Caught exception: Opening file for writing failed on error fopen(/nas/content/live/moww/wp-content/cache/gantry5/wpfc-multiply/html/96d68d20cb058323ae29bb765f3aecee.php): failed to open stream: Permission denied
This month's teaching : Repentance

Shepherded – Part 3

Deeper understanding of the kingdom of God is missed by so many due to spiritual shallowness, irreverence, and inconsistency in the fear of God. Psalm 25:14 The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant. (Emphasis added.) Here we see there are secrets that God only reveals to those who fear Him. Walking in the fear of the Lord is the place where true wisdom begins to permeate the child of God through revelation concerning covenant-living. This wisdom is imputed holiness and righteousness that dwells among true followers of God. A fundamental responsibility placed upon the child of the kingdom is discerning the body of Christ and its earthly function.

Many attempt to fulfill their earthly function through using worldly mindsets and strategies to corner true sheep, or even good shepherds that have given their life for the flock of God. We are experiencing signs of the closing age more than ever before. The roaring lion is out in full force unleashing his tools of demise on those who are vulnerable creatures of prey without the nature of a lamb or sheep. This age of rebellion is so deceptive that even these targeted victims do not realize that their plight is disobedience to God and His kingdom principles. Only the true sheep know the difference between the fox or the prophet (shepherd). Ezekiel 13:3 Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! V.4 O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. The true shepherds hear from God, but foxes work to outsmart and snoop around seeking out every little splinter they can use to pierce a tender heart within the faithful and truthful.

The truth and glory of being shepherded is in opening the heart in submission and humility to the correction and perfection of the loving hands of God. The selfish desires of serving our own will God cannot use. Our will must be shepherded into a deep surrender through which His love can be manifested. Even the perfect Lamb of God could not perform His own will. This perfect Lamb found His will to be a plea for the removal of the bitter cup that night in Gethsemane. Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. This submission of the Lamb of God enabled Him to become the Shepherd of all shepherds. This same truth now is the way in which shepherds are formed for the true sheep of the flock of God. The shepherded child of God begins as a lamb and transitions into a mature sheep and, if God chooses, can then also become a useful servant of unfeigned obedience to the call and will of God. There are some who esteem themselves as shepherds but have never found the courage to allow true discipleship to form their life. They maintain the nature of foxes with ideas to outsmart and outdo one another so as to draw sheep after themselves. These are not true shepherds and are very dangerous.

John 10:1 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. V.2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. A true shepherd is one who enters in by the door and does not lead where he has never been nor speaks what is not in his own heart. Certainly, there are those who have climbed the walls by learning how to do things in their own way, but they never became a true lamb or sheep walking with a shepherd next to them. These have never learned the Shepherd’s voice because they know not the life of a lamb; they are thieves and will eventually pursue sheep-robbery. I cannot stress enough the value and ultimate importance of desiring true life-surrendering discipleship. It is only a lamb or a true sheep that can embrace soul-correction and spiritual reformation from a human shepherd. Many desire correction directly from Jesus or the Holy Spirit, because it is too humbling to receive discipleship from a fellow human shepherd. However, this is God’s way of wisdom in forming us after His desire. Let us not forget, man will never become a spiritual shepherd unless he has first learned a life of surrender and gone in through the same door of the sheepfold. Who is my earthly shepherd? It is not a book, a CD, a DVD, or broadcast. It is someone you walk with. Hallelujah!

Influenced

There is enormous significance in the source of influence which sways differing personalities by persuasion of thought or opinion. This is exactly what happened in Eden, the Garden of God. In the Kingdom of God, persuasion comes by spiritual inspiration, revelation, and even supernatural attestation at times. The true saint operates on a separate platform of truth. We need to gain an understanding on these elements of authority to discern the extreme evil within things that seem to be so insignificant and innocent. There is a mystery of iniquity that has cloaked the church for centuries, but it has become more prevalent in this latter day than ever before. Could it be that evil has more influential power than does heavenly truth? The church of our modern-day longs after the world in so many ways. We look to the world for ideas and influences to pattern our lives after. We’ve regressed into numb neutrality so that we can be like the world and do like the world does. We run churches like profit centers and businesses to raise the American dream, rather than maintaining a heavenly scene of spiritual power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit. We apologize to the world and to sinners because we do not approve of sin. We have crept to the edge, trying to get as close to evil as we can while still in Christ.

The true saints of God are not enticed nor influenced by things seen or heard. The work of the Holy Spirit is a gentle raining of heavenly mist-like inspiration and spiritual gratitude that fills the soul with love, joy, and peace. The deathly nature of the world simply does not hold appeal to the true saints of God. We truly do not love the world, not even the things that are in the world. The thing that matters most for us is the power of the Holy Spirit to keep us in the purity and holiness of God. We despair over the realization of spiritual powerlessness. We spend hours in the Word of God for cleansing and understanding, as we seek His presence and to receive more of Him. We long to be influenced by Almighty God on a constant basis. We think about Christ all day long. His presence is real to us, and we plan our days accordingly so as not to neglect Him. He is like gentle rain to our soul. There are times when the influence of the Holy Spirit is so clear and abundant that it’s like receiving baptisms of Him for weeks and longer.
These are all things that the natural man finds foolish. 1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. Let us remember once again—in the Kingdom of God, we are influenced by spiritual inspiration, heavenly enlightenment, and revelation from the presence of God. Our life is genuinely affected by our heavenly Father, and Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. When the presence of these spiritual influences is missing from our lives, we seek to be satisfied by other influences of fleshly enticement.

Have you ever noticed that certain people motivate you to live a Godly life? Have you also noticed that there are certain people that rob you of the love of God? It is all about influence. Ungodly personalities draw you away from God, even having the ability to do so in mere moments. Sanctified people of God draw you into His presence. They are influenced by heaven, and in turn, influence you in the same way. There are many spiritual thieves and robbers working in the name of Christianity with whom we rub elbows. Somehow, we think we ought to feel guilty that we do not want to be around them. Ask yourself this question: do my friends affect me towards a deeper walk with Jesus, or do they draw me away from Him? And remember—friends will do to you what you do to them, that is why you are friends!

Do I need to change my friendship with the world? Do I bring an influence of God-consciousness to them? Do people feel hesitant to cuss in your presence? Many times in my life I have prayed for true Christian friends. May I suggest that you do the same and ask the Lord to send the right people into your life, for friendship and for His glory. When God sends these people into your life, you cannot be possessive of them or they will not find friendship in you. The spiritual benefit goes both ways through heavenly influence, and oh yes, they are also a lot of fun! Hallelujah!!!

Should Christians Judge?

As we all differ one from another, it becomes apparent that our purposes and callings are not identical. While we have all been created for His glory, our similar abilities can vastly differ in the final results. We are given a soul with three specific functions, giving us competence to become and to perform. These three abilities are instinctive and God-created wonders known as the mind, emotion, and will. The oppressive or explosive environments in which Mankind lives are basically descripted as conditions of influence. These influences are completely capable of being depressive or impressive. However, the receptiveness and effect varies from one to another based on pre-existing conditions of the soul. The inner condition of our soul will determine the impact upon our life. It is the understanding of two people seeing things from two completely different perspectives. One sees a cup half full, and the other sees the same cup half empty. Here we see two different views that are both correct. Why is this? The perspective through which we view circumstances is often influenced by certain sensitivities of prior influence. This influence becomes a prominent driver of the way we understand and accept. Perception is the antenna through which most people receive. It is entirely natural for man to use two specific instruments of the body to form judgment. The eye and the ear are the natural perception sensors which bring us judgment decisions. If then, perception is the inspection instrument that is used to view and comprehend, we see how there can be misunderstandings. How does this work in the spiritual world where we are called to function, and why is this so important to understand?

We find that Jesus calls the type of judgment I have just described as unrighteous. We are asked to make righteous judgment. John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. The word righteous means innocent and pure, i.e. without prior influence. This simply means judgment that is true and not pre-influenced by the soul. So, we understand that judgment reached using our eyes is not righteous. Isaiah 11:2 And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; V.3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.

Jesus did not judge with what His eyes told Him, and He did not reprove things that He heard through His ears. If Jesus didn’t use these means, neither should we. Most people judge with a pre-bias or an obstacle in the eye. This can blur vision and even affect dreams. It can give Satan the advantage to dilute the sensual soul. Jesus likens this to a huge plank of wood that stumbles over a little splinter. This judgment comes from a beam of prior influence that disappointed the proud stumbling icon of self. These are poisonous little venoms that pre-influence the eye and the ear to perceive something small as being huge; they burn with poisonous venom, thus making it way over-blown because of personal anxiety. This will cause pre-influenced judgment in every imaginable way. The beam can easily be labeled with other words of influence like Envy, Jealousy, Despise, Hate, Self-pity, and other vipers of ill-will. Most people that walk around with well-nourished hurts, baby these captions of others’ slight mistakes. Huge mistakes made by someone seldom bring hurts that are nourished. Huge mistakes that are sin against us drive us to the cross, and that is where we can lay it down in surrender. Oh yes, it can take down the very spiritual and established and even the very elect, according to end-time conditions that will come. Little mistakes often drive the soulish man to revenge and aggravation.

Jesus was so full of the Holy Spirit that He would not depend on His eyes or His ears to make judgment that only spiritual discernment could conclude. And the Holy Spirit rested upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. Those are six specific virtues from the Holy Spirit that were at rest upon the life of Jesus. The Holy Spirit gives us less intelligence, more wisdom. He gives us less shrewdness, more understanding. He gives us less opinion, more counsel and guidance. Less muscle, more might. He was not knowledge, but the Spirit of knowledge that that will always find us in the fear of God. So, we see that the judgment Jesus used was from the Holy Spirit. The true Saints of God will possess this pure form of God’s Holiness to live by. Nothing pre-conceived, but Spirit-revealed. Let us never be found without our vessel FILLED WITH THE OIL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT! So, do we judge?

1 Corinthians 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? If the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Hallelujah!

Discerning Tribulation

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. We will all go through tribulation, but let us never neglect to understand the purpose. Could it be that it is because God is jealous over His possession? Can tribulation be punishment, or a way to draw us back to Him?

Does God have a right to be jealous? After all, everything has been made by Him and for Him. He created it all and has the absolute legal documents: “The Word”, for total ownership to everything that is. When God sees a nation or people walk away from Him he does not close His eyes with blindness. He has a plan for redemption that might come into view as a detour to man at times. We must not forget His jealousy for His people and for everything that is intended for Him. Deuteronomy 4:24 For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. Within that jealousy there is a fount of love that consumes and a desire so deep that He was willing to see His dearest Son, martyred; providing a way to get back a creation that had gone off completely into a fallen kingdom of destructive evil, right from the presence of God.

At times, God offers ways to bring back those who abandon faith and faithfulness that seem so difficult. At other times, it seems God just lets them go. A backslidden child of God goes through much deeper things than that which meets the eye of the saint. He goes through a long period where he feels so rejected by God. He strengthens himself with blame and imaginations to justify his own failure. Things get gloomy within the heart, so dreadfully that there is almost no sense of God anywhere. Sin now becomes a way of life. Guilt and sorrow are covered over with new desires to satisfy the abandoned presence of God. Some throw themselves deeper into work and things to entertain their troubled heart.

Many seek for hope everywhere except turning back to God because Satan has caused them to believe there is no hope of returning. This form of tribulation is a torment that blinds spiritual trust found only in Christ. This loneliness of false hope found in things other than Christ sustains nothing but difficulty in the midst of deteriorating adversity. Backslidden mankind must at once be honest and declare an end to this destructive path. This path is filled with sorrow and abandonment from God’s presence. We must wake from our sleep and take responsibility for what is happening. Blame cannot rule our life nor can hurts be nurtured any longer.

There are two kinds of tribulation. One “worketh patience” as well as endurance and will draw you closer to God, enriching your faith – though it is also very difficult. This kind will never drive you from God. Oh yes, it will cause you many questions and deep despair at times. My observation for many years is that Christians don’t care much to have an understanding of why they go through tribulation. It is extremely important to recognize which one is being experienced. There is a world of difference between the two. The one is an endearment to Christ; the other tribulation is a form of punishment that is not chastening from the Lord.

One of the ways to gain understanding as to which one we are experiencing is to recognize its origin. Was it after a spiritual breakthrough or great move of God where this all began?  Was there a violation committed of any principle in the Bible? I have observed many times that people do not discern what God is saying while going through tribulation. Some battle and strive to conquer while it continues to fall apart all around them. These are people in disobedience that have caused their own demise, insisting on their own folly. This is a brutal condition and it will take the form of a brazen gloomy cast of helplessness and darkness over the person. This type of tribulation is often the result of us causing trouble against God’s people.

In the following verses, we read about the two different kinds of tribulation. 2 Thessalonians 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: V.5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: V.6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;   

The holy and spiritual kind is designed to bring patience and faith, and is mostly accompanied by persecution for right doing. It is one thing to suffer for righteousness sake and completely another thing to suffer for wrong doing. As we go through so many difficult things in our lives, let us always seek to be clear on why we face tribulation. Is it because of obedience or disobedience?

The Emanation of the Heart

God has been teaching me to walk with greater carefulness in the company of people who have tendencies to tear down the character of fellow believers. I have been very careful with what kind of friendship I nurture. Someone having a constant expression of complaints under the disguise of sharing a burden contains a poison too dangerous for me to interact with. If the fingers always point out you can be assured that there are problems within that are self-justified and toxic.

I understand that there are times of such despair in difficulty when a person shares his heart. It is when these tendencies are constant and the patterns are continual that I find a nature very destructive to the life of the Holy Spirit within. Most have learned to recognize this emanation and to either guard against it or embrace it. Some people have very little genuine wholesome encouragement to emanate. Others are overflowing with strength that brings joy, hope, and blessing. Sometimes meeting someone in a store and sharing a short conversation can change your entire day. Why is this so influential?

Things spoken from the heart are vastly more effective. There are those who have their knowledge encased in the book of intellectualism that they convey only with the desire to impress. The effectiveness of such content seldom builds up spiritual health for the man of God. It is designed to impress the weak and grieve the Holy Spirit within the believer.

Isaiah prophesied about the coming Messiah and stated that He will judge a righteous judgment. Isaiah 11:2 And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; V.3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: Christ’s example of how the Holy Spirit manifests His true judgment, is also the method that every believer needs to have confidence in through faith and not by sight. This truth of being an active participant through such depth of holiness within the character of mankind is the element of transformation we all must experience before there can be any accuracy in judgment. Here it becomes apparent that man cannot conclude by merely seeing or hearing.

This wonderful truth is a great challenge that every believer needs to embrace with sincerity and zeal. The Spirit of wisdom and understanding with counsel and might has to be given residence in our heart. Not the spirit of imagination and exploration. When the Holy Spirit has such powerful preeminence and protection within the believer, his imaginational judgment and perception of others is concealed. Oh, may this be found in me lest I think falsely of others redeemed by the same blood of Jesus.

Many times, I have prayed: God, set a watch on my lips. But now I pray: God set a watch on my eyes and ears. We know that the mouth speaks that which is in the heart, so the heart needs fervent, attentive protection! Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Now we understand that life’s issues are within the heart. We also know that the heart is desperate to be wicked and is ranked as the most fraudulent tool that we have. Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? This fact as described by God must be the perfect understanding of our God toward mankind. This needs to invoke a sobering dilemma within the saint of God! Oh, how desperately I need a deeper work of the Holy Spirit within my heart! I cannot live one minute without Him!

If I am deprived of His greater presence, than I have become a monster of judgment toward everyone by what I hear and see. Seeing and hearing are the daily functions of many who are professors of Christianity. Oh, Spirit of grace and love, may you lead me into the darkness of eyes and deafness of hearing from the tongue of man, lest I know not that which you want me to understand. I long for your presence in my eyes and in my ears lest I curse and not bless! John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. Oh, Lord, change within me daily that which pollutes your work and word. Remind me of the more important things heaven wants me to know and be. Let me not despise those who you accept. Cover my eyes with love and my ears with your holiness lest my heart becomes defiled and I emanate hell and not heaven, life and not death.

Romans 14:3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.