Resurrection Breakthroughs

“that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Phil. 3:10

God offers you a supernatural life filled with power and breakthrough. This life of glory isn’t just for life after death; it is a life offered to us right now. It is a much different experience from the one the natural world offers; however, it is a far greater existence, one that is filled with irresistible joy and indescribable peace.

Because we are spiritual beings living in a fallen world, the way to live this life of knowing God’s glory does require some adjustments. However, it is possible since Jesus showed us how to know the glory of God while He lived on the earth. The apostles also wrote about knowing God’s glory in their letters to the churches. One of my favorites verses on experiencing God’s glory is Philippians 3:10. It tells us we can know the power of His resurrection and it tells us how we know this power. It’s being in living similarly to Christ’s sufferings and death. See also Galatians 2:20 and II Corinthians 4:10.

But wait a minute – suffering and death doesn’t sound too good, so how does this verse compute with God’s goodness? The problem we face is the condition we are in while living in a fallen world, even as born again Christians. We still have the unregenerate soul and physical body. We also live in a world dominated by what is natural, temporary, and earthly. This world is even carnal, sinful, and ruled by Satan. God’s glory comes from what is spiritual. The solution for operating in God’s power is overcoming our flesh, natural and carnal influences, and the spiritual oppression of the enemy. How do we do that?

To way to overcome these things and find breakthrough is first by dying to self and surrendering to God. It’s leaving the position of self-sufficiency and making Jesus Lord. Knowing God’s life is like being the branch of a tree. We can’t survive independently of the tree because our life is found in being connected to the life source the tree provides. When we live surrendered to God, our actions become a product of our heart relying upon Him. Then, with God’s help, we overcome our flesh, we separate from natural and carnal influence, and we take authority over the enemy. Not only do we pull away, but we also pursue God through spiritual aspects such as prayer, fasting, worship, and study. It’s not that God is withholding His power, expecting you to earn it. Rather, He is willing to pour through you as you make yourself available to Him in the spirit.

Application: Choose a day to take off from the world and determine to only fast, pray and study. See what happens.

God’s Power to Resurrect

“…He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:11

God not only has the power to create life; He also has the power to resurrect, or to bring back to life. Not only can God raise us from spiritual death to eternal life; but God can also raise someone from a lower position to a higher position. He also lifts us from failure to favor, sickness to health, from poverty to provision, from bondage to freedom, from trouble to victory, and from inactivity to productivity. It’s supernatural power. It’s the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, power that can raise us up to live the life God intends for us!

Resurrection power is not just for heaven

You can experience God’s life here and now. Colossians 3:1 says, “If then you were raised with Christ…” It doesn’t say when you will be; it says you were. This life we have in Christ is eternal, but it starts the moment we are born again. It’s a life that saves from sin, and it’s a life that saves us from the effects of sin. I Timothy 4:8 says, “…having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” Now! This life is also for you right now!

God does the resurrecting

Jesus did not raise Himself from the dead. God raised Jesus from the dead. In Ephesians 1:20 it says that God raised Jesus from the dead, lifting Him up to sit in a position of authority in heavenly places. Jesus died, committing His spirit to His Father, knowing the plan was that once the price was paid, God would raise Him back to life. We also need to let God to the raising in our lives. There are people who try to lift themselves up, but God gets no glory in their glory. However, when let God do the lifting by His resurrection power, God gets the glory. It’s not by our power; it’s by His power. Ephesians 2:6 says, “(God) raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” We aren’t in heaven yet. This verse is talking about spiritual authority that we have now, on the earth, in spiritual places.

The Greek root for the word “resurrect” means to leap up, spring up, and start up. There might be something or someone pinning you down, holding you back, or restraining you from even taking the initiative to begin. When you are in a binding position and you can’t free yourself; you need someone to free you on your behalf. That’s what the Holy Spirit does. He raised Jesus from the chains of the grave. When you are in Christ, the Holy Spirit will also raise you from whatever tries to bind you!

Application: God’s power is greater. Look to Him to raise you up!

Are You Going Over or Under?

“…Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” Numbers 13:30

This past week I was shocked to hear our accountant say that Jerry and I owed a large amount of tax. It was unexpected, and the news came right before we were to close on a home. My eyes began to swell with tears, immediately recognizing that this tax bill would greatly affect our home plans. Our accountant gently asked in that quiet office, “Are you okay?” He’s a believer, and with my voice cracking, I said, “I don’t know how He’s going to do it, but God will work it out.” Then my accountant and I began to share stories of money miracles we had witnessed.

We all face challenges. Life is full of them, but the way we face difficulties is an indicator of where we’re at in our faith in God and our dependency upon Him. No matter what comes our way and no matter how we may feel, inside the center of a faith filled believer is a reliance that is anchored to the character of God and the Word He has spoken.

In the Bible book of Numbers, Moses sent twelve men to take a look into Canaan, the land God promised the Israelites. The twelve returned reporting the abundance and beauty they saw. They also reported about fortified cities and large, strong men who would fight to defend their homes. Israel was facing a big challenge.

When we face an insurmountable challenge and look at ourselves, we see our actual strength, abilities, and resources. We may feel confident that we can meet the challenge, or we may assess our situation and recognize we fall short of what is needed to overcome. This is where faith must come in. Our hope is not to be in ourselves, but our faith is to be in our God and His Word to us. Our focus has to be on His strength, ability, and resources – all of which are far greater than ours.

Ten of the investigative Israelites looked at the fortifications and armies and saw Israel as going under if they tried to take the land. Two of the twelve saw Israel as overcoming, going over, with the help of the Lord. Because the people of Israel agreed with the ten unbelieving men, they did not enter their promised land. The two believing men outlived everyone else and God took them into Canaan.

When we face a challenge, we can look at ourselves and see us as going under, or we can look at the Lord and see ourselves as going over! If we rely upon the Lord, there isn’t anything that comes our way that we, together with God, cannot overcome!

Application: Whatever mountain may seem to be in your way, believe that God will take you over it. You are an overcomer!

We Always Win

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us to triumph in Christ…” II Corinthians 2:14

God wants us to win in this life. God doesn’t want you to be defeated by anyone setting himself or herself in opposition to His plan for your life. He certainly doesn’t want Satan to win either. God is on your side, and He says He will always lead you to triumph in Christ!

God gives us victory over sin.
If you’ve ever tried to gain victory over sin on your own, then you know it’s not possible. We need God’s help. First, we need His righteousness to change our nature and cleanse our hearts. Second, we need the Holy Spirit to help us continually renew our minds and discipline our bodies. Sin has an addictive quality; it’s only by the power of the Almighty that chains can be broken and we can be set free!

God gives us victory over hurts.
God completes us in the spirit, and He can fulfill us in areas where people, performance, and projects cannot. If someone hurts us, we need to run to the Father because no one and nothing can satisfy us like God.

God gives us victory over sickness and lack.
He doesn’t want you to lose or miss out on anything that falls short of His promises. Jesus shed His blood for you to share in the benefits of His salvation. God wants you to win over anything or anyone contrary to His redemption plan for you. God paid a price for you to win – He gave His Son to die to pay the penalty of our sin. God would not pay such a precious price without the intention of us walking in victory.

God gives us victory for our purpose.
God wants to accomplish the plan He has for our life. God understands the drive to fulfill a calling because God is the one who put the desire there in the first place. God wouldn’t give us the appetite to pursue our destiny if He expected us to never compete it. God is not just a starter; God is a finisher. He’s not just Alpha; He’s also Omega. He is the beginning and the end. What God started in you, He will complete. If you’ve lost your passion, God can restore that too.

God gives us victory now.
God wants you to win now. God doesn’t want you to have to wait until heaven to experience the life He has for you today. Will there be hardships? There will most definitely be difficulties in life, but in Christ, we can remain in a place of faith, joy, and peace. We win!

Application: Feeling defeated? Choose to let God stretch and strengthen your heart to walk in everything He has promised and provided.

Forget About It

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25

One definition of the word, “forget” means, “to omit mentioning.” The word “forget” does not always mean the person forgetting has an inability to recollect past events or that they cannot retrieve information. For example, when someone uses the phrase, “forget about it,” they could mean, “don’t mention it, don’t be concerned about it; it’s taken care of.”

When God forgives, He forgets, meaning He chooses not to bring up a past sin with the intention of holding you bound to it. He would not use a past offense to dominate you or to emotionally blackmail you. He would not use a past transgression to cause you sorrow, pain, guilt, shame, or fear. He would not use past sin as a reason to keep distance from you or to withhold His goodness from you. God is not a manipulator. He has never manipulated us to do something against our will. Because we are His children, God wants us to want to choose to be with Him, not force us to be with Him. We aren’t slaves. We aren’t robots. We’re His children, His offspring.

God has not erased His memory. He can remember an event, but not hold us to it For example, King David sinned against God by using his position of spiritual and civil authority to bring a married woman, Bathsheba, into his palace and to have an affair with her while her husband was fighting as a soldier in David’s army. When King David learned Bathsheba was pregnant, he was concerned about his exposure. David decided to put Uriah on the front lines of battle so he would be killed. This story contains sins of murder, adultery, and a cover up by the leader of a nation. According to Jewish Law, David’s offense was to be punished by death. If you mentioned this story to God, He would know the story, but God would not mention this story to David to harm him or bring him shame. In fact, the story did not end in shame; the story ends in forgiveness, restoration, and grace. The bloodline of Jesus Christ goes through Solomon, a son that David had with Bathsheba after David repented of his sin.

God wants you to be free, completely free. Complete freedom means you do not struggle with a residual effect of sin that causes you to be distraught in spirit, soul, or body. He wants you free in your thoughts, your desires, and your emotions.His forgiveness releases you. His forgetfulness releases you. Be free, and forget about it!

Application: Do you struggle with past sin or failure? Let God be your example. Forgive yourself, and then choose to forget. Remembering empowers your past to keep you bound. You may even have to sever some ties to that past if they keep you from God’s grace. Be free!  

Paid For

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us..” Galatians 3:13

A person feels cursed when everything seems to be going wrong; it seems like no matter how hard he or she tries, nothing goes right. Well, for the Christian, we aren’t cursed, we are blessed! We aren’t bound; we are free! Our hands aren’t tied; our hands are free to receive.

Galatians 3:13 is a New Testament scripture that refers to an Old Testament principle. In Deuteronomy 28, God tells His people that if they want to have a good, blessed life, they need to obey His laws. If they disobey Him, then they will be cursed. Most of the curses can be categorized under poverty, sickness, or spiritual death.

Many Jews did their best to live according to the Law, but no one could keep the Law perfectly. It was impossible to live holy with the sin nature. So why would God give His people a Law that was impossible to keep? The purpose of the Law was to show people the holiness of God, our inability to be holy on our own, and our need for a Savior. That message still applies today. By grace we are saved through faith, not because of our performance. Amen!

The Law also taught us that there was judgment for sin, a punishment that was due. Jesus freed us from the curse of the Law by paying the penalty for sin. He didn’t just carry sin; He became sin (See II Corinthians 5:21). In the Old Testament, if someone was raised up from the earth, they were considered cursed, despised, and rejected. The worth of a person had weight. Matters of importance were considered heavy or light. To be lifted up from the earth symbolized someone who was judged and dishonored. John 3:14 says, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up (see Numbers 21:5-9).” Jesus said in John 12:32-33 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself. This He said, signifying by what death He would die.” Jesus was crucified, taking judgment, and becoming a curse. Jesus was tortured and crucified so we could be free from the ransom that was holding us a prisoner. We were kept far from God until Jesus removed the sin barrier. Now we can know God and experience His life!

When we surrender our lives to Him, there is no longer any punishment or condemnation from sin. We are free from the curse and free to receive. We are free to receive healing, provision, and eternal life and all that goes along with salvation. Praise God!

Application: If you are experiencing poverty, sickness, or spiritual death; then come to Jesus! You can be free to receive salvation benefits! 

The Religious Rat Race

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1

The rat race is a term to describe getting ahead in the business world by fighting and clawing your way past others to get ahead. When religion is based on control instead of faith, we see believers striving and competing with one another to try to gain approval and acceptance with God and the Christian world.

But our race with God is a grace race, not a rat race. Part of our liberty in Christ is freedom from religion, religion being described as human efforts to please God or manipulate Him into action. Being religious, in this sense of the word, describes someone who may have made the initial approach to God in faith for salvation, but then slipped back into a reliance on self to achieve a continual good standing with God. This is a condition of someone that attempts to earn approval with God based on his or her ability to be good and to do good.

In Galatians 3:3 Paul writes, “having begun in the spirit are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” Our relationship with God didn’t start based on our works, so why would we think we could continue to maintain this Christian life based on our works? God never meant for us to look at His ways as something we had to try to attain by our efforts. God wants relationship with us based on living by His Spirit, not a position based on rules being kept by relying on our flesh, or our strength.

Christ set us free from this religious thinking and the sin consciousness that fuels this mentality. Shame, guilt, and fear are not the result of receiving grace by faith; the sin consciousness is the result of the self-reliance of flesh. The sin consciousness doesn’t just affect someone who hasn’t experienced salvation; it also affects the person who hasn’t learned to live by the Spirit.

When we live by the Spirit, we live reliant on the Holy Spirit and the grace of God. We have His strength to renew our minds to peace, joy, and love. We lean on God’s unlimited ability instead of trusting in our limited ability. We rely on His redemptive power to continue to be transformed to become like Him. Living in the Spirit, we no longer have to be better than someone else to earn our approval and acceptance. We are not in the religious rat race, but the freedom grace race!

Application: People in religious bondage like to tear others down in order to build themselves up. If you find yourself criticizing others, take a look at your own heart. Ask God to help you receive and give grace. 

The Triple Hold

 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…” Romans 8:1

Sin does more than separate people from God. Sin also distorts the way we think and feel about ourselves, about one another, and even about God. The sin consciousness is permeated with thoughts and emotions affected by guilt, shame, and fear – the triple hold.

The triple hold can affect any of us, saved or lost, because all of us have known sin. The more we develop in our relationship with God through Christ, the more our mentality and emotional condition are changed to think and feel in line with God’s design for us.

Sin is acting independently of God, attempting to be sufficient in and of self. The very first time we see sin was with Adam and Eve. After their sin, we immediately see the triple hold of the sin consciousness. The two experienced shame and attempted to cover their bodies. They felt fear, attempting to hide from God in the garden. They knew guilt, attempting to shift blame to another. We all have known some measure of all three – guilt, shame, and fear.

The triple hold can do five things. One, it can hinder our communion with God. The sin consciousness works to keep us at a distance from God, afraid and discouraged from intimacy with our Father. Two, it can keep us from receiving God’s promises. Three, it can hinder our prayers. If we are not confident in the righteousness we have in Christ, we want have the boldness needed for approaching God or for taking our authority in Christ. Four, it can hinder us from having healthy relationships with others. Five, it can hinder our ministry to others.

God wants us to be free from the triple hold of the sin conscious so we can be all He’s created us to be, have all that He has intended for us to have, and do all that He is calling us to do. Instead of fear, He wants us to have faith. Instead of guilt, He wants us to know His grace. Instead of cowering in shame, God wants us to shine with His favor.

Transformation is a process. Humble yourself before God, study the Bible, rely on the Holy Spirit to help, and make sure you are speaking the same things God says over your life. You will develop a God consciousness instead of sin consciousness and enjoy new life in Christ!

Application: Today, take time to notice what you are saying about yourself, God, and others. Are your words in line with your redemption, or do they support the sin consciousness? 

Stand Firm

“… be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord…” I Corinthians 15:58 

God wants stewards to stand firm in their word and in their calling. What are some reasons people pull away from the work they have committed to? In Luke 9 Jesus called certain people to follow Him in ministry. There were some excuses listed and Jesus’ responses. Some of these excuses seem reasonable, but poor judgment and the voice of the enemy can often make sense to a person who wants to do the right thing.

In verse 59 of Luke 9, Jesus said to a person, “Follow me.” The person’s father had just passed away, so he asked if he could put off the assignment to go bury his father. Jesus’ response may sound callous, but Jesus considered eternal matters to outweigh natural matters. He said, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” In verse 61 another person agreed to follow Christ in ministry, but first wanted to go back to his family. Jesus’ response, “…No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” I’ve known many that have abruptly left a ministry commitment because of a family member in need. While I believe our responsibilities to our family should come before our responsibility to ministry, I also have witnessed the enemy pulling the rug out from underneath a ministry or minister through the strong emotional ties at home. If the enemy can’t stop a minister directly, he will often pull him or her away from ministry through their family, especially through a spouse or their children. It might seem noble, but often it is a ploy of the enemy to destroy kingdom purpose.

Satan knows that when a person commits to serving in Christ’s kingdom, the kingdom will advance. Lives will be reached for Christ. People will be restored and grow in their faith. Satan wants to stop the kingdom from moving forward, and one of his tactics are to pull out God’s stewards. Many ministers have left the ministry because they felt guilty about leaving someone, shame for past mistakes, or fear of losing someone again. These emotions can cause people to turn on a dime, quickly thwarting them from kingdom purpose. Satan might also use a distraction or temptation like a good paying job, another platform for influencing people, or a similar opportunity for doing good. He might offer a project or hobby, likeable friendships, amorous relationships, or any other desire to distract us from the ministry he has called us to. God wants us to enjoy our life, but He also wants us to trust Him with our family, our responsibilities, concerns, and desires. His kingdom requires that we count the cost and complete our commitments.

Application: Ask God for discernment for anything that distracts you from ministry. Trust God with anything that concerns you.

 

Find the Faithful

“And the things that you have heard from among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” II Timothy 2:2

The principle of finding faithful team members applies to ministry, business, relationships, community, and any other purpose. Paul instructed Timothy to find the faithful to join his ministry team – not the perfect, faultless, or the best performers – but the faithful. When looking for someone to join your team, don’t just look at resumes or talents; choose the faithful. Proverbs 20:6 “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?”

Paul knew what he was talking about when he told Timothy to find the faithful for the ministry. In I Timothy 1:12 Paul wrote, “He (God) counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.” The qualification wasn’t Paul’s ability to speak, his vast resources, his influence – it was his faithfulness. Paul went through tremendous challenges, but he stayed true to his commitment, his word, his calling, and his God. Since Paul knew from experience that ministry required endurance through difficult challenges, its’ not unusual to think he would expect any less from those on his team.

When I think of faithfulness, I think of Moses. Moses was known as a murderer for killing an Egyptian, a deserter for running away from Egypt, and a man who had difficulty speaking; yet God chose Moses. In Numbers 12:7 it says of Moses, “He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face…” In Exodus 40:16 we see that Moses carried out God’s instructions to the last detail. In the United States military, I’ve heard that commanders will give soldiers in training an instruction that has nothing to do with anything, except that it tests the heart of a soldier to see if he or she will be faithful and keep a respectful attitude to carry out a command.

I think of King David with his team of warriors who were known as “David’s mighty men.” The Bible describes them in I Samuel 22 as being in debt, distressed, and discontent. They don’t sound like the most qualified men to be fighting for the soon-to-be king.  However, these imperfect men were men of honor. They were true to their word. They were loyal to their leader to the point of death. They would never walk off of a battlefield. They were faithful. When praying and asking God for people to help with a vision, find the faithful. When looking for a mate, find the faithful. When you want to be part of something greater than yourself, be found faithful.

Application: If you are challenged to keep your word, then ask Him for His help to be faithful. He will honor your prayer and give you the endurance to stand true to your commitments.