Monday, August 21, 2017

Serve as Jesus Served







I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  Galatians 2:20



 

We should serve as Jesus served.  When God calls and we say yes, we do not get to ask questions, know how we are going to be blessed, or what hardships we will encounter.      

Tear down the notion that serving God is automatic blessings. 

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make we perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle we.  1 Peter 5:10

Are we ready for total obedience to Christ?  Many are called, few are chosen.  The chosen are only those who have answered the call. 

For many are called, but few are chosen.  Matthew 22:14

If we want to be chosen, say yes; not from wer mind, but from wer heart. 

And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.  Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.   And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.  Luke 9:59-61  

We do more good for the kingdom by showing God wer faith and persistence to Him.
The follow is a major commitment.  Quit indicting God for what we do not have when we have not done what God requires of us.

When we are called, we are called out of our previous existence.   We are called out of what was.  What was supposed to take us out then, when God called us out, we left that plan; changed existence.  We step out of our previous existence. 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.   Philippians 3:13-14  

We are thrown out of life into a new life; pulled from a previous existence to a new existence.  Are we stuck between the two?   Not if we are truly committed and obedient to God’s word.

We need to go deeper in God to understand true love. 

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.  1 John 3:1

God pushes us out of our personal agenda to His divine agenda.  We can live all God despite what the enemy tries to tell us. 

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  Galatians 2:20  

God moves us from the predictable, from what we can foresee, from what we can control and He pushes us to possibilities and limitlessness in God.  When we give God a yes, it moves us from the impossible to the possible. 
 
Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.  Mark 9:23  

God pushes us into the realm where what was to kill us has been eradicated and now we are living on purpose; living on the grace of God.  We are no longer living on our plan, but God’s plan.  When we live for God, there is a divine covering that takes over us.

What then is discipleship but being bound to Jesus? 

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,  Ephesians 3:1  

The bondage is in the sin and our own personal agenda.  We are free in Christ.  Being bound in Jesus in a relationship requires trust.  It is the only way we can follow Jesus.  We don’t get so stuck to the pattern of this world that we lose sight of the will of God.

God owes us no explanation in our following Him.  We have to break away from what we have been pre-programmed to believe; i.e., the battle of the mind.

Everything that is not bad is still not of God.  Even with our children. 

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6  

 I break away from my pre-program to establish obedience.  Is God in my mind or in my spirit? 
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  Philippians 2:5

This is important because our mind is influenced by the prince of the air:  music, TV, gossip, etc. 

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  Romans 12:2  

Stop waiting until the night time to renew your mind; do it as often as needed.  Thoughts are not changed by thoughts, thoughts are changed by words.

Stop changing relationships based on what other people say.  We should always be on the side of right not on the side of opinion.

Our obedience is now based upon our commitment.  There has to be action behind our words. 

If ye love me, keep my commandments.  John 14:15

 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  Romans 8:35

We must be faithful to God and His word.  The faithful always gather.  We have to be committed to God’s word; it is demonstrative in our relationships with each other; in our see receiving each other; caring enough to help each other; recognizing God in each other.   

For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.  1 Thessalonian 2:13  

We’re not getting everything from God because we do not believe the word of God.
There is a commitment to the word; we have to receive it as a gift from God.  Even it is correction – it is done out of love.

If we are not committed to each other, we cannot be committed to God.  We make a decision to go from commitment to being loyal.  Church is the only place where people will not submit themselves and be humble.  Apostle Paul was so committed that he gloried in his tribulation. 
Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.  2 Corinthians 7:4

I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:  Acts 26:2  

It’s about our commitment to the call.  We have to see our commitment; not just speak it.
Whatever we did for the enemy, we should be doing 50 times more for God.

Put on the mind of Christ and become a servant.  He humbled himself and became obedient unto death.  Humility is when we have control over something but we become obedient to it.  Make yourself of no reputation.  If I am who I say I am, then the character of who I say I am precedes me.  Take on the form of a servant

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Philippians 2:5 – 11  

The way we arrive is through humility.  We thank God all along the way for what He has done in our lives.  We praise Him at all times. 

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Romans 1:21  

It’s on our way up that we get the name.  Learn to humble yourself and not make life about your selfish desires and needs.

Moses gave up the palace to serve his people who suffered.  But Jesus became the greatest example of a servant when he left the worship of the angels in heaven and came to earth to die on the cross for our sins. 

(Biblical Studies)
Excerpt from Word Enrichment on Discipleship
- Pastor Joel C. Lofton


Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Path of Life









Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.  Psalms 119:35








We have to understand where God wants to take us in the spirit.

The reason why we find it so difficult to engage in discipleship is because we struggle between following Jesus and following our own human agenda’s:  personal aspirations, career goals, personal vision for our life.  This struggle is what causes the difficulty.  Because our background has shaped us; it is totally different from what God calls us to be.  This is where ‘Not my will’ becomes crucial to us.
 
Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.  Luke 22:42

The struggle comes in fighting this.   We fight in our spirit.  We put our personal agenda’s before God.  We cannot rest in God when we struggle. 

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.  

We cannot negate the scripture.  We have to ask our self what are we doing that hinders the rest that God promises us.  God does not need our permission because our life belongs to Him.  He can change the path that you are on without your authorization. 

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:2 

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:  Philippians 1:6

The call to discipleship:     

And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.  Matthew 9:9

And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.  Mark 2:14

What did Jesus say?  It was a command:  Follow Me.  The response by Levi and Matthew was action, not lip service

Are we trying to clear our schedule to follow Jesus or are we giving him an immediate response?  Where does the difficulty come in in following Christ?  The battle of the mind in trying to figure out how to follow Jesus against the odds that comes against us. 

The move of the disciples to follow Christ was out of faith.  Jesus requires blind faith.  The disciples were not worried about the circumstances of their life. 

The problem is that if we don’t know who we’re following, we cannot trust him.  It is an injustice to God when we keep making excuses when all God wants from us is blind faith.  When God calls us we have to be responsible for ourselves – quit trying to bring someone with you that God has not yet called.  We are making excuses to get out when the world is trying to get in!

Discipleship is not a group or family thing.  God calls us individually to serve Him and we become co-laborers.  It is not about finding new friends.  We become brothers and sisters in Christ and are connected to each other through Christ.  It is a 2 Step process: 

(1)       The call of Christ is followed by a
(2)       response.

It is a simple act of
®    (a) obedience,
®    (b) faith and
®    (c) action

Obedience is an act.  Church has taught us lip service.  If you are really in agreement with the word, you will walk it out and stop making excuses.  Quit using the ‘God knows my heart’ confession as an excuse.  God doesn’t need a confession of our faith, He needs our obedience to His word. 

The relationship of the call and the act of obedience: 

The natural mind wants a deep explanation; you’re in effect telling God that He is messing with your plan.  This is why we don’t have the promised rest; because we are wrestling against God’s will for us.  Simple truths we should know:

¨   Our life is not our own.  We belong to God
¨   We do not get to choose and decide our life; it is in the hands of God
¨   In following Christ, we have peace and rest
¨   When we accept Christ, we can rest in the fact that we are different, that people don’t treat us the same but our total trust is in God.
¨   We have rest and peace in the wait

The confession of faith mixed with the act of obedience does away with the need for explanations.  God calls us because He sees the need for salvation in us.  That supersedes the need for an explanation.

The only answer we can give for obedience to a stranger is that there must be something in that person that produces an authority that responds to what is birthed in us already.  Not an audible call, but something in the spirit that recognized an unfilled yearning that only the call from Jesus can fulfill.  We need to respond to that call with a complete ‘yes’.
The power, appeal, deity and nature that Jesus has is powerful and demands a response.  The very essence of Jesus demanded the disciples to ask what manner of man is this.     

But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!  Matthew 8:27

And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.  Mark 4:1

And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.  Luke 8:25

We need to understand where the disciples ended up after following Christ.

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.   2 Timothy 3:15-17

We should know from the examples given in His word that our end is profitable to us.  There should be nothing for us to think about, intellectualize about or analyze when Jesus calls us

Ö  Our response to God needs to be immediate obedience.
Ö  God’s call is not a question, it is a command
Ö  Know the difference between a command and a question.

God commands us to be good stewards over our time, our money, our children, and our family.  We cannot get to faith without going through obedience.  Genesis 12 (Abraham:  Lot, Sarai,)  demonstrates how Abraham had to correct his acts of disobedience.  Know that:

¨   Obedience does not need your input.  Stop altering obedience to make it fit your situation.  If you’re not going to do it just don’t do it, don’t try to alter it.
¨   We can’t treat God as if He is our natural parents.
¨   Faith begins through the process of obedience.

Discipleship is following Jesus (not walking beside him, but behind Him) so He can get you to the place He is leading you.  It is a diabolical spirit that does not want to follow the leader.  Everything needs a head; someone to follow.  A good leader knows how to follow.

Learn to see Jesus, not the rules. 

If ye love me, keep my commandments.  John 14:15

Live with a healthy fear of God.    

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.  Proverbs 8:13

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.  Proverbs  9:10

The fear of the Lord prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.  Proverbs 10:27 

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.  Proverbs 14:27
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  Philippians 2:12

Daily ask God to develop the fruit of the spirit in you.
     
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23

(Biblical Studies)

Excerpt from Word Enrichment on Discipleship
- Pastor Joel C. Lofton


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Know the Word of God







And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.  And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.  John 10:4-5







Saints need to know the word of God; this is how we are able to transform the world.

It is very important that we know the word of God and be able to finish a scripture as it is spoken.

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.  Psalms 119:11

Understand the importance of dealing with the battle of the mind while still freeing yourself from bondage.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  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.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-3

We should experience an anxiety-free, worry-free, fear-free, pressure-free life in God.  

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.  1 John 5:3

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28

God’s commandments are not grievous.  

A true disciple not only knows they are free, they feel like they are free; there is something down on the inside that causes us not to worry and be stressed.  If we love God, I will keep His commandments.  God will not put things on us that are grievous.  We need to stop blaming God and look at the decisions we make; count up the cost before we make the decision.  

God’s commandments are not oppressive.  

They will never destroy life!  God’s commandments give, sustain, preserve and increase life!  We keep God’s commandments because of our love for God.    

If ye love me, keep my commandments.   John 14:15

Keeping God’s commandments will give us rest; relief, release, ease, and blessed quietness.


The rest of God in our lives mean there should be blessed quietness; shutting down the mouth of the enemy. 

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  John 14:2

Our peace is more precious than our worldly possessions, friends, loved ones and acquaintances.  Everything changes when we come in Christ; it should be spiritually not worldly or materially based.  Peace in the world does not compare to the peace of God.  The saving of our soul is the most precious thing we have.  It is yours for the taking; God’s yoke.  Learn from it; it is easy and his burden light.  We can’t take God’s yoke and still live a life of bondage to the cares of the world.  We are validated through God; not man.  We cannot continue to live in bondage.  Why we are still bound?  The question becomes:

à    What do I get when I receive and accept discipleship? 
à    What does discipleship mean for the single parent?
à    For the business man, the professional, the athlete, the addict, the imprisoned?
à    Where will it take me?
à    What decisions and painful separations will it entail?

These are the questions that, when you witness to others, go through their minds and even some of the believers of God.  This is a divine and holy call to discipleship that we did not call our self to.  Because you did not call yourself, you’re not entitled to ask questions.  Only Jesus knows where your path leads.

Th
ou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.  Psalms 16:11

No
matter where you’re at on the path, it will lead you to heaven.  Jesus will teach you the path of life when you accept His call.  

The
 first part of getting into God’s presence is being on the right path.  God wants us vulnerable and open to Him.  Stop exposing your vulnerabilities to others and go to God directly.  Is God leading you?  The path will not always be smooth but we still remain with God no matter what.  Thank God for what you have with all you have no matter what.  God will show you how to get to have abundant life.

The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.
  Psalms 25:14

In God’s presence, He will show you parts of your contract; where your life will end up.  God will show you how to get to a place of good success.  God has secrets that he shares with those who get in his presence.   

Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.  John 15:15

You don’t have to tell everyone what God is doing for you; let the Holy Spirit broadcast it for you.  Make sure you are on the right path;

Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.  Psalms 119:35


We
are to delight in God’s commandments; love what He loves and hate what He hates.

“m
ake me to know your path”

       Ask God to make you, let God’s will be your will.

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
 Ps
alms 119:11

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:  H
ebrews 8:10

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
 He
brews 10:16

      We do not read the word of God as if it is a magazine, we read it as if it is life because it is. 

It
 is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.  John 6:63

      Know that when you pray the “make me to know your path”, the enemy is going to attack you.  On your worst day, you should still believe God!  Any place you get to in your journey, there is an anchor that you have to have in God.  God will only allow you to go so far before He pulls you back in.For the ones studying the bible:  always start with KJV first, then use another source for easier reading like the amplified.  Never use the NIV bible as it contains many omissions.

Make
God’s commandments your delight.  There are some sins that we can stop on our own without the help of God. The other ones, we need to ask God to help us.  Don’t allow the devil to minister to your struggle; take your struggle to God.  The conviction of the Holy Spirit helps you when you begin to stray from the path of God.  Get to a place in God where we understand that discipleship is not a buddy-buddy system, it is for us to follow God.  Understand the fullness of God; not just His works, but His word.  on’t get it confused with your free will; it is about your will submitting to God’s will.   

B
ut now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.  Isaiah 64:8

W
e matter to God and He loves us too much to allow us to continue going down the path of destruction.  Be honest with yourself and with God and admit when you are not ready for spiritual assignments while in the midst of your struggles.  Pray the ‘make me’ prayer.  Make sure you have people in your circle that will make you accountable.

Discipleship must be more than just a show.

(Biblical Studies)


Excerpt from Word Enrichment on Discipleship

- Pastor Joel C. Lofton