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.

 

 

 

 

 

His Glory In Everyday Life


Glory is one of those words you’ll repeatedly hear in Christian circles through songs and testimony.  The Believer’s heart desire is to “bring glory to God.”

What does that mean?

Like so many words we use in our faith, it is spoken or sung from a sincere heart but little depth of practical meaning.  The more we are specific in our understanding, the more powerful the actual reality in our lives.

Hebrew Words (Old Testament):  Kavod.   Comes from a word that means weight.  By implication, it is used for something having great honor.  The opposite word means to make light of or dishonor.

The second Hebrew word is Shekinah.  The words Shekinah Glory are used when it refers to the glory that has an emotional or physical response.  The feeling that comes with perceived beauty is often the fruit of God’s felt presence.

Greek (New Testament):  Doxa.  As with many attempts at translation from one language to another, doxa is a word that cannot be understood with one description.  Magnificence is a word that brings the meaning to light.

Whether or not we are speaking of the Hebrew or the Greek words for glory, they all are very similar in description.

Practical Results

Translating academic understandings of ‘glory’ into practical, daily demonstration is what brings value.  What God desires is that we learn to ‘practice His presence’; another way of saying ‘giving God glory.’

The essential definition of who and what God is, according to the Scriptures, is Love (1 John 4:8).  I will leave the study and meditation of the Scriptures to discover the depth, height, and width, of love’s details for yourself.  Suffice it to say that God’s love is an infinitely faceted diamond.  It is deep feeling that drives practical action.  To reduce the idea of God’s love to “being loving” without clear, practical description is the reason so many people have the belief that God loves, but are not able to hold on to it for themselves.

Search the Scriptures.  Search on-line study helps.  Ponder over and ask the Holy Spirit to give you supernatural, personal, practical understanding.  Ask yourself and the Lord the question, “What would love look like in my life.”

Love and Glory

Glory looks like God’s love manifested in and through you.
(Be specific…being general isn’t helpful and won’t bring about God’s and your desired change) 

May the beauty, magnificence, delight, and weight of His glory be a demonstration of His love in your life.

Gary

 

 

 

 

Waiting On God: What Does It Mean?


The idea of “waiting on God” is found multiple times in the Scriptures.  Unfortunately, a great many Christians have interpreted the meaning ‘waiting’ solely using Webster’s English Dictionary and contemporary culture rather than the Scriptures.

To ‘wait’ is typically thought to mean:  the action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens.

Notice that I previously used the word ‘solely’ as a modifier.  The typical meaning is not inaccurate; but incomplete.

Biblical Perspective

Scriptural insight on what it means to ‘wait on the Lord’ is far richer than I will point out in this blog post.  However, I’d like to polish a couple of the facets that you may not have seen clearly:

Wait for – Hebrew: qâvâh,

This is the Hebrew word you will typically find translated, ‘wait.’  It includes the idea of ‘standing still’…but not in a depression, stress, or frustration.  From God’s perspective, waiting doesn’t mean to ‘white knuckle it’ till things get better.

Other words

Wait is not the only way qâvâh is translated into English.  Other words that are used include ‘hope’, ‘look for’, and ‘gathered’.

As I’ve explained in other writings, ‘to hope’ from God’s perspective is often different than what many people mean when they are hoping for something.  Many (and maybe you) have reduced the idea of hope to wishful thinking without any sense of surety.  However, to hope in the Lord is a thought of confident expectation.

It is also important to point out that looking for is focused on the Lord’s faithfulness and not looking for circumstantial change.  We must turn our eyes away from circumstances and unto the Lord.  (Hebrews 12:2)

Circumstantial change will come when we are not obstructing our faith by looking at circumstances.

Gathered

The first mention of qâvâh/wait/hope is found in Genesis 1:9,

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

Waiting on the Lord includes the idea of gathering together, thinking upon, and declaring to ourselves the character and faithfulness of God as seen in His Word.

I declare (out loud) statements like Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is where my life is safe so that
I will be afraid of no one!”  I’ve learned to keep my tank full rather than waiting for a crisis and only finding fumes to burn.

Besides Scripture verses, I intentionally remember testimonies (mine and other’s) of God’s deliverance, and manifest answers to prayer.

Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” (NIV)

Waiting for the LORD is what makes us strong with the ability to take heart.  When we wait on, hope in, and gather up remembrance of God’s character and goodness, we receive a spirit-level transfer of strength and confidence that transforms our emotions.

Waiting on the Lord, from God’s perspective, will totally transform the way you face life.  It has mine.

Gary

 

 

 

 

The Soul’s Anchor: The Sacred Space

We try to point to circumstances.  We say, “I wouldn’t be drifting about crashing into things if it weren’t for (this or that).

The real reason we float precariously about has one cause:  Our soul’s anchor has come loose from the Rock that held it secure.

How we “set the anchor” has been called all sorts of things.  Devotions.  Quiet time.  Meditation.  It is sometimes called in the Scriptures, “The Secret Place of the Most High.”

I happen to call it, “My Sacred Space.”

No other soul can go there with me.  The “sacred space” is a time that is private.  It is the place my anchor is secured.

It is not a complicated issue.  A child can find and enter the sacred space…alone.

How do I enter my sacred space?

Different days, different ways…if we’re talking “steps.”  There are no formulas.

I normally include a little quiet music while I munch on my favorite scripture of the moment.  I then simply stand still, cover my eyes, and with anticipation and patience wait for “the dove” to land on my still shoulder.

(Covering my eyes isn’t a religious ritual.  It’s blocking out external light and helps the eyes of my spirit see more clearly impressions that light on my imagination)

Unmeditated impressions, images, and inner feelings gently light.  I pay attention.  Paying attention is an art that is learned only by practice.

That’s my sacred space.  I enjoy it more every day.  At times “nothing” seems to happen and I probably get too impatient and disengage.  But, I find that patience grows with practice.  I make the choice to wait for the “dove” to light.  The Holy Spirit does all the “work.”

Honestly, it’s so simple an approach to relationship with the Lord that it offends many of the “more mature.”  But, I like being a Kingdom Child.

You, too, have a sacred space designed – uniquely for you – by God.  It is the anchor for you soul.  It is a miraculous haven of peace and power for your life.

Gary

 

 

 

 

Powerful Faith: Where It Begins


“When the eyes of the soul looking out meet the eyes of God looking in, there heaven has begun right here on earth.” – A.W. Tozer

Jesus, connects the act of Mary of Bethany (sitting at the feet of Jesus) as essential to the spread of the Gospel world-wide.  Between her quiet devotion, and Martha’s busy activity of service, Jesus said that Mary’s choice was the best.

It’s important to note that Martha was, in fact, a woman of faith.  In the record of John 11:22-23 we read, “Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give to You.”

Her faith in Jesus was not the issue.  She had faith.  And she demonstrated her honor for Him by great service of hospitality.

But, her faith and her service was not the part that Jesus connected to the heart of the Good News.

Jesus connected Mary’s passionate love and devotion for Him as that which would remembered where ever the Good News was proclaimed.

She “delighted herself in Him.”

If you (we) desire a transformed and transforming life that produces transforming good news in our sphere of influence, it is essential that we be like Mary, not a perfect woman without flaw, but a woman of singular devotion that delights ourselves in Him.

It is from that essential connection with Jesus that we take on his “favor and aroma.”  It is from that fundamental oneness with Him that our lives are transformed into sons and daughters that truly reflect and re-present Him.

We become effective and powerful on multiple, practical, daily levels of life as we, as the moon reflects the sun, become the kind of clay vessels that reflects the treasure that is within us.

He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond any and everything we could ever ask or even imagine according to the power that works within us that’s been activated by our intimate devotion with Him.

And now abides, faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love which is rooted in our love relationship with Him before it becomes acts of love to those around us.  Without the intimacy of relationship where we love Him with everything about ourselves, we stand zero chance of re-presenting His love.

What is required is the choice to separate oneself on a regular basis of intimate devotion until the choice morphs from duty to delight.

 

Hope Changes Everything

Does your walk of faith seem not to be working as well as promised?  Are you even “faith tired”?  It’s possible that you’re missing a vital ingredient in the activation of your faith.

Your missing ingredient may be hope.

Another word for hope is the word anticipation.  The New Testament version of hope includes another word, ‘confident’.  In other words, hope is ‘confident anticipation’.

There is also a natural (or world-view) description.

The view of hope in worldly wisdom has two sides:

  1.  Wishful thinking.  I hope so thinking.
  2.  Negative anticipation.When we have either (or both) of those feelings about hope, then we are not functioning with hope as the Bible puts forth.  It is important that we adjust our thoughts and feelings about hope to harmonize with God’s supernatural description.

    Faith vs. hope.

    When I was first learning about the importance of walking by faith and not by sight, I felt like I had just been born again…again.  The message of faith was so revolutionizing in how I approached my relationship with God.  But, mixed in with the ‘faith message’ was often a negative slant on the idea of hope.  What many of the faith teachers – I listened to – emphasized that faith is not hope.  The idea was that hope looks to the FUTURE, and faith is NOW.

    In a real sense, that is true.  However, as with many spiritual principles that are taught, the thoughts are not inaccurate, but they are, often, incomplete.

    Faith AND Hope.

    The tricky part to get one’s head around is the fact that Western thought likes to separate concepts for individual examination.   Truthfully speaking, that method doesn’t work well with many things spiritual.

    The Bible description of what hope (as we said above) is ‘confident anticipation.’  That sounds a lot like a description of faith, doesn’t it?  We use the word confidence as a way of describing faith.  Anticipation describes hope.  Like bacon and eggs, faith and hope go together.

    When I write, I use the program Grammarly to as a spelling and grammar ninja.  If it ‘decides’ I’m overusing a word, it will point it out.  Case in point, it advised me that I was over-using two words; faith and hope.  It suggested alternatives.  Do you know what they were?  For faith the word hope, and for hope the word faith.  Even a computer program realizes the mixture 🙂

    Faith and hope must be ‘peas in the same pod.’  One without the other effectively cancels out the other.

    A quick word about negative hope (anticipation).

    Anticipating the negative i.e.: ‘something opposed to a promise’ will deep six the ability to receive the promise.

    Somebody who was trying to believe for the healing of a leg condition said to me one time, “When I’m laying down I feel good, but I know when I get up my leg is going to hurt.”  We’ve all been there – and are there – in some area in our lives.  Instead of criticizing ourselves, or someone else, for not being in faith, we would be much further ahead to examine the reason behind the statement.

    A deep-seated habit pattern from negative experiences.

    In the case of the person in my illustration, they had a childhood filled with anxiety over the actions of a parent who had been mentally disturbed.  During their formative years, they were alway on edge about what the parent was going to do next.  That fear developed a pattern of thinking and feeling that acted as a barrier to positive anticipation.  As a result, hope became more of a “hope so” without confidence.   Although the individual was sincere in their desire for God’s healing, their ingrained default always pointed them to current negative experience (let pain when pressure was applied).

    It sounds rational to think that way.

    The leg hurt whenever weight was applied.  That was real.  That was rational.  But, it is also logical that the negative anticipation would road-block faith to receive something outside of current experience.

    The revelation of hope.

    A person can’t ‘get hopeful’ just by trying hard.  The God kind of hope (being spiritual in nature) takes the work of the Holy Spirit to make it real and receiveable.  Only with the Holy Spirit’s gift of spiritual insight (revelation) will a child of God receive the necessary ‘hope beyond hope’ that it takes to change the way a person thinks.

    One of the first places to start is by meditation on hope scriptures.  Here are just two:

    Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  (or a hope-filled future)

    Psalm 25:5, “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”

    We receive what we focus upon.  If we set our faces like flint on the area of our need, and take the Gospill “Hope” pills (from His Word) for at least 10 days, then the virus of negative anticipation will weaken until it disippates.  This is, of course, by way of illustration.  There’s now 10 day law here.  However, the principle of focus (as we do in many thing natural) will bear the benefits.

    Hope Changes Everything.  You likely don’t need more faith (cuz you’ve actually got all you need already).  You need the God kind of hope that comes by the working of His Spirit with His Word.

    Finally, as you meditate on hope, do so not as a doctrinal belief, but as a emotional reality that the Holy Spirit’s work begins producing in your heart.

    May the eyes of your heart be flooded with His glorious hope!  Faith will cease being such a struggle!

    Gary