Of junk and fake grace (13)

Grace brings you all the time to the foot of the cross. There is sufficiency in grace. Jesus called it his grace, adding in his conversation with Paul that “My grace is sufficient for you.” His grace is enough. He also told Paul, my strength is made perfect in weaknesses. His grace is His strength, not your joke.

You don’t need to add anything to what is sufficient, not you misunderstanding, not legalism, not your reductionist view of it. It’s enough. And what freedom that brings, what hope, what life. Christ emptied himself to fill us, not with an idea but with the substance of his grace.

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Of junk and fake grace (6)

It should not be : I have grace so I do anything I want.

Rather: I have grace so I do everything God wants.

You know the grace of God ensures that what you want is what He wants?

This extends to service. Peter said that we should be stewards/ channels of the manifold grace of God in our service. I bet your grace confusionist did not link grace to service, just to rubbish.

Did he tell you manifold means many-sided and that the grace of God is many sided? So how has he been able to get away with preaching only one side? That smells like deception.

The many sides are not determined by the imagination of the speaker, but what the Scriptures say. Or is it not the same Bible with the 66 books we are talking about?

The physicality of prayer

There are different physical expressions in prayer. For example people can scream when they are praying, lifting up their voice in a loud cry.
Hezekiah decided he was going to face the wall, Elijah bent over like someone in deep pain, Hannah was moving like someone drunk as she expressed her desire to God.

Paul mentioned the fact that he bent his knees in devotion to God. He also referred to the lifting up of the hands. Another physical expression in prayer is tears.

One thing that is common in prayer is that things are said, but the physical expression of the prayer is varied. Any attempt to give a regulation to the physical expression of prayer is humanistic rubbish, it is to excoriate the emotion out of the devotion of prayer. The emotion is part of who you are, and if anything less than who you are is expressed in prayer then the prayer is less than it can be. Prayer should be done with the whole of the heart. Loving God should be expressed in prayer and we were told to love the lord our God with all our might, mind, heart. Prayer should not be half hearted, we should not allow self consciousness to make prayer less than it should be.

How about learning from Jesus about physicality in prayer? While before the grave of Lazarus, he wept, and lifted up his voice in prayer. When the disciples came back from a time of ministry, the bible says that he rejoiced in the spirit, and thanked God for revealing things to babes and not to the high people in the society. They won’t know he rejoiced if he did n express that joy. That means you can laugh as you pray.

While he was in the garden of Gethsemane, he was in serious distress, and that was manifested physically in sweat like blood drops. When you see him in that position, you would not see Jesus with a calm demeanor, as what was going on inwardly became manifested physically.

Daniel decided that he was going to face Jerusalem in us regular prayer I a foreign land, showing his heart. The physicality of your prayer shows your heart.

While the physicality of prayer does not guarantee that prayer will be answered, its value is in how it reflects what is going on in the heart. There are people that are too cool to express anything in prayer, or are intimidated by those who are expressive in prayer and so push for a ban on such expression, constituting themselves to mockers.

God looks at the heart. Fine. But the heart is expressed in the act. God declared a damning judgement on Ahab but how he started wearing sack cloth after that touched the heart of God and he modified the punishment.

When you command or dictate for others certain physical posture in worship or prayer (prayer is also worship) the whole purpose is defeated. God wants your expression of devotion to be voluntary, just as he loves a cheerful giver, giving not by compulsion but willingly.

I should be free to sit down if I want to sit down, there should not be a contraint against physical expression in prayer and there should not be a commandment for it.

In Christ we have the freedom to express and the freedom not to express anything, the one who expresses should not think those who are less expressive are less, and the less expressive should not think that the expressive are playing to the gallery.

We have a bunch of humanists rubbish coming into the church, where everything is reduced to the confines of logic. There is nothing logical about raising your voice in prayer since God is not deaf, there is nothing logical about weeping in prayer because God is spirit. Embracing such line of reasoning is humanistic rubbish. There is nothing wrong with physical expression, God made us emotional beings for a reason, and emotions get expressed. Period. If you feel deeply enough about it, you will express it.

There is nothing wrong with emotions. God is emotional, but there is the humanistic rubbish in which the places in the bible where God expressed emotions are regarded as merely symbolic.

Everybody has emotions, and there is no better place to express emotions than pray. Prayer is serious business. It should involve everything: spirit, soul and body. Peter said that we should be serious minded about prayer. When praying, we should not bother about what others can say.

Concerning Elijah, James wrote that he prayed earnestly. There was a certain intensity in his prayer. We learnt that he prayed fervently. “Fervently” is an emotive word. James added that the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous avails much.

The “effectual” aspect is about praying the will of God, (soul) the “righteous” aspect is about right standing with God in your personal life (spirit). But the “fervently” is about physical expression. Anything and anyone therefore that reduces from the importance of the physicality of prayer, attacks the core of prayer.

In the Old Testament, we saw that Elijah went up the mount and bent down like a woman in labour, asking his servants to, at intervals, check the cloud. It was James who told us that what Elijah was doing was pray that it might rain on the earth.

He was in a groaning posture even though he had the word of God that he was going to send rain on the earth. So the physicality of prayer is not about getting God to do what he does not want to do, just the expression of the pressure we are sensing in our spirit, it is sharing the burden of Jesus concerning the matter.

Jesus complained that the disciples did not share his burden of prayer while he was near carrying the cross. They choose to yield to sleep, while he agonized in prayer.

If you see the way the writer of the book of Hebrews described the prayer life of Jesus, you will understand more about the physicality of prayer and he is the one we are supposed to follow.

“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. – Hebrews 5:7” Esv

There is nothing “cool” about loud cries and tears. He offered intense prayer so that he can be saved from death? That was not the impression you get when just reading through the gospels.
But wasn’t it prophesied that Jesus was going to rise up, why then did he have to pray hard for it? The answer is that he was not supposed to rise up without his own active involvement and what is where the tears come in. Who says the physicality of prayer is not important, if Jesus did it, it is more than important, it is necessary.

What about the Holy Spirit? We were told that he intercedes for us with groaning which cannot be uttered. Groaning is not gentlemanly. It is an expression of an intense feeling. Holy Spirit has feelings, that is why we are told not to grieve the Holy Spirit.
So if the Holy Spirit is groaning and you are in tune with him at a particular moment, won’t you also groan? Groaning is intense desire for something (goes with a spiritual birthing process following the natural one). Please let’s stop this humanistic rubbish that reduces the importance of the physicality of prayer.

Rightly so we are taught the importance of the word of God in prayer, but if we are emotional beings, we should be free to express our emotions anyhow we want. To deprive me of my physicality in prayer is to deny God of his enjoyment of me in my prayer, enjoyment of my lack of shame in connecting with him in prayer.

What if my physicality offends others, should I then cage myself? Maybe you can, but don’t let anyone rubbish you, judge you with their humanistic, pseudo faith concepts.

The thief, the joy of the Lord and the door

I just had two revelations (to back to back) I want to share with you.
One is audio and the other is audio visual.

The audio visual involved a Christian woman telling another person that for a long time she had not been happy. It seems that she is in perpetual depression. She puts on the smiling face but with a sad heart.

In that revelation I was just overhearing that conversation and I told the lady to share everything with me (I know this lady in real life), but since we will be going to her backyard where she was telling her friend what I mentioned earlier, I asked her first to close the font door (so that a thief will not come in in the process.)

In the second one which was audio. I had sat down on my bed after the first revelation, when I heard someone speaking behind me, to my left the word “poverty,” (it was spoken to my spirit but it seems to come from behind me, my left side) I opened my eyes and (this is the dead of the night, with quietness everywhere) looked behind me to see no one.

Interpretation
The first dream could be about the bride of Christ who is in the midst of serving God, putting up appearances; had lost the joy of the Lord, in the midst of pleasing men, had lost the sight of her lover, Christ.

The door that needs to be closed was not to allow the thief to come in when we are busy doing the will and work of the Lord. An unmanned door, the door of our imagination, becomes the gate for the devil to steal the joy of the Lord.

This message that emphasises over-weeping as a sign of repentance is not of God, because it brings too much focus on self, rather than the cross.

I will tell you what I mean, tell you how Nehemiah dealt with the issue of sorrow in God’s people in his time, how he did not allow repentance to grow into depression.

It was around chapter eight of the book. Verse ten has the famous words where he said to the people when they were weeping about how far they have gone from the will of God, how much they have lost…Rather than saying: as some minister would that: why don’t you weep more, maybe then…..

He said: stop weeping, starting rejoicing, start a party. When religious establishments become anti joy, you cannot laugh in church etc, we have a crisis of joylessness in our hands.

Sadness dries the bones.

When people don’t know that the joy of the Lord is their Strength, they have opened the door of their heart to the thief and there goes their joy away with him.

Another thing that Nehemiah said to those people of God after the scripture was read and they saw how wrong they and their forebears had been, was that they should send food to each other.

Nothing breeds depression more than being self-focused. Service to others, out of the abundance you have, out of love motivation, not out of religious obligation, will multiply joy.

The enemy steals joy by activities that are motivated by guilt, not a sense of joyful giving of yourself to be a blessing to others. Guilt motivation forces you to try deliver in an area where Christ has not graced you and both you and the recipients of your gifts are dried. While like Jesus you should say that your meat is to do the will of the father, Spiritual service borne of guilt makes your joy meat to the devil.

Somebody may say: does not goodly sorrow lead to repentance? Yes it does, but after leading to repentance should you not be led to other things again? Must you be perpetually repenting, and perpetually self-focused and perpetually depressed, feeling useless, worthless, and those being your overriding sense of personhood?

That it is a door that needs to be closed means, what we think will come from there is actually good things (as opposed to the Windows where we expect the thief to come through, John 10). How can bad thing come from repenting (some even fast in the process of repenting, how despicable, has the blood of Jesus become underrated?) how can bad things come from repenting or service?

When faith is removed from the equation, it does. The just cannot love expect by faith, otherwise, it all tends to death.

Remember the book of Galatians, where the charge is that when you yield to certain persuasions that diminishes the sacrifice of Jesus, make it seem inadequate, you have fallen from grace. When grace is flowing, joy is flowing, because grace is about divine ability in operation and therefore stresslessness.

The two revelations are linked. That lady in my dream which represents the church is like the first brother in the parable of the prodigal son we find in Luke 15. (It is interesting that the revelation also had two sisters talking together).

The older brother was the epitome of service and self denial. But he was joyless. He could not stand the party, and the lavishness of it, that was set up for the younger brother who repented. In that story, if the older brother had his way, the repentance of the younger one would have lasted indefinitely. But the first thing the father wanted to restore with the repentance of his boy was joy. There is something called the joy of salvation, for goodness sake.

In the midst of plenty, the church as described in that revelation was pitifully poor in the joy of the Lord (at least the woman was not homeless). Read Proverbs 22:17 in different versions. Anything that steals your joy steals your life. When service is guilt driven them we have a good thing opening the door for the thief to steal your joy. When repentance is overly long drawn, then a good thing is allowed to lead to joy depletion. In service and repentance we may be tricked into looking at ourselves and away from the cross. The cross is a point of sorrow but a gateway to joy unspeakable.

If the thief continues to steal, then it leads to poverty.

How praying all-night changed my life

By Ruthanne Smith (her comment on an article on my blog, dailymedit.com)
(the original article is here: https://dailymedit.com/2013/04/30/how-to-pray-all-night-all-by-yourself/)

I came across this article because I was looking to find someone else who had found the power of praying in tongues all night. And I can attest to the power. About 7 years ago, while unemployed and single, I had the opportunity to pray for hours during the day. I would take long drives on the back roads near my town and drive very slow, praying in tongues for most of it. I did this for 3 months strait after looking for a job in the mornings. Most days I prayed for around 6 hours, but some were 4 hours and others 8. During that time, all parts of my life was transformed. I had the clearest thinking I have ever had. I got the best job I had ever had, making 3x what I had ever made. I had a joy and peace that was truly supernatural. Nothing bothered me, nothing annoyed me. I was able, without even trying, to never gossip or worry or judge people. One night, I went out with my girlfriends from grade school. They were all drinking and I was the designated driver. But, I had so much fun! I actually felt buzzed the entire night. And when I got in the car to drive, I was alert and clear, yet still happy and playful as if I had drank along with them. I know it sounds unreal, but I am telling you the truth. It was truly amazing. Also, my body just started working as it should. I had suffered pms, acne and migraines on a weekly basis since adolescence. I also always carried an extra 15-20lbs. I lost all the weight and my body toned up without ANY exercise or diet. I was totally Hot! (In a good way) In fact, my diet was worse than normal, because I was on a limited income. I also had absolutely no pms with perfect 28 day cycles, my acne cleared up and my migraines completely vanished. Toward the end of the three months of doing this, I also met my husband. We were married within 9 months. When I got my amazing job, however, I no longer had a bunch of free time to spend praying, so I stopped doing it. I did not notice the affects of not praying (or praying much less) for over a year. By that time I was married, and had a new baby. I quickly realized the source of my joy and fulfilled life was that intense time of prayer. So I began trying to fit prayer time into my schedule, but it just wasn’t working. I would only have a few minutes before the demands of my life pulled me away. I actually came to resent my husband and child, even though I know that they are wonderful gifts from the lord, that were birthed out of those hours of time in his presence. After nearly six years of asking God for the time to pray, he gave me the idea to pray at night, instead of sleeping. My first thought was, “duh, why didn’t I think of that?” But, the truth was, he gave me the idea years before and I disregarded it. (I was a sleep deprived newlywed and new mother who trusted in sleep more than God). But, this time, I had grown in my faith. I knew, from the miracle changes I had experienced before, that losing sleep would not affect me. Why? Because in HIM we live and move and have our being. Because HE is life! Because He is our strength. Because He lifts us up. Because He exalts us. He is the creator of ALL things. That would include the restoration of my brain and body. I decided to trust him with those things. I had faith that being in his presence during the night hours would be more restorative to my physical body than natural sleep. And you know what! It absolutely has been. I spent 2-3 hours in prayer, per night the first week and that quickly has grown to all nighters. I stay alert by driving. I drive those same back roads, which are empty, besides some wildlife, and drive 26 miles per hour on cruise control (that’s the lowest my car will drive on cc). I am only starting my third week and I don’t do all nighters every night, yet. I trust it to grow into that, though. But I am already watching my life transform, again. The first thing I noticed was the melting away of worry and fear, as well as no longer resenting my daughter or husband. I am confident that in a very short time, I will see miracles as amazing as those I experienced 7 years ago. It’s exciting and fun and I crave my fellowship with him! Oh, yeah. And I feel FAR MORE rested after the nights I spend MORE time with him. My all nighters are more restorative than my 2 or 3 or 4 hour nights. I truly believe that a person could grow to a place where they did not have to sleep, which is something I am seeking. Jesus said, “if we would lose our life for his sake, we would find it.” I believe that is what is happening. I am losing my “source of life”, my sleep and I am finding it, IN HIM!

Appointed to eternal life

woman-163789_640Acts 13:48: And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. (ESV)

On a cross-cultural evangelism, the apostles were seeing fruits of their labours as people chose to follow Jesus. They were not there to wile away time, they did not join a new fad, they were on a life or death assignment, communicating the love of God through Jesus to people where they are.

They were there to tell the people the implication of the death and resurrection of Jesus, to show that now the people of God can now officially include all people.

What they were doing was unique. They were pushing a novel agenda. In the time they lived, influence came either by military conquest, economic link, or long-held tradition, or a teacher rising up among the people, giving them a new perspective of things, but in Paul and Barnabas, we see pioneers of a systematic invasion of other locations with truth.

They came into an area and spoke of things the people have not heard of. They opened a door by their activity and many followed after. They are the hunters (Jeremiah 16:16), who leave the comfort of where they are, endure the uncomfortable life in the “bush”, and hunt for those appointed to eternal life.

Appointment

Acts 6:3: Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. (ESV)

The qualification for this leadership was threefold. They must be known by the people for being highly regarded, which speaks of social standing, and long-term proof of probity, and respected.

To be of good repute is not a day job. It follows a consistent pattern of uprightness.

Then there was the issue of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Many people may be dependable, but not many people are full of the Holy Spirit. The latter live an empowered life. The power of God is manifest through their lives, in spiritual giftedness in expression. That is the meaning of infilling from the book of Acts.

Then thirdly, they should be full of wisdom. That means they are not just all talk, but have practical result as evidence of their wisdom. I define wisdom as what to do to get result, the divine how-to. Jesus said that wisdom is justified by its children, it’s results (Matthew 11:19).

The apostles wanted those who are approved by men (of good repute), approved by God (full of the Spirit) and approved by the results they have been getting in their practical lives (full of wisdom).

The reasons correspond to the three qualities the Apostles wanted:

They needed those who will move among the people, therefore, must be approved by men.

Since it is about the church, and not a social club, not a political party, not a natural entity but spiritual, those who will lead must be full of the Spirit, must be intentional followers of God, on his own terms, submitted to his will.

Then thirdly, since the matter at hand is a practical matter of the “serving of tables” (Acts 6:1-7) they need people who will be effective, so that the apostles would not border about such things again. They needed people who can deliver results on a practical level, exhibiting high intelligence, ability to coordinate, intuitive enough to marry what is on ground with what the people need.