How To Know The Truth

My BFF (the best friend that will literally be forever), Jesus, once gave His apprentices an excellent principle of determining what beliefs were from the Father and which were not.

“…every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” (Matt. 7:17)

Let me ask you (and myself) a question based on that wisdom:

What kind of fruit is your tree of beliefs producing in your real-time, practical, daily life?

What we believe determines how we respond…period.  What we believe is critical to the quality of our lives.

Here’s some good news:  (Great news, actually)  It is not as complicated as religion (including ‘Christian’ religious systems) and politics have made it!

As we look earnestly at the Gospels, we see that the primary message and example of Jesus could be summed up in the words love, and forgiveness.

Are you motivated in the core of your being by love and forgiveness?  Is what you believe about God, life, your neighbor, and yourself dripping with the juice of love and forgiveness?

The honesty of what you believe to be truth(s) is revealed by the fruit that is being produced in the garden of your heart.

What you believe about God, your neighbor and yourself is also evidenced by the kind of fruit others are eating from your garden.  How is it affecting them?

Is the fruit of your belief tree producing the ability to love and forgive?

If not…what you believe may need some adjustments.

Open your mind and your heart to Jesus.  Let Him show you the way, truth, and life.  His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. (John 14:6; Matthew 11:30)

Gary

 

 

 

The Healthiest Journey

The journey of being liberated from fear into discovering increasing measures of the fulfillment of freedom is, I believe, what Jesus calls ‘Abundant Life’ (John 10:10).  It is also known as true prosperity (3 John 2).  This is the healthiest path to travel and has the potential of growing ‘brighter’ each day that passes (Proverbs 4:18).  At least that has been my experience.

Our thoughts about life and the way we ‘flesh-out’ those thoughts produces fruit that is either sour or sweet.  Our beliefs produce freedom or fear.  As the old proverb says, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

Therefore, how does your ‘pudding’ taste?  What fruit do your beliefs about God produce?  Which doctrines or positions encourage ‘deep-breath’ freedom and gratitude, and which ones slime your insides with negative questions about your true relationship with God?

Do I feel deeply loved?
Am I filled with hope about life?
Is my focus on my victory found in Christ?

– Or-

Have I done enough?
Have I believed correctly?
Is my focus on how much I’m still missing the mark?

Wherever the fruit of a specific belief turns you inward with discouragement, it’s time to question why you believe what you believe on that subject.  If just questioning that position ‘shakes your cage’, then something is not kosher in Denmark.

Wherever the fruit of your beliefs give rise to joy, peace, love, and gratitude to God, then you are tasting the fruit of the Spirit from the Tree of Life.

“But, what if my questioning takes me off into the weeds down a slippery slope to heresy?” 

Let me answer that with this quote followed by a statement from the Gospel of Luke:

“If you fail to move out of fear that you’ll go too far, you’re in real danger of not going far enough.”

Luke 11: 11-13, “11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[f] a fish, will give him a snake instead?12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

If you are a follower of Jesus, then you grow by being a disciple of the Holy Spirit.  Being a disciple of the Holy Spirit is another subject for another blog post, but the idea is taken from John 14 – 16 and is God’s design should you care to venture down that enlightening road.

As a disciple of the Holy Spirit, you can count on Him to help you find the safe path.  God loves questions and to be questioned.  It’s the only way to come to authentically personal positions of faith and God.

God is so BIG; He can’t be accurately described or defined with doctrines, theologies, or scientific theories.  He is also so CLOSE that He can’t be any more personally or intensely intimate than He already is with each of us.

It’s too late to live by somebody else’s faith convictions when God has always intended each of our relationships to be personal.  Your faith is yours, or it’s an indoctrination.

True living, breathing life is available to all God’s sons and daughters in Christ.  All that’s needed is the courage to question.  Where the questions lead to coloring outside the lines of ‘conventional and acceptable wisdom…and church doctrines…you’ll find a path that increases with freedom.

At least that’s my experience!  (I love the taste of sweet fresh air as it fills the lungs of my heart!)

His fresh fruit diet is a great weight loss plan!

Where is your system of beliefs causing you stress, or freedom?

Gary

 

 

 

 

 

Faith Locked and Loaded

Faith is the sense of complete confidence in God’s love and ability to do something specific.

“If it be Thy will” (as sincere and spiritually humble as it sounds) too often dulls the edge of our spiritual swords.  Faith requires confidence.

I John 5:14-15 (KJV)

14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us:

15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

The word John uses for confidence here can also be translated as, “fearless and cheerful courage that is not ambiguous.”

It is the will of God that we be confident (or cheerfully bold) in our requests lest those petitions lack faith.  Faith is the connection or channel through which God’s ability flows to the need or desire.

Whether or not something is God’s will, desire or purpose was never intended, by Him, to be a mystery.

Although being familiar with the Scriptures is important to having an understanding of God’s heart, simply memorizing favorite “faith promise verses” and repeating them back to God (or shouting them at Satan) is insufficient to produce the fearless and cheerful courage that John is speaking of here.

The confidence that motivates cheerful and stedfast courage is developed in two hearts that beat as one.

It is a tragedy that most Christians nowadays don’t realize that God’s chief desire (or will) with His sons and daughters is to have their hearts with His beat as one.  But, the possibility is always open.

James says to ask in faith with nothing wavering.   The word he uses for “in” faith is a word that means ‘lock-in’ or ‘locked and loaded.’

Spend enough time with Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit that you can feel and hear the ‘heartbeat.’  There are so many ways to accomplish that experience.  In some way, it will include letting His Word speak to you.  But, the ‘seasonings’ that are included as part of the process of pondering and loving His presence are many.

This is the fearless and cheerful confidence that we securely have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His heartbeat, there is no question that we will experience the manifestation of our desire.

Instead of floating in the gray area of “if it be Thy will (whatever Lord, it’s up to you), let your joy be full by experiencing specific answers to specific locked and loaded requests.

Gary

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Faith’s Missing Piece


As sons and daughters of God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), the nature of Kingdom life on earth is FAITH.  The only way we can genuinely succeed as new nature children of God is by conducting our lives with intentional and purposeful confidence in God.

To walk by faith, however, requires “two sides of the coin” to function together. 

If you grew up as I did, you heard it said many times that we must believe in our hearts and not merely with our heads.  Did that ever confuse you?  It did me.

(If I believe with my heart, does that mean I really, really believe with every fiber of my being??  Maybe that’s why ‘real believers’ look like they are constipated when they pray.  They’re believing in their hearts??)

There was such an emphasis on facts and rational thought in our society (and church teaching) that any time I attempted to believe with my heart, I was still attempting to do so by applying logic to my tries as the test.

After all, what does it mean to believe with one’s heart?  What’s the difference between believing in my head and with my heart?

The Difference Between Head and Heart

In simple terms, the difference is the ‘language’ the head uses vs. the heart’s vocabulary.

Head Language:  Systematic, rational logic.

Heart Language:  Symbolic perceptions, and feelings.

Contemporary Faith’s Missing Piece

Scriptural promises are taught and memorized.  The verses are claimed and declared.  This is all good and necessary…but incomplete.  It’s only the head part.

Don’t misunderstand.  We have to have the head part.  But, we also have to have activation of the other side of the coin.  The energy produced by the heart is necessary to transform the facts into functioning manifestation.

Because of the missing piece in many people’s faith, they begin to think that either their faith isn’t ‘working,’ or God isn’t responding.

(The error of God ‘not responding’ is a whole other topic)

What if we’re ‘flying in circles’ because our ‘bird’ only had one wing?

What I am speaking of in this article is something that was commonplace in the early centuries of the church, but has been lost to much of The Faith in the past several hundred years.

The Lord began speaking to me about this over 35 years ago, when I was praying for a gentleman who, at that time, was a part of the congregation I pastored.

As I was praying for the man, the thought arose within me, “What would it look like if I answered your prayer?”

You see…visualization has been hijacked, not created, by the New Age movement.  It is important to “see” in our imaginations what we are praying for.

What we see in our hearts is what we believe.

We visualize all the time when we worry…with negative results.  What we actually believe is what will eventually manifest into reality.

Feel It!

There’s a second part to “seeing” as you pray.  Allow the visualized answer to lingering long enough to begin feeling it with your emotions.  Hold on to both edges of that sword for a bit.   Then declare what your heart is seeing and feeling.

This is also important:  When you are praying something for yourself, give the prayer a direction, from the Word, with your intellect, and give it energy with your heart.  Let the basis of your emotion be gratitude.

When the prayer is for someone else, do all the same things except do so on the basis of compassion.

Btw…the answer to the prayer I mentioned earlier, came to be just as I imagined and felt it.  Sometimes answers will be manifest quickly.  At times, it may take a little longer.  However, the answer will probably come faster than you originally imagined.

The flesh will try to insert contradictory vision “what ifs.”  Ignore them.  Your rational concern may try to reason with you that your fear is reasonable…but stop.  That’s a distraction born of the flesh.

Caution:

I am not promoting what the Bible calls, “…because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”  (James 4:3)

Our requests need to be thought out, and in accordance with the Scriptures as directed by the Holy Spirit.  

The Process Of A Complete Faith

  1.  Thought through with the head
  2.  Energized by the heart’s symbolic perceptions
  3.  Felt with emotions of success according to the request
  4.  Confessed as real with the mouth.

Gary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Still My Soul (He’s On Your Side)

You have a sincere desire that the Lord be first in your life. Your heart echoes with the Jesus words found in Luke 10:27, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

You’ve taken seriously His instruction of Matthew 6:33 to make the Kingdom of God and His righteousness your highest priority.

Your decision was excellent. You felt it. You meant it. You set yourself on a course of forming a habit that would align your actions with your soul’s desire.

Then as you began enjoying this new mindset and lifestyle, you drifted away from your heart and into your head. You started over thinking and second-guessing yourself. You allowed the whispers of your inner critic question you. You wondered if you were entirely sincere enough to please the Lord.

Suddenly, during a recent early morning quiet time, the Holy Spirit brought a song to mind. In was the group Selah’s version of, “Be Still My Soul.”

You’d pre-determined the course you were going to follow for devotion this particular morning. Instead of following through with your plan, you became distracted. It wasn’t a sinful temptation. Instead, you watched a YouTube video of one of your favorite people you’d been following. (Aventures in Nomadic Living). The thought was that the video was short. You’d watch it for fun, then move into your time with the Lord. But, now, you felt discouraged that you hadn’t made focused time with the Lord your priority.

Then the song, “Be Still My Soul” was on your mind. At the same time, you heard the inner thought, “The Lord knows everything about you. He knows what you enjoy. He is very familiar with the desires of your heart.”

IMPORTANT POINT:

The most sincere heart is not able to go from zero to sixty in two seconds no matter how determined they are. The Lord knows this.
He is the reader of hearts. He understands each person’s own twists and turns of mind and soul.

Paul tells the Corinthians (1 Cor. 4:3) that he is not critical of himself. Self-judgement does not burden him. That’s one of the devil’s favorite tools to impede a Believer’s progress.

The person that has made the quality choice to make the Lord number one in their lives will be on a journey of intent. That’s what the Lord sees and knows. That’s what the Lord loves.

Don’t be discouraged! As they say (whoever ‘they’ is), “Just keep trukin'” Stay the course. The Lord knows you, your heart, and your desires.

“Be still my soul, the Lord is on your side.”

Gary

Know Jesus: Experience Life

You and I desire to have a good life, right?  That’s what a good father wants for his children.  It’s not any different with our Heavenly Father.

To find a good life, we have to go to the source of life…it only makes common sense, right.

Jesus told the Pharisees that they argued so much because they mistakenly thought that life was found in having a good grasp of correct theology and doctrine. I am convinced that Jesus would be saying the same thing to many Christians today…sincere Christians…that have learned to love their understanding of the Scriptures more than the actual God who inspired the Scriptures.

The Source of life (Jesus) is experienced, in His most basic essence by coming to Him as a child.  Once that is established, the Spirit of the Scriptures breaths life into the Scriptures.

The song by Don Moen, “I Just Want To Be Where You Are” describes the heart of a child, and it’s most basic pulsing.  That is how to approach the Father.

The child’s heart says, “Daddy, there you are.  I just want to sit next to you.  You don’t have to say anything unless you want to.  I just want to be next to you.”

A daily relationship with the Lord of our lives starts in that same way…that simply.  Imagine it for yourself, and you will learn to experience it for yourself.  That simple beginning sets the tone for the day.  As a child is enjoying his/her Father’s presence, He may choose to “speak” by His Spirit something to His child.

The Father’s “voice” will, most often, be a quiet impulse of desire in His child’s heart.  A scripture thought my alight.  An emotion may arise.  A curious hunch my about something may occur that isn’t simply a mental distraction but a curiosity that leads a person deeper into understanding the heart of God.  It may also come as an impulse desire to read a passage of scripture, and then study it more deeply.

When we set the ‘baseline’ of our day, for an amount of time you’ve pre-determined, it sets the course for a “good life day” whether or not all of the circumstances of that day are enjoyable. Usually, all things in anyone’s day are not without challenge.  However, with the ‘baseline’ established, wisdom that comes from God is more accessible.

The point is not a segmented life where we have our “devotions” for a time in the morning and then exit to live our ‘real’ lives.  The objective is to get used to experiencing the nuances of God’s presence and learn to carry that through our daily lives so that knowing His Presence (His Face) is always right there for the entrance.

I would love to hear your thoughts!  Feel free to comment!

Gary

 

 

The Results of Spiritual Dehydration

What are you looking at today?  Where is your focus of attention?  What do you “binge watch”? The answer is found in your feelings.

Someone put it this way…

(1)  If you focus on YOURSELF, you will become DEPRESSED.
(2)  If you focus on the WORLD, you will become DISTRESSED.
(3)  If you focus on JESUS, you will be at REST.

Being depressed and distressed is, has always been, and always will be the result of one’s misplaced focus.

It may also be that you just feel “empty” and not truly fulfilled.

If you are a Believer, you have the Holy Spirit’s ever-flowing stream of living water within you.  The thirst of being distressed and depressed is not the kind of life you want, and it’s certainly not God’s will.

The promise of “never thirsting again” (John 4) is to those who drink and keep on drinking of the living water.

Are you dehydrated?  Are you drinking enough water of life to keep you hydrated with peace, confidence, and joy?

It’s not complicated.  It’s merely a shift of attention.  The Holy Spirit is there to meet your need.  Look to Him.  Acknowledge Him.  Drink.deeply.now.   He will quench your thirst, as you connect to the living water that is already yours for the drinking.