Thursday, March 15, 2012

"We Have A Choice" Part III

Why are you so angry? And why has your countenance fallen? Behold, If you do well, you will be accepted. And if you do not do well, sin sits waiting at the door, and its desire is to possess you, but you can rule over it.” Gen. 4:1-7. 

 During the second generation of mankind living on earth, God warned Cain that if he persisted in his anger toward his brother Abel, something worse would happen. He warned him that sin was crouching at the door of his heart and wanted to possess him or take control of him. Sin was first present in the garden of Eden with his mother Eve. She listened to the voice of Satan, the great deceiver, and allowed him to influence her choice to disobey God. Then she influenced her husband Adam to disregard the command of God not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and he too made the wrong choice. From one generation to the next through out history, the great deceiver has been trying to influence and control people and nations. All of mankind now is endowed with a sin nature passed down from generation to generation. Man's spiritual connection and adoration of God died in the garden of Eden. It is part of our spiritual DNA and is why we need to be born-again from above with Christ living in our heart.

Why was Cain so angry at his brother? Genesis chapter 4 tells us that the two brothers came before God with their offerings. Abel brought the proper offering of a first born lamb and Cain brought some of his produce from the soil. God looked upon Abel with pleasure, because of his obedience. God looked away from Cain with dissatisfaction, because of his disobedience. If we do what is right in God's eyes, He will be pleased with us and bless us. If we choose to not do what is right, then we are under God's curses for disobedience. Read Deut. Chapter 28 for a detailed description of the blessings and cursings we bring upon ourselves because of our choices.

Notre Dame Cathedral   

Cain was angry that God did not accept his offering which was the work of his hands and not what God required. Cain was jealous that God turned his countenance or favor upon his brother and rejected him. Cain tried to worship God his own way. He was disobedient and rebellious. Cain's number one enemy was himself; his own prideful, sin nature that wanted to be independent of God. Unfortunately, like his mother Eve, he wanted to be like God himself: knowing good from evil, able to provide for himself, enjoying the lust of his eyes and wise in his own understanding.

Unredeemed men and women have their little gods, or their own idols, which they worship and their own personal agendas they want to achieve. When we don't get what we want, we look to other means to get revenge or justice for those who have wronged us. That opens the door for demonic oppression which compels us to sin further until, our demons are possessing us and dictating to our mind, will and emotions. Cain progressed from pride, to disobedience, to anger and finally to murder. After God warned him to do what was right, he left the very presence of God and went out in the field and murdered his brother Abel. The demonic spirits that were crouched close by finally persuaded him to rebel completely against God. The spirits of revenge and murder became Cain's masters when he listened to and obeyed them. 
However, God did not leave us alone, without hope and doomed to destruction. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins, the offering of a sacrificial Lamb who's blood was poured out on God's heavenly altar for us. Jesus paid the price for our redemption and paved the way for us to become sons and daughters of God. We can not earn such a status with our own will power or works. It is freely given to us when we draw near to God, repent of our sins and pray to be continually filled with the Spirit of God. With complete salvation we become a part of God's family and enter into all the privileges that go with that honor. It is called living in the Grace of God. We have a choice!
Scriptures taken from the One New Man Bible: Revealing Jewish Roots and Power, translated by William J. Morford, 2011, True Potential Publishing, Inc. Travelers Rest, SC.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"We Have A Choice" Part II

Through out church history, we have observed various revivals and moves of God in America and around the world. In the 1970s Americans witnessed a tremendous visitation of the Holy Spirit that began on a Catholic University campus and swept through the large denominations, small store front churches and individual homes. Many non-denominational and charismatic churches were birthed. More recently in the 1990s the church experienced great revivals coming out of Canada, Oklahoma and Florida. Now in the twenty-first century there are thousands of Christian organizations around the world where the Spirit of God is evident and the people of God are prospering. These various camps offer the complete salvation message to anyone who wants to partake of God's mercy and grace. In the past they were coined “full gospel” organizations, because they informed people not only about being born-again, but emphasized the importance of being filled with the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit and speaking in tongues. When the Holy Spirit calls us to a deeper level of commitment, we have a choice.

Once we decide to follow Christ with stages 1 and 2 outlined earlier, we are offered the opportunity to mature in Christ as true sons and daughters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. No longer will we remain just babes in Christ who are “hearers of the Word” but through a process of transformation we will become mature believers, “doers of the Word.” During stage 3 our hearts and minds are transformed through trials and perseverance to love God with a pure devotion and our faith grows stronger in the Lord. Living in His Presence and obedience to His Word is a lifestyle we choose to maintain. We choose to have faith in God and trust Him for everything. 

We now recognize the temptations and deceptions of the enemy and get fed up with living life in the flesh with its disappointments, pain and failures. We begin to embrace the Easter message of death and resurrection life-- for ourselves. Christ came to enable us to be born-again, filled with the Holy Spirit and joint-heirs with Him through the transformation of our hearts and minds. We experience the abundant life of living in divine health, prosperity and successful relationships. Through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, we discover the righteousness, peace and joy available to us in the kingdom of God. Every step along the way, we have a choice.

Mature sons and daughters of God have submitted themselves to the dealings and chastisement of God. They have submitted to the pruning process whereby we experience a death to our old carnal nature of selfish desires and natural abilities. We have learned to hate the ungodly, besetting sins that pull us down and control our thoughts, emotions and behavior and destroy our relationships with others. We have learned to abide in the Vine and recognize we are nothing without Christ living in us. He is our only hope for transformation and reaching our destiny in the kingdom of God. Our spiritual focus has switched from temporal, earthly concerns to more heavenly, eternal values. Our time here on earth is preparation for what is to come in the next life and we need to make the most of what time we have left.

With Jesus Christ as our Lord and Master in stage 4, we have overcome the temptations of the flesh and the world. We will receive a crown of life, wear white garments and our names will be written in the Book of Life. Satan and his entities 
will be under our feet-- no longer able to destroy us. We will be walking in holiness unto the Lord and service to the King. We will meet Christ face-to-face and we will hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” We will join in with the multitude of angels and other saints singing, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts...To the One Who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb, blessing and honor and glory and power forever and ever."

We have a choice to accept God's offer of salvation; the whole package, all four steps listed above, or to continue to struggle with our selfish nature, give in to the Satan's temptations, live life solely on our own, miss out on God's blessings, be controlled by demonic strongholds and fall short of reaching our destiny in Christ. God offers the abundant life to us and it is by His grace we are made partakers of His salvation. Scripture is clear that He chooses us and ordains us for the kingdom of God. It is the “opportunity of a lifetime” as the saying goes. God wants to be our God and for us to be His people. He offers us a loving, covenant agreement to take care of all our needs now in this life and for all eternity.

Choose you this day whom you will serve, either the gods which your forefathers served, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are now living; but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15.

Joshua's farewell message to the Israelites living in their promised land was a challenge to make the right choice. Joshua is still speaking to the chosen children of God today through the voice of Jesus Christ. The choice is to love God and obey His Word, or to love yourself and obey the sinful nature that still controls you. We can promote and protect our selfish agendas, or choose to die to self in order to enter into God's will for our life and marriage. We can run from the Cross and crucified life it represents, or embrace the process of transformation into the character and nature of Christ. We can choose to do what is “right in our own eyes” or we can choose to set our focus on the higher calling of service in the kingdom of God. Time is running out and you may not get to choose the higher course. One day you may suddenly die in your sins, or Jesus may come before you make the right decision; either way, it will be too late. Whom will you serve? Where will you spend eternity? What is your choice?

Scriptures taken from the One New Man Bible: Revealing Jewish Roots and Power, translated by William J. Morford, 2011, True Potential Publishing, Inc. Travelers Rest, SC.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"We Have A Choice" Part I

See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil; in that I command you this day to love the Lord your God, to walk in His Ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, so you will live and multiply... But if your heart turns away, so that you will not heed, but will be drawn away and worship other gods and serve them; I announce to you this day that you will surely perish, you will not prolong your days upon the land... I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you. I have set before you life and death, blessings and cursing. Therefore choose life.” Deut. 30:15-20.

Scripture is very clear that God expects his children to love Him, to obey His commandments and to serve Him alone. He promises us a covenant of love under His supernatural protection, provision and plan for our lives. If we love and obey Him, life will go well with us. If we do not- life will be filled with problems which we have brought on ourselves through our own rebellion and stubborn-heartedness. We can live under His covenant of love with all its benefits, or we can live without His mercy and grace which produces pain and failure. We have a choice.

If you love Me, you will keep my commandments and I will ask the Father, so that He would be with you forever. He will give you another Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Whom the world is not able to accept, because it does not see and does not know Him; you know Him, because He remains beside you and will be inside you.” John 14:15-17.

We are born with an Adamic, sin nature that naturally wants to hide from God, rebel against God's commandments, does not want to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, or the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. However, God offers mankind a complete salvation covenant so we don't have to live in pain and misery, separated from God's love and life. We serve an “If-Then” God; if we will love and obey Him, then He will keep His promises toward us. If we don't make the right choice, then we are on our own without His grace and power.

God's complete, salvation covenant includes four stages or levels of progress. 1. First being born-again so we can live in the supernatural kingdom of God, instead of this natural world with its limitations and corruptions. 2. Sanctification or being filled with the Spirit of God so we will have the power to overcome sin, the world and Satan. 3. Transformation of our old nature into the maturity of Christ so we become co-heirs with Him, true sons of God. 4. Finally, being given a position of responsibility in Christ's millennial reign here on earth, because we have been over comers in this life.

Will we choose a destiny that leads to death and destruction, living eternally separated from His Presence? Will we choose His complete plan of salvation? Or will we choose just the parts of His plan we are comfortable with? Although He is our Creator, an all knowing, omnipresent God, He gave us the ability to determine our destiny. We are not doomed to destruction, but through His Son Jesus Christ, we have a choice.

Many people have heard the gospel message sometime in their life and have chosen to "get saved" by acknowledging Jesus Christ died for their sins. They believe the historical facts of Christ's death on the cross and his resurrection to life eternal. They made a an intellectual and religious decision to pray the sinner's prayer and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. After all, that only makes sense in light of the other dire consequences of hell. Heaven with its streets of gold, many mansions and incredibly, beautiful scenery sounds like a much more enjoyable place to spend eternity. But did they truly turn their hearts toward God, repent of their sins, change their lifestyle and seek after a personal relationship with God through Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit? Have they truly been born again? Or did they choose to practice the religion of Christianity? Religion or relationship; we have a choice.

Scriptures taken from the One New Man Bible: Revealing Jewish Roots and Power, translated by William J. Morford, 2011, True Potential Publishing, Inc. Travelers Rest, SC.