Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Day of No Open Vision

We need to study the scriptures to see if there is some thing about what we believe or some thing about what we do that God wants us to change.

Perhaps there is some thing that we believe to be true and it is not true. By studying God’s word we can know the truth and be corrected.

Perhaps there is some thing about how we act that God wants to change and by studying God’s word we can know the truth and be corrected.

Our opinions need to be measured by the word of God.
Our goals and ambitions need to be measured by the word of God.
Our relationships with other people must be measured by the word of God.
Our doctrines need to be measured by the word of God.

Isaiah 59:1-2
59 Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Isaiah 59:9-10
9 Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.
10 We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.

Matthew 15:12-14
12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.
14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Ephesians 4:17-18
17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

Visions and spiritual discernment are the work of the Holy Spirit.
When the Holy Spirit gives us visions and discernment, we will not produce actions contrary to the word of God. We will not violate righteous principles. We will not be half right and half wrong. Our actions will not have an unhealthy affect on the spiritual condition of others.

The Holy Spirit does give discernment and move upon ministers to put judgment on wickedness.

We have some spiritual examples:

Acts 5:1-14
5 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch.
13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.
14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)

When judgment is executed with the anointing of the Holy Spirit, it will cause the church to increase. Carnal judgment will divide and destroy.

When error and truth are mixed together, it is poison to the body.
The Holy Spirit does not make mistakes. He certainly doesn’t operate contrary to righteousness.

Acts 8:18-25
18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.

Peter put judgment on Simon and condemned Simon’s motives and actions.
Simon’s sin was obvious and he did not resist Peter’s rebuke.
Holy Ghost judgment is always just and clear. It is not confusing.
Carnal judgment is not clear and it will produce confusion and hurt.

Hebrews 4:12-13
12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

This is the way truth works. It is judgment which produces life. The Holy Ghost operation is not messy or destructive. The surgical knife of the Holy Ghost will remove evil without harming the rest of the body. When surgery results in death to the body, the carnal surgeon is responsible for his failure to be guided by knowledge and wisdom.

1 Samuel 3:1, “And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.”

We live in a sleepy, lukewarm day in which there has been no open vision. There has not been a clear sounding of the Gospel Trumpet. The sounding of the message has been muffled and confused with the ideas, opinions and fears of men.

Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

This is good counsel for us who live in a dark and cloudy day. Keep the Law and you will be happy, for the Lord is able to hold you up and keep your soul from evil.

The prophet Isaiah warned that there would be priests and prophets: Isaiah 28:7, “they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.”

Unless we seek the Lord with all diligence and humility, this condition may exist among us.

Our only protection is to prayerfully draw close to God and receive help from the Holy Spirit who is able to keep us from falling into sin and evil surmising.

Isaiah 29:10-13
10 For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.
11 And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:
12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.
13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

The precepts of men will not bring us to spiritual enlightenment.

Micah 3:5-12
5 Thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.
6 Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.
7 Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God.
8 But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.
9 Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity.
10 They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.
11 The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the Lord, and say, Is not the Lord among us? none evil can come upon us.
12 Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.

This happened to Israel and it can also happen to us, if we do not have the Holy Spirit to teach us all things.

Habakkuk 2:1-4
2 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
2 And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

The just shall live by his faith.If you are unjust, do not expect your faith to save you.

Regardless of what you speak with your lips, if your actions are unjust, unmerciful and unrighteous, then your doctrines and your beliefs will not make you blameless.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

THE COOL OF THE DAY

It is important that our souls and our spirits experience a frequent refreshing time to maintain a healthy spiritual condition.

A walk in the fresh air is good for the body. It invigorates and supplies oxygen to blood to improve muscle and brain functions.

A spiritual walk with God as “in the cool of the day” will inspire and brighten your perspective of your daily activities. We need to be lifted up from the mundane routine of living to a heavenly place where our spiritual vision can behold the way our God would have us go forth.

Isaiah 28:12
“To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.”

When was the last time your soul felt refreshed? Refreshing times will come when you are reading your Bible with a loving thirst for the sweet instructions of your Lord Jesus Christ.

Refreshing times will come when you give your undivided attention to prayer with a desire to hear the voice of the Bridegroom as He whispers His loving instructions to teach, to comfort and to heal.

And, refreshing times will come when you enter into the house of God with the family of God to worship God and sing His praise for all that He has done for you.
These are refreshing times. These are times when the Holy Spirit comes and breathes upon you the fresh inspiration of God. When God is delighted with you, then you will be delighted with Him.

Acts 3:19
19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
Strongs Exhaustive Concordance: NT:403 a recovery of breath, i.e. (figuratively) revival:

This refreshing time has a reviving effect upon our soul. It is like a fresh drink of pure water for the thirsty worker. It is like a tasty meal to the hungry traveler. It will renew your strength, your vision and your hope.

This refreshing time will cause you to expect good things from the Lord and give you victory over negative thoughts and temptations to be depressed and doubtful.

Adam and Eve were accustomed to the daily experience of walking and talking with God. The Spirit of God would come to them and commune with them. Again, let me remind you that the word “spirit” literally translated means “breath” or “wind”.
When God created Adam, the scriptures tell us:

Genesis 2:7
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

This “breath of life” is the essence and power of life which comes from God.

Genesis 3:8
“And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.”

“The cool of the day” has nothing to do with time or temperature. It is a reference to the visitation of God’s Holy Spirit as He came to Adam and Eve to refresh them with His loving fellowship.

King David entreated God to visit them again, to refresh their souls and to revive their spirits.

Psalms 85
1 Lord, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.
2 Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.
3 Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger.
4 Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.
5 Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations?
6 Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?
7 Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.
8 I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.
10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
12 Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.
13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.

Just as King David called upon God to revive them and refresh them, so ought we also to seek after the refreshing times of the Lord. We need that frequent experience that our souls will be nourished by the Spirit of God and not faint.

We must be sure that our hearts are free from rebellion, from sin, from disobedience, from pulling back from doing the will of God. God will not send His Holy Spirit to refresh the sinner. He will not refresh the soul that is full of the pleasures of this world.

Isaiah 57:15
“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

God will send refreshing times to the person who has humbled their heart in obedience to the voice of God. God will not refresh the proud, the selfish or the worldly minded person. Is your soul prepared for a refreshing time with God?

John 7:37-39
37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

“If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” It is the Living Water that refreshes the soul and brings hope for the blessings of God.
Do you know what I am talking about?

Have you experienced the refreshing times when the Holy Spirit revives your heart and soul?
You will find it in prayer, in meditating on God's word and in worshipping God.
Have you been looking for revival in the wrong places?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

FAITH WITHOUT WORKS

Faith as it is defined in the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of Hebrew and Greek words is this:
• moral conviction of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God
• reliance upon Christ for salvation
• constancy in such profession
You do not have faith in God if you do not keep His commandments.
Obedience to His commandments proves that you truly believe.

James 2:14-26
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
[See verse 19, even the devils also believe.]


Can faith alone save a person? The implied answer is obviously, NO.

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
What benefit is there to your profession to care about others if you do not help them?
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
Do we have a clear witness and understanding that the apostle James is teaching us the necessity of works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Are works necessary? Why are works necessary?
Works prove the sincerity and validity of your claim to faith.
If you say you have faith and do not have works to prove it then your claim is invalid.


21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

Works then become the perfection of faith.
Works become the fruit of faith.
Works are the evidence and proof of faith.


23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
Do not dismiss the clear message of verse 24.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Faith without works is like a body without a spirit, it is dead.
Although we should not need further instruction to prove to us that we must have the works of righteousness in order to be saved from sin and hell, the Bible gives us abundant witnesses of this truth.

Matthew 25:34-46
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

When we do the works of meeting the needs of others, we are doing the work of Christ.
Jesus considers our good deeds as if they were done to Him personally.
Likewise, Jesus considers our failure to do good works as a failure to work for Him.


41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Do you have good works? Are you meeting the needs of others?
Paul told Timothy to exhort: 1 Timothy 6:18…that they be rich in good works,
Paul told Titus …Titus 2:7….In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works:

Hebrews 12:11-14
11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

Why do we chasten children? Because their deeds are evil. We want them to do the right thing and not do the wrong thing. We chasten them to help them change their conduct. We chasten them because their works are not the works of righteousness. Our Heavenly Father also chastens His children for the same purpose.

Hebrews 12:11-14
11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

Faith is internal; righteousness is external. If you have a true experience of salvation you will become a new creature, inside and out. Your heart will change and your conduct will change. And as the Holy Spirit teaches you to change your conduct, you should be quick to obey. If you are too slow because of your lack of zeal, the Holy Ghost will chasten you to get your attention. If you rebel against the will of God and the rod of correction, you will become a sinner by your own choice. You can not stand in the presence of God with sin in your life. You can not be a sinner and a saint at the same time.

Titus 2:1-12
1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

Isn’t behavior all about works? Paul is telling Titus to teach the people about holy behavior.

4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

These are deeds, acts, works.

6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
Show thyself a pattern of good works. Are we talking about works?
8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
9 Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;
10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.
11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.

Colossians 3:3-10
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Galatians 5:19-25
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Have you crucified your flesh? Have you crucified the affections and lusts of your flesh?
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Are you walking in the flesh or the spirit?
Are your works righteous or wicked?

Matthew 7:16-23
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Remember, faith is internal; righteousness is external.

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Everyone has works. Your have works of righteousness or works of iniquity.
Your works are either good or bad.

Romans 2:1-13
1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
People will be rewarded according to their deeds. Faith is important and vital but your deeds and your works will determine God’s judgment of your life.
7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

Many people believe that faith is all that is necessary. No works required.
We do not believe that.

May God help us not live like we believe works are not necessary.
May people see our good works and glorify God.