Monday, October 1, 2007

OCTOBER NEWSLETTER 2007

Living Word Christian Fellowship

“That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving...” Psalm 26:7

Vol. 16, No. 10 October 2007


Holiness is a calling. To be holy is to be like Jesus Christ because He is holy. But do we really know what holiness is? Most Christians don’t pursue it because it takes too much effort on their part. They want Christ to do it all for them. Because of Christ’s blood that was shed they believe holiness is automatic. It is not.
In this day we are being called to holiness because a great separation is coming to the earth: the holy from the profane. Eventually the Lord will say, “Let the filthy remain filthy and to the righteous let them stay righteous and to the holy let them be holy still.” In time, the Lord will become fed up with the lukewarm wishy-washy people who can’t make up their mind how to serve and worship Him.
But for now He is calling us to holiness. There is a peculiar portion of text that God spoke to Moses. God said, “When a person comes near to Me he must show himself holy.” In the book of Hebrews we are told to come boldly to the throne of grace in time of need. That passage has bothered me at times because I don’t always feel worthy to come. But now I understand that when we come in the holiness of Christ we are accepted by the Father. Too many people try to come boldly but without holiness in their heart. No wonder they don’t get their prayers answered. No wonder people of this world don’t understand the magnificence of our Lord! YOU CANNOT APPROACH GOD ANY WAY YOU WANT. No, we aren’t under the Law of Moses. But the blood of Jesus demands holiness as well.
The next time you wonder where God went, check you level of holiness. Is it genuine? Is the blood of Christ purifying your life and are you living as one who is holy before the Lord?

In Christ,

Pr. Steve

Inner Limits


Eze. 44:15-18 (KJV) “But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord GOD: 16 They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge. 17 And it shall come to pass, that when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come upon them, whiles they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within. 18 They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with any thing that causeth sweat.”
(Rev.19:8) “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”
First Peter 2:9 tells us we all have the same call and privilege to minister to the Lord – it is first above all else that we seek to do. And this joy is given to the sons of Zadok – it is the joy of coming into His presence. How do we prepare ourselves to come into the inner court to minister before the Lord?
TAKE OFF THE WOOL & PUT ON THE LINEN: The wool was the standard for the outer court – the work that was bloody and messy and dirty.
When the Lord said He did not want us to “sweat” in His presence, He was speaking about our hearts. If the linen represents our righteousness, then we no longer have the guilt and condemnation of sin – we can relax before Him. Righteousness is not based on what we have done, but on our standing with Christ Jesus by faith. We have confessed our sins, we are forgiven of our sins and we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus so we can obtain the known presence of God. UNLESS WE TRULY UNDERSTAND THIS, WE WILL NOT ENTER INTO THE DEPTH OF WORSHIP THAT GOD WANTS. We will remain on the outside feeling insecure.
So we put on a heart that is quiet and a mind that is secure, allowing us to breathe in the presence of God. Psa 46:10 “Be still, and know that I [am] God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” “know” = experience (yada – to see)
We cannot know the presence of God unless our hearts are stilled before Him. Throughout our times of seeking Him, our minds are filled with garbage, condemnation, agendas, STUFF. “To take the wool off” means to get rid of the distractions. How?
1. Enter His gates with thanksgiving
2. Enter His courts with praise – speak it
3. Write down the important things that are filling your minds, then get rid of the rest. Resolve to settle your mind
4. Speak to your mind: “Be quiet”
1Pe 1:13 “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Begin to ignore the mental interruptions, and focus on Jesus.
We are ready to submit ourselves to Him and offer ourselves as instruments of righteousness (Rom.6:13).
(Phil. 3:3) When you come to this place you can have the assurance that you are in the spirit. Begin to hear truth, comfort, life, hope, healing, and revelation. Be filled with the spirit = allow the Spirit to control your thoughts.
If we fail to do this, we walk in presumption and the flesh will win. Presumption is the greatest threat to being able to worship in Spirit & Truth.
Once we have quieted our hearts and minds we become a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is our spiritual act of worship. At the Spirit’s prompting we then can realize “We have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor.2:16)
Remember, Jesus is seeking two kinds of people: Worshippers (Jn.4:21-23) & Intercessors (Eze.22:30). Wherever there are pray-ers and praisers, the Lords work will be released.
We must worship in Spirit & Truth – by the Spirit with integrity of heart. What the Spirit says and wants – GOES. (1 Cor. 2:11) Only the Spirit knows what the Father wants, so as a sacrifice we respond accordingly. If we always worship the same way, we are not being led by the Spirit. Sometimes we are silent, and other times we shout. So the real question is not “What do I need to do to get my need met?” But, “What kind of worship does God want from me?”
This brings us into the inner limits with God where things begin to happen.
Worship is not the end, but the means to find the intimacy with God that He desires. It does have to do with the hunger that we have and the desire that we crave. It is what brings BREAKTHROUGH. Remember, if we don’t have the presence of the glory, we go no further spiritually. But learning the inner court requirements cultivates intimacy with the Lord. It brings the embrace that draws us into His chambers. It is the fulfillment of our longing heart that cries continually, “Draw Me, Lord.”
This state is one of absolute helplessness, humility, holiness: Song 2:14 “…let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet [is] thy voice, and thy countenance [is] comely.”
Worship is our expression of our longing and love for our Lord. [I believe the Lord is getting ready to fulfill these longings.]
Praise is a declaration of who God is, while worship is an encounter with who He is. Praise is an act of the will. Worship is the interaction of our will with the Spirit.
The experience of worship must not be more important than the God we worship. If you become too familiar with God, you won’t seek Him for His greatness. Worship becomes a moment by moment desire for His glory, a living communion with the living God.
(Ezekiel 44:18) The one area that keeps us from living a life of worship is the negative thought patterns that govern our thinking: Rom 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Mar 12:30 “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment.”
1st. Mind = nous (nooce) = the intellect of understanding
2nd. Mind = Dianoia = imagination
This is why behavior modification does not work. We try to be something and fail and our minds are filled with dread. The process of being conformed to His likeness is not a matter of willpower, but of positioning ourselves to allow the Holy Spirit to rule.
To renew our minds is to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us and fill us with God’s Word for the time. To love the Lord with all your mind is to allow your imagination to be filled with images that reflect what God’s Word tells us. It is an exercise or a discipline that does not allow our minds to wander in the garbage pails of life.
Isa 26:3 “Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace, [whose] mind [is] stayed [on thee]: because he trusteth in thee.”
Mind = yetzer (Hebrew) = imagination
Phi 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”
Mind =Phroneo (froneho)(Greek) = the exercise & affection of
We don’t empty our mind the way Eastern meditation suggests. We fill our minds with meditations from the Spirit & the Word. In the inner court we find the “table of shewbread” or “the bread of His presence.” To meditate means to mutter and mumble the word. Let’s do it!

-Pr. Steve

I am going to be sharing with you thoughts from my journal over the past few years. This is to show you how the Lord has brought about His Word in my life to minister to you and to show you how real this walk can be. Please read and understand by the Spirit about ...

. . . My calling as a pastor


Oct. 3: “There are still too many looking for the easy road to take. This lull is because of indecisiveness. You know there is only one way – My way. Do not be deceived by what you see or don’t see, but believe what My Word tells you. The world’s way looks easy but is full of trouble and deceit, but My way is truly easy and light even though it doesn’t seem to match what you call easy. Stay focused on the spiritual things and the way will be made straight.”
Oct. 8: “The fire has come to burn away all that is not eternal. You feel empty and barren, but I will come to refill you with My life.” Vision: A growing mountain, beginning to pour out water from the throne down the mountain making a refreshing spring. The sheep are running to be refreshed. Oh the freshness of God’s presence.
Oct. 9: Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a good word lifts it up.
Oct. 13: “I am your burden bearer, lay it all on Me. I am at work.”
Oct. 16: “You see the dark thick clouds bellowing with the lightning and thunder. It is fast approaching. Do not fear. It is the coming of My Glory! The natural man will not understand, but I am releasing the power of My coming. You will carry it and be a part of My plan for this season.”
Oct. 21: “You have been faithful to me all these years, now you will see with your eyes My faithfulness to you. You will experience firsthand what I have placed in your heart and you will know Me with a new understanding.” (It’s the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!)
Oct. 28: “I want to minister to you as much as you want to minister to the flock. You stand on the bridge and watch as My people are blessed and you see those who resist Me. It is time for you to be refreshed in Me. I will meet your heavenly desire and the blessing will continue to increase as I have ministered to your spirit man. Now your soul will manifest My deliverance.”
Oct. 30: Nothing compares to the promise I have in You!
Oct. 31: “I have given you My Glory for a covering and a mantel of anointing to lead You. For I am in control and you are following My commands.”

One Narrow Road part 2



The ending of part #1 focused on the fact that the seeker-sensitive church places more emphasis on the seekers than upon the Lord Jesus Christ. To place emphasis on the pains and the natural needs of people is a set-up for the letdown that comes when a person is not willing to lose his life to find it. In other words, we must not promote a feel good God.
John 12:31-32 (KJV) “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. (32) And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.”
The goal is that every life should exalt God and His Kingdom. There is judgment to be found and felt for those who deliberately oppose Christ, and there is disappointment to be gained if the focus remains upon self-felt needs.
Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV) “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.”
There is no language in that scripture that suggests modifying the church to draw people in. In fact, there is a point blank command of how we are to go and find the people that are to be given the opportunity to enter the Kingdom of God. Not only does the seeker-sensitive method dilute the sold out to Christ emphasis, but it also excuses people from “GOING” and doing evangelism the way it was commanded to be done. Primarily the church was always a gathering of believers, “The Body of Christ,” the local assembly of the elect, but never was it thought of as a modern day half-way house for nonreligious people.
1 Corinthians 3:6-11 (KJV) “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. (7) So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. (8) Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. (9) For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building. (10) According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. (11) For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
One of the greatest deceptions of today is that someone can come to God in any other way than what He says. The scriptures say that God must draw by tugging upon our heart and that our responsibility is to plant and water the Word of God in others. We must not attempt to modify the instructions just to please people. People in general have an inert desire for the “new thing” and the “bigger and better.” It is that desire that often causes them to swerve off their designated paths. The truth is that if a person starts off trying to enter into the Kingdom of God on the wrong road, he will probably end up on the wrong road as well.
Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
The natural streets of stone, earth, and quarry we use every day are innumerable, but there is only one spiritual path that we must follow. Though we are not able to see it in the natural, the road we must travel is much like the path that God opened for His people through the Red Sea, made by God without variations. There truly is destruction on either side, but salvation and safety are found by those who will stay on the strait and narrow. So gravitate to a church where you cannot hide. Get involved in a church where you are held accountable and are taught, discipled, and seek to gain an in-depth relationship with God along with an ever growing understanding of the Word of God. Those are the things that will enable you to stay upon the straight road, as well as equip you to guide others.

-Kurt Thurston

Reasoning


There are two kinds of Christian believers in the world: the church attendee and the disciple. Only the disciple is a true Christian!
How many Christians of our day have forsaken all in order to follow the Lord? How many are following the Master, and bearing their personal cross? Not very many!
Ours truly is a day of intense prayer and repentance, humility and sackcloth.
The reason so many Christians are deceived today is that they do not watch and pray.