In this narrative, we find Zacharias and Elizabeth faithfully following the Lord and His ways. An area of lack remained in their lives despite this. Almost surprisingly, we discover that this lack was God-ordained! God had chosen this couple to bring forth John the Baptist–forerunner of Jesus–at just the right moment of time. Continue reading
Recently I have embarked on another level of spiritual growth on the issue of being versus doing. God has shown me how often I was grading my relationship with Him based on how I feel or what I accomplish. Likewise, I have realized the Body of Christ as a whole tends to struggle with this issue.
As Christians we often declare that life with God is about relationship not religion. But we have often replaced relationship with another form of activity, one of seeking for results. Religion’s traditions, rituals and rules have been replaced with a striving to produce and see results.
In our quiet times with God, we often grade ourselves. Did we feel His presence tangibly, did we accomplish a lot in prayer or studying the Word? Often we do not even recognize we are viewing our time based on what we feel or accomplish ourselves.
We may even try Christian self-help strategies hoping for more answers to prayer. Yet life with God is primarily about friendship with Him, not getting our prayers answered. Prayers come as the fruit of that loving relationship.
In our congregations, we tend to base a successful outreach on how many people were saved or healed. Sometimes we even go after marketing strategies in attempts to get more results. But human methods will eventually fade.
At times we even view small churches as less than, or having something wrong. Nonetheless, numbers and results we see are not necessarily an indicator of God’s approval or lack thereof.
God loves us before we accomplish anything. He is a God of relationship and love, not performance. Before Jesus had done any ministry, the Father’s declaration over Him was that He was well-pleased (Mark 1:11).
Numbers and results are not necessarily an indicator of God’s approval or the lack thereof. God loves us before we accomplish anything. He is a God of relationship and love, not performance.
It’s time for a 180. In John 15, Jesus said we would bear fruit (results) if we abide in Him (relationship). Only if we abide.
The Lord wants good fruit in our lives, but it cannot come unless we cultivate an ever deepening companionship with Him. And the fruit that comes through this friendship will alone be lasting.
This is the relationship Jesus opened up to us through His sacrifice on the Cross. This is the relationship we want others to enter into through our outreach. How can we tell them of their own need for relationship with the Creator if we ourselves are not truly pursuing it?
Abide in Christ, then fruit will come. Without abiding in Christ, we cannot truly know the heart of the King whose Kingdom we represent. Without abiding, we cannot rightly display the great love which He has for others.
May we set our hearts on knowing Jesus. We do not want to be hindered by our desire for results or to prove we are doing enough. May it be that we come to the place of knowing we are loved by God and rest in this truth.
As we love and obey the Father’s leadership, we can trust Him with the results. Let us choose to take Jesus at His Word, which He still proclaims to us today:
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4 (NKJV)
The journey of renewing our minds is a process. It doesn’t occur in a moment or two. It takes consistent, daily moments with Jesus over time. Nonetheless, it is one of the most beautiful parts of our journey with Him.
How can we do our part in this? By spending time with Christ in worship, prayer, and meditating on His Word.
Renewing our minds with God’s Word helps us grow in faith, hope, love and all the fruit of His Spirit. As we spend time studying and meditating on His Word, we will experience transformation through His truth and by His Spirit.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
– Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)
Father God loves to set us free from lies we believe and wrong mindsets we struggle with. He wants to transform our perspective concerning Him, ourselves and others. He even wants to help us not be led by our emotions when they are about to lead us astray.
Do you need peace in your life, freedom from fear and anxiety, an attitude adjustment, or other things?
I thought you’d like to see what I’ve been up to—in video!
We recently joined together to worship Jesus and pray for our nation at The Fig Tree, a prayer room where I serve.
I sang in prayer from the Word of God from Joel 2:12-14 (NKJV):
“Now, therefore,” says the Lord,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.
Who knows if He will turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind Him—
A grain offering and a drink offering
For the Lord your God?
Join us in praying for all to return their hearts and lives to the Lord. He so longs for each one!
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It is important to meditate on the words God has spoken to us. We need to write them down so that we can run with them in walking with Jesus. These are words we can war with as we stir up our faith in God, jewels He gives us as reminders of His love and faithfulness.
God’s words are implanted deeper into our hearts as we spend time singing, praying and writing them. We are meditating on the Scripture and “now” words He speaks to our hearts. As we do, the Holy Spirit often brings deeper understanding to our hearts, not to mention His peace and love.
Kirk Bennett has a book on the topic, and this teaching really caused me to see the need to be intentional in doing this. For me, singing and writing are especially key, but for you, it may be speaking the Word aloud or something else. If you want to learn more, look into getting Kirk’s small workbook, Deepening Prophetic Revelation through Meditation.
Below is an example of me meditating on prophetic words given me by the Lord, and Scripture verses He brought to mind as I did:
“…I have taught you to put it in My hand. You DO put it in My hand, but when you leave, you take it back again like you do not trust Me to work out every detail for your good.” My heavenly Father’s words echo in my mind.
I desire to give it all to You, Father, not taking up again these worries and concerns for the future and the things of this life. I long to just trust You and live day-by-day in connection to You, unafraid of what life holds. You hold the keys to my heart. You hold me together and in You all things consist. I need not worry! You are faithful to my heart! You are faithful to complete the work that You have begun in me (Philippians 1:6).
“Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail).” (Psalm 55:22 AMP)
“My love is established in you and over you and around you. It is My love that saves you from every attack on earth. It is as I say it is, and you are My daughter, equipped with everything necessary for the plans I have for you. You are complete in Me…”
I remember the deep meaning of what the Lord had spoken to my heart that day, an evening during which I was so deeply in need of His intervening. Just now, the Holy Spirit is bringing another verse comes to my mind:
“…His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3 NKJV)
I long to hear Your voice. I love it when You speak to me. I love also to re-read what You have spoken to me, writing it out again as I am now, adding in words the deeper meaning to what You were saying so simply in order to minister to my heart. When You say I am Yours, You reiterate Your jealous love for me, the all-consuming love that comes from the One who Himself is an All-Consuming Fire.
“Let the regrets go; let the mistakes of your self and others go, for to dwell on them does no good at all and brings no change. Your trust in Me will bring the peace you seek. No more do I want you to look behind, but only look forward. Stop second guessing choices made, but pray instead that My hand is upon them…”
Father, help me to not second guess myself, doubt or worry concerning things of the past. Enable me to press on toward knowing Jesus more intimately, releasing to You the past and trusting You with both my present and my future. Lead me and guide me by Your Spirit, that I would not be led by the flesh or worldly thinking, nor by any other voice but Yours, and prosper me in my relationship with You.
“…forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV)