Extraordinary

In Extraordinary, John Bevere unpacks the truths from God’s Word which show God’s desire for His children to live an abundant life. We are not called to the “status quo.” John shows us exactly what it takes to move beyond an ordinary existence and to take hold of an extraordinary life. Prepare to be challenged and changed if you read this book!

If you have ever asked the question, “Is it possible to live a life free from sin?” this book is for you. If you find yourself constantly battling the same sinful habits, this book is for you. If you want to live life in the power that God has given and not through your own effort and ability, this book is for you. If you are looking to live a life fully immersed in the extraordinary, then this book is for you.

The truth is, as John points out, “many of us have been taught that grace is an unmerited gift and by it we were given eternal life in heaven. However, what’s been neglected in many evangelical circles is the understanding of how grace provides the power to live – extraordinarily – a successful life that pleases God before eternity.”

How is this possible? Grace. “Grace gives us the ability to exceed our own ability. It gives us the ability to live extraordinarily!” In fact, God’s expectations of those filled with His Spirit are greater than His expectations were of those who lived under the law because of His empowering grace.

Where does this grace come from? Faith. “We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Romans 5:2). “Faith deeply believes God will do what He says, and it subsequently produces (both) words of agreement and actions of obedience.” Genuine faith speaks and acts on what it believes. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Without faith and grace, we live in the ordinary, not the extraordinary.”

How do we have access to this faith through which we receive grace? The Holy Spirit. “We resist carnality through the power imparted by the Holy Spirit into our spirit.” Even our mortal bodies are restored to (overcoming) life by the power of the His Spirit dwelling in us (Romans 8:10-11).

Live in the power of the Holy Spirit; live Extraordinarily!

Did Zacchaeus Know His Name?

Zacchaeus: meaning “Pure and Righteous.”

When I review his life I have to wonder; did Zacchaeus know his name? His parents named him in hope that his lifestyle would match his name. However, Zacchaeus had long forgotten what it was to be pure and righteous in his dealings with his fellow-man.

Photo by uempe

A tax collector by trade, Zacchaeus had compromised his integrity until he became calloused to the virtues that comprised the meaning of his name. Gathering from the poor, enriching the enemy; his habit was to take more than was owed that he might line his pockets with the silver of his own people. Certainly, Zacchaeus did not know his own name!

Being small of stature and few of friends, he was relegated to perching in a sycamore tree if he was to see what all the fuss was about in Jericho. As Jesus passed under the tree he looked up and called, “Zaccheaus, come quickly! I must eat at your house today.”

“What is this? He knows my name?”

Yes, Zacchaeus, he knows your name; even when you have forgotten. He looks beyond the person that you have become as a result of the decisions you have made. He sees beyond your faults and failures. He looks past the outward man, hated by your neighbors. His gaze is fixed on that which is beyond the blood; the man who He has called you to be and He says, “I must come into your house today.”

And when He comes in, he will help you remember your name.

Love and Holiness

I recently read an article highlighting the letters of Francis Schaeffer. The post called attention to Shaeffer’s emphasis on the Christian’s responsibilty to reflect both the love and the holiness of God. It was Schaeffer’s conviction, and I believe he was correct, that these two characteristics could coinside in an individual only by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Photo by leicadog1

Here is the quote from an undated letter:

Increasingly I believe that after we are saved we have only one calling, and that is to show forth the existence and the character of God. Since God is love and God is holy, it is our calling to act in such a way as to demonstrate the existence of God–in other words to be and to act in such a way as to show forth His love and His holiness simultaneously. Further, I believe that the failure to show forth either of these is equally a perversion.

Of course, in one’s own strength it is only possible to show forth either love or holiness. But to show forth the holiness and love of God simultaneously requires much more. It requires a moment by moment work of the Holy Spirit in a very practical way.

In the flesh we can exhibit a pharisitical vengance against sin or we can exhibit a benevolance that dismisses sin. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit do these characteristics come into balance.

“All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.” Psalms 25:10

A Good Confession

by Frederic Faber

The chains that have bound me are flung to the wind,
By the mercy of God the poor slave is set free;
And the strong grace of heaven breathes fresh o’er the mind,
Like the bright winds of summer that gladden the sea.

There was nought in God‘s world half so dark or so vile
As the sin and bondage that fettered my soul;
There was nought half so base as the malice and guile
Of my own sordid passions, or Satan‘s control.

For years I have borne about hell in my breast;
When I thought of my God it was nothing but gloom;
Day brought me no pleasure, night gave me no rest,
There was still the grim shadow of horrible doom.

It seemed as if nothing les likely could be
Than that light should break in on dungeon so deep;
To create a new world were less hard than to free
The slave from his bondage, the soul from its sleep.

But the Word had gone forth, and said, Let there be light,
And it flashed through my soul like a sharp passing smart;
One look to my Savior, and all the dark night,
Like a dream scarce remembered, was gone from my heart.

I cried out for mercy, and fell on my knees,
And confessed, while my heart with keen sorrow wrung;
‘Twas the labor of minutes, and years of disease
Fell fast from my soul as the words from my tongue.

And now, blest be God and the sweet Lord who died!
No deer on the mountain, no bird in the sky,
No bright wave that leaps on the dark bounding tide,
Is a creature so free or happy as I.

All hail, then, all hail, to the dear Precious Blood,
That hath worked these sweet wonders of mercy in me;
May each day countless numbers throng down to its flood,
And God have His glory, and sinners go free.

Get Back To Your Burdens

“Get back to your burdens!” was Pharaoh’s angry response to the request of Moses and Aaron to let their people go (Exodus 5:4). The enemy of our soul responds in kind to the sinner saved by grace.

Photo by Timothy C.

“Get back to your burdens!” It is the threatening command of our old taskmaster heard after a sinful mistake. He hopes to convince us that we will always be subject to his every command.

“Get back to your burdens!” It is the whip he cracks to keep his slaves in place. It is the demand that causes us to cower in fear unless we know Grace.

Grace that says, “Come to me, ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” It is the call of the Jesus to every one who knows the sharp sting of sin’s cruel whip. “I’ll take your burdens and give you mine.”

“Get back to your burdens!” It is the threatening demand of that which no longer possess you.

Your burdens were rolled onto your Savior at Calvary’s cross. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Don’t pick up what you laid down. Get back to His burdens.

A Different Kind of Fire

Luke 9:51-56

The “Son’s of Thunder” had a fire in their belly. Their anger burned within them. They were raised to despise the Samaritans in the first place, but now they had refused to accept Jesus into their village.

“What do you want us to do, Jesus?” they asked, “Should we call down fire from heaven to consume them all?” It is only natural that these brothers would want to defend their Teacher. The only problem is the Teacher doesn’t operate according to human nature.

The rejected LORD turned and sharply rebuked His disciples, demonstrating His love and forgiveness of the Samaritans who had just rejected Him. “I did not come to destroy men, I came to save them!”

Jesus had a different kind of fire in mind for these Samaritans.

Photo by Korova Interociter

Acts 8:14-17

The “Son’s of Thunder” had a fire in their belly. In fact, ever since the Day of Pentecost, many Jews had a fire in their belly and that fire was spreading fast! Word came to Jerusalem that Philip had taken the Gospel concerning Jesus to the Samaritans and many had believed and been baptized. They sent Peter and John.

I can only imagine what was going through John’s mind as he passed through Samaria. I wonder if he passed through the same village that had refused to allow Jesus to enter. Is it possible that he remembered the plans that he had for these people not so long ago?

He had once asked Jesus, “Should we call down fire from heaven to consume them all?” Now he asked Jesus, “Please send down the fire from heaven and consume them all!”

Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost – a different kind of fire.

Reader, take a look at the world around you. They ALL will be consumed by fire. Which kind may very well depend on you.

Tell them about a different kind of fire!

Jesus is the Answer, Job!

I am short on time today so allow me to be brief. I am presently reading through the Bible in the KJV and NLT and I am picking up a lot of things that I have never notice. I’m sure you have picked up on this before, but the language of the NLT really opened this passage up for me. You can read it in the KJV but allow me to quote only the NLT.

Job 9:32-35

God is not a mortal like me, so I cannot argue with him or take him to trial. If only there were a mediator between us, someone who could bring us together. The mediator could make God stop beating me, and I would no longer live in terror of his punishment. Then I could speak to him without fear, but I cannot do that in my own strength.

Jesus is the answer, Job!

He is the mediator!

He paid the price for us!

Because of him, we no longer live in terror of punishment!

Now I can go boldly to the throne of grace!

No, not because I saved myself. With man, that would be impossible. But with God, all things are possible!

Unless

There are Universal Laws to which all men are subject unless acted upon by another law.  An example is gravity – It is a constant force that is always in place and effects all matter.  Furthermore, you don’t have to believe in the law or even be aware of it for it to work.  Unless another law, like lift, gives you power over it, gravity will constantly be successful in its quest to keep you on the ground.

Photo by 900hp

One such Universal Law is the Law of Sin & Death.  It states that all men are sinners (Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”) and that sin ALWAYS leads to death (Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death.”)

And so you can see the predicament of mankind.  WE ARE SINNERS DESERVING OF DEATH! 

That is a law governing all of mankind…UNLESS!  Unless acted on by another law.

Just as all matter is subject to gravity unless acted upon by another force, all mankind is subject to the law of sin and death unless acted on by a permanently opposing law.  

I am here to tell you that there is another law!

Scripture tells us, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”  Romans 8:2

God has another law!  It was put into play from the foundation of the world.  It is the Law of a substitute.  The innocent dying for the guilty.   The just taking the place of the unjust.

An object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted on by another force.

An object at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted on by another force.

The law of sin and death tells me that I am a sinner and sin leads to death unless!

I am Thankful for the Lamb, Jesus Christ!

Marching Orders: 2

Part 2 of 4

Last week I started a series called Marching Orders (first post) which I intend to finish this week.  In the first post I gave three orders given by the Apostle Paul to the Church at the end of the Church age (Hebrew 10:22-25).  Each order begins with the words “let us”.

1. Let us draw near.

2. Let us hold fast.

3. Let us consider one another.

In part two of this series, let us look at the first of these orders.  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”

First we must understand what a miracle it is that we even have this ability!

All throughout the Old Testament men were separated from the presence of God.  The presence of God dwelt in the tabernacle within the Holiest of Holies.  The only person that was allowed to enter that place was the high priest and even he was only to enter one time in a year.  There was a veil of separation between God and man.

Thank God that there is a new and living way, that being Jesus Christ.  When He died, the veil was rent from top to bottom.  Through Him, we have direct access to the presence of God.

But it doesn’t stop there, He poured out His Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.  He no longer dwells in temples made with man’s hands, but He dwells in the hearts of men!

The greatest miracle is the fact that a sinful man can be forgiven and granted access into the presence of a Holy God!

How do we draw nigh to God?  We need to have a relationship with Him.  We draw near to God by basic spiritual disciplines; prayer, fasting, study of the Word, etc.

If you have ever been to a Hibachi grill, you have watched as the Chef prepared the food while performing all sorts of amazing tricks; the onion volcano, the twirling spatulas, the tossed eggs.  After watching one of these performances, I asked the chef what the most difficult part of his job was.  His answer shocked me.  He told me the most difficult part was stirring the food.

All the tricks are nice but the most difficult part is often the most basic!

The Church needs a revival of spiritual discipline and meaningful relationship with God.

Warriors of Morning Draw Near to God!