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Abide in the Vine

In John Chapter 15, Jesus gives a parable about a vineyard.

He says that he is the true vine, the Father is the Farmer and his disciples are the branches.

Just as a branch cannot produce fruit without the vine neither can we produce fruit without Jesus Christ.

Every branch in Jesus Christ is pruned so that it will produce fruit. No fruit can be produced without pruning.

Pruning is a part of growing in the Lord. Pruning requires taking away the old so that the new will grow.

This process can be painful. We are set in our ways and don’t like change. But in order to produce Holy Spirit fruit in our lives we must yield to the pruning process. Out with the old man filled with dry old ways of doing things and yielding to the sharp pruning tools of the Father.

Jesus tells us to abide in him. Continue in his word which is able to make us into what the Lord wants us to be. Filled with Holy Spirit fruit!

Just as a vine cannot produce fruit by itself neither can we produce fruit without Jesus Christ.

If we continue in the Lord we will produce much fruit.

Pruning the vine every spring just before growth begins allows the branches to have enough air movement around them to reduce disease.

Heavy pruning of the vine provides the best fruit.

While pruning may be needed throughout the year, pruning is best done when the vine is dormant, just before growth begins in spring.

Dormancy is when the plant slows down. Its metabolism, energy consumption, and growth are at a slow pace.

Sometimes when we seem to be inactive, placed on the shelf, that is when the pruning happens. Our lives in a winter stage while seeming to be going no where are in reality being pruned.

Reflection. Repentance. Seeking the Lord. Searching for answers. Giving up of sin. Intense prayer. Dying to self.

The winter stage many times can be rough going but harsh winters with much pruning produce a great harvest of fruit.

In order for a grape vine to flourish it must have plenty of sun shine. In the same way we must have plenty of Holy Spirit saturation.

If a vine has little light it will eventually dry up and die.

In his presence is fullness of joy. We get inspired in God’s presence, strengthened and empowered.

Being in the sun reduces pest problems too. That old devil and his varmints hate the light. The more light the less devil problems.

The vine also needs plenty of water for the roots to grow and expand deep into the ground. The branches can’t produce a healthy life flow without plenty of the water.

Being watered with the word makes us grow in the Lord.

Without the water of the word our roots will shrivel and die or at the very least be stunted in growth.

Roots need to be soaked in water before planting. This is significant because a vine produces healthy branches only after a deep saturation.

The more of the word we are saturated in, the more we become grounded in the truth. It is hard to dig up deep rooted plants.

It is interesting to note that a grapevine needs some type of support system or the branches will trail along the ground. In the same way we need support to grow properly. Without proper support the Lord’s disciples will become bogged down, carrying a lot of burden.

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Another important factor in a healthy vineyard is to weed constantly. If weeds grow under the grape vine the soil temperature will stay cooler. This will delay growth.

The cares of this life if not dealt with will choke the branches from receiving life from the vine. We need to hoe out all those worldly cares and troubles. Being diligent to guard our hearts against anything that will clog up our spiritual life.

Jesus tells us that if we continue in him then we will be fruitful but if not then we will wither and possibly die.

A healthy branch abides in the vine and produces much fruit!

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. John 15:7-9

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The Door

There are natural doors that open to allow entrance and close to prevent entrance. In the Kingdom of God a door represents entrance or access from the natural realm to the Spiritual realm.

In Hebrew door is pethach. An opening, gate, entrance way. It is more than just an ordinary natural door. The root word for pethach is pâthach which means to open or loose.

God lives in the spiritual realm. The only way to enter into the realm of the Spirit of God is through the DOOR. Jesus is that door.

In Jesus’ time the sheepfold was a rock wall built of stones. This wall provided protection from predators. The enclosure also had a door which was an opening for the sheep to come in and go out.  The Shepherd would lie at the door in order to protect the sheep.

 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. John 10:1-5

In Genesis 18:1 Abraham had a visitation of the Lord at the door of his tent. You will find many references in scripture where the Lord dialogues with his people at the door. The Door represent Jesus Christ the Messiah in which we must enter to have fellowship with God.

Blood was sprinkled on the door. The Lord passed over the door so that the destroyer would not destroy. Ex. 29:32

The door of the tabernacle is where the Lord met with Moses to speak to him. Ex. 33:9

The offerings were put at the door of the tabernacle. Ex 40:29 Leviticus. 1:5, 4:18 Numbers 6:10

Prophets or Nazerites were dedicated to the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. Numbers 6:13

The Israelites repented at the door of their tents.  Numbers 11:10

The Lord came down in a pillar of the cloud and stood at the door of the tabernacle to speak. Numbers 12:5

The Israelites put incense at the door of the tabernacle. Numbers 6:18

God’s glory appeared at the door of the congregation. Numbers 16:19

The law was to be written upon the door posts of the Israelites houses and gates. Deuteronomy 11:20

A bondservant’s ear was to be pierced on the door. Deuteronomy 15:17

The Lord appeared at the door of the tabernacle in a pillar of cloud over the door of the tabernacle. Ezekiel 10:19

The cherubim stood at the temple door and the glory of the Lord was above them. Deuteronomy 31:15

Prophecy of giving Israel a door of hope. Jesus is that door. Hoses 2:15

The 5 virgins who were prepared went in with Jesus and the 5 not prepared had the door shut on them. Matthew 25: 10

In Revelations 3:20 Jesus says I stand at the door and knock.

Jesus knocks on the door or entrance to our heart, he calls us by his Holy Spirit. If we hear his voice and come through the door he will have fellowship us.

When we come to Jesus by responding to his voice we can go in through the door to the realm of the Spirit and then out through the door to the natural realm with our needs met.

Commune or fellowship with the Lord gives us access into the holy realm of God’s Kingdom.

In Revelation 4:1

A door was opened in the heavenly realm for John and the word of the Lord came to him.

Once we come through the Door we have access into the Holy of holies. We can now come before God’s throne with our praise, worship, prayers and intercession. We can even come to receive instruction in righteous, get revelation of the word of God and simply just hang out in God’s presence.

In Matthew 7 Jesus tells us to ask, seek and knock. These 3 words hold different meanings.

To ask is to petition, to seek is to diligently look for or inquire and to knock is to request entrance.

In Revelations 3:20 Jesus is talking to his church.

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

When we knock on the door, we are requesting access to the realm of the Spirit where God resides.

“Whoever knocks the door will be opened.”

We are gaining access to this realm of the Spirit when we come through the door. Jesus is that door into the presence of God.

There we can commune with the Lord. It’s a spiritual experience with God that takes us from this natural realm to the realm of the Spirit. It is our spirit fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit. Communing together in one accord. 

Not every Christian knocks on the door or comes through the door as made evident in the Lord’s plea in Revelations 3:20

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Either they don’t know they have this access to the place where God resides or they don’t believe it. Scriptures tell us that we have a better covenant based on better promises.

But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. Hebrews 8:6

Our access to the realm of the Spirit is based on our having gone through the Door. The veil to the Holy of Holies is now removed. We can like the high priest did once a year, enter into God’s presence. We can come every day!

The heavenly realm of communion in the Holy Spirit is available to those who knock on the door. That is through Jesus Christ we can come into the throne room of grace. It is much more than petition. It is much more than intercession. 

It is having intimacy with the King of Kings in the realm of the Spirit of God. Dwelling in his very presence !

Knock and the door will be opened unto you for he who comes to me will never be refused. John 6:37

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Forgiveness

The scriptures tell us that according to the law of Moses without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness or remission of sins.

The KJV uses the word remission which is more than just forgiveness. It means to be set free from sin and its consequence.

Remission in the Greek, is aphesis, which means forgiveness, deliverance and liberty. To not only be forgiven (letting go as if they had never been committed), but to be released from the bondage or imprisonment of the penalty for sin.

Sin has consequence. Under the law, a life must be given up for a life. The soul that sins shall die. Romans 6:23

Jesus, who was without sin, gave his life up for the sinner who repents and forsakes their sin. Repentance is a big factor in the remission process. Without repentance there is no forgiveness of sin. In order to receive this remission of sin, one must repent.

Without repentance, there is no remission of sins. Acts 2:38

 Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. Acts 3:19

Repentance Metanoeo in the Greek is to have a change of mind for the better. To turn from sin or breaking God’s laws. To be converted to God’s word. That is to receive the gospel’s truth.

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. Isaiah 52:9

Sin has consequence. It produces death. Not just eternal death but death as in no life of God. It separates us from God. He does not hear prayer, we lose our joy, and we can become fearful, sick and weak.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7

The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction. Galatians 6:8

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Proverbs 28:13

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Revelation 3:19

Scriptures tell us that it is FAITH IN THE BLOOD that saves from the penalty of sin. When we repent and turn to the truth of the gospel we must have faith in the blood of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sin.

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; Romans 3:25

We cannot save ourselves by good works or good deeds.

Romans Chapter 3 tells us that under the law we all are condemned to die eternally because of sin. Unless we turn to Jesus Christ for the remission of our sin.

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. Romans 3:25

Once we are forgiven by repentance and faith in the blood of Jesus Christ then we are made righteous before God as if we have never sinned.

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Romans 5:21

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: Philippians 3:9

If we confess our sin to God, repent of our sin and have faith in the Blood of Jesus Christ we can be forgiven and made righteous by God as if we have never sinned.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. John 1:9

  


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God Declares HIS Word.

Have you ever heard of the idiom don’t put the cart before the horse?

What it means is don’t do things in the wrong order.

A spiritual principle many get out of order is the act of declaration.

To declare is to say something emphatically or to make it officially known.

A recent Christian trend today is to “declare God’s word.”

While it is true that God’s word has power to save, heal, provide and deliver, what is not true is that if you declare God’s word enough times that it will cause miracles to happen.

Not only is this not a Biblical concept but it is rather occultist in its application.

Let me explain.

To declare in the Hebrew is nâgad which means to announce, expose, predict or profess. To bring a report or speak forth an utterance.

Let’s look at the word used in context.

According to Genesis 41:24 the King of Babylon asked his magicians to interpret his dream but they were not able to declare it.

In other words magicians cannot declare a thing that God has hidden.

We know however from that story that Daniel was able to interpret the dream after prayer and fasting because God revealed the information to him. Then Daniel  was able to bring forth the interpretation to the king.

In Deuteronomy 1:5 Moses declared the law to the people.

Remember that the law was given to Moses through revelation from God. After the law was revealed to him then he declared it.

In Judges 12:12-14, Samson put forth a riddle and asked the Philistines to declare it to him but they could not. So the Philistines used devious methods through Delilah in order to obtain the interpretation of the riddle.

In Kings Chapter 22 we see that Micaiah declared the word of the Lord while the other prophets declared the word out of their own hearts to please the king. I guess they valued their heads more than they valued God’s revealed word.

In the book of Job we find God demanding Job to declare to him all his mysteries since he thought he had the mind of God and knew all the answers.

In Psalms 2:7, David says that he will declare the word that God has spoken unto him. David often declared God’s word that was revealed to him.

Now let’s go to the New Testament.

Declare in the Greek is phrazō which means to indicate by word or act. To expound upon.

Matthew tells us that Jesus declared to his disciples what his parables meant. He expounded to them his word.

John 17: 26, relaying Jesus’ prayer to the Father he said that he had declared his word to his disciples.

In Acts 13, the disciples declared the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In the book of Romans and other epistles Paul and John declare Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

Do you see a pattern here?

When the word “declare” is used in scriptures it is used to make an announcement of a particular truth of God that is revealed to a person.

That being said, the word “declare” is not used in reference to making something happen.

It is used in cases when the word of God is revealed or expounded upon which bring revelation to the recipient. 

Then the word that is revealed is declared according to the publishing of it for a divine purpose.

The scriptures being declared at random for the purpose of receiving an outcome of one’s own desire is not a Biblical concept.

Why then do people do it? Probably to try and force God to do what they want.

Like I said when used in that way declaration actually becomes a form of manipulation. Manipulating through the use of scripture for personal benefit.

In its proper order we declare the word of God when God has revealed it to us by his Holy Spirit for his purposes. What is revealed in scripture many times had perquisites attached to them. Unless one is in obedient to the perquisite it is a useless objective to declare that particular word.

As the Lord reveals his word to our heart and we walk in obedience to that revealed word then we can be assured that God’s word declared to us will come to pass!

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Ephesians 6:2 Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise) that it may be well with thee,

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.

Isaiah 26:3, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee.

1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.

Deuteronomy . 11:26-28 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God.”

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Take No Thought

Jesus said in his word that he did not want us to “take thought” (Merimna) for our life.

In the Greek, Merimna, means to be anxious, troubled, worried, prompting one’s interest, looking out for, caring a lot about.

Jesus knew that by taking thought we can become mentally and emotionally sick. Science reveals that excessive worry causes stress that can make us physically and mentally sick.  That is why Jesus said not to worry.

 Therefore, I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Matthew 6:25,26

The root of emotional anxiety and depression is caused by worry.

Studies have shown a correlation between a negative thought life and depression.

https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2F0022-3514.48.3.799

Merimna is from the root word merízō which means “to divide, to separate.”

 Merimna in effect is to be in a mental state that is dwelling on something.  In early Greek literature it is used to convey the concept of meditation.

 “Merimna, Bacchylides 19, Io for the Athenians as a ‘care, concern, a troubled thought’, or even ‘a song that is on one’s mind’. Classical Inquiries  published article by Gregory Nagy

Jesus says don’t mediate or dwell on your life. In other words don’t be self focused.

How do we reconcile this word with examining our hearts as scriptures tell us?

How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin. Job 13:23

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 1 Corinthians 11:28

 We confess, repent, and go on BUT we don’t dwell on our self.  

 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.  I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. Psalm 32:3

 Jesus gives remedies for worry or having negative thoughts that are self focused.

Guard or keep watch over our hearts

 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

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.1 Peter 1:13

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:13

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;  2 Corinthians 10:5

Renew your thoughts with God’s word.  

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. Romans 12:2  

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Isaiah 26:3

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. Psalm 119:15

Prayer.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:33,34   

And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and he was intreated of them; because they put their trust in him. 1 Chronicles 5:20

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!” Psalm 4;1

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Romans 12:12

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: Matthew 7:7

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. Matthew 21:22

Take no thought for your life!

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BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT

What does it mean to be “poor in spirit?”

It is a relevant question in an age where spirituality is measured by the material blessings one has.

Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” 1 Timothy 6:5, 

According to Jesus in Matthew 5:3 the poor in spirit are blessed, for they shall see God.

The person who is poor or possesses nothing is well off because the realm of God’s abode in the heavenly kingdom belongs to them.

Blessed, makarios in the Greek means to be well off and poor ptōchos is to be like a
beggar without means.

A beggar is one who solicites from some one of a superior status for relief.

Why is it that the poor are acknowledged as being blessed while the rich have a difficult time entering into God’s kingdom?

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. Mark 10:25

If we examine the rich man and the beggar Lazarus parable, we can see that the rich man even though he had a lot of provision he tossed only his crumbs at the beggar Lazarus.

The rich man could have easily helped Lazarus and met his needs but he did not.

When both died, the rich man went to hell and Lazarus went to paradise.

Like the rich man in this parable many of the rich of this world throw only their crumbs at the poor. Giving them just barely sustenance while they live in luxury.

To be rich does not always equate to generosity. In fact sometimes just the opposite.

https://www.businessinsider.com/lower-status-people-more-likely-to-share-wealth-than-higher-status-people-2018-6

To be poor in spirit is to be dependent on God, not on man. When one is poor or dependent on God for provision then one is truly blessed.

It is like having your Father be the owner of an enterprising business rather than being at the mercy of a manager for a pay check.

The poor person who loves Jesus will always see God’s hand of provision in their life. God promises to take care of all his children.

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

To be poor in spirit is to be rich in faith. Blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places.

Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? James 2:5

The widow’s mite is important to the Lord. Not only do blessings come to the sacrificial giver but because the poor are the most generous it seems that through them the gospel is advanced into all the world!

Consider that when you think your widow’s mite is of no significance!

And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had. Luke 21:1-4

To be poor in spirit is to be blessed with seeing God manifest his provision in your life!

I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy. Psalm 140:12

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A VICTOR NOT A VICTIM

Unless we are able to admit that we have a problem we can never get healed. This goes for the problem of victimization as well. Many with victim mentality have actually experienced victimization in one form or another. However God does not want us to stay victimized.

As long as we hold on to our “right ” to be a victim because of what some body has done to us we will live defeated lives. This goes for historical victimization as well.

Victim mentality is actually unforgiveness. When we hold the sins commited against us or against our ancestors in our heart we are in disobedience to the word of God. Jesus said plainly that if we do not forgive others their sins then neither will he forgive us ours.

Signs of having a victim mentality are: blaming others, self pity, always focused on the injustice, living in the past, condemning others and ourselves and not taking personal responsibility.

Even though we may have experienced victimization that does not mean that we have to continue to be a victim. God has given us tools in his word to be an overcomer.

Victim mentality starts with the thought life. We have got to see our self as scriptures tell us we are. The Bible says in Proverbs that as a person views themselves in the heart so they are. In other words we become what we tell ourself that we are. If we see ourself as a failure we will fail. If we see ourself in Christ as a victor then we will win.

In order to become a victor we must forgive past hurts and past sins. Let go of holding grudges and blaming some one or something else for our problems. We are not responsible for them but we are responsible before God for us.

When the devil starts to remind you of your past hurts tell him to take a hike in Jesus name. Tell him who you are in Jesus. The more you pray scriptures in Jesus name for yourself, the more God by his Holy Spirit, will work that into your heart. Before you know it you will be in your heart who God says you are. You will believe what the Lord says and you will live like it !

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.Romans 8:37

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1John 4:4

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7

To be an overcomer we must over come! Overcome the victim mentality the devil throws at us and rise up and be healed!

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Born of God

What does it mean to be born of God?

First of all let me tell you what it does not mean. It does not mean a natural physical descent in the same way as a natural birth.

To be born of God or gennaō ek theos in the Greek is to be born again or regenerated by God. (palingenesia in the Greek)

To regenerate is to regrow or replace something that was missing. To be formed again. To produce anew.

To be born again from a spiritual perspective is to be recreated.

The term palingenesia is actually a Greek Hellenistic word used to describe a process or recreating. To be born again. Restore to the original.

Jesus uses this same word to describe the regeneration of his Kingdom that is to come. The new earth which will be recreated. Restored to it’s original.

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Matthew 19:28

Keeping this context in mind we can see what is meant by being born again or born of God.

It is actually a recreation process of the Holy Spirit.

In fact the word used for the conception and birth of Jesus Christ. To be born of God. gennaō ek theos.

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. Colossians 1:15

Jesus was born of God. His human form was created by the Holy Spirit.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 1:18

Those born of God are recreated or restored to the original. palingenesia

Regenerated from the old man whose spirit was separated from God and dead in sin to the new man made alive in Christ. The new man created in righteous and holiness.

For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 1 Corinthians 15:21-23

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Titus 3:5

And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Ephesians 4:24

To be born of God is to be recreated by the Holy Spirit. A spiritual re birth. Restored to the original. United with God’s Holy Spirit.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:6

Jesus said you must be born again to enter the kingdom of God.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3

It is this requirement that makes one a child of God.

All the intellectual ideology about God or all the theological principles of the Bible does not make one a child of God.

Nor does going to church, participating in catechism, saying hail Mary’s, or Bible reading. You MUST be born again.

You MUST be regenerated. You must be restored to the original spiritual creation.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3

That being said what then can one do to acquire this regeneration process?

The Bible makes it clear that we must first of all believe that Jesus Christ is both Savior and Lord.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

Then we must receive him as both Savior and Lord.

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:11

That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

That means we receive his salvation gift and his Lordship.

for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11

It is not enough to simply believe in God. Even Satan believes in God.

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. James 2:19

Many believe in Jesus Christ as Saviour but they do not receive him as Lord.

If you confess Jesus as Lord you shall be saved.

Why is this an important factor in the regeneration process?

Because to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord means to confess him as one’s head, having authority over, one’s master and ruler.

Lord kurios in the Greek. “Master,” or “Owner.”

You are not your own but are bought with a price the Bible clearly tells us.

know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19–20

In other words you are redeemed. That is you are the possession of another who has purchased you with a price.

Redeem is to gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment.

Jesus Christ purchased you with his blood. He gave his life up for you in exchange for your life belonging to him.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. Ephesians 1:7

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors,  but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 1 Peter 1: 18,19

This means one repents of living a self serving life and surrenders to live a life determined by God in his word.

Repent Metanoeo To change ones mind. To have a a transformative change of heart.

God requires repentance as a part of salvation. Repentance is turning away from what is wrong to what is right.

I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Luke 5:32

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3″19

For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him. 2 Chronicles 30:9

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

Repentance is the fruit which proves one has being born again.

Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. Matthew 3:8

While confession of sin is important it does not save in and of itself. Many confess their sin but keep going back to it.

True repentance stops the sin. In other words one must turn to God in surrender rather than continuing to live a life of sin. Repentance is accompanied with godly sorrow.

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 2 Corinthians 7:10–11

Repentance requires sorrow for sin. Not a sorry I got caught but a sorrow to the point of laying down the sin at the cross and not picking it up again.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Revelations 3:9

When one reaches a complete surrender of self to God through faith in Jesus Christ and repentance toward him the Holy Spirit will bring regeneration.

Without repentance there is no true salvation.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:1-4

Jesus said you shall know who belong to him by their fruit.

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 1John 4:7

Those born of God do not continue in sin.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 1 Corinthians 6:9

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. Matthew 7:21-23

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 1 John3:9

Those born of God overcome the world. Their faith in Jesus Christ is the victory that overcomes the world.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name. John 1:12

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4

Now that does not mean there is not a battle and a real devil who tempts but what it does mean is that a true born of God person will not continue to live a lifestyle of sin.

 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

To be born of God is to be born of the Spirit and born of the word. These two agree in one. The word of God is the seed. The logos which is made alive by the Spirit.

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 1 Peter 1:23

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 1 John 5:4-12

If you are born of God or become born of God scriptures tell us to grow up in the Lord by feeding on his word the Bible. Then you will mature and become the person God has created you to be!

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. 1 Peter 2:2

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16,17

So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:10

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Be Careful What You Hear

A narrative is a spoken or written account of connected events. A story that may be fact or fiction.

There are four types of narratives.

A linear narrative presents a story in the chronological order in which events happened.

A non linear narrative presents the story out of order. Using flash backs or a shift in chronological order using forms of literary devices.

A quest narrative is a story in which the protagonist works hard at pursuing a goal. The character faces a hardship or obstacle.

The view point narrative expresses personal subjective opinions using sensory perceptions interjected by the speaker.

When a narrative is put forth its goal is to convince the hearer of a truth or merit within a story.

Very infrequently is a story presented in which the speaker tells you upfront the motive is to deceive or lie.

In effect a narrative actually tries to convince of something. Convince of an opinion, an argument or a persuasive objective.

A common method used to persuade others to a view point is using a narrative charged with emotional rhetoric.

Words that appeal to the audience are used often in the creation of narratives. Facts can be manipulated when emotion dominates the narrative. Characters can be sympathized with, actions related to and opinions empathized.

While Jesus did use story and metaphors to relay his message he never appealed to the emotions overriding the facts.

Determining truth requires determining the facts. Emotions need to be put aside in order to discern the objective of the narrative. What is the narrative trying to do? What are you trying to be convinced of?

Look carefully at the emotionally charged language being used in a narrative. Is the order of the story chronologically put forth with evidence or does the narrative shift events in order to confuse? Does the story omit facts or add to the facts?

Are suppositions being interjected which try to sway towards opinion rather than the evidence?

While everyone is entitled to opinion they are not entitled to alter facts in order to persuade.

This is why the Lord says in his word. “Be careful what you hear.”

The ear listening to emotionally charged rhetoric will eventually be persuaded to believe that narrative.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 2 Timothy 4:3

The Lord tells us in scriptures to incline our ears to hear his word. Proverbs 4:20

When our ears are open to heaven we are then able to receive knowledge, wisdom and understanding.

God’s word is a lamp to our feet! A light to our path! Giving direction for our lives. Psalms 119: 105

The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. Proverbs 18:15

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 3:22

Whose narrative are you listening to?

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The Tongue of the Wise

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Proverbs 25:11

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. How true do you suppose this statement is?

According to a study by Martin Teicher at Harvard Medical School the human brain takes decades to develop. The personality, cognitive ability and skills develop differently in each person because each of us is guided by our experiences during childhood and adolescence.

When the environment is hostile and abusive the development of the brain is affected. Human brain imaging studies have shown that with sexual or physical abuse, or even witnessing domestic violence, this can cause abnormal physical changes in the developing brain of children. Abuse can cause psychological disorders to occur.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3928064/

According to Martin Teicher’s study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, young adults between the ages of 18-25, having no history of exposure to sexual abuse, domestic violence, or physical abuse BUT had received exposure as children to verbal abuse by either parents or peers were given a brain scan. The results showed that the adolescence had underdeveloped connections between the left and right sides of their brain through the bundles of connecting fibers, called the corpus callosum. When given psychological tests the study showed that the same adolescence had higher levels of drug abuse, depression, anxiety, anger, hostility, than others in the study.

In another study by Michael Miller reported in Neuropsychologia, he shows that moral reasoning depends upon the exchange of information between specific regions of the left and right brain. Each side of the brain controls certain abilities. For example, speech is controlled by the left side while attention takes place on the right side. Neuroimaging studies have shown that the moral beliefs of people are performed by a spot in the right brain called the right temporal parietal junction. With the disconnection of both sides of the brain moral reasoning was affected. The patients in case studies failed to detect common social blunders, etiquette, and societal norms.

Miller, M.B., et al., (2010) Abnormal moral reasoning in complete and partial colostomy patients. Neuropsychologia 48, 2215-2220.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3246683/

Words do hurt. Verbal abuse from peers during the middle school years can be very damaging because the brain connections are developing. The social environment that children are raised in molds their mind. These studies show that childhood experience alters the physical structure of the brain. Childhood experience can either help develop a healthy functional brain or can stunt brain development causing possible psychological disorders or impairment in moral judgments.

Even as an adult, words can hurt and harm, reinforcing childhood traumas and triggering unhealthy emotions. Self awareness is bound up in words. We think words, speak words, and talk in words. If someone calls you a negative name the reactions may be internalized. You feel inferior because someone may have said something negative about you.

Words can follow us from childhood. If you were called stupid or lazy by an adult or peer you may have accepted this as true and so you begin to act stupid or lazy because you have accepted this as a truth. You can even sabotage yourself by speaking negative words that others have spoken to you.

Psychologists call this a Self Fulfilling Prophecy which is a prediction that causes itself to come true because the prediction was made. This happens because our beliefs influence our actions.

The Bible says that, “for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

Whatever we believe about ourselves is what we will experience because words affect how we live and act.

Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21

Learning to change our language is a challenge but well worth the effort. Learning to disregard the negative words of others is another challenge, but one that is essential for our psychological and emotional heath. Our belief can be in either the word of God or in the words of people. We can believe what God has to say about us and our situation or we can believe what the Nay Sayers have to say.

While sticks and stones may very well break your bones, words will also hurt you. Choose life! Choose to believe what God’s word has to say about you! God’s word is above every other word!

Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in heaven. Psalms ll9:89.

Scriptures about spoken words.

Matthew 15:18 – But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

Proverbs 12:18 – There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise [is] health.

Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Proverbs 16:24 – Pleasant words [are as] an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

Colossians 3:8 – But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Proverbs 13:3 – He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: [but] he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

Matthew 12:37 – For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

James 1:26 – If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion [is] vain.

Proverbs 15:1 – A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Proverbs 21:23 – Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

Psalms 19:14 – Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Proverbs 29:20 – Seest thou a man [that is] hasty in his words? [there is] more hope of a fool than of him.

Proverbs 15:4 – A wholesome tongue [is] a tree of life: but perverseness therein [is] a breach in the spirit.

Proverbs 17:28 – Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: [and] he that shutteth his lips [is esteemed] a man of understanding.

Proverbs 15:2 – The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.

Proverbs 25:11 – A word fitly spoken [is like] apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Proverbs 17:27 – He that hath knowledge spareth his words: [and] a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.

Luke 6:45 – A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

Proverbs 10:19 – In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips [is] wise.

Proverbs 18:20 – A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; [and] with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.

James 3:6 – And the tongue [is] a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

James 3:8 – But the tongue can no man tame; [it is] an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

Proverbs 12:25 – Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.

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