Grace – Above What We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine – Part 8 of 8

Reigning in Life

Those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:17)

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (1Corinthians 15:57) 

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We’ve already seen that God’s grace is bestowed on us by a person—the Lord Jesus Christ. In his earthly ministry He showed a matchless ability to operate in grace without limits—for it was by grace He was able to conquer even death and hell.

Some may say, “Well, that’s fine for him, because, after all, He’s the Son of God. But it doesn’t mean much for me, an ‘ordinary’ Christian believer.” But that, my friend, is far from the truth.

The “resurrection power” on Jesus Christ defeated the power of the grave, for all-time. That makes all the difference for us who are in God’s family. Because of what He’s already done, we’re able to obtain eternal life. And yet, there is even more.

Scripture tells us that by his resurrection, Jesus became the “firstborn of many brethren.”[1] So, He is our “elder brother,” in that we who are born-again are also the spiritual offspring of our heavenly Father. As such, the same Bible passage also reveals that we’ve been chosen by God to be like Jesus and partake of his glory. Indeed, the grace of resurrection power is on us as well!

Not only will we be resurrected to everlasting glory at a future time, but we’ve also been given the power to perform mighty spiritual exploits, such as raising the dead, here in this life, just as Jesus did! It’s by faith we obtain the promises of God, and by God’s grace we rule and reign here over the power of spiritual darkness.

Jesus’ authority is now our authority. As He declared to his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…[2] When He said “all authority,” Jesus meant that nothing has been left out or remains outside his dominion. That’s part of what it means to operate in “grace without limits.” And, as we’re reminded in several passages in the New Testament, God’s desire is for the grace of Jesus Christ to be with us all! Indeed, our heavenly Father intends for us to reign in life by means of the overflowing, abundant grace of Jesus Christ upon us and operating through us.

The Scriptures also reveal that we who are in God’s family have been “raised up” with our Savior and are now “seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus.”[3] Being “seated” with him in the heavenlies refers to our spiritual authority in him—here and now, at this time, for “…as He is, so are we in this world.”[4] Though it may be difficult for us to fathom, according to the Word of God, we’ve been given the same spiritual authority that Jesus wielded when He walked here on earth as well as the authority He now exercises as He is seated in heaven—the “capital” of all creation! Let the truth of that spiritual reality sink in. And when you start to understand the mind-boggling implications of our being able to operate in his authority, you will be astounded!

By the power of God’s grace, we are able to transform the spiritual darkness of the world surrounding us, just as, by lighting a candle, we can dispel darkness in the physical realm. By its very nature, light overcomes darkness. Indeed, darkness is incapable of withstanding the power of light. And so it is with us who are called to be “the light of the world.”[5] The light which we bear rules over the force of spiritual gloom, overcoming it by God’s grace. Yes, as the Scripture says, the greater One lives in us![6] This spiritual truth is one of the key aspects of what it means to reign in life through Jesus Christ.

On the other hand, there are many non-believers, who are either unfamiliar with the Scriptures or have rejected the truth of God’s Word, who are blind to the spiritual reality of the need for God’s grace. More than a few of these folks are preoccupied, even obsessed, with selfish ambition and pursuing affluence. They busy themselves greedily seeking after riches, believing that if they could obtain “more” than what they already have they would become masters of their own fate, and thereby reign in life. One phrase that typifies their avaricious view toward life is their perverse rendering of “Golden Rule” from the Bible namely, to, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”  replacing it with their supposedly clever, worldly adage, “He who has the gold, rules.” However, though wealth may be the answer to a few of life’s problems, riches don’t guarantee, for example, that a person will live in health or even be able to tame an unruly household, showing that even with riches a person isn’t reigning over much of anything. Added to their conundrum, is that wealth, including gold, oftentimes proves to be fleeting.[7] Thus, for a person to live according to a value system based on such a flawed precept like “He (or she) who has the gold, rules,” is as foolish as a person who builds a sand castle on a beach close to the waves of an incoming tide.

No, as the Word of God has revealed: ruling and reigning in life is by God’s grace. As we walk in grace his favor is upon us. His grace is sufficient for our every need.[8] Our victory over spiritual darkness is guaranteed for “no weapon formed against us will prosper.”[9] As the Scripture declares, “Let God be true and every man a liar.[10]

My friend, God’s grace is as necessary as the air we breathe. It sustains us and enables us to fulfill our purpose and destiny in life. By God’s grace we’ve been made to be “more than conquerors through him who loved us.”[11] Therein lies our victory. And by his grace we are able to reign in life!

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This eighth installment concludes our series which has unveiled several key Biblical truths concerning grace. And so, until the next time, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter

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[1] See Romans 8:29,30

[2] Matthew 28:18

[3] See Ephesians 2:6

[4] 1 John 4:17

[5] See Matthew 5:14

[6] See 1 John 4:4

[7] See Proverbs 23:5

[8] 2 Corinthians 12:9

[9] Isaiah 54:17

[10] Romans 3:4

[11] Romans 8:37

Grace – Above What We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine – Part 7 of 8

Overflowing Grace             

 And God is able to make every grace overflow to you,                                                  so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.  (2 Corinthians 9:8)

But He gives greater grace. That is why Scripture  says: “God sets Himself against the proud and  haughty, but gives grace to those who are humble enough to receive it.”  (James 4:6)

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Though there is nothing you can do to “earn” God’s favor, a person is quite capable of limiting the Lord’s grace in his or her life. When it comes to grace, the insightful adage, “your attitude determines your altitude,” rings true in many ways.

Now, when studying the Scriptures, whenever we discover a phrase or an idea repeated twice or more, we should regard it like a flashing light trying to get our attention. And so, it would behoove a person to pay special attention to the truth which God has repeated. In the case of grace, both the apostle James and the apostle Peter wrote of the same spiritual reality: The Lord resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (see James 4:6, 12 and 1 Peter 5:5).

Self-will, which is rooted in pride, causes God to step back and refrain from pouring out his grace upon an individual. When a person isn’t seeking after the Lord or refuses to submit to his will when it’s been revealed, why would we ever think that He’d empower that person in their waywardness? Newsflash: He will not!

Unfortunately, more than a few Christians intentionally steer clear from delving into the subject of grace because they have the mistaken idea that grace gives a person “a license to sin.” However, nothing could be further from the truth! God’s grace upon us gives us the wherewithal to overcome temptation and sin. It is only by his grace—and not our own self-will or perseverance—that we are able to come out on the victory side against sin.

Both apostles who wrote that humility is the key to receiving greater grace in our lives were referring to a “submitted life”—one in which a person’s deepest desire is to know God and his ways. Another aspect of humility is that a person is “teachable.” Being a “know-it-all” results in a person being “on their own”—because the flow of God’s grace will be thwarted.

On Jesus’ last night with his disciples, in the Upper Room, just prior to being taken away to be crucified, He told them, “”I am the true vine… you are the branches…  you can do nothing without Me. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you” (John 15:1,5,7). God’s enabling power comes from the True Vine, Jesus Christ. God’s grace flows from him to and through his followers, those who abide in him and his Word.

In short, grace comes from a person—the person of Jesus Christ. And as we humble ourselves before the Master, we receive an overflow from his throne room of grace—power from on high!

Be encouraged! No matter what circumstances you may face, if you will seek the Lord with all your heart, He will pour out his grace upon you. And it will meet your every need.

For this reason, many of the letters in the New Testament, as well as the Book of Revelation, conclude with the phrase, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all.” Let it be so in your life! Amen.

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Until the next time, which will be our final installment in this series on grace, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter

Grace – Above What We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine – Part 6 of 8

God’s Grace Will Make a Way!

Indeed, we have all received grace upon grace from His fullness(John 1:16)

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Led by the Spirit of the Living God, Jesus Christ blazed a trail for every believer to follow. In him we see grace without measure—grace… upon grace… upon grace.

Amazingly, for those who He’s redeemed, and have been adopted into his family, the Lord has provided a generous endowment of grace. Not only do we receive his unmerited favor, but also grace by which we can live an overcoming life.

For each and every one who’s been “saved by grace through faith,” the Lord has made provision to continually “walk in grace”—and even to do the “greater works” which Jesus said his followers would be able to do (see John 14:12). Yes, God’s desire is for all who abide in him to walk in “grace upon grace!

But, it’s clear that many of God’s spiritual offspring are ignorant and misinformed as to God’s true desire for them. As a result, far too many of God’s children operate on a spiritual level far below what He has in mind, not even knowing that He has something much better for them. Instead of being the overcomers in life that the Lord has enabled each one of us to be, they behave like “sheep to the slaughter,” passively accepting the afflictions of their enemy, Satan, who beats them down with adversity and defeat. As a result, instead of walking in the power of God’s grace, they are like captives, adapting to the circumstances which oppress them because they view themselves as victims rather than victors—all because of their ignorance of God’s precious and holy Word! As the prophet Hosea wrote, God’s people “…are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).

God’s grace will make a way where there is no way. It will not only transform us but will change our circumstances as well. But there is one thing we need to do: extend our faith toward our heavenly Father. When we do this, we activate his grace which is available to meet our every need. Indeed, trusting in God, and in his goodness and power, is capable of moving mountains!

On the other hand, ignorance of the magnitude of God’s grace, and his willingness to make it available on our behalf, inevitably means that the “world” will have its way with us. And, as the Scripture tells us, “Satan is the god of this world” (see 2 Corinthians 4:4), which means that we will have succumbed to being under Satan’s “thumb.”

A believer who is ignorant of God’s grace is like a person who is living from paycheck to paycheck because he doesn’t know that a rich relative has made a huge deposit into his account. Even though the fellow could draw untold riches from his account at any time, because he doesn’t know what’s in his account, he struggles to survive as best he can, living on “barely get along” street. All because he hasn’t bothered to check what’s in his account.

One thing is for sure: all of us need to renew our minds with the Word of God! We also have to get with God’s program—which us far above anything we could have imagined ourselves!

Meditate on the Word. Spend time in God’s presence. Put the Word in your mouth. Be inspired and motivated by the fire of the Holy Spirit.

Do these things and you live in greater grace and inexorably move toward God’s best in your life!

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Until the next time, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter

Grace – Above What We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine – Part 5 of 8

 

Jesus Christ: Grace Multiplied

Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness… (John 1:16)

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In Jesus Christ the fullness of grace is revealed as it rested upon and flowed through him throughout his time of ministry. The awesome miracles performed by Jesus, his keen ability to read the hearts of those around him, the simple yet profound truths He taught, the power of the words He spoke, the impenetrable, supernatural protection which surrounded him, and the closeness of the relationship He had with our heavenly Father, all reflected the manifold grace that was upon him and operated through him.

We can see the compassionate side of grace in Jesus when a leper kneeled before him, asking to be healed. The Scripture tells us that he, “…reached out and touched him… and instantly the leprosy disappeared” (see Matthew 8:2,3). Considering that lepers were outcasts from society, deemed “unclean” by Levitical Law, and “untouchable,” the man undoubtedly experienced scorn and was shunned from the day he was declared leprous. But Jesus, full of grace mixed with compassion for this lonely and bereft being, reached out and touched him!

It was by the power of grace-filled words that Jesus raised a boy, the only son of a widow, from the dead. It happened one day when He and his disciples were walking toward a small village. As they approached the village gate, a funeral procession was coming out. Seeing the distraught mother alongside the body of her son being carried on a stretcher, Jesus went over to touch the stretcher. As the pallbearers came to a stop, the Master commanded, “Young man, I tell you: Get up!” And at that instant, the boy’s body came back to life and the lad sat up and he began to speak. And so, Jesus gave him back to his mother—raised from the dead!

The grace for healing was present in Jesus Christ in an abundant overflow. For example, as Jesus was walking through a crowd one day, a woman came up from behind him and touched the fringe of his robe. She had been suffering for twelve years from a condition that had caused her to bleed constantly. But, at the moment she touched his garment the bleeding stopped. The grace for healing was a well-spring within Jesus and she had drawn from the reservoir of that power with her faith.

The Gospels also record many occasions that the powerful grace upon Jesus set captives free, delivering them from demonic possession. One time, after crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat, Jesus was immediately confronted by a demon-possessed man (see Luke 8:26-39). The crazed person had worn no clothes for a long time and did not live in a house, staying instead in the tombs outside of town. He terrorized anyone who came near him his wild behavior. But Jesus challenged the foul spirits inside the man, commanding them to come out of him—and they did! As soon as the news of this dramatic event reached town, many townspeople went out to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at Jesus’ feet, clothed and in his right mind. Not only had he been set free from the demons but shortly thereafter he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done.

Indeed, in these incidents, as well as in myriad others recorded in the Gospels, Jesus demonstrated that the mighty power of God’s grace can overcome any force and heal any condition—including demon spirits, incurable diseases, and even the power of death.

Clearly, God’s manifold grace was dislayed in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ in awesome ways. Indeed, He showed us that by God’s grace all things are possible!

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Of course, there are also many other things that Jesus did, which, if every one of them were written down, the world couldn’t contain the books that would be written. (John 21:25)

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Until the next time, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter

Grace – Above What We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine – Part 4 of 8

Jesus Christ: The Personification of Grace

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14) 

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Having already delved into the truth that God’s grace is prodigiously manifested throughout the Old Testament—starting with the Creation of all that is as well as in the Garden of Edenlet’s now turn to the subject of grace in the New Testament.

There we find that grace is embodied in the person of Jesus Christ. Indeed, God’s love and grace are at the very core of his being. And so, the supernatural essence of grace, and its centrality to the Gospel message, becomes overwhelmingly apparent in and through God’s dear Son.

The awesome power of God’s grace was abundantly displayed throughout Jesus’ ministry. After being baptized in the Jordan River, when the Holy Spirit descended upon him like a dove (see Matthew 3:16), Jesus started to manifest the supernatural endowment of God’s anointing for all to see.

 

Being led by the Spirit, one of his first public preaching “assignments” was at the synagogue in his boyhood hometown, Nazareth. There, He read from one of the messianic prophecies of Isaiah (that the “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor…” [see Luke 4:18]). When He finished preaching, He rolled up the scroll and said, “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”

Since the congregation was blind to Jesus’ true identity, considering him as nothing more than the son of a local carpenter named Joseph, such words struck them as an outrageous blasphemy against the Lord. They became so furious that they mobbed Jesus and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the village was built, intending to push him over the cliff.

But, as the Scripture (Luke 4:20) informs us, “…he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.” Indeed, God’s grace was upon him—and protected him like a “guard-all” shield! They had tried to kill the “upstart” preacher from among their midst, but they could not!

And, as we shall see, that was just the beginning of the exploits of Jesus Christ in the spirit realm. The wisdom with which He taught and the miracles He performed throughout his three and a half years of ministry were all manifestations of the grace of God that was upon him.

Truly, God’s grace upon the Lord Jesus Christ was greater than most believers can even imagine!

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Until the next time, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter

Grace – Above What We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine – Part 3 of 8

Grace in the Old Testament

God’s great grace is displayed throughout the Scriptures—from his marvelous act of Creation of everything that is, as described in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, to the closing verses of the Book of Revelation, which tell of his grace upon us and the soon return of Jesus Christ for his people.

Many fail to see or realize that God’s grace is abundantly displayedeven throughout the Old Testament.

For example, after Eve committed high treason against God by disobediently eating the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the Lord still chose to use her as an instrument of judgement over her wily tempter, the serpent (i.e., Satan). As the Lord prophesied, one of Eve’s descendants would one day “crush the head” of the serpent, delivering humanity from the power of Satan’s grasp. In other words, God’s grace was upon Eve, and her descendants, despite her terrible deed of rebellion.

God displayed his grace time and again when He chose men like Abraham, Noah, Moses, and others, to serve him and his purposes. Clearly, these were imperfect men and none of them were worthy in and of themselves.

It was only by God’s grace that Noah and his family were saved from a worldwide deluge. God’s judgement enveloped the entire earth, but the grace of God rested upon Noah and his family.

God entered into an everlasting covenant with Abraham by which all the families of the earth would be blessed. Indeed, that unbreakable promise is a powerful display of God’s grace.

The heavenly manna which wafted down from the sky like dew and fed the children of Israel in the wilderness for forty years was a tangible, daily display of God’s mercy and grace, especially in light of the Hebrew’s constant complaints as they wandered.

Joshua, when leading an entourage of Levitical priests, musicians, and warriors as they circled around the walls of Jericho, experienced a tremendous manifestation of God’s grace when, upon the Lord’s instruction, they blew their trumpets and shouted all at once, and  Jericho’s walls came tumbling down. At that instant God’s grace came in the form of supernatural, miraculous power displayed on behalf of his people.

We need to expand our thinking, and when we do, we’ll find that God’s great grace is manifested everywhere, in both the Old and New Testaments—and in our lives, especially as we cooperate with God’s purposes.

God’s grace truly is greater than we imagine!

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Until the next time, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter

Grace – Above What We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine – Part 2 of 8

Set Free Indeed!

Sin and death rule over humanity like a cruel, menacing slave driver. That’s been the dark spiritual reality of mankind ever since Adam and Eve chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden and fell into sin.

However, the Bible has wonderful, liberating news that comes directly from the realm of the Spirit. The “law of sin and death” which reign over this world have been overcome!

Our Avenger and Liberator is the One who is the Son of the Living God—Jesus Christ! He has forever broken the power of sin. Indeed, as the Scripture reveals to us, “the law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus” has set us free from “the law of sin and death!” (see Romans 8:2) The spiritual bondage under which this world groans has been broken—but only for those who believe and have been born-again into God’s family.

This is the essence of the “Gospel of Grace.” Scripture informs us that it’s by “grace through faith” that we’re saved, and that “grace is not of ourselves, it is God’s gift.” (Ephesians 2:8,9)

Set free indeed! Of course, it’s much more than any of us deserves—that’s why it’s called “grace!”

We all need to grow in our understanding and appreciation of the powerful, supernatural nature of grace that is available to every son or daughter of the Most High. It is by the magnificence of grace that we are not only set free from the power of sin but also enabled to live an overcoming life.

Because of God’s great love for us, his grace equips us to be “more than conquerors” so that we can fulfill the destiny to which He has called each of us—to be victorious in this life and to rule and reign in the life to come!

Our life is meant to be lived supernaturally—dependent on God’s presence and power. If anyone claims to be a “follower of Jesus” but is attempting to do so “under their own steam,” by their own wits and self-effort, that person is destined for failure by God’s standards.

The Lord wants us to depend upon him so that He can live through us—by his grace!

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Until the next time, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter

Grace – Above What We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine – Part 1 of 8

An Entirely New Level of Existence

God’s kingdom was designed for imperfect people. Good thing—because we are all “works in progress.”

What we really need is more than just an “upgrade” or a “new and improved” version of who we are. Favor from “on high” is what is needed. If we’re to overcome the things which keep us down and turn us into victims in life, what’s required is more than grit and self-effort.

God’s grace is what can truly make a difference. And it’s available to those who are able to humbly receive his love, be empowered, and truly set free.

God has extended his unfailing love to all—regardless of our spiritual state. He beckons each one of us to come to him because he has the remedy for that which ails everyone—our sinful condition.

“…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7)  Jesus Christ paid the penalty for all our sins on Calvary’s cross. Our sin debt has been “paid in full.” It’s a done deal. All we need to do is acknowledge what God has already done for us, made a way where there was no way—to him.

A key difference between what Jesus Christ taught and what religion (of whatever type) teaches is that we cannot work our way to God. No, we aren’t, and could never be, good enough. One of the basic errors of religious belief, which contradicts the clear teaching of the Holy Bible, is that there is a way to God through our own works. However, attempting to do so is like trying to construct our own personal “tower of Babel”—one made of good works—to reach him.

It is only by accepting the free love-gift of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross of Calvary that we can be reconciled to the True and Living God.

God’s gracious gift opens up a whole new dimension in life. And we can enter into that new realm—the kingdom of God. We are born-again into his family.

We are brought into a whole new level of existence. It operates in the spiritual realm but manifests in the natural. Those who are walking according to the Spirit of God find newness of life and his favor resting upon them.

And as a person grows in faith, God’s promises for his children become realized. Salvation. Blessing. Favor. Healing. And supply of everything that is needed.

Indeed, God’s grace is far above what we deserve and greater than we can imagine!

 

 

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If you have never received God’s gracious gift of salvation, but truly believe that his redeeming love purhased your salvation on Calvary’s cross, why not take a moment and speak these words out loud to the Lord:

“Heavenly Father, I know that I am a sinner in need of forgiveness. I believe that You sent your Son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross for me. His blood has paid the price for all my sins. I receive your redeeming love as a free gift and ask that You cleanse my heart right now.

I submit my will to yours and receive Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. I want your will to be done in my life. I invite your Holy Spirit to come into my heart and change me, making me more like Jesus.

Thank You for saving me. Thank You for giving me this “New life.”  From this moment forward, I’m a “new creation in Jesus Christ.”

In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!”

Congratulations!! If you believe in your heart what you have just told God, by his grace, a supernatural process has just begun. You have been “born again” and your new birth in Jesus Christ has been sealed by God’s precious Holy Spirit.

Welcome to God’s family!

If this has happened to you, please let me know about your exciting news by sending me an email at: harvest.equip@gmail.com  God bless!!

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Until the next time, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter

 

Being Spiritually Minded

Romans 8-6 +

For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.  Romans 8:6

The mentality of this world is what Jesus called the “broad way that leads to destruction.” It’s a way of thinking and an approach to life that leads to failure, misery and heartache. The apostle Paul referred to it as the “mind-set of the flesh”— carnal thinking which relies on knowledge gathered by our five senses.

God’s counsel concerning sense knowledge is to come “out of our shell” of limitation and tap into the wisdom of his counsel—to “trust in him with all our hearts” and lean not to our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). In other words, He wants us to become far more than “natural” men and women, because what He has in mind is to bring us above and beyond that—so that we become all that we were meant to be—supernaturally empowered men and women.

Trying to accomplish anything of lasting value in this world through self-effort will, in the end, prove to be empty and futile. In charting our course through the unexpected twists, turns and setbacks of life, each one of us needs a greater measure of understanding than that which we naturally possess. Wisdom that is beyond ourselves is what’s necessary to be truly successful in any meaningful way. Hopefully you have already come to the realization that the “world” has little to offer beyond trinkets, glitter, empty promises and dead-end roads. But, what you need to know, if you haven’t understood it yet, is that the Lord offers each one of us a higher way, one leads to “life and peace.”

The entrance ramp to this higher road is humility. A person must be teachable, open to counsel from on high, to enter into a higher spiritual dimension. As the Scripture says of the Lord, his ways are higher than ours and so are his thoughts (see Isaiah 55:8,9). If you want access God’s way of thinking you need to open yourself up and allow him to show you his higher ways.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that God never asks any of us to do what we’re unable to do—unless He provides a means—natural or supernatural—to do it. He wants you to be spiritually minded and He’s made a way for you to do just that!

First of all, you have to be born into his family. His provision for that is the “new birth”—being “born again” (see John 3:3-5). It’s a first, all-important, supernatural step in becoming spiritually minded.

Once you are born into God’s family the Lord gives you a precious gift—his Holy Spirit to lead and counsel you. Yet another provision He’s made is the written Word of God which is crucial to the spiritual growth of every born-again believer. But, if we are to become truly spiritually minded, we need to realize that the Bible isn’t sufficient in and of itself to bring about the necessary transformation in our thinking because, as the apostle Paul wrote, “…the letter kills but the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). Indeed, it is “… those who are Phil 2-5+led by God’s Spirit [who] are God’s children” (Romans 8:14).

Our aim is to develop a relationship with the One who is the Wonderful Counselor so that we may hear and heed his voice. As the apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Philippi, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). Jesus’ thinking can be ours if we are spiritually minded. Let it be so!

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Until the next time, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter

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Further scriptures to consider:

That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:6, NASB)

For the natural man is not able to take in the things of the Spirit of God: for they seem foolish to him, and he is not able to have knowledge of them, because such knowledge comes only through the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:14, BBE)

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (Romans 8:2)

Be Not Deceived

Sowing and Reaping

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for what a man sows, that also he will reap.” Galatians 6:7

sowing L

One of the basic laws which governs nature and the spiritual realm is a very simple one: the seed you sow determines the harvest you reap. It should be common sense but it’s a truth that eludes many folks, especially those who are “wishin’ and hopin’” that somehow this universal law can be nullified in their case, at least for a time anyway, so that they won’t have to reap the woeful consequences of the bad seed they’ve been sowing.

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One of my hobbies over the years has been growing a garden. I enjoy nurturing the plants and watching them develop and eventually produce fruit. I especially like harvest-time and enjoying the fruit of my labors. For several years I cultivated a bountiful garden from which I was able to harvest large quantities of corn, tomatoes, squash, cantaloupe and much more.

Every year in the early Spring I went to Agway, the local farmer’s supply store, and bought seed. Before I drove there in my pickup truck I always had harvest-time in mind. And because of that, I can tell you that very purposefully I never bought brussels sprout seeds because the entire family detested the way they taste and would never even consider eating them. On the other hand, I always made sure that I got watermelon seeds when I went to Agway because everyone thought that nothing tasted better on a hot summer day than a cool, juicy slice of watermelon.

Like most folks, at least those with any common sense, I would never buy and plant brussels sprout seeds and then expect to be savoring the sweet taste of watermelon when the “dog-days” of summer rolled around. That isn’t how things work and, of course, it’s just plain foolish.

However, when it comes to spiritual matters, it’s pretty clear that some people live in a fantasy world in which they wishfully think there is some way of getting around the spiritual law of sowing and reaping. These are the folks who want to believe that they can do as they please, without regard for God or anyone else, and somehow the Lord will smile on them and they will walk in his blessings. And, of course, just as in the realm of nature, such notions are just plain foolish.

How much sense does it make, for example, that a person who sows bitterness and strife wherever they go will somehow be able to reap a harvest of anything but turmoil and sour relationships? The answer is “none”—it makes no sense. Whether a person chooses to believe it or not, sowing bad seed can only produce a corrupt and evil harvest. The seeds of animosity and conflict can never produce anything that even comes close to resembling the good fruit of peace and harmony. That’s because of the universal law of sowing and reaping which the Lord put into motion at the very beginning.

While Jesus Christ was walking the earth he taught the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s a very simple idea that any child can understand. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Appreciate their worth and respect their feelings. In your dealings with them, demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit and you will be planting the seeds of goodwill and harmony in your relationships.

The Golden Rule works everywhere but the first place it should be put into practice is in your household. In fact, it’s a key to a good marriage. If you are married, you should always do your best to put yourself in your spouse’s “shoes,” as much as it’s possible anyway, and consider what is best for your spouse in every situation. That kind of consideration will go a long way in strengthening your marriage and will enhance the spiritual atmosphere in your home. Peace and harmony will reign in your household. Does that sound good to you? Then use to the Golden Rule as the guiding principle in your marriage.

reaping

Whatever your circumstance, no matter where live, the law of sowing and reaping is working in your life. If you are under the delusion that you can live in ways that foolishly disregard the basic spiritual laws established by the Living God who created you and all that is, and avoid the consequences of the bad seed you are planting, do yourself a favor before it’s too late and reconsider your ways.

God is merciful and is full of grace. But we must also take into account that He is fair and just as well. The law of sowing and reaping reflects that truth. Our God will not be mocked. The laws He established to govern the universe are there to insure that He is glorified above his creation.

So, just as the law of gravity works whether you believe in it or not, the law of sowing and reaping works as well. It is for your benefit that you live by it, and also that He may be glorified.

May the Lord bless you abundantly as you grow in your understanding of his ways and sow good seed… in faith!

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Until the next time, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!

Dr. Peter