Saturday, June 8, 2019

The Blessing Part 2 - The True Blessing

Hello everyone,

“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favours] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others].

And I will bless those who bless you [who confer prosperity or happiness upon you] and curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [and by you they will bless themselves].”  

This was the covenant blessing God spoke over Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3.  The Bible says the Lord blessed Abraham in ALL things.  

What a wonderful covenant to live in, where God personally promises to keep His hand of blessing on you.  Wrapped up in that blessing is His goodness, protection, and bountiful provision.  That blessing will even cause the nations of the world to be blessed through you.  

Well, the Bible teaches us that through Jesus Christ, we have received the same covenant blessing that was given to Abraham and passed down to his descendants - Isaac and Jacob.    Galatians 3:14 says that through our receiving Christ Jesus, the blessing promised to Abraham  has come upon the Gentiles so that we, through faith, are all able to receive the promise of the Holy Spirit.

Immediately we see a difference in this new promise of God’s blessing.  This new covenant we have in Christ Jesus is far greater than the one granted to the patriarchs of old.

Hebrews 7:22-23 says, “In keeping with [the oath’s greater strength and force], Jesus has become the Guarantee of a better (stronger) agreement [a more excellent and more advantageous covenant].”  

This covenant is far greater for two distinct reasons.  Firstly, it’s received by faith, not human lineage.  Secondly, the promise isn’t the hand of God resting upon a person’s life, it’s the Spirit of God Himself inhabiting a person’s heart.  

Let’s read Galatians 3:14 from the Amplified Classic version, “To the end that through [their receiving] Christ Jesus, the blessing [promised] to Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, so that we through faith might [all] receive [the realisation of] the promise of the [Holy] Spirit.”

From Abraham’s seed, which was Isaac, came a lineage that finally led to the Son of God coming to earth to die for our sins.  When He rose again, and ascended back to His Father in heaven, He released His Holy Spirit to inhabit every life that surrendered to His Lordship.  

What does this means for us?  When we willingly choose to accept Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour, we enter into the New Covenant we have in Him.  That new covenant means we are able to see the fulfilment of the promised Holy Spirit, where He comes to live inside us!  The full measure of God’s Presence dwells in us, forever!  Everything we will ever need for victory, peace and joy in this life is in God, Who lives in us! 

Now we are able to embrace a personal, living, loving relationship with God Himself.  A relationship where His own Spirit inhabits us - we don’t have to beg or wish or wonder if He is with us - He IS IN us!   

This is the promised blessing - He fills our hearts with His Presence which, with our continual surrender to Him, influences everything about us.  He transforms us from the inside out - from our thoughts, to our attitudes, to the way we speak and the things we do.  And when we live like this - controlled by the Spirit of God - goodness and mercy follow after us, and His favour surrounds us!  

In this new covenant we have in Christ Jesus we are able to truly know and experience Him in His fullness.  His power, His goodness, His wisdom, His love that conquers all and never fails, His peace that passes all understanding, and His irrepressible joy that gives us inner strength is our portion!

Even if we don’t always feel these things, it doesn’t mean they’re not there. Remember Galatians 3:14 says, “... by faith we receive the realisation of the promise of the Holy Spirit.” While He is living inside us, His kingdom is too!  God’s Word says His righteousness, peace and joy are our portion.  We just need to agree with His Word and decide to believe it for ourselves!

I want to show you what I mean by saying His kingdom is inside us.  Romans 14:17 says, “[After all] the kingdom of God is not a matter of [getting the] food and drink [one likes], but instead it is righteousness (that state which makes a person acceptable to God) and [heart] peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

That means God’s righteousness, that secures our right standing with Him, and His victory over the power of sin is part of our new nature in Him.  We don’t ever have to fear punishment from Him, we can boldly draw near to His throne of grace, receive His mercy, and supernatural help to move forward in the right direction.  

Look at what Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favour to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].”

So when we miss the mark, we turn to Him, receive mercy for failing, and grace (His supernatural help) to adjust our ways to align with His will and move on.  No guilt, or shame, or condemnation is ours! 

Do you remember how the beginning part of Romans 14:17 says, “[After all] the kingdom of God is not a matter of [getting the] food and drink [one likes],...”.  That doesn’t mean the promise doesn’t include God’s bountiful provision.  That will always be a supernatural result of His kingdom living inside us.  We can never separate God from His goodness!  

This first part of Romans 14:17 is emphasising the godly order of first things first!  Our promise is first and foremost God living inside of us, inhabiting us and influencing every area of our lives with Himself - as we make Him and His Word our first priority.

Then, as a result, the outward evidence of His blessing becomes obvious through His provision in our lives.   

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.”

There it is - the supernatural result of putting our priorities in order and seeking the right things first!   This is the true blessing of the Lord!  By His Holy Spirit we are able to put Him first in our lives and enjoy every blessing that comes from that! 

Why don’t you ask the Holy Spirit to help you have a strong and clear revelation of His Presence that is living inside you right now!  He will give you a clear perspective of the true blessing that is yours through Christ Jesus!  

All my love,


Jenny

Monday, June 3, 2019

The Blessing Part 1 - Empowered to Prosper

Hello everyone,

The Word tells us that God delights to see His children prosper and succeed in life, and that His blessing is on and for those who choose to follow whole heartedly after Him.  Deuteronomy 30:19-20 says, “I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.  And may love the Lord your God, obey His voice, and cling to Him. For He is your life and the length of your days, that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”  

The blessing of the Lord is available to all His children, and over the next few letters, I want to speak about what that blessing is, and how we can determine to walk in it. 

To begin with, let’s take a look at what the Bible claims the blessing of God to be.  In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for blessing essentially means, empowered to prosper.  We see God speak this empowering blessing over Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  

Genesis 1:28 says, “And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth.”  

Attached to Adam and Eve’s blessing was an appropriate instruction, that’s because they were blessed for a purpose.  They were to be fruitful, to multiply, to fill the earth, to subdue it and have dominion over every living creature on it.  When God blessed them, He empowered them to prosper and increase and have dominion.

Later on, in the book of Genesis, after the fall of man, God once again speaks a blessing over man.  This time, He blesses Abraham.  Genesis 12:2-3 says, “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favours] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others]. 

And I will bless those who bless you [who confer prosperity or happiness upon you] and curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [and by you they will bless themselves].”

Like before, God’s blessing came with an empowerment and purpose. Abraham was empowered to increase and prosper greatly in order to be a blessing to the nations of the world.  He was to demonstrate the extravagant goodness and generosity of God in spite of and in stark contrast to the lack and poverty the devil had enforced on people through famine, plagues and calamity.  

No matter where Abraham went, no matter how dismal or barren the circumstances, the blessing of God that was upon him caused him to prosper and increase when every odd was against him doing so.

The Bible shows how this blessing was passed down from generation to generation from Abraham to his children.  God even blessed Ishmael, but He reserved the same covenant blessing he had given to Abraham for Isaac and his descendants.  

We read about this in Genesis 17:20-21 where it says, “And as for Ishmael, I have heard and heeded you: behold, I will bless him and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly; He will be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.  But My covenant, My promise and pledge, I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.”.

And so this covenant blessing, a purposeful empowerment to prosper, would be passed down Abraham’s blood line in the form of a birthright.  It was spoken by the father over his first born son.  Abraham spoke this birthright blessing over Isaac, who in turn was to speak it over over his first born son Esau.   But that didn’t happen did it.

No, here we see a very interesting twist in history.  Esau was the older twin brother to Jacob.  We read how these two brothers couldn’t be more different in looks or nature.  Esau was a rough mannered hunter, while Jacob was more tender hearted and preferred the comfort of home to the wild outdoors.  

When the time came for Isaac to bless Esau with his birthright, Jacob with the help of his mother Rebecca, deceived and tricked Esau and Isaac.  He managed to steal his brother’s birthright from him, over a bowl of stew.  

When all was said and done, there was no turning back.  Isaac could not reverse the blessing he spoke over Jacob, nor speak another over his son Esau.  Jacob had succeeded in receiving the covenant blessing through a traditional process that had been passed down from his great grandfather, to his father, and now to him.

The trouble was, as much as that blessing became increasingly evident in his life, and he prospered and increased in wealth and riches; his heart grew increasingly troubled with unrest.  On the outside Jacob looked every part of the One who had received the blessing of empowerment to prosper.  However, on the inside there was a void and emptiness that was eating him alive.

That’s because Jacob was beginning to recognise that the blessing of the Lord is far deeper than external wealth, it falls instep with a heart that seeks after God and His righteousness.  Proverbs 10:22 says, “The blessing of the Lord—it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it].”  

Jacob knew full well that he simply couldn’t go any further without making right with the Lord and his brother.  The miserable torment he was feeling inside was preventing him from experiencing the true blessing of the Lord in his life.  

This unrest came to a head when he knew he was about to be reunited with his brother Esau.  In spite of the blessing being evident on Jacob’s life, he was terrified of what his brother would do to him when they met. 

A little while ago, I read something Pastor Kevin Davis wrote about this conflict in Jacobs heart.  It stirred something inside of me that inspired me to write this series.  

In the church today so many people are chasing after the blessing.  They are so determined to be blessed that they will go to any length to have a man or woman of God give them the blessing, or a formula for it.  They long for the empowerment to prosper in health, wealth and riches - believing that would solve all their problems and fulfil their lives. 

But that isn’t the true blessing of the Lord at all.  Even though prosperity in every area of life is a result or fruit of the true blessing in our lives, it certainly isn’t defined by the terms people have labeled it to be.  

As a result, so many are left chasing after an image of something that simply has no substance to it.  They pursue an empty promise of wealth, fame and riches without any character to sustain it.  

That’s because God’s blessing is and has always intended to be an empowerment to prosper from the inside out.  It’s a lifestyle choice to follow after God with all our hearts and to cling to Him and His ways first.  Something we will see Jacob begin to understand and thrive in, in the letters to come.

Next week we are going to find the truth about the true blessing of God from the Word itself.  We will discover, as Jacob did, that the true blessing is far deeper than a superficial, external display of wealth, that is lost as quickly as it’s found.

Until then, I pray you will become increasingly unsatisfied with all that is skin-deep and not soundly rooted in the truth of Who God is and His way of blessing you.

All my love,


Jenny

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Your First Step to Victory

Hello Everyone,

Have you ever found yourself facing a task or challenge that just seems impossible to conquer?  I know I’ve faced some mountains in the past that really had me stumped.  It’s not that I wasn’t  up to the hard work or effort required to get on top of things. My dedication was never in question. The trouble was I had no idea where to begin, or what to do, to see the circumstances changed.

If you find yourself in the same predicament now or sometime in the future - I pray this letter will be an encouragement, and provide you with that much needed light at the end of the tunnel.

One morning, not too long ago, I asked the Lord to give me a clear word I could build my faith on and use to pray into a rather hopeless looking situation I was facing.  Since I already knew what outcome I wanted, what I really needed was the first step to navigate my way towards it.  

What I mean by that is, if we know our physical healing, or financial freedom, or seeing our loved one saved, or having our business or ministry succeed is the outcome we are believing for; what we need is the first step that will bring us closer to that outcome becoming our reality.  

What does it look like?

That step comes in the form of a Word from the Lord that resonates with our spirits and gives us the confidence and direction we need to move forward.  That’s what I was looking for, and it’s what I want to share with you today because I believe it may just be the Word you need to hear.  I pray it comes alive in your heart and gives you the jump start to walking in the very thing you’re believing for.

This is the word the Lord led me to: Proverbs 16:3 which says, “Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.”

Now, sometimes the task ahead of us seems so overwhelming and complicated that we simply can’t see the wood for the trees.  So what we really need is a different perspective, one where we can see things clearly from God’s point of view.  In Proverbs 16:3, it says the Lord will cause our thoughts to line up with His will, when we commit and trust our works to Him.  Did you notice the Word says that He will cause our thoughts to be the same as His own?   Let me say that again - He will cause our thoughts to be the same as His own.

Can you imagine the advantage we’ll have in any situation when God’s thoughts govern our decisions?  We wouldn’t be bogged down with our own negative, limited ones.

Wouldn’t you agree that having the God, Who knows all and sees all, as our guide through every challenge is an extremely appealing advantage? Nothing takes Him by surprise and every solution to every problem already exists in Him.  

That’s the first step we need! We need our thoughts to be God’s thoughts to get His perspective if we’re going to see the problem solved! 

How does that happen?

Well, the Bible tells us exactly how it happens.  It says we must commit our ways and works to the Lord.  This means we are to submit our motives and agendas to Him before we act.  When we do, His Holy Spirit has the freedom to influence our thoughts to take on His agenda, giving us a clear direction to follow.  

This reminds me of Psalms 97:11 that says, “Light is sown for the [uncompromisingly] righteous and strewn along their pathway, and joy for the upright in heart [the irrepressible joy which comes from consciousness of His favour and protection].”

The light this scripture speaks of is God’s clear direction and wisdom revealed to us when we commit our ways to Him.  You see, along with the direction comes His supernatural insight and wisdom to carry the vision through.  

Since it’s birthed and empowered by His Spirit, the next part of the promise in Proverbs 16:3 comes into play; where our work will be established and succeed into something that is marked with eternal significance.  This is really remarkable!

How do we do this?  

Well, in order to commit and trust our works to the Lord, prayer is required.  In Ephesians 6:18 it says, “Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty...”

In the original Greek translation of this scripture, the word prayer here is proseuche.  According to Greek scholar Rick Renner’s notes on this word, it conveys the idea of an intimate, face to face relationship with God.  This is where we surrender and consecrate our own thoughts in exchange for His thoughts and perspective.  The moment we do this, we find another exchange automatically takes place - our worry and confusion is replaced by His peace and joy.  Hopelessness is replaced with hope and our faith is stirred up.  

Now, as we draw near to the Lord, in an intimate face to face encounter, we can expect this exchange to take place.  He will give you His point of view, and clear instruction willingly, without finding fault with you.  Do you remember what James 1:5 says? “If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.”

wrapped up in this word prayer, we find the purposeful attitude of thanksgiving.  Even before we receive His practical wisdom, and clear direction, or even see His hand move on our behalf; we are to thank Him in advance for it.  That means we are to joyfully, expect that this is exactly what He will do when we come to Him in prayer.

So before you even attempt to take on any task that lies ahead of you, take this first step to victory - go to the Lord in prayer.  Approach Him joyfully, with a thankful attitude, fully expecting an exchange.  Draw near to Him, in an intimate face to face encounter, completely surrendering yourself to Him.  

Thank Him for pouring His wisdom into you, and revealing His perspective to your heart and mind.  As you open your heart to Him, He will give you something to hold onto.  It may be a specific instruction, an idea, a scripture, or an overwhelming sense of peace.  Throughout the day, keep listening and being sensitive to His Spirit, He will direct your thoughts to align with His own.  

It may be sudden, it may also be a process, like gradually fitting pieces of a puzzle together.  As long as you remain attentive and expectant, He will speak to you through so many different ways.  You will begin to hear His wisdom in conversations with people or literature you read, teachings you hear.  And while you take it all in, you will find how He fills you with the inner strength and power you need to take on the task ahead. 

Don’t try navigate through any task alone, remember this first step to commit it to the Lord in prayer, and in the exchange, He will give you all you need to have it established and successful.  And when we take that step of obedience to what He tells us to do, just like Psalm 97:11 says, irrepressible joy will flood our hearts because we are assured of His favour and protection as we follow His lead. 

All my love,

Jenny


Monday, May 13, 2019

Why Doesn’t My Faith Work? Part 6 The Heart of the Matter

Hello everyone,

We’ve come to the final letter discussing different things that would cause our faith to be inoperable.  So far we've come to understand that faith is a spiritual force that has the ability to make every promise from God’s Word a reality in our natural lives.  

We’ve learnt that faith comes in different measures and is increased in our lives as we meditate on the truth of God’s Word.  We discussed how doubt, and un-forgiveness weakens and destroys the faith we have, whereas righteous living and obedience to God’s Word empowers and strengthens it.  Today, we’re going to dig a little deeper and get to the heart of things, so to say.

Essentially, in order for our faith to work we must move away from putting our focus on mechanical formulas to placing it on the motives of the heart.

If God’s interests are in the centre of our hearts, there will be no hidden agendas lurking behind what we are believing for.  However, if pleasing ourselves before pleasing Him is truly in our motives James 4:3 says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

Now there’s nothing wrong with asking for more than just our needs to be met, the Bible says the Lord delights in prospering His children, in all things.  1 Timothy 6:17 says we are to put our trust in God Who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

Psalms 35:27 says, “Let those who favour my righteous cause and have pleasure in my uprightness shout for joy and be glad and say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, Who takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”  

God really does take pleasure in prospering His children, even more so than an earthly father delights to see his children blessed in all areas of their lives.  The question isn’t whether or not it’s His will and pleasure to see us blessed above and beyond our needs, it’s that those who favour God’s cause and His ways above their own, are the ones who experience His continuous, bountiful provision and blessing.

God is good, and He doesn’t want to see us wanting for any good thing.  Matthew 7:11 says, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” . 

When God’s Presence is continuously made welcome in our lives, we will experience pleasures, it’s just a part of His wonderful, generous nature towards us. Look at what Psalms 16:11 says, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”

It’s really important we join the dots and see there is a direct link between making the Lord and His ways our primary delight and priority, and living the good, and best life He has for us, right here on earth. 

If we feel our faith is not working, it may be a good time to check our love walk.  

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” 

If you remember from the previous letters, according to the Word, loving God actually means putting Him and His interests first place in our lives. In John 14:15 Jesus said, “If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands.”  

Now don’t think for a moment that our ability to love God like this is something we can naturally do on our own.  It certainly isn’t, and we can take no credit for it either.  In 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 Paul says we are not sufficient in ourselves, nor must we even think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.  

You see, our part is to surrender our will to God’s will, then the Holy Spirit steps in and supernaturally empowers us to live it out, by pouring His all powerful, never failing, unconquerable, supernatural love into our hearts!  Hallelujah!  It’s a supernatural partnership of our surrender and His love.

We can’t love and obey God without the Holy Spirit filling us with God’s own love first.  This is the love that empowers and activates our faith - making it work!  That’s because faith only works by God’s love in us.

1 Corinthians 13 pretty much sums up this truth, it says that unless we are walking in God’s love, not our own - none of His spiritual principles work in our lives as they are intended to work. We can have faith to move mountains, but without God’s love being active in us - that faith can do nothing!

So, let’s round up this series on reasons why our faith doesn’t work.  Even though doubt, and un-forgiveness weakens and destroys faith; and righteous living, and obedience to God’s Word empowers and strengthens it - we could never get this balance right on our own.

It’s our inseparable partnership with the Holy Spirit where we surrender to His love, and allow it to influence and dominate our motives and actions, that causes our faith to work. 

If you are believing God for something His Word has promised you, ask the Holy Spirit to show you if there is anything in your life that is preventing your faith from working.  Go back over the letters that cover this topic and set your faith back on course.  

Then, go back to Mark 11:23-24 and meditate on its truth.

“Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].”

The biggest mistake we can make is treating God as a magical gene and His Word as a mechanical formula.  It’s only through an intimate, personal love relationship with the Lord and His Word by the Person of the Holy Spirit that makes our lives fruitful, prosperous and successful, in the midst of the challenges we face.

Until next week, practice surrendering to His love and see your faith soar!

Blessings,


Jenny