INTIMACY WITH GOD: KEEPING YOURSELF FROM IDOLS

There are many things that will rob, steal and plunder our love and affection for the Lord Jesus. It is not just obvious sins and acts of carnality and disobedience which spoil us of the nearness of His presence, but it is also the good and acceptable things, which while having their proper place in the Christian life, have a tendency to make one devoid of the real mind of Christ. Such things as meetings, communions, baptisms, buildings, programs, doctrines, finances or other things that concern the church and ministry system, apart from the mind of Christ, will dry up the real heart of the Christian life. Often it’s these very things that rob us of the hallowing intimacy which we are to experience with God’s throne of grace and seat of mercy.

Here is the question we must ask ourselves in evaluating our love and devotion to God: What are we doing on the inside? Where, or toward what, are we directing our will and desire? That is what marks our life in relation to God. This Scripture gives us a sober warning:

“Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.” (John 5:21, TLB)

We are admonished in Scripture to guard our hearts (Prov. 4:23), to seek God with our whole heart (Ps. 119:2), to sanctify the Lord in our hearts (1 Pet. 3:15), to return to our first love (Rev. 2:4-5), and to beware of being cheated in our relationship to Christ (Col. 2:8). There are a lot of things we can do in this life to gain success, wealth, prestige, a name and reputation, a church and a ministry, but there’s nothing more fulfilling to the human heart than having an intimate, personal and growing relationship with the Lord Jesus.

INTIMACY, THE CURE FOR THE IMITATION OF MEN

“Therefore, knowing that they would come and take Him by force to make Him king, Jesus departed to a mountain by Himself alone” (John 6:15, MEV).

The world had no influence whatsoever on our high priest. He didn’t need men to give Him authority. Publicity and popularity were never His goal.

More than once, Jesus warned others not to make Him known (Matt. 12:16). The moonlight, not the spotlight, was the highlight in Jesus’ ministry. He spent many nights and early mornings alone in prayer.

The mountain was His preference. It was there that He secured the Father’s presence. It was there that He made His choices while blocking out other voices. It was there where He was given new manna for each new day.

This is where Jesus received His authority.

Priests (ministers and saints), hearken! If you do not spend time with God alone, you will always be a clone. You will clone ministry ideas, visions and strategies from others. You will copy and imitate the gifts and graces of others. Your authority will only come from man. You will drink from someone else’s well (anointing). You will steal someone else’s word. You will be a spiritual schizophrenic.

Fresh manna every day will result in doing things God’s way. Fresh bread bakes in the oven of fresh fellowship. You will always have hot bread (messages) for yourself and to serve the people.

Many of God’s priests have not worn their garments well. They have neglected the lot and portion of their lives and ministries, who is the Lord Himself. Instead of the Spirit’s incubation giving them fresh revelation, they allow insecurity and intimidation to produce a soulish imitation void of God’s power. In making their own plans and choosing their own course, they invite a spirit of divorce to come between themselves and the Lord.

A glad reunion awaits them, if they would only turn to the Lord with all their hearts. Intimacy with God is the cure for the imitation of men.

Be a support to us and follow our blog and help spread these messages. Also, consider subscribing to our ministry YouTube channel for weekly 15 minute Face to Face video impartations on the Spirit-filled life from my wife and I.  

Our books are forerunners to personal holiness, the move of God, and the return of the Lord. They also combat the departure from the faith and the turning away from the truth we are seeing in our day. 

Also, this ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who believe in the mandate and message of revival and restoration that this ministry carries. Again, if this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? 

DONATE 

Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.

THE TUMULTUOUS 2020s: THE COUNTER CULTURE CHURCH CANNOT CO-EXIST (Part 4)

In spite of church growth-ism in America … in spite of the greatest number of megachurches in our history … in spite of many seemingly successful Christian enterprises…in spite of pastors boasting of their supposed impact … we are experiencing the most rapid moral decline in America’s history.

Atheism and heathenism have accelerated. Our public school system and universities are mass producing socialists, communists and those with an aggressive anti-Christ agenda. And get this: Nearly half of all Millennial Christians now believe evangelism is wrong. Hard to believe that one, but those Barna surveys are fairly accurate.

Driven by a lust for popularity, position and power, many church pastors and leaders have wantonly turned a deaf ear to this national disaster that has dismantled faith and morality in America. It is a terrible thing to think that much of what we call “Christianity” in our land has become a system void of the reality and power that marked its earliest beginnings. In a majority of our churches, tradition, formality, entertainment and social justice have actually made their version of “Christianity” perhaps the greatest enemy of the cause of Christ—a bastion of order, technique, form, and philosophy that has ironically served to immunize us against the real Christ and the real gospel. Probably the worst of it is that we’ve become a consumer-driven and image-based enterprise that has left off the real demands of Christ and the call to genuine discipleship that makes us all fishers of men.

Listen to the words of Eugene Peterson:

“A huge religious marketplace has been set up in North America to meet the needs and fantasies of people just like us. There are conferences and gatherings custom-designed to give us what we need. Books and videos and seminars promise to let us in on the Christian “secret” of whatever we feel is lacking in our life: Financial security, well-behaved children, weight loss, exotic sex, travel to holy sites, exciting worship and celebrity teachers. The people who promote these goods and services all smile a lot and are good looking.

“We have become consumers of packaged spiritualities. This is idolatry. We never think of using this term for it, since everything we are buying or paying for is defined by the adjective “Christian.” But idolatry it is nevertheless: God packaged as a product; God depersonalized and made available as a technique or program. The Christian market in idols has never been more brisk or lucrative.”

HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS

As men and women, young and old, are becoming more and more dissatisfied with the systems of this world and of the American gospel enterprise version of Christianity, we are now seeing a remnant of true God seekers who actually pray and fast, and are passionate lovers of Jesus who will not compromise the gospel and resort to slick marketing to draw the attention of society. They are preaching the offense of the cross of Christ, not with enticing words of man’s speech but in demonstration of the Spirit and power of God. They are trusting the Holy Spirit to direct and build the church. We are now seeing a growing number of these messengers and God-men on the scene, and more are coming. It is a countercultural Christianity that will be contagious and spread like wildfire among those who long for real meaning and purpose in life. These are the Jesus people, the Jesus lovers.

This will result in a collision with consumerism Christianity that’s based on compromise and flows with the culture. There will be a mass exodus from so called “progressive” and “seeker-friendly” churches, and a great harvest of prodigals and false converts will be restored and genuinely converted. It will upset the religious crowd and much of our humanistic American culture. The two shall no longer coexist. There will be uprisings. There could even be riots. There will be increased persecution of the righteous. But there will also be revivals and explosions of zeal witnessed in fiery new converts.

Everything that can be shaken will be shaken. It’s not too late. In fact, it’s just beginning.

Be a support to us and follow our blog and help spread these messages. Also, consider subscribing to our ministry YouTube channel for weekly 15 minute Face to Face video impartations on the Spirit-filled life from my wife and I.  

Our books are forerunners to personal holiness, the move of God, and the return of the Lord. They also combat the departure from the faith and the turning away from the truth we are seeing in our day. 

Also, this ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who believe in the mandate and message of revival and restoration that this ministry carries. Again, if this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? 

DONATE 

Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.

A COMPELLING HOLIDAY SERIES: WILL THE REAL CHRISTMAS JESUS PLEASE STAND UP?

When we see Jesus as He is, 
glorious and worthy of our deepest loyalties and affections,
 deserving of our total focus and supreme attention;
 we will catch fire inwardly and burn with holy fear, and a holy hunger for the Word will grip our hearts,
 and we will proclaim Him as He is. ~Anonymous~

We celebrate Christ’s birth on Christmas, but for most He is not the center of the rejoicing and celebration that marks this time of year. I think many of us would agree that Christmas has become so commercialized that Christ is hardly noticed, much less celebrated and revered.

Easter would be in the same category. How in the world a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ could’ve ever evolved into an affinity with Easter bunnies and Easter eggs I’ll never know. Such is the tenuous nature of idolatry.

Is it possible for Jesus Christ to be lost at Christmas time and in Christianity in general, the very religion whose name it bears and professes? We know that without a relationship with Christ, just another religion is all that remains. We also know from scripture that someone can profess to know Christ but in works actually deny Him (Titus 1:16). But isn’t it also true that in works many may profess to know Him, but in authentic heart knowledge they do not?

Who knew Jehovah in Old Testament times? That earthly system of Judaism was to point the way to Christ, but in actuality it hid Him from the multitudes who were enmeshed in the works of the law. The external had glossed over the need for the internal. Sin and death reigned in the old order of the Law and all its rituals and ceremonial rules and customs.

Isn’t the same true today? There is an external order in modern Christianity that seems to rule and it is quite evident during the Christmas holidays. Its emphasis on appearance, hype, professionalism, showmanship, production, and commercialism that is prominent, especially during this time of year,  tends to hide the real Jesus from us. It easily allows us to deceive ourselves into thinking that somehow God is pleased with all this while Christ is glossed over.

Even many of our contemporary churches with their Madison Avenue tactics have become echo chambers for the latest trends in pop psychology, marketing, politics, entertainment, and entrepreneurial leadership while the piercing revelation of Christ and His simple demands are often overlooked or packaged in a way to make Him palatable to the masses.

We have become all too enamored with our own glory in the kingdoms that we are building, at times totally unaware of receiving that invisible kingdom “that cannot be shaken” (Heb. 12:2).

Judaism with all its forms, rituals, and framework began its removal 2,000 years ago and was replaced with a spiritual, heavenly standard established in the New Covenant. And now in this end time marks once again the removal of all that is external to bring us to a forcing point, and it is this: 

After all is said and done, how much of the Christ do you really have? Not what you do, not what you’ve built, not what you have, not all the shopping and gift giving and receiving done at Christmas time, not even the noble activities which constitute your Christian life, but how much of the Christ Himself have you got?

This Christmas series contains modified excerpts from my book, The Real Jesus. It is a book that I’d love to put into the hands of many during this holiday season. It would make a great gift.

If this article has been a blessing to you please share it. And may God make you a blessing during this Christmas season as you exalt the Lord Jesus Christ.