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

 

The Gospel of Grace

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Mat 11:28-30

Grace GospelThe good news message of Jesus Christ and of God’s kingdom is described in a variety of ways in the Scriptures—as the “power of God unto salvation,” the “gospel of grace,” the “eternal gospel,” the “gospel of Christ,” a “mystery,” and as the “gospel of God.” Of course, it is all of these… and much more.

According to at least one expert of the ancient Greek language in which the New Testament was written, the word “euangelion,” translated into English as the “good news” or “gospel,” carries with it the connotation that is not just “good news” but it is such good news that it’s almost “too good to be true.” Because it carries that implication, researchers have found that the word “euangelion” was used only very rarely in ancient manuscripts other than the writings of the New Testament. The reason for this is obvious: there really wasn’t much outside of God’s kingdom that could be considered good news that’s “almost too good to be true!”

Most Christians have little idea as to how much they have underestimated the supernatural grace that God has showered, and continues to pour out, on his children. If we fail to renew our minds with his Word or respond to it in any other way than in faith, we will end up living far below what God has planned for us. To the unrenewed mind, which is governed by human reasoning and natural understanding, the grace of God simply is too good to be true. The gospel message can’t be that easy or simple. There must be some “catch” to it.

 

But Scripture is quite clear about the “gospel of grace”:

  • God has reconciled sinful man, including you and me, to himself at the cross of Calvary.Graphic word montage of the Christian concept of grace composed in neutral earthy tones. Use as overall background or as featured art.
  • Once we become reconciled to him by receiving his son as our Savior and Lord:
    • He gives us his precious Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us
    • His favor is upon us
    • His resurrection power resides within us
    • We are granted spiritual authority in this earth
    • We are provided with “everything that pertains to life and godliness”
    • All our needs are supplied “through his riches in glory”
    • And the love of God is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit

These truths are at the very heart of the “gospel of grace.” What could we ever do to deserve such royal treatment? Receive God’s son by faith and enter into a personal relationship with God the Father. We should also accept the invitation that Jesus gave to the Galileans to “learn of him”—and, if we do, we’ll find that the heavy burdens of life weighing us down will be lifted. Being instructed by the Master in the school of the Holy Spirit will also open up the supernatural realm of God’s grace such that it becomes an everyday reality.

Friend, whether you realize it or not, God has your interests at heart and wants only the very best for you. That’s why He gave his son to die in your place—to cancel a sin-debt that you could not pay and set you free from the power of sin.

Learn of him and grow in your understanding of his good news: that God’s grace is sufficient to supply for your every need and that He is always generous in every way. Don’t make the mistake of low-rating the grace of God and his benefits. It’s all part of the “package deal”—and it’s called the gospel of grace!

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Each one of us needs to grow in our appreciation of the incomparable power and riches of the gospel of grace. Why not take the time right now to ask your heavenly Father to increase your understanding:

Understanding“Heavenly Father, I ask that you give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of You. I pray that the eyes of my heart be enlightened so I may know what is the hope of my calling, what are the glorious riches of your inheritance in me, and the immeasurable greatness of your power toward me, according to the working of your mighty strength. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”

This request to the Father is adapted from a prayer the apostle Paul prayed for the believers at the church of Ephesus, as recorded in Ephesians 1:17-19. Wisdom would have each one of us meditate regularly upon the words of this prayer and to wholeheartedly seek the Lord for its fulfillment. It is a powerful prayer that, if prayed in faith, you can expect to see answered in ways beyond your imagination with 100% certainty.

May the Lord bless you abundantly!

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

Dr. Peter

 

The “New Birth”

http://thebiblerevival.com/clipart/1908/john3.jpg Jesus, the Saviour of the world Artist: UNKNOWN; Illustrator of Bible Card Date: Published 1904

“There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent You to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with You.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”  (John 3:1-3, NLT)

One of the esteemed religious rulers of Israel, Nicodemus, came to Jesus Christ under the cover of darkness one night to learn about the secrets behind the signs and wonders which followed the Master everywhere He went. Rabbi Jesus took the opportunity to share profound and mysterious truths with the well-versed leader, especially about the need for him to go beyond his current sense-based understanding of the Scriptures and to be “born again,” so that an entirely new spiritual reality would open to him. According to the Jesus, unless a person is born again, “he cannot see the kingdom of God.” In other words, Nicodemus needed to have a spiritual experiencea supernatural “new birth”before the realities of God’s kingdom would even become discernible to him. 

Being born again—experiencing the “new birth”—is all-important according to Jesus Christ; yet it is a truth that is not understood or appreciated by many who are seeking after God.

To illustrate the significance of the new birth let us use an analogy from the sports world. It’s something like the “batter’s box” in the game of baseball. If a baseball player, as long as he’s not a designated runner, wants to get on base he must first get out of the dugout and stand in the batter’s box by home plate. Going to the batter’s box isn’t an option, it’s a requirement of the game; a player cannot simply decide to go from the dugout and stand on first base, or second or third base for that matter, if he hasn’t first stood in the batter’s box.

Likewise, as Jesus informed Nicodemus, everyone who is truly seeking after God has to go through the experience being “born again”—that is, go the spiritual “batter’s box” of God—before advancing in their spiritual journey toward knowing the God of the Bible and his ways. A person can be sincere and well-intentioned, attend church regularly, read the Scriptures every day, and do their best to live a good life—which are all good things—but if that person hasn’t been “born again,” he simply won’t be able to see the kingdom of God, let alone be allowed to enter into it—according to the spiritual umpire of eternity, Jesus Christ.

If a person desires tborn-again-musto do anything of significance in light of eternity he or she must heed the words of Jesus—the One who came to show us the way. After all, He is “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

Being “born again” is a matter of both the heart and the head. According to the Scriptures it is a supernatural experience. It happens when a person believes in their heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and confesses (that is, says with his or her mouth) that God has raised him from the dead. A person must do both: while belief is critical, it is just as important to declare to God and to others what it is that’s believed (see Romans 10:9,10).

The Lord showed me the supernatural nature of the “new birth” back in the early 1980s. I was at a gathering of Christian believers in which there was an altar call at the end of the meeting. As several attendees went forward I noticed a dark-skinned African-American mother and her teenage daughter among them. By the facial expression and body language of the daughter it seemed as if she perhaps was under spiritual or psychological duress. Amazingly, however, as she started to repeat the “sinner’s prayer,” I saw a spiritual light begin to bathe her body—starting at her head and washing gently back and forth all the way down to her feet. By the time she finished saying the prayer, I saw a person who was totally transformed! Before, when she was walking with her mom to the front of the room, I saw her in the “natural”—that is, a teenager who looked as if she was spiritually oppressed. But, when that teenage girl was done praying, her “inner being” had been completely bathed in a supernatural light—glowing from head to toe! 

I saw this with my eyes and yet I was seeing into the reality of the spirit world: “Except a man [or woman] be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

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If you, dear friend, have not yet had the supernatural, life-changing experience of being “born again” by the spirit of the living God—I strongly urge you to consider that there is no time like now for you to do so. As the Scripture says, “now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2b).

jesussaaviourTo become “born again” starts with a belief within you—inside your heart. If you truly believe that “Jesus is Lord” and “God has raised him from the dead,” tell him so now (see Romans 10:9,10). That’s right, speak it out loud—and say to the Lord, also, that you want Jesus Christ to be the Lord of your life.

And finally, as part of your prayer, you should tell the Lord that you repent of your sins (that is, you are genuinely sorry for the things you have done against him and others and make a firm decision to not do them in the future). Since you need his power to make your decision a reality, tell he Lord that you turn to him and surrender yourself completely to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Once you have done so, He will cleanse you from all your sins and you will be a “new creation” in Him—born again!

If, for the first time, you did say that prayer, “Congratulations!!” …and welcome into the family of God!!!

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Please let us know if you just became a born again believer—and we will do what we can to help you on your new path. Just send a message to Dr. Peter at harvest.equip@gmail.com telling us about your experience and letting us know the best way to get in touch with you. 

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

Dr. Peter

Drawing Near to God

“Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.” Heb 11:6, HCSB

Draw-Near-to-God 1As children of the “Most High” God, our lives are meant to be a supernatural journey, one in which we “walk by faith and not by sight.”  The Holy Spirit is our guide as the journey of life unfolds before us and we overcome life’s struggles. The supernatural is to be part-and-parcel of all we experience. The spiritual truths of the kingdom of God—supernatural realities—are opened to us. And that is how God intended it to be, for heaven’s reality to come and reign in this earth through us, his children.

Call unto Me and I will show you great and mighty things which you don’t know” the Lord has beckoned. That is a promise and a challenge which, if we receive it, will cause us to move upward in the high calling of Christ—from one glory to the next as God has purposed.

Our heavenly Father wants us to be “faith children” at all times— relying and depending on him and his Word. And as we grow closer to him and get to know him better we find that He is everything the Scriptures have told us He is, but even more so!

Nearly every born-again believer knows the Scripture, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. That beloved verse brings to us a marvellous truth. But the “word of God” that builds and strengthens our faith should be heard not only from the mouths of those who preach, prophesy and teach, but also directly from God himself!

Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.” Friend, are you a follower of Jesus Christ? If so, then you are one of his “sheep!” And since He is your Great Shepherd, then you must simply accept what He said: you hear his voice. He didn’t hedge his statement by adding a condition or the word “might” to it, as in, “My sheep might hear my voice.” No, He was quite clear: “My sheep hear my voice.” Do not doubt it—and especially do not dispute it. Since Jesus said it, it is so!

You may not have thought much about it, but one of the most important differences between you, as a child of God, and those on the outside of his family, is that you have the ability to hear his voice. And that is awesome!

Think about it.

And as you do, here are just a few questions that you might also ponder:

When you commune with the Lord, do you do all of the talking or do you listen to him as well? In other words, is your prayer time one of mutual sharing?

How frequently do you hear the voice of God?draw-near-to-god-james

Do you want to grow in your ability to hear from him?

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

Dr. Peter