Saturday, February 29, 2020

How Do We Serve God? We Receive His Righteousness

"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD." (Isaiah 54:17)

This passage is one that I most often meditate on.

The second part of the verse caught me attention in a different way:

"This is the heritage [inheritance] of the servants of the Lord."

Doesn't it seem strange that servants inherit something?

What kind of service do we render to the LORD?

David writes:

"What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD." (Psalm 116:12-13)

We are His servants we receive from Him!

The rest of Isaiah 54:17 outlines specifically what we receive from Him, which causes us to serve Him:

"Their righteousness is of me."

God does not want us to lean on our righteousness, but His.

Consider the first mention of "righteous" or "righteousness" in the Bible.

The first mention of "righteous" as an adjective appears here:

"These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." (Genesis 6:9)

The first mention of righteousness, the noun, occurs here:

"And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness." (Genesis 15:6)

Noah, which means "rest", found grace in God's eyes because He believed in Him, and received from Him. That's what made Noah righteous.

Righteousness is all about believing Him, and we receive His righteousness by faith!

In fact, since Jesus' death and resurrection, for those who believe on Him, we are made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21)

God our Father invites us to receive--and keep receiving--this gift of righteousness from Him!

"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:17)

What makes us God's servants? When we receive His gift of righteousness! It's a hard labor for many, since so many Christians, even after they get saved and begin walking with the Lord, or determined to try to earn God's blessings, hoping that if they continue to behave and do the right things, then God will bless them.

But no! That is all wrong! We are called to receive, and to keep receiving, His gift of righteousness!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Every Weapon Against You Will Fail

"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD." (Isaiah 54:17)

The King James translation is great, but like any translation it is not perfect.

In the original Hebrew, the first part of the verse above reads as follows:

"Every weapon that is formed against thee shall not prosper."

There is something total, something complete, something very comforting and gratifying about this revelation.

There will be weapons that form, and there will be many in our lives that come after us.

But we have rock solid, rocksteady assurance, that every single one of those weapons will not prosper. Whatever aims, whatever the enemies, or the Enemy, may design against us, they will not succeed.

Consider these promises in God's Word:

"Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him." (Proverbs 26:27)


"And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the LORD, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept his servant from evil: for the LORD hath returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head." (1 Samuel 25:39)

Consider what Joseph said to his brothers when they begged for his forgiveness a second time:

"20But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive." (Genesis 50:20)

God is on our side, and who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

We are more than conquerors through Him, as well (Romans 8:37).

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Entering His Rest

"Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." (Hebrews 4:11)

My body is really starting to calm down, and so is my mind.

This tranquility has become more commonplace, resplendent.

I never thought I would have this sense of warmth and caring.

I am really walking in His rest!

I understand now what Paul was writing about to the Romans:

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16)

The flesh is still there in my body, but I do not identify with it.

I can rest because you, Jesus, have been taking care of everything. I do not have to stomp out bad thoughts are bad feelings. Your life is flowing through me!

This is

I have since begun to realize that many of the negative thoughts, feelings, fears, premonitions were all examples of ... the flesh!

There is no reason to answer, to silence, to shut down every fear and worry.

This is part of the rest and the refreshing!

"To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear." (Isaiah 28:12)

Today, I am hearing! I am listening! I am HEEDING!

This rest, this refreshing speaks of His spirit, and we stir up His spirit in us when we pray in tongues:

"For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people." (Isaiah 28:11)

I love to pray in the Spirit, because His Spirit is guiding me like never before.

And I love what I am hearing!

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." (Romans 10:17)

For the longest time, the LONGEST TIME, I felt compelled to squelch, to stop, to shut down every feeling, every thought, every untoward premonition.

I never realized how in bondage I was to my flesh. I was constantly taking responsibility for these strange thoughts and feelings which came from nowhere.

Now I get it all! NOW I GET IT!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Working Within Us Both to Will and To Do

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13)

This passage may strike some people as too metaphyiscal to be practical.

For more, this verse makes more sense than I could have ever imagined.

God is real, outside of me, yet living within me:

"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:" (Colossians 1:27)

Christ is not just present within us, but He is our "hope of glory". We can rest confident that He is invested and determined to grant us His glory.

Paul writes that we "reign in life" through Christ Jesus! (Romans 5:17)

He is very much in and around me. He is at work, and He is actively working within me.

God is not interested in making us do things that we do not want to do. He gives us the desire, and He gives us the ability.

It's not a lazy life, but a dynamic life, because He is our life (Colossians 3:4).

The issue for me was that I used to think that my bad thoughts, my bad feelings were putting God away from me. I thought for the longest time that I was responsible to clean out, get rid of bad thoughts, bad feelings so that God could flow through me.

Yet all this time, God's love for me was lavish, strong, rushing through me, regardless of how I felt, and it did not depend on me one bit. I have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21) because of all that He has done.

It's not my job to keep God close to me. It's not my job to ward off fears and worries. It's my job to rest in Him.

No wonder the writer of Hebrews declares to his Jewish brethren:

"Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." (Hebrews 4:11)

I used to wonder, to worry, to wander around in these weird thoughts, these fearful premonitions which used to test me, to press on me, and ultimately distracted me for so long from the truth.

For the longest time, I was egged on by these inner tensions.

It's only now, only NOW that I realize how present, how real, how loving, how precious my Jesus is. He is just wonderful! He is altogether lovely, and He has indeed taken care of everything for me.

There is no reason for me to plot and play on my own, as though He is not watching out for me.

Jesus' words mean so much more to me now:

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)

I have His Kingdom within me today:

"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." (Romans 14:17)

It's no a longer a life of demands, but a life of grace, resting in His flow, and allowing Him to carry me where He wishes to carry me.

He is indeed working within me. There is no longer a need to challenge or worry about whether I am being led astray. I understand now the mistakes that I had made in the past, the misunderstandings which had been prevalent in my life.

God is in the business of providing me everything. He will never be angry with me again, or rebuke me (Isaiah 54:9). When He disciplines me, it is so that I will rest more in Him and receive more from Him:

"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." (Hebrews 12:11)

Peaceable fruit of righteousness comes as a result of God's grace flowing in our lives.

Today, I no longer pay attention to the nagging fears and worries. I don't wonder about tomorrow, because I know that He is mapped everything for my good:

"Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:" (Isaiah 46:10)


"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

All those feelings, hurts, wonders, worries--none of that was mine, none of that pertained to me, none of that belonged to me. The shames, the lusts, the temptations, none of that belongs to me, none of that has anything to do with me.

No wonder Paul could write so definitively:

"Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:11)

Wow! What a life this is! It's His Life, and it is grand! He is working within me, He is working in and around me, and because He is working, I flow with Him!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Growing in Understanding of Righteousness: 2008 and Today

In 2008, I started learning about the gift of righteousness.

I credit Joyce Meyer with helping me to understand my standing in Christ in this regard.

I learned that I am the righteousness of God in Christ when I read 2 Corinthians 5:21. It was really something!

I then learned that all of these blessings come our way because of this wonderful gift of righteousness.

But from there, I did not understand fully what it means to be justified.

I was still stuck in my feelings. I used to believe that God's presence would come or go in my life depending on what I was thinking, what I was feeling. I took Isaiah 26:3 in a very strange direction, to the point that it was debilitating for my mind:

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." (Isaiah 26:3)

I literally thought that I had to be thinking about God, or He would not keep me in perfect peace. The mental anguish was just too much for me. Sometimes, I look back on those times and have to wonder how I lived through those difficult times.

But I did make it ... barely.

I felt that God's presence, blessings, favor would come or go in my life. Everything depended on me. Worrying had been such a natural status of life. It would be many years before I learned to realize, to recognize, to become aware that God is always with me. It's never been about feelings. It's never been about thinking. It's all about believing!

At the time, ten years ago, I believed that my righteousness, my righteous standing would come and go. I was still struggling with the seemingly mixed messages in the New Testament.

For example, Matthew shares in his Gospel account:

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)

So, I am supposed to seek His kingdom and His righteousness ...

But wait! Luke records:

"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32)

God wants to give me His kingdom? OK, I like this, but why is their a seeming conflict in God's word on these matters?

And of course:

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

This confusion provided a perverse opportunity for the Enemy to lead me astray in all too many ways. I was supposed to seek His righteousness, but I was made the righoteusness of God in Christ, What gives? What is going on here?

And I did not understand what righteousness meant.

This confusion and conflict created such contention within me.

Today, though, I understand. 

First, righteousness means that all my sins have been put away -- past, present, and future. It means that I will never bee punished, condemned, or harmed for any wrongdoing, action, or thought. This revelation would have been too much for me back then. I was so worried about doing the wrong thing, or going the right way. I didn't know how to rest, how to trust God's direction and leading in my life.

These nagging thoughs would never leave me: "Are you sure that you are doing the right thing?" "What if you make a mistake?" What if this is not God's will?"

These pressings questions really bothered me, because I was constantly bottled up with this false, limited understanding about how great, how moving, how active, how available God is to me. I also didn't know my heritage, my standing, my new identity in Christ Jesus.

Today, all of that has changed.

I understand that righteousness is a gift, and a gift which I keep receiving:

"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:17)

Something else that often held me back was that I would fail, sin, do something wrong. But here's the thing -- my righteous standing before God has nothing to do with what I do!

This verse took on even greater significance for me:

"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." (Romans 4:5)

The righteousness that God has made me, has nothing--absolutely NOTHING--to do with me. It's all about Jesus. It's all about what He has done. I received His life, having received His death at the Cross in my place for me.

Jesus is actively releasing favor, grace, life, love to me, too! This part was missing for me, too! I never understood how actively He is in love with me. We cannot understand the richness of His love for us, however, if we do not understand the fullness of His righteousness accorded to us.

When I first wrote this post, I had written the title "Growing in Righteousness."

However, we do not grow in righteousness. Our standing is perfect in Christ, for we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. For this reason, John wrote in his First Epistle:

"Herein is love perfected among us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17)

These revelations came at me fast and furious as I was watching more of Pastor Joseph Prince, and taking in so much of his revelations from God's Word. Those were exciting times!

Here I am ten years later, and it's really wonderful how far God has taken me. I never realized how loving, active, real He is in my life. For the longest time, this sense of demand, dread, even fear about the next and the days to come were so strong, to prevalent in my life, in my mind. "What about tomorrow? What will happen tomorrow?" Those nagging thoughts, I now realize, were mere temptations, nothing more. I would feel condemned about those thoughts, feeling that I had to do something about them, prove them wrong, dispel them in some fashion.

I have since then learned to ignore those frustrations and fears, and they have all fallen away. I have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. I do not have to change what I am thinking or feeling for God to be real, alive, and available to me. My identity before Him has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with Him!

This is how I have grown in understanding the grace of God, the gift of righteousness, and the person of Jesus in my life. It's amazing how so many of us in the body of Christ will still live our lives as though everything is up to us.

No! Everything becomes a gift, and our loving Father simply asks us to receive from Him!

I had spent so much time trying to hold onto God, to make sure that He was ever-present in my life. Yet He is my life! How could He not be present?! It took me a long time to understand all of this, to understand the eternal, wonderful privileges and joys I receive because of His righteousness.


Saturday, February 22, 2020

What It Means to Rest in the Lord

"Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." (Hebrews 4:11)

Image result for Hebrews 4:11

This revelation about God's rest is becoming more prominent for me.

For the longest time, I didn't understand what God's rest was all about.

Now I get it.

He is our life, He is our majesty, He is at work preparing all things for us.

He is actively at work in and around me. I do not have to conjure Him up, so to speak, or beg Him to start moving in my life.

In fact, He is our life!

"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." (John 14:6)

"Apart from me, ye can do nothing." (John 15:5)


"When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:4)

But we have a hard time believing that. I know that I have had a hard time resting in that revelation.

He is actively at work behind the scenes. I do not have to keep myself up awake at night, covering all the bases and the angles. He is taking care of me. He has it all taken care of for me.

It's not a game. It's not a joke. His presence in my life is not based on what I am feeling or thinking.

It was all paid for, provided for when Jesus declared on the Cross "It is Finished!" (John 19:30)

For the longest time, I was still looking at my circumstances, at the people in and around me, or the activities and outcomes coming my way, and would then conclude whether I was doing the right thing or the wrong thing.

Crazy, but true. There was a great deal of unlearning I had to endure. Alcoholics Anonymous, the law-centered preaching of so many pastors, preachers, and teachers had done their damage for a long time.

For the longest time, I woke up every day as though the day depended on me. Nothing would or could get done without me. I really believed that I was on my own.

Jesus, You are the Way! You provided the path for me!

And all this time, I was constantly living in doubt, doubting myself, doubting what others were saying and doing, wondering what to do, what to say, or how to navigate through this life.

So, all these years, a sense of pressure, a sense of urgency, this constant sense of "pushing myself" was a mainstay in my life. I had to be my own internal scold to make sure that things were taken care of. I was constantly having to be hard on myself, because if I was not vigilant, then nothing would happen.

Wow! Talk about arrogant! But I admit it today. That is how I thought, that it was I felt, and that is often how I behaved. God has provided everything for me. He is prompting me with His will, His desires for me. It's so wonderful to realize, to finally understand that I am not, nor have I ever been alone in this world.

I have been taking my blood pressure for the last few days. I have steadily withdrawn, taken less lisinopril over the last eight months following my stroke. And now my blood pressure has decreased considerably more since I realized that I did not have to stoke or provoke outcomes through my own efforts. This is really quite something!

I can relax, and recognize that through God's grace, all things will be taken care of in due time. I don't have to stress or fret about timing, outcomes, and deadlines. He is at work in me, and He is making all things work together for my good! (Romans 8:28)

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Hoping in God, We Will Never Be Put To Shame

"Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause." (Psalm 25:3)

When we wait on the Lord, we must know and believe that He is doing nothing but good, and preparig nothing but the best for us.

Consider the first mention of "wait" or "qavah" in the Old Testament:

"And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so." (Genesis 1:9)

The last mention occurs in the prophet Micah:

"And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men." (Micah 5:7)

Consider also what Isaiah declares:

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

There is no shame, but great strength for us who wait on Him.

We trust in Him to come through for us, and we know that if there is a delay, He has a reason for doing so

And remember, no matter how long a matter may take to be resolved, don't ever think that God is angry with you!

"For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee." (Isaiah 54:9)

But also:

"Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more." (Isaiah 54:4)

There is no fear of shame, and there is no shame in hoping in God to come through for you!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Trials Make us Patient, Cheerfully Enduring, Receiving More Grace

"Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience." (James 1:3)

Going through a hard time now?

God is with you, even in the midst of the hardest trials that you may face:

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5)

That's an iron-clad, double-negative guarantee.

Because of what Jesus accomplished at the Cross for us (Isaiah 53), we have another beautiful promise from our Loving Father:

"For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee." (Isaiah 54:9)

God will never be angry with us ever again! Can you imagine that?

So, when trials, when hardships, when negative outcomes come our way, we should never feel that God is punishing us. We should never fall for the lie that we have done something wrong, and therefore God is "getting even" with us.

Not at all. In fact, we have a deeper promise:

"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" (1 Peter 1:7)

God wants us to have more faith in Him, to trust Him to bless us in all things.

"For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17)


"3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (Romans 5:3-5)

The patience that God wants to develop is a "cheerful endurance." No matter what is thrown our way, we rest in the truth that our God is greater than any circumstance!

God wants us to depend on Him for more things in our lives. In fact, Paul writes that we live by the faith of the Son of God (Galatians 2:20-21)

However, there are aspects of our lives where we are still depending on our efforts, coming under law.

We live by faith, but in some areas of our lives, we are still prone to rely on our efforts. Such self-effort frustrates God's grace:

"4Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." (Galatians 5:4)

We are called to receive more of

"Ye have fallen from grace"

"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD." (Isaiah 54:17)

Every weapon will fail, even if they are a result of our own failings.

So, we should not feel sad, discouraged, or even angry when bad things come our way.

What are they for, then? Why are these bad occurences allowed to ... occur?

To refine our faith, that we stop relying on our own efforts and trust more in His grace! (Romans 5:17)

Trials take place to build our character, to trust Him more, to trust ourselves less, and to receive more of His grace in our lives.

So, cheer up!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

There Will Be Hard Times, But Rejoice - Here's Why

"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." (John 16:33)

Some Christians have this misguided idea that because they have been saved, because they have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21), everything should be "Easy Street" going forward.

That is simply not true.

Jesus, before He delivered High high priestly prayer, before He was dragged before six false courts to be judged guilty for nothing, then crucified, told His disciples: "You will have tribulation in the world."

But there's no reason for us to panic, fear, or be discouraged.

Jesus overcame the world when He died on the Cross.

Jesus announced to His disciples what His work on the Cross would accomplish, with the Holy Spirit coming into the world:

"8And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged." (John 16:8-11)

The world will be reproved for its sin.

Yes. They will not get away with it. The conviction that comes upon the world comes from the fact that they do not believe on Christ Jesus.

The world will bring its troubles, the world will throw troubles and trials our way, but He has overcome the world (John 16:33)

John expounds on this further in his First Epistle:

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." (1 John 4:4)


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

"5Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5:4-5)

He has overcome the world.

We believe on Jesus.

Through Jesus, we overcome, too.

In fact, Paul put it so simply:

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." (Romans 8:37)

In all things, not some things, we are more than conquerors. Yes, there will be hard times, but so what? He has overcome them, and we are more than overcomes in Him!