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This month's teaching : Repentance

Tainted Influence

Here stands this powerful man of God before the Angel of the Lord, perhaps not even fully aware of what he was fighting within. There were so many troubling things that could not be understood. Why do I struggle with feeling guilty, or even filthy, yet I know I am not? I am a servant of the Most High God. I feel this sense of shame, and yet I know I am doing well. I am not aware of any sin in my life, yet I feel as though I am a sinner. Could it be that my ideas and expectations of a spiritual life exceed what true spirituality really is? Is there anything good within me? Can I even expect God to understand and help me when I am so needy? We can only imagine the thoughts this prophet of God may have contended with. Paul expressed similar experiences to us in his writings. 1 Corinthians 2:3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 2 Corinthians 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair. V. 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed. Many questions seemed to pervade these men, an apostle, and a prophet of God, as they continued in their faithfulness to the burden and calling upon their life.

Zechariah 3:3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and stood before the angel. V. 4 And he answered and spoke unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused your iniquity to pass from you, and I will clothe you with rich apparel. The unseen truth that stands as absolute reality is unveiled here, and we see how God addressed this issue with His servant. Joshua was about to discover a startling reality. There was an enemy that had soiled his garments. Zechariah 3:1 And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. Satan stood on his right hand as an accuser, resisting him in all that he did for Almighty God and His people. This evil presence had positioned itself as an influence within the mantle that he carried. It made him appear as a guilty, filthy man. This influence was present while Joshua was in the very presence of God and in the midst of his calling as he prevailed in faithfulness. Joshua was called by God for service and ministry as a high priest in the ancient days. It was the highest of callings on this man—a spiritual battle warrior, minister, and priest to the King of heaven and earth. Now this man of God finds himself clothed with filthy garments as he stands before the Holy Angel from Heaven. Was he filthy with sin issues? No, he was one of God’s saints and chiefly laden with purpose and responsibility. Joshua was called to higher purposes and heavenly duties. But as the task lay before him, there was a resister that stood on his right hand and the effects of a filthy, enemy-tainted influence upon him that felt completely ungodly.

There are many genuinely blood-washed saints today walking in the power of the full provision of Christ who yet wrestle with this mind-set. But they wrestle not against flesh and blood. The attacks of Satan can make the saint look as un-saintly as the filth of the enemy himself. This is the story of so many true children of God. When the enemy pursues the demise of these children he tries to taint them with filthy influences and dominate them through feelings of defeat and corruption. He does this because he knows they are the saints of God. When these true children of God see themselves as filthy, they become almost frozen in their duties. It causes great defeat in their walk with God. They fight discouragement and live in a state of crisis, feeling their relationship with Christ to be disjointed. They are tempted to think that perhaps God is their enemy.

In my 33 years of ministry I have never witnessed an outpouring of this unholy mess of dismay upon God’s people as I have in these last years. It seems to be the tool of the hour for discouraging the true children of God. These people are not wicked, but that is exactly how they feel about themselves. They are not hiding sin or justifying sin but living a life of purity and holiness before God. However, they become dismayed by a filth that has been cast upon them by the enemy. They are not sinners, yet they feel as though they are. They are not adulterers, yet they feel like they are. They are not liars, yet they feel like they are. They are told lies by an evil influence, and they carry around this complex, diminishing all hope and joy that they could rightly have.
The Lord said to the angel that stood before Joshua, ‘take the garments from him, and give him a change of raiment’. May God allow you dear people to see the spotless garments He has provided for you. In Heaven they will be clearly seen as the holy garments they are—clean, pure, and white!
Revelation 7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? They came from earth and out of great tribulation, having blood-washed robes. And that is us, my dear friends.

What is Oil?

Previously, I wrote of the time when Mary anointed Jesus with oil. Now I want to bring out just what that oil really is. The good Samaritan had oil for healing. The five wise virgins had oil for light. Elijah had oil to anoint those chosen for the position of priest. Samuel used oil to anoint a young lad, destined to be king. Oil was poured upon the head of Aaron as he became the high priest. Anointing with oil was the transitional act in sanctifying the tabernacle, as well as people with specific callings. Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron, were not allowed to grieve over their brother’s death because they were anointed with oil. Leviticus 10:7 And ye shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you… The oil of God is the fear of the Lord. What is this oil?

In my studies concerning the subject and meaning of oil, it has become apparent that oil relates to an active aspiration of strength from the sweet currents of heaven within the once twisted, unbelieving heart. Oil and strength are like our two feet. Both functioning together will carry out the achievement of purposes in our natural life. The oil of joy is the instrument that serves the wholesomeness of God’s blessings to one’s self and others. Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness… The joy of the Lord is my strength. The oil of joy is healing, light, reserve, fullness, restoration. The oil which flows through joy drives away heaviness, darkness, and despair. This oil must openly flow from the well in our lives to generate joyful endurance, strength, valor, and courage. Joy is most fully experienced when it is released by expression through thanksgiving and demonstration of inspiration toward God and man.

When we seal up this potential flow of oil and joy because of fear and disappointment, we can become a curse to others and even curse ourselves. God spoke to Israel and declared what would happen if they continued complaining and focusing on their problems. ‘You will work the work with your hands and many things you will do to prosper, but prospering will be hidden from you. Fruit trees, olive trees, vineyards, sons, daughters—you will have all of these, but you will not enjoy them. You will plant much seed and see little harvest. You will not prosper in the garden of God because you have no oil of gladness.’ Deuteronomy 28:47 because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things.

We must understand that oil is not circumstantial, but reserve. There was a widow whose husband had been a God-fearing prophet. Now she was left with an unpayable debt. She was threatened with losing her two sons as payment for the debt. At her request, Elisha came to her house and asked her what she had. She confessed that she had nothing except one thing which you cannot eat. It was only her last little bit of something; one pot of oil! At the prophet’s command, they borrowed all the available pots and many vessels from the neighborhood and set them behind closed doors. The woman started pouring her oil into another pot, and it would not stop! All the vessels were now filled, and it still would not stop. They didn’t have enough vessels to contain the heavenly oil. She was now debt-free and overflowing.

It all started with the hidden little pot of oil being poured forth. There is so much power in that last little pot of oil—it is where it all starts again. It is only the oil on the head of Jehu that can recklessly drive out and destroy Jezebel from her position.

What are we doing with our God-given oil? Let us pour it forth to anoint other lives. Let the joy of our heart burst forth into thanksgiving and praise to our God and to His people. At times our hearts are too heavy in despair to expel its hopelessness. But whilst amid these infirmities we must at once yield our self-pity to find joy, and they will be driven away like a cloud in the morning. These difficulties are not easy to counter in the midst of the struggle, but they can be turned into powerful victories. This brings the sweetest fragrance of hope when all seems diminished. The act of pouring out the sweetness of heavenly oil upon another is contained in the power of salvation within all saints! Your last pot of oil poured forth is your first pot of oil, even if it is borrowed. Hallelujah!

God Answers A Hurting Man

The despair of the righteous in difficult times is often so profound that hope appears as a foolish notion one dares not discuss, not even with God. There are professing Christians who are shallow, having very little depth in their walk with the Lord, and with sloppy reverence they try to be Christians. There are those with a sincere and yearning heart to follow after God with what they know. Then there are those who are truly followers of Christ, who walk in greater depth of faithfulness and have been sealed by the Holy Spirit through faith deeply established by years of loyalty. In all the different categories of our spiritual experience as Christians, we at times become bewildered and deeply grieved by disappointments that occur amidst our time of peaceful serenity in Christ. This can happen when something, or even someone, creates an unanticipated situation designed to displace our loyal service to Christ. I am not referencing light afflictions, but the extremely difficult situations with effects that linger to disrupt our purity and holiness—established in the presence of God.

These disappointments can bring us into grave situations of utter despair and anguish for a season. At times, even trust seems to fail; we may even question our faith in God. Sometimes there are tragic circumstances that encounter us and are designed to destroy the tender love and faith we have in our relationship with Christ. When we get into these situations, we’re often encumbered with utter despair. In these places of anguish, we tend to look at everything in a way that takes us even deeper into misery. We find ourselves in a place where we become distraught and troubled on every side. There seems to be nowhere to look for refuge; any ray of hope is only a façade leading to further dismay. At times, every move we make thrusts us into deeper cycles of dejection and inconceivable feelings of isolation. These advanced stages of testing can even bring a vibrant prayer-life to a sudden halt. We begin to process thoughts of questioning, sifting through ideas of what could cause this torrent of despair. Is it something I did wrong? Are we in the crosshairs of Satan’s conflict against our very soul? What went wrong?

Often, I refrain from speaking much about this, because there are many who will associate their troubles with spiritual trials, when in truth, it is only that their sinful life is being exposed. I am writing about the many afflictions of the righteous, not the unrighteous. We must never misunderstand this in any sort of way. The issues that encumbered Job did not result from sin he had fallen into. It was simply that he was a righteous man, with loyalty even observed from heaven when his name was brought up at a meeting amidst the sons of God.

Job was a man that was perfect and upright, he feared God and hated sin. Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. He had 7 sons and 3 daughters. He had 7000 sheep 3000 camels 500 yoke oxen 500 asses.

He was the greatest amongst the men of the East. Job sanctified his family continually unto the Lord, in case they fell into hidden sin. His integrity and loyalty before the Lord was so solid, that Satan remarked on God’s blessing and protection over him. Satan said, ‘If you take that away from him, he will curse you to your face’. God told him he could take all from Job, except for his life. Satan did it all in one day. This calamity was to an extreme degree that few people in all of history have ever experienced. It is estimated that Job’s assets were around 20 million approximately 3,600 years ago, far richer than anyone in our day. It appears that all was lost in a day and nothing was left for him. His health was taken, and his friends became ill-advisers, turning out to be enemies.

So, in a short conclusion, Job was extremely troubled—he lost everything, and had every reason to be the most down-cast man on all the earth. God gave him to Satan to be nearly destroyed in order to prove to him that Job would not sin with his lips, but would only fear God. He lost all his wealth and his children, and his friends greatly misunderstood him, basically accusing him of sin. We would think if ever a man needed tender care and understanding, and the love of God in a way that brings hope, it was Job in this moment!

This is what he got from God: Job 40:6 Then answered the Lord unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said V.7 Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. Job 40:10 Deck you now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty. V.12 Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place. V.13 Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret. V.14 Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.

‘Get up and stop crying, clothe yourself with excellence and beauty and cast away the rage of your wrath: look at the one that is proud, and humiliate him.’ And Job was fully restored and given more than he ever had before, including sons and daughters. What was his victory?

What is Pain?

What is pain?

Romans 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. v.22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

In these latter days, the enemy has poured upon the earth the concept of pain that thrives on personal rights and freedom without cost. This concept has been adopted by the church and has taken the focus away from God’s spiritual intention for the believer. Almighty God’s intention is for the believer to be delivered from shame and corrupt bondages into the glorious liberty in Christ, and the process is not to be misunderstood. In this earthly life there are plenty of struggles and tribulations.

There are 5 things we must be aware of:

1. We must not be surprised by the struggles and difficulties.
2. The word tribulation means pressure.
3. We must comprehend that the threat to all life is death.
4. To the believer, Paul calls it the fight of faith.
5. Much tribulation/pressure is a kingdom doorway and it will not separate me from Christ. (Romans 5:3.)

Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must go through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

The confirmation of discipleship is found in hard displeasures and difficulties that we face, that are intended to be overcome by faith.

There are very few options in relating to the forces about us. It must be understood plainly, that the forces include my flesh, Satan the enemy, and the world. And the force to withstand is found in the power of Jesus. It is indeed a battlefield!

I know undoubtedly, that man by himself, has no power as great as Jesus or Satan. This makes me extremely vulnerable.

If I want to overcome death or pain I must yield myself completely to life. Jesus is the life. If I yield myself to defeat and discouragement I embrace death.

Defining the reality of this in a few words looks like this. Man’s appointment is death and judgment. Satan is death. Jesus is resurrection from death. The One who wins is the One we rest our faith in.

Discouragement comes from unanticipated situations. We, as vessels of clay, often encounter things that are difficult. How else could it be living in a difficult world.

I have found that discouragement often comes from conflict from external sources wanting a meeting with personal conflict within.

If I hang on to my own conflict or have hidden unresolved issues within, I should never attempt to confront conflict without. This is where patience becomes a tool of value.

Correct the problems within and let redemption through Christ release, forgive and restore you. Now your heart is clear (internal) and you are better prepared for the issues you have encountered around you (external).

Let us not be weary in well doing. Sometimes these things will take weeks or even months until we can rest with resolve. As long as you don’t give up, God won’t either.

So many do not understand the cross and end up becoming enemies to it. The conclusion of the cross is not pain, it is death, which is the final resolve that only supernatural resurrection can burst forth.

One of the biggest things plaguing God’s children is the personal suffering of self. This is not meant to be. Self has only one right, crucified daily on the cross of Jesus. The complete resolve to pain, hurt and self has to surrender with no further argument.

Can we say, I am crucified with Christ today by giving up all that is within me never to pick it up again? Tomorrow, I do the same until Jesus returns. If not, we must conclude that we are resisting the cross and considering it an enemy to our soul.

There is no pain in death, and neither is there pain in resurrection. The pain is in the process before death, while we hold on to that which is intended to die. When I hold onto my own rights, God can never make me right in His sight. I don’t know of another answer to what is called pain in our latter day. I hope this sheds some light on what I am seeing about the subject of pain in our modern day. May He see His glory in our lives!

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.