Him well enough to know what He “wills” to do.
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.
There we will receive his mercy, and
we will find grace to help us when we need it.”
We come “boldly” because we know we have obtained the right through what Jesus has done for us~ the veil has been torn and we are now children of God. So, get to know your Father; develop the relationship with Who answers your requests with, “Yes and Amen!” Remember your Father wills to answer because He loves and He is good. Remember your Father is God!
Come, let us return to the LORD!
… he will heal us… he will bandage our wounds
he will restore us so we can live in his presence.
Oh, that we might know the LORD!
Let us press on to know him!
Then he will respond to us
as surely as the arrival of dawn…”
~Hosea 6:1-3, NLT
“Be at peace in the knowledge that I am God…”
~Psalm 46:10, BBE
PICTURE: Vincent van Gogh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
BIBLE VERSIONS: NLT~ New Living Translation; BBE~ Basic Bible English
“To be aware of one shortcoming* in oneself
is better than to be aware of one thousand in someone else.”
Recently, a Facebook friend whom I have known since high school posted the above quote*. She copied it from an AA recovery website of which she is a member. Keep in mind that ‘shortcoming‘ simply means “an imperfection or lack that detracts from the whole”. My friend and countless others have recovered from their their common ‘shortcoming’ to regain the essence of their lives.
The quote reminds me of Matthew’s (7:1-5) and Luke’s (6:27-49) summaries of Jesus’ teachings about dealing with people mercifully, about not judging our neighbors when ‘we’ have not yet taken care of our own flaws. Flaws such as addictions, bitterness, and other sins stemming from selfishness are the very imperfections we usually see in others, but somehow the same seem less obvious when looking in the mirror. However, The Bible encourages us to examine ourselves and to seek God’s instruction in order to overcome the areas we “come short”. The Good Book calls this process ‘sanctification’.
Sanctification is gradual; it comes from faith-to-faith and glory-to-glory. It is a process which begins in each of us at our rebirths (new birth) and continues until we reach our total glorifications when we meet Jesus face-to-face. However, we don’t all grow at the same pace. Therefore when dealing with others’ shortcomings and they with us, we find ourselves in need of a little love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. As well and more often than not, this life requires a whole lot of long-suffering before the growing process is finished. These essential attributes are referred to as “Fruit of The Spirit”. The are developed in us as we allow Holy Spirit to lead us through this life, teaching us God’s ways of dealing with each other and as we worship God in “spirit and truth”, getting to know Him better. The “fruit” simply describe God’s character, His nature, His essence of life. In other words, we become more like Him, more like Jesus!
Jesus tells us that as long as we stay connected to Him (The Vine), we (the branches) will grow this fruit, abundant crops of it, enough to share with our neighbors. It is beneficial that we all grow in sanctification; it brings peace into the world in which we live and glory to The Kingdom of which we belong!
~ ♥ ~
“What happens when we live God’s way?
He brings gifts into our lives,
much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard–things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity.
We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.
We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments,
…able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
~ ♥ ~
…the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith;
…”The just shall live by faith.”
This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight.
This is accomplished from start to finish by faith…
God’s way of putting people right shows up in the acts of faith,
confirming what Scripture has said all along:
“The person in right standing before God by trusting him really lives.
For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith…
~ ♥ ~
*DISCLAIMER– The quote at the top of this post was originally quoted using the word ‘shortfall’ instead of ‘shortcoming’. Perhaps the person used “shortfall” on purpose in reference to occurrences of “falling off the wagon” so-to-speak, but I changed it to make it grammatically correct for this blog posting. I have no way of verifying my thoughts on the original intent of the wording. I quoted it “anonymous” due to AA policy, and my source is not named in order to protect her privacy.
“Shortcoming.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shortcoming>.
BIBLE VERSIONS– MSG– The Message Bible; NKJV– New King James Version; NLT– New Living Translation; AMP– The Amplified Bible;
The very mention of ‘football’ this time of year will usually get people’s attention and initiate excited responses. But mentioning ‘exercise’ or ‘discipline’ at any given time usually brings a less than response by most; mentioning together probably doubly so? Equally so is only those who have seriously endeavoured to practice spiritual disciplines unto “perfection” will continue reading this sentence? [Good, you are still with me.] Biblically, ‘perfection’ simply refers to spiritual maturity.
The Greek word for ‘perfection’ is “teleios“, meaning to make perfect; to carry through completely in order to bring to an end; add what is yet needed in order to render a thing full. James tells us the practice of not giving up, acting in shear endurance, persevering through all trials is what will develop such a “perfect spiritual maturity” in believers (Jms.1:1-8). Of course, one cannot do that without knowing God. Knowing God takes a certain grace, but it begins with self-discipline in the basic spiritual disciplines, a personal effort towards learning God’s ways.
The basic spiritual disciplines are: worship (including singing, clapping, praise, etc in both personal time and congregational settings), prayer (including fasting and intercession), meditation (personally applying The Word that requires a step beyond reading and studying), consecration (self-examination with prayerful attitude leading to confession and repentance). The good news is God does not require us to learn these disciplines all alone. He continually encourages us to make use of like-believers’ insights. He gives us “the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers… to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church” (Eph.4:11,12 NLT). Of course,our ultimate help comes from Holy Spirit, Who lives in us; He is our “helper and teacher” (John 14:26). In other words, God expects us to work with His team to carry the ball to the goal. Using a similar analogy in “We Grow Through Exercise”, Warren Wiersbe expounds on the advantages of personally exercising spiritual disciplines as well as the disadvantages when there is a lack thereof this way:
There was a time in church history when believers delighted to discuss the spiritual disciplines of the Christian life, but today anything that smacks of discipline is branded as “legalistic” and alien to the New Testament emphasis on grace. …[The church seems to be] looking for guaranteed shortcuts to maturity.
Some of today’s Christians remind me of the millions of fans who crowd the sports arenas and stadiums week after week, cheering their favorite teams to victory. After each game, these fans shout, “We won! We won!” when in reality the athletes did both the playing and the winning. All the fans did was pay for a ticket, fill a seat, and make a lot of noise. The spectators are the ones who need the exercise, but they settle for shouting, “We won!” and claiming the credit that belongs only to the disciplined athletes.
It doesn’t take much effort to to be a successful spectator… the spectators don’t experience the joy that comes with being disciplined, working with teammates, and giving their best; nor do spectators win any awards. Too many evangelical church services are attended by enthusiastic people who buy their tickets (the offering), watch the game (the service), and cheer when there is victory… They know little or nothing about exercising the disciplines that transform spectators into winning athletes who glorify God.
If you want to be a child of God who does more than watch and cheer, you’ll have to learn the disciplines of the Christian life. You’ll have to become a disciple. Disciples are believers who practice discipline. They understand spiritual exercise.
~ ♥ ~
“…train yourself toward godliness.
Although training your body has certain payoffs,
godliness benefits all things
—holding promise for life here and now and promise for the life that is coming.”
1 Timothy 4:7b-8 (VOICE)
30 DAYS TO DISCOVERING PERSONAL VICTORY THROUGH HOLINESS, by Bruce Wilkinson, chapter 9, “We Grow Through Exercise” by Warren Wiersbe.
VOICE- The Voice Bible
Picture image by Giovanni Gallucci from Plano, Texas (‘burb of Dallas), USA (You+Pics: SMU Mustang Student Spirit) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Ever think of yourself as a lead runner?
God’s Word does not just speak to us about our personal race; it speaks of our responsibility to the other runners following us towards the finish line. It stands to reason if we are runners following after Christ, we are also leaders for those running behind. Hebrews is a letter of hope; it encourages us to withstand the discipline training of God which always results in “a quiet grace and character”. God’s training gives us the strength to “take a new grip” and keep us “firm on shaky legs” for our race, but in turn gives hope to “those who follow, though weak and lame, will not fall and hurt themselves, but become strong” and continue running their race.
It’s called team-effort!
Ever read Hebrews 12? I encourage you to read it today, perhaps with a quiet discipline? Its ‘coaching’ about holy living may give you a fresh wind at your back to help you lead the team around that next obstacle in the path and get enough momentum to jump over that next hurdle!
“let us please God by serving him with thankful hearts
…with holy fear and awe.
For our God is a consuming fire.”
All quotes from TLB unless otherwise noted. Click the link to original post in Neeter’s WOE for complete sources and references, Follow The Leader and LEAD!
Note from Neeter: This post is purposely and directly excerpted from Frances J. Roberts’ Come Away My Beloved. As always, I post in hopes to inspire and encourage you to move closer towards the goal God has set before you~ read and be blessed!
THE CALL of LOVE
Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
JOHN 21: 15
FAITH and ACTION~ “...In your daily walk, you shall be victorious only to the degree that you trust Me. I can help you only as you ask. I will meet you at every point where you put action alongside your prayers . Only as you walk will the waters of adversity be parted before you. Overburdened as the world is with trouble and sickness, I need those who have proved My sufficiency in everyday, personal experience to lead the suffering to the fountains of life. I need those who have found Me as burden-bearer to help bring deliverance to the oppressed. Never begrudge time given to chronic complainers, but recognize in each encounter the opportunity to speak a word that may lead to their liberation…see him as what he can be if he gives himself unreservedly to Me.”
“If anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.”
JOHN 9: 31
SAFETY in GOD’S WILL~“My will is not a place, but a condition.
Do not ask Me where and when, but ask Me how. You will discover blessing in every place, and any place, if your spirit is in tune with Me. No place or time is more hallowed than another when you are truly in love with Me.
I direct every motion of your life, as the ocean bears a ship. Your will and intelligence may be at the helm, but divine providence and sovereignty are stronger forces . You can trust Me, knowing that any pressure I bring to bear upon your life is initiated by My love, and I will not do even this except as you are willing and desire.
Many a ship has sailed from port to port with no interference from Me, because Strong Will has been at the wheel. Multitudes of pleasure cruises go merrily on their ways, untouched by the power of My hand.
But you have put your life into My keeping, and because you are depending on Me for guidance and direction, I shall give it.
Move on steadily, and know that the waters that carry you are the waters of My love and My kindness, and I will keep you on the right course.”
SOURCE: Roberts, Frances J. (2014-05-01). Come Away My Beloved (Today’s Classics) (pp. 10,13,17-18). Barbour Publishing, Inc.. Kindle Edition.