Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

Taking Jesus’ Teachings Seriously

SERMON ON THE MOUNT: CORE VALUES OF THE KINGDOM

A. The Sermon on the Mount is the constitution of God’s kingdom. It is Jesus’ most comprehensive statement on a believer’s role in cooperating with the grace of God and is the “litmus test” to measure our spiritual development and ministry impact. In this sermon, Jesus calls His people to perfect obedience and to make this their primary goal in life. We do this by seeking to walk in all the light that the Spirit gives us. Pursuing obedience is not the same as
attaining it.

48You shall be perfect [walk in all the light you receive] as your Father…is perfect. (Mt. 5:48)

B. Jesus calls us to live out the eight beatitudes (5:3-12) as we pursue 100-fold obedience (5:48). The 8 beatitudes are being poor in spirit, spiritual mourning, walking in meekness, hungering for righteousness, showing mercy, embracing purity, being a peacemaker, and enduring persecution.

3Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. 7Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt. 5:3-10)

C. Overview

In Matthew 5-7, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls us to live out the 8 beatitudes (5:3-12) as we pursue 100-fold obedience (5:48), as we resist 6 temptations (5:21-48), and pursue 5 kingdom activities (6:1-18) that position our hearts to freely receive more grace. We do all this with confidence in His rewards (eternal/temporal 6:19-24) and His provision (6:24-33). We do this without criticism of others who pursue God with less intensity or who oppose us (7:1-6) while we seek Jesus to intervene in our relationships (7:7-12), yet without drawing back from our wholehearted pursuit of God (7:13-14) as we discern false grace messages (7:15-20). We do all of this knowing that our obedience will be tested (7:21-27). By walking in these truths, Jesus said that we will impact society (5:13-16) and will be great in His eyes (5:19), receive treasures in heaven (6:19–20) and will live in this age with our hearts exhilarated in His grace (6:22-23).

D. The Beatitudes are like 8 beautiful flowers in the “garden in our heart” that God wants to fully blossom. They define love, godliness, and spiritual maturity and describe the kingdom lifestyle. Implied in all of God’s commands is the promise of the enabling to walk out the command. Blessed in this context means having a happy heart, or vibrant spirit, as opposed to a dull or irritable spirit.

E. These 8 flowers must be cultivated as we “weed our garden” by resisting 6 temptations related to our natural lusts (5:21-48) and as we “water our garden” by pursuing 5 activities (6:1-18).

1. The 6 temptations: anger, immorality, disregarding the marriage covenant, making false commitments, demanding personal rights, and living with a spirit of retaliation (5:21-48).

2. The 5 kingdom activities: prayer, fasting, giving, serving, and blessing enemies (6:1-18) are spiritual disciplines that position our heart before God to freely receive more grace.

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Rivers of Living Water

John 7:38, “Rivers of living water will flow out of your innermost man” (Jn. 7:38).

Here’s the condition, though. He said, “This will only happen if you believe on Me in the way the Scripture says”.  Rivers will flow. You could call it a flowing river; you could call it a fiery heart or a fiery flame; it’s the same thing. Whether it’s a flowing river on the inside, as in John 7:38, or rivers flowing in the innermost man, or fire burning on the heart, it’s an identical concept.
•    Jesus said in John 7:38, “Rivers will flow.” I’m paraphrasing, but there’s a condition. People don’t read the condition, and the condition is this: “If you believe on Me in the way the Scriptures describe believing on Me.”
•    If you go through the New Testament looking for it, you find the biblical definition of believing is believing that incorporates a spirit of dedication, a spirit of devotion, and a spirit of grace.
•    I’ve found that many, many people approach the Word with two of the three. You have to believe on Him in the way the Scripture says. You can’t pick two out of three and then expect the rivers to flow. It’s three out of three. We have to feed our spirit on all three things. We need to have the vision to be wholehearted. There’s no substitute for the yes in your spirit, for the determination to have a hundredfold obedience. There’s absolutely no substitute for a big yes in your spirit. You may not walk it out, but it’s a fiery determination in your soul to get through those issues. The Lord says, “I see that. That’s real to me.”
•    It’s not enough to be a rule keeper who says, “I’ll stay out of all the bad mud holes.” You have to have a spirit of devotion, and an “I love You” in the journey.
•    That’s not enough either.  Some people who have devotion and dedication, but they aren’t established in the spirit of grace. They have an “I will obey You” and “I love You,” but they say, “Lord, I know that You don’t take me seriously yet and I know that I’m still on probation. I know that I still haven’t earned the right yet to enjoy Your presence.” They don’t have the spirit of grace operating yet. They end up giving up on the miraculous power of the written Word touching the inner man. They give up on it. They say, “Well, I read the Word and it just didn’t work.” No, you didn’t believe on Him in the way the Scripture says. You believed on Him in the way your denomination taught you. You believed on him in the way your fellowship taught you. You believed on Him in the way your Bible camp taught you. That’s not enough. We need to believe on Him in the way the Scripture teaches and then, like He said in John 7:38, it flows like a river on the inside, in time. I don’t mean that night, necessarily, but over time, it flows like a river on the inside.

THE HEART IS SET ON FIRE BY FAITH IN THE WORD
•    2 Thes 2:13—  It says this: the way that you enter into sanctification, the way that you enter is by faith in the Word and by the Holy Spirit. The way the heart is set on fire is when we have faith in the Word. We believe what the Word of God says, but particularly about the need for the spirit of dedication, the spirit of devotion, and the spirit of grace. You can call those three things different things if you want; you can use your own terms. You can call it a spirit of obedience instead of dedication; you can call it a spirit of “I love you” instead of devotion. You can call it what you want, but those realities need to be present in the heart.
•    Let me tell you, when those things are present, the Word of God has a miraculous dimension of releasing fire, or releasing the living waters. It has a miraculous dimension of changing your emotional chemistry. It changes you for real if you do this consistently. I’ve never seen it fail, ever. I’ve seen people give up on the process and I’ve seen them approach with two of the three or, more commonly, one of those three elements. They approach reading the Word with one of those three elements, or sometimes two. Sometimes they have all three of the elements, but they give up in a month or two. At least give it a good five-year run before you conclude that the Word of God doesn’t work. Don’t give it three months; give it five years. It won’t take five years, but when those five years come and go, you’ll look back over it and say, “Oh, my heart is flowing like a river; I don’t even know when it started.”
•    I absolutely assure you that there’s a miraculous dimension where the Word of God touches the human heart with these three components: the spirit of dedication, the spirit of devotion, and the spirit of grace. I find that the most difficult is the spirit of grace. I find that the easiest is the spirit of dedication. If you have 1,000 people out there at a conference, 800 will say yes to a spirit of dedication. Large numbers of people will say, “I will go all the way.” The vision to be wholehearted is a very important vision. It’s a life vision. It’s a personal vision in your heart, a determination, saying, “I will be wholehearted.” Continue reading

The Mary of Bethany Anointing

And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:39-42)

Mary of Bethany

  • Mary of Bethany was a young, single woman that lived a life of extravagant devotion to Jesus.
  • Mary is pictured in the New Testament three times, and all three times, she is seated at the feet of Jesus and hearing His words.
  • The Mary of Bethany calling is an anointing that transcends gender and age. This is for men and women of all ages.  It is rising as we get nearer to Jesus’ return.   When you are walking in it, it is not the only thing your life is about, but it is the primary thing.  Which is to sit at His feet and His hear His word.

Martha

  • Martha was Mary’s older sister. In Luke 10:40 we are told that Martha was distracted with much serving. She complains to Jesus appealing to the practical needs of everyday life.
  • Jesus does not correct Martha for serving. He corrects her for serving with the wrong spirit. She had an anxious and troubled spirit that was bothered with many things.  Much of the church is struggling with a Martha attitude, lacking the heart connect with God, which would enable serving from love, rather than religious man-pleasing.
  • The “Martha-mentality” keeps us from real close relationship with God, and leaves us with empty activity.  It is birthed out of good intentions but true anointing comes from knowing the Father, Son and Spirit through prayer.  True love touches those around us and causes them to want what we have.
  • Our American culture has taught us to measure success by quantity, not quality.  We need to abide in the vine, in order to have fruit that remains.

One Thing is Needed

  • No one served with greater focus and humility than Jesus, yet it is He – the Servant of servants – that says the necessary thing is a life of devotion, not service.
  • Jesus does not say this is the only component of our lives.  Other areas are not cancelled out.  He says that a life of devotion is the necessary thing above all else. There is nothing to compare to this one thing.
  • God will not choose for you. Love must be a voluntary response, or it is not love.
  • King David set his heart in the same way that Mary of Bethany did. He was ruling the nation, running the government and the army; and yet he desired this one thing above all else.
  • One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple. (Psalm 27:4)

And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply. But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” (Mark 14:3-9)

Devotion Demands a Response

  • In the days just before Jesus would go to the cross, Mary of Bethany understood what He was about to through. She had heard Him speak of His coming sufferings while sitting at His feet.
  • Mary’s response to Jesus’ coming sufferings was to anoint him with costly oil worth a year’s wages – most likely her inheritance and only livelihood. She poured herself out in the most extravagant way she could. This was the best response to the extravagance with which Jesus was about to pour Himself out.
  • The disciples had also spent much time with Jesus, yet they did not understand when He spoke of His death. When Mary anointed Jesus, they became indignant and accused her of wastefulness.
  • Jesus vindicated and honored Mary for her response to His words. He recognized a like-heart in her extravagance. He did not despise her gift. In the same way Mary seems to be the only one who understood that Jesus was about to suffer; Jesus seemed to be the only One who understood what she had done for Him.
  • Mary’s extravagance was not merely symbolic; it was an actual economic extravagance with far-reaching repercussions upon her future. The day she anointed Jesus was not solitary in its extravagance. Her extravagance on that day, came out of a lifestyle of devotion to Jesus.

Devotion is Extravagant

  • The more devoted our hearts grow towards Jesus, the less we will seek to give minimally. Extravagant devotion begets extravagant giving. The extravagant heart asks how much can it give, not how little it can give.  True devotion is not sparing.
  • Extravagant devotion cannot be swayed by the fear of consequences.

Do we really know Jesus?

I don’t share other’s posts often, but this one I couldn’t resist. You want to read this:

Int http://www.joshuahawkins.com/blog/2010/01/intimacy-god-do-we-really-know-jesus

Unveiling Melchizedek

http://youtu.be/_Ddu7CIzJvY

Misty Edwards on Prayer

“Apart from Abiding in Him, we can do Nothing.” How to bear fruit that remains (John 15, Luke 10)

My House will be a House of Prayer

I think to whatever degree the church may be powerless or ineffective it is to the degree we lack prayer, actual connectedness with Jesus.

Satan’s kingdom decreases when we pray. When we pray weak words and Jesus responds His kingdom increases and the enemy loses ground. So the devils attack on the church in America is to get us so consumed with the world that we do not pray.

Jesus said that His house is to be a house of prayer (Luke 19:46) and not a house of evangelism or missions or fellowship because He wants prayer to be the center focus of the church, that all activity of works would flow from the place of our connectivity with the power and authority of heaven. Power and authority which comes from friendship with Jesus and is released through our intercession.

The closer we get to Jesus the more authority we have to tear down the enemies kingdom so the enemy has us lured in a culture where all our free time is spent on media and tv and on the computer, and it all keeps us from prayer.

The more obedience we have especially in the area of speech the more we can get closer in prayer so He attacks us in our relationships, causing us to stumble in anger. He attacks us also with what we give our eyes to, media which puts lust or fantasy in our heart.

Now, i know prayer is boring for so many… But there is enjoyable prayer, and there are posts to that end on this site but just get a hold of this, God is not boring, you just can’t see Him right now. You have to labor in prayer, dialouge with the firey Holy Spirit within, and day by day prayer by prayer the veil lifts and He reveals a little more of Himself. The Word opens up to you and there begins to be life and enjoyment on the weak words on our heart. It’s a laborous journey as we rewrite the code of our heart from agreement for the reality of the earth to the reality of heaven.

But this is our duty to lose our life on the earth, that we would save it. We save it by becoming more connected to heaven and to the seeing of it established on the earth, His Kingdom coming, His will being done.

Let’s not sell our inheritance for a bowl of soup. Let’s not be so caught up in the culture and values of the world, or the computer stuff, the tv programs, the fellowship… that we don’t enter into what we were called and created to do.

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