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Spiritual-Fuel-Devotional-21

Jesus: Is He Who He Claims to Be?

By | From Pablo's Desk | One Comment

I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus… (Phil. 3:8)

How can someone in His right mind confess what Paul did in Philippians 3:8? What did He know about Jesus that most people today ignore?

One of the great passages of Scripture is Hebrews one—written to equip the Church to stand against heresies that denied Jesus’ deity and against compromise especially in the face of persecution. Hebrews chapter one establishes Jesus’ supremacy and preeminence over all. It brings together the truths of Jesus as the royal Son (Ps. 2), the royal Priest (Ps. 110), and the royal Bridegroom (Ps. 45). You will discover the pre-existence of Jesus as God—His incarnation as a man and His eternal exaltation.

Did you know that there was never a time when Jesus did not exist? As the Incarnate One, He experienced human limitations in being hungry, weary, and even tempted. And He will be exalted forever as the God-Man who is King of kings over all the nations of the earth.

The Radiance of God

You can find seven “excellencies of Jesus” in Hebrews one: Jesus is the heir of all, creator of the worlds, radiance of God, exact representation of the Father, sustainer, redeemer and ruler of the universe. Each excellency is like a different angle of the most Spiritual-Fuel-Devotional-21beautiful diamond you have ever seen—the majestic splendor of Jesus: “God…has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom… He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Heb. 1:1-3)

Plain and simple: God spoke to us by His Son. Jesus is the full and final message to humanity about God. To know and understand what God is saying you must look to Him. And to refuse to hear what God says in Jesus is to refuse God himself.

His Controversial Claims

Put differently, unless you believe Jesus is who He claims to be you are lost in your sins (John 8:24), now and forever. I’m sorry if I’m breaking the news to you, but all religions do not lead to God… Jesus is the only way… He clearly stated so:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John. 14:6. But few people like to hear this…

Actually, the icons of this age (celebrities, philosophers, self help gurus, etc.) say the concept is too black and white. You bet it is! The truth is controversial and judgmental—a double edge sword that most folks don’t want to deal with. Famous stars like Oprah Winfrey boldly state on international TV: “I refuse to believe there is only one way to heaven”, and she is willing to gamble her eternity on that opinion.

Well… it’s the beauty of free will… you can form opinions and make choices—people have all kinds of ideas about Jesus—and all kinds of ideas about the Bible and eternal life.

But if you like to gamble with your eternity you should consider this: if Jesus is a myth and the Bible is a man-made illusion, then go ahead and be open-minded, all will be well with you… your energy will never die and one day, (depending on your karma) you might return to the planet re-incarnated as a Mosquito, like 100 years from now (:

BUT, and that’s an eternally relevant “BUT,” if Jesus is who He claims to be (the Creator, King and Ruler of the Universe) and you decide to ignore Him, then you have everything to lose… and I mean EVERYTHING… forever.

So, what would you believe?

Your life depends on it. Even if you are young and think you got many years to decide. The reality is—you could drop death tomorrow. So, be wise, and make your choice now. And make sure it’s the right choice.

God spoke to us by His Son (Hebrews 1:1-3)—who is willing to hear?

-Photo by Akiane

Jerusalem Rooftop, Pablo Perez

From Jerusalem, the Beautiful!

By | From Pablo's Desk | 27 Comments

Once again, I’m in the beautiful Jerusalem, just for a couple of days… helping God TV, singing from the rooftops of the City of the King. And I have a question for you…

Why do you think that praying for Israel is important, and how we should pray for them?

Please post your answer below.

Also, please pray for me, I’ll be ministering here in Israel this weekend.

mega blessings from Zion
Pablo Perez

Daily-Devotional-6

Justified by Faith: 3 Amazing Benefits

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Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Rom. 5:1-2)

In eight chapters of the book of Romans you can find the most complete presentation of the gospel of grace (Rom. 1-8). In Romans 5-8, Paul affirms that ‘being justified by faith’ means you can walk in the glory of God with victory over sin. If you are saved, the glory of God is guaranteed to you. And the day you understand what it means to be justified by faith you can have assurance of full salvation.

Here are three amazing benefits of being justified by faith:

Justified by Faith # 1:

You Have Peace with God

“Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1-2)

To have peace with God means that all the transgressions that disqualified you from receiving His love have been forever removed. The tone of your relationship with God is peaceful, with His love overflowing in you (Rom. 5:5). The enmity is totally gone (Rom. 5:10) and there is no condemnation (Rom. 8:1). All of this leaves you with the assurance of being enjoyed by God. The Greek word for peace (eirene) has the same meaning than shalom (the Hebrew word ). It speaks of a full relationship with God, which includes both the absence of conflict with Him and the fullness of His salvation with its blessings.

Very often, the gospel is presented as a promise to a “better lifestyle and improved circumstances”. Though there is truth in that approach, peace with God is the first need of every human being and it should be the first motive for preaching the gospel to the lost. What’s the point of having better circumstances if you don’t have peace with God?

Justified by Faith # 2:

You Stand in God’s Grace

“… we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Rom. 5:1-2)

Now you can experience all the benefits of a full relationship with God. Because of being justified by faith you entered into a ‘new state’ or legal position before God when you were justified by faith. Entering this glorious realm gives you access to all the benefits of your new position. For example, you can now feel confident in God’s affection: your condemnation has passed. You have the indwelling Spirit and Jesus’ authority: you are no longer powerless and filled with darkness.

Plus, because of being justified by faith, you have a divine destiny and a good future in God.

Justified by Faith # 3:

Rejoice in the Certainty of Glory

“Having been justified… we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Rom. 5:1-2)

Having hope of glory means having ‘certainty of glory’. Because of being justified by faith, you can participate in God’s glory (now and in the age to come). To ‘rejoice in in the certainty of experiencing God’s glory’ is one of the ultimate statements of Paul in Romans. It involves participation, partnership and being deeply involved with the purposes of His heart (now and forever). Rejoicing in the hope of glory is a rich and fascinating subject, a powerful benefit of being justified by faith.

So there you have it. Three amazing benefits of being justified by faith.

Spiritual-Fuel-Devotional-33

How to Be Successful in God’s Eyes

By | From Pablo's Desk | No Comments

Are you self-centered?

I’m afraid I am… and so is everyone I know… but of course, few people will be this blunt and honest. And others are so blind they don’t even realize that… they have being the center of their universe from day one.

Listen… I’d love to tell you that I have reached full maturity in the Lord and that I only live for Him and for others, but truth is: I’m not there yet.

There is hope, however, if I keep looking to JESUS. Because the more I behold who God is (what is He like, what He feels, what He thinks) and the more I see who I am to Him, the more I am delivered from my selfishness.

The Love Paradigm of Success and Security

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory… by the Spirit of the Lord – 2 Cor. 3:18

Transformation follows beholding. The more you behold the glory of the Lord the more you will change—you are transformed by encountering who He is and discovering your true identity in Jesus. Your “success” in God’s eyes has present and future implications, like living in the New Jerusalem (forever), participating in the fellowship of the Trinity, reigning with Him on earth, magnifying the supremacy of Christ and proclaiming His majesty.

You were created to long for deep relationship with God based on the assurance that He enjoys you. You were designed to thrive on godly affirmation. And you cannot “repent away” your God given longing for affirmation. Only you need to find it inside your relationship with Jesus and His delight over you. Believe me, you will not overcome your desire for affirmation and greatness by simply repenting of it without replacing it.

The name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him… (2 Thes. 1:12) The hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory… Eye has not seen, nor ear heard…the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. (1 Cor. 2:7-9)

Here’s an interesting idea from the Gospels: Jesus called you to love your neighbor “as you love yourself” and also called you to “hate” your life. Kind of confusing don’t you think? How am I to love myself and hate my life at the same time?

However, a closer look will reveal that both statements are amazingly true and in no way conflict with each other. Because you “love yourself” through the lens of the revelation of Jesus, His cross, and your great worth to Him. And you “hate” your life by refusing to find your identity, pleasures and affirmation outside a relationship with God.

John Piper said it best: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him”. Bernard of Clairvaux called it “loving ourselves for His sake”—that is, being jealous to have all that God wants in our lives for His sake.

Jesus does not want us to walk in false humility. It’s a religious spirit that seeks to minimize how “He loves loving you” and how He loves “you enjoying His love.” Jesus is magnified when you boldly believe in His amazing love and define your primary success by being loved and desired by Him.

Grass

Grace: What it Is and What Is Not

By | From Pablo's Desk | No Comments

Nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)

What is grace? The ultimate messenger of grace was Paul the apostle… He poured out his life to preach the gospel of grace, that we would understand what it is and what is not. Paul left you and I serious warnings against receiving a “distorted grace message”, a message that is shaped by culture and not based on Scripture.

I marvel that You are turning…to a different gospel…but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert [distort] the gospel of Christ… If we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. (Gal. 1:6-8)

The BIBLE calls you to contend for the faith of the apostles. And it warns you against well intended “brothers” and impostors, who distort GRACE by making people comfortable in their sin… Living in compromise… in the name of “living in grace”:

I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed…ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny…our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 3-4)

The Meaning of GRACE

By writing about grace I intend to equip you to:

  1. Be a messenger of grace who boldly and clearly speak the truth without being intimidated.
  2. Live confident in God’s love that is founded in truth (without presumption).
  3. Walk in victory over sin with a vibrant heart and ever-growing fascination with Jesus.

So you would understand and be able to answer issues like…

  1. The difference between your legal position (what Jesus did on the cross) and your living condition (what He requires us to do because He went to the cross).
  2. How resting and striving in God’s will work together to cultivating godly zeal, hunger for righteousness, and sacrificing everything for love.
  3. How the narrow and difficult road (Mt. 7:14) is the easy yoke (Mt. 11:30).
  4. How you can walk in joy, yet with godly mourning for God’s fullness (Mt. 5:4)
  5. The difference between guilt (shame) and godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:10).
  6. How to be confident before God, based in truth, without presumption.

Also, I want you to understand the difference between condemnation and conviction… between having all things in Christ and being poor in spirit… between setting your heart to obey and fully walking out our obedience… between earning God’s love and responding to it with diligence.

The Polluted Grace Message

The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their desires, because they have itching ears…they will turn their ears away from the truth. (2 Tim. 4:3-4)

There are plenty of ministers turning away from the truth today. And there is much to talk about the polluted and distorted message of grace that is infecting the Church worldwide. But to avoid making this post too long I will close with this:

God loves with all His heart, soul, mind and strength and He wants to empower you to love Him with all YOUR heart, soul, mind and strength (Mk. 12:30).

Read that again… because it reveals much of what GRACE is and what is not (according to the Bible).

Spiritual-Fuel-Devotional-228

The Most Important Question of Your Life

By | From Pablo's Desk | One Comment

Did you know that Jesus’ first teaching and prophecy about the Church (foundation, function, and sure victory) was centered on a question? The Holy Spirit is asking you and I the same question today. It could be the most important question of you life.

Jesus… asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah…” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter…said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered…, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father… On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom…whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Mt. 16:13-19)

Just like today, people had different views of Jesus. Some thought of him like John the Baptist, a holiness preacher with great dedication who fearlessly spoke the truth. Others saw him like Elijah, a prophet confronting the powers of darkness with supernatural power. And yet others viewed him like Jeremiah, the weeping prophet of compassion who tenderly cared for the people. After hearing the general opinion Jesus asks the question: But who do you say that I am?

The Most Important Question

On his book The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer states that what you think about God is the most important thing about you. He further says: “The most revealing thing about the Church is found in her ideas of Jesus. Her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid. A hundred lesser evils are caused by this one great lack of the knowledge of God.”

The most important question is: what do you think of Jesus?

Not, do you like Him? But, who do you imagine Him to be when you are quiet and alone? Perhaps your thoughts of Him are too few and low—a low view of Jesus keeps believers in bondage with a dull spirit and trapped in spiritual boredom.

Fascinated by His Majesty

Are you a minister of the Gospel? According to Jesus you cannot build your ministry on Him if your life is not built in Him. Please read that again—because a message worth having comes out of your encounters with Him, not merely out of your mind.

Tozer said it before and it is still true today, the most neglected subject in the kingdom of God is God Himself. We love to talk about relationship skills, leadership principles, economic principles, ministry skills and how to be happy and make life easier—all great subjects, I teach some of them myself—but what about HIM?

What about the unending riches Christ? What about the glory of God that shines in the face of Jesus? (2 Cor. 4:6).

It’s time to turn our focus back to the Lord and embrace the excellencies of knowing Him—that HE may become our ultimate desire and magnificent obsession.

Spiritual-Fuel-Devotional-225

Overcomers: Four Amazing Rewards

By | From Pablo's Desk | No Comments

On a previous post How to Overcome Temptation I covered four things Jesus revealed about Himself—four things about HIM that are powerful to navigate temptation and overcome sin. On this post I’ll focus on the four rewards He promised to those who overcome.

If you overcome idolatry and immorality, Jesus promised to reward you with hidden manna, a white stone with a new name, power to rule the nations with Jesus and the morning star. Perhaps only one of those things make sense to you, so let me explain some historical facts that reveal how amazing these rewards are.

Reward 1:

Hidden Manna to Eat

To him who overcomes I will give…hidden manna to eat (Rev. 2:17)

The manna was hidden in a golden pot inside the ark of the covenant (within the Holy of Holies: Ex. 16:32-36; Heb. 9:1-5). Only the High Priest saw this hidden manna once a year, on the Day of Atonement. But Jesus is the true manna from heaven that sustains you (Jn 6:48-51).

And “hidden manna to eat” speak of an increased capacity to be fed by the revelation of the Word (in this age and in the age to come). As an overcomer, you are promised the full enjoyment of the revelation of the Word—something you already experience tokens of.

Reward 2:

A White Stone With a New Name

“And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows” – Rev. 2:17

In the ancient world, a white stone was a precious stone given to the faithful as an award; to honor those who had offered valiant service to the community or in battle. It was like receiving a medal of honor. Also, a white stone (with one’s name on it) granted admission to special events, including the games and feasts hosted by the Roman government. This could mean various degrees of honor and privileges in the age to come (Rev. 3:20; 19:9).

A special name will indicate your faithfulness, character, and role in the millennial kingdom. Written on the white stone (like receiving a gold medal). Your NEW name will reveal how JESUS feels towards you.

Reward 3:

Power Over the Nations

“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations” Rev. 2:26

The quest of the ages has been after power—military, political and economic power to control nations has been the dream of countless emperors, kings and dictators. BUT Jesus offers this “power over the nations” as a reward for resisting immorality. Those who overcome will reign in Jesus’ millennial kingdom (Lk. 19:11-27; Rev. 3:21).

There’s so much to talk about this… we’ll return to this topic later on.

Reward 4:

The Morning Star

“…and I will give him the morning star.” (Rev. 2:28)

The morning star is the brightest star in the sky (planet Venus), which you can see just before the dawning of a new day. Jesus is the REAL Morning Star (Rev. 22:16), who will never stop shining with the glory of the Father and never stop fascinating your heart… His knowledge will continue to unfold forever and ever. The Morning Star speaks of the increased revelation of Jesus that will help you enjoy a deeper relationship with Him.

So there you go… these four rewards are waiting for you… Don’t settle for less. You can overcome! Actually, the same word “overcoming” implies the existence of issues and pressures we are STILL overcoming. Overcomers are not perfect people. They fail time and time again, but they get themselves up (repent), fix their eyes on Jesus and OVERCOME!

 

New Creation

How to Live as a New Creation

By | From Pablo's Desk | No Comments

“Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come”  —2 Cor. 5:17-21 (Amplified)

Things were quite different in Eden before the fall… Adam’s spirit governed his soul and body (his physical appetites, five senses and emotions were subject to his spirit). But after Adam sinned everything was reversed. He became spiritually dead and lost his ability to relate to God. His body and soul gained power over his spirit—he lost the place of dominion and became controlled by his body and soul.

Adam’s story it’s very important if you are to fully grasp what happened to you when you were born again. Because being “born again” means you are a new creation and your spirit is now joined to the Holy Spirit—filled with supernatural life. Things have been reversed back to how they were. You have regained the authority to rule your soul and body once again.

When you were born again your spirit man was so radically refashioned that Paul uses the term created: He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. (1 Cor. 6:17) Put on the new man which was created…in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:24) Put on the new man who is… according to the image of Him who created him… (Col. 3:10)

But here’s the challenge: you don’t feel or discern your spirit. Your spirit man is hidden from your five senses—invisible and indiscernible. You cannot measure it by your emotions (soul) or your five senses (body). What’s more, Paul referred to your true life in this age as being “hidden” in Christ. Your born-again spirit is called “the hidden person of the heart.”

For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Col. 3:3-4) The hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle spirit… (1 Pet. 3:4)

So, how can you apply to your daily life this powerful spiritual reality? Keeping in mind that is “hidden” and can’t be felt by your senses?

Living According to the Spirit

There are only two games in town: living according to your flesh or living according to the Spirit. You must choose between the two. Your flesh (body and soul) is providing an unstoppable flow of information that can rule your life, if you rely on it. But now (because you are a new creation) you have the power to shift your attention away from the flesh (five senses, physical appetites and emotions) and start “living by” what happened in your spirit.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (Rom. 8:5) You shift your attention by discovering and remembering who you are in Christ. By dialoguing with the Holy Spirit, confessing the Word and choosing godliness.

By living with confidence that you are enjoyed by God because you know He has made you right in His sight (justification). In other words, you live according to the Spirit by living in agreement with God’s Word. Because you are transformed by changing the way you think.

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind… (Rom. 12:2) You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (Jn. 8:32)

In reality, you are like a computer that has a new “operating system” (the new man) but still runs old software (old man paradigms). The renewing of the mind is the process of replacing the old software (old man ideas and feelings) with the new (truth of who you are in Christ).

And one way you can start renewing your mind is by confessing the Word back to God. This is a powerful law: the word of faith. And it’s how you got saved: The word is near you, in your mouth…that is, the word of faith… that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart…you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Rom. 10:8-10)

So, this is the journey and the invitation before you: to shift your mind away from the flesh and live according to the Spirit.

Temptation

How to Overcome Temptation

By | From Pablo's Desk | 3 Comments

The Holy Spirit is preparing you to operate in great power…

But He requires holiness—it’s not an option—it’s the only way. You and I must live in agreement with His ways and commandments, refusing all forms of idolatry and immorality and learning to navigate temptation.

Here’s a simple definition of idolatry and immorality: Idolatry is gaining power outside of God’s will and immorality is obtaining pleasure outside of God’s will.

Every human being has engaged in both, be it in thought or act, no one is free from the continuous harassment of temptation—the constant pressure over our eyes and minds. But the good news is that Jesus showed us how to overcome these temptations.

Immorality is all sexual activity outside of marriage (physical, verbal, technological). Immorality grants Satan legal access to harm your family and spiritually injure your heart. Idolatry is expressed in covetousness and sorcery (Col. 3:5; Eph. 5:5).

Covetousness is the pursuit of money in ways that directly oppose Jesus’ leadership over your life.

Tale of Two Immoral Churches

Both churches were influenced by false teaching on “grace” that made it OK for them to participate in immoral and idolatrous feasts. They were comfortable in compromise, instead of confident in God to pursue purity.

“You have those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before…Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. (Rev. 2:14) I have a few things against you, because you allow… Jezebel… to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.” (Rev. 2:20)

Part of Jesus’ remedy for this “sin cancer” is found in HOW He revealed Himself to them… He told them four specific things about Himself and four specific rewards for those who overcome.(Rev. 2:12-28).

Here are the 4 things he revealed about himself: 1) That He was the Son of God 2) That he had a sharp two-edged sword coming out of His Mouth 3) That he had eyes like a flame of fire 4) That His feet were like refined brass.

On this post I will focus on the last three and on the next we’ll talk about the four rewards.

The Sharp Two-edged Sword

To Pergamos write… “He who has the sharp two-edged sword… Repent, or else I will… fight against them with the sword of My mouth” To Thyatira write… “The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass…” (Rev. 2:12, 16, 18)

The sharp two-edged sword of Jesus eventually terminate those who oppress the Church (Rev. 19:15), but His two-edged sword also speaks of His zeal to intervene against sin inside the Church (Rev. 2:16). The sword also refers to divine power being released by the commands of His mouth—If you obey His Word, His sword will liberate you. If you reject Him, it will be a sword that troubles you.

“The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12)

Put differently, the two-edged sword of His mouth is (also) the conviction of the Spirit in your life—He helps you to obey Jesus and walk in holiness… but you must listen… and you must learn to follow His voice.

His Eyes Like a Flame of Fire

His eyes like a flame of fire show His burning desire for you—they speak of His ability to see everything, to feel love for you, to impart love to you, and to destroy what hinders love inside of you. Jesus is filled with holy jealous love… He longs to be ONE with you… He will not relent nor give up until this happens, so you must not relent nor give up.

To overcome immorality you must understand… the power of His eyes and the power of your eyes.The path of freedom starts by having your eyes fixed on His eyes—because sin prevails when your eyes are disconnected from His eyes.

Read that again…

When His eyes of fire touch your soul… His LIGHT will enlighten the eyes of your heart (causing you to see different) and His fire will warm and tenderize your cold heart (causing you to feel differently).

His Feet Like Refined Brass

Jesus’ feet like brass speak of His commitment to deliver you from immorality (with redemptive judgments that free you from the things that hinder His love). When JESUS steps in to deliver you… He may alter external events and crush the circumstances that empower you to continue in sin. He steps in with His feet like brass to alter your circumstances, cutting off sinful options and uses life events to wake you up.

In short, it’s the combination of His eyes and feet that leads YOU to freedom! His feet alter your circumstances to prevent sin from increasing and His eyes empower your heart with love.

The pathway to freedom (from immorality and idolatry) begins with seeing and feeling what Jesus sees and feels and knowing that He will eventually intervene as One with feet like brass.

Daily-Devotional-9

3 Steps to Victory In 3 Minutes

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It is without a doubt the most complete presentation of the gospel of grace…

Within five chapters inside the letter to the Romans (3-8), the apostle Paul describes who you are in Christ, what is your new legal position and how you are suppose to live (because of it). If you want to learn how to access and experience the power of your legal position you must dive deep into Romans chapter six… where you will discover three powerful “transformation” principles Paul revealed.

Check this simple outline of Romans six:

1. Romans 6:1-10: Your legal position—what you received in Jesus.

2. Romans 6:11-13: How you can cooperate with grace—three powerful principles

3. Romans 6:14-23: Your living condition—what you will experience when you cooperate with the grace of God.

And here are the three powerful principles that take only 3 minutes to read and you can use to walk in victory:

The Knowing Principle

“Consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ” (Rom. 6:11)

To “consider yourself” is to see yourself as God sees you—is to process yourself according to what the Word of God says about you. Put differently, you must know who you are in Christ. You must see yourself as one who is dead to the reign of sin and alive to God. You must know you are enjoyed by God, inhabited and empowered by His Spirit and commissioned by God (with a relevant purpose). But knowing is not enough…

The Resisting Principle

“Do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin.” (Rom. 6:12-13a)

You must resist sin, Satan, and lust-provoking events (environments and circumstances). Because the reason God gave you His Grace is to “enable you” to choose righteousness. It is your responsibility to deny ungodly lusts. God will not do this for you! Yes, He will help and empower you when you choose to obey Him, but He will not make the choice for you… you must choose righteousness… it’s how you cooperate with grace. And please understand, when you say NO to sin you are not “earning God’s love”, because you already have His love (you already are accepted in the beloved). Instead, when you deny lust you are positioning yourself to experience more from Him. But resisting is not enough…

The Presenting Principle

“Present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” (Rom. 6:13b)

You need to present yourself before God (growing in intimacy with Jesus). But you also have to present your members (body, time, money, abilities) to serve in your local congregation as an instrument of righteousness, serving God and His people. In other words, you are called to live in communion with God and to live in communion with His people (family, church, neighbors, etc.) Unless God gives you specific instructions to move to the wilderness (like John the baptist) it is not God’s will for you isolated—you need nourishment of the body of Christ and be part of a local assembly (community, church).

Please stop looking for that “perfect” loving community. It doesn’t exist! Make yourself a favor and stop jumping from one church to the next. Simply find a Bible believing (Spirit filled) church you initially like and, stay. Truth is… until we get to the New Jerusalem, no local church or pastor will be perfect, because every community is filled with weak and broken human beings that need the Lord.

In closing, know who you are in Christ, resist sin and the devil, and present yourself (as alive) and your members (as instruments of righteousness) before God—three powerful principles you can practice to walk in victory.

Righteousness

Righteousness: The Incredible Gift

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Righteousness is the blessing of grace and is way more than mercy…

Justice is getting what we deserve (God’s judgment). Mercy is not getting what we deserve (God’s judgment). But Grace is getting what we do not deserve (access to God’s presence, power, and favor in a dynamic relationship with Him).

The idea of mercy emphasizes the aspect that you received forgiveness; but grace adds the element that you freely received God’s enabling in gifts (power), fruit (character), and wisdom (insight).

The Foundation of the Gospel

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. For in it God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith. (Rom. 1:16-17).

The first eight chapters of Romans are the most complete presentation of the gospel of grace.

Look at this brief outline:

1) Romans 1:18-32: The immoral person is guilty before God without Jesus

2) Romans 2:1-16: The moral person is guilty before God without Jesus

3) Romans 2:17-3:8: The religious person is guilty before God without Jesus

4) Romans 3:9-20: All people are guilty before God (men’s sinful depravity).

5) Romans 3:21-31: God’s solution to our sin is the free gift of righteousness

6) Romans 4:1-25: Salvation by faith is illustrated in the life of two famous Jewish fathers: Abraham, who lived before the law of Moses, and David, who lived after the law of Moses.

The fact of man’s sin and depravity is ignored by many but Paul emphasizes the doctrine of depravity (3:19) and shows that we are all guilty before God (3:20).

You will grasp the full meaning of grace when you understand that your sinfulness deserves God’s wrath. Many inside the Church will agree that all have sinned, but the common phrase “No one’s perfect” reveals how shallow and soft is our view of sin.

The Revelation of God’s Righteousness

But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed —attested by the Law and the Prophets—that is, God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe, since there is no distinction. (Rom. 3:21-31)

The foundational truth about grace is that the righteousness of God (His righteousness) has been freely given to all sinners who repent and come to Jesus. There are two expressions of God’s righteousness, imputed and imparted.

Imputed Righteousness: the moment you were born again God gave you the gift of righteousness (to empower you to live righteously). Imputed righteousness gives you a new legal position before God (Romans 3-5) and it’s instantaneous.

Imparted Righteousness: it describes your living condition before God (Romans 6-8). Imparted righteousness happens progressively, as you live in agreement with God and actively “live according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:5) and “put to death the deeds of the body” (Rom. 8:13). It’s incredible and astonishing how much you have in your spiritual “asset column”!

It’s time to fully grasp everything you received for free. Because the righteousness of God empowers you to live Holy before the Lord.

Spiritual-Fuel-Devotional-191a

5 Secrets to Intimately Know God

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I remember that day as it was yesterday…

As I reached the front section I raised my hands and shouted with all my strength “God, I want to know you… I can’t go on like this anymore!”

That was 27 years ago, while my wife and I were missionaries in Mexico—a seven year season of kingdom adventures where I saw God’s presence and power filling stadiums and also… discovered the dullness of my own heart. I believe God heard my prayer that day. He has been answering it, little by little through the years.

Of course I don’t know Him fully, but I know Him more than before.

5 Steps to the Knowledge of God

After the Mexico season came 12 years at the House of Prayer, receiving from the ministry of Mike Bickle, in Kansas City (where I found a well of revelation that can last me for a 100 years—a fountain I’m drawing from continually). During that time, a key passage the Lord has used to cure my ignorance is Proverbs 2—revealing five hidden secrets that you can follow to cultivate the knowledge of God.

Each one of these secrets come after an “if”, presenting them as conditions to a promise. But I call them “disciplines”, because you are not suppose to do them only once… you do them every day as a lifestyle.

If you receive My words, and treasure My commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom…If you cry out for discernment…If you seek her as silver and…hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. (Prov. 2:1-5)

Discipline #1: Determine to walk in full obedience (if you will receive My words v. 1a). To receive His words means to obey them instead of neglecting them. You must love Jesus on His terms—that means: obeying his commandments. It’s not enough to sing the pretty worship song and cry “I love you Jesus”. You have to prove it with your actions and obedience. “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (Jn. 14:15)

Discipline #2: Meditate on His Word (if you will treasure My commands, v. 1b). In the Old Testament, God’s commands, statutes, or precepts are often other ways of referring to His Word. You must treasure God’s commands by filling our mind with His Word. As you meditate on the Scriptures dialogue with Jesus, have a conversation with Him. It is not enough to study the Word—you must give your heart to God and receive from Him as you read it. The Bible gives you the “conversational material” for your prayer life.

Discipline #3: Have a teachable spirit and an open heart (if you incline your ear to wisdom, v. 2). This speaks of humbling your heart to learn from the Word instead of resisting its meaning or limiting it to only one small angle. Many who are zealous for God lack a teachable, humble spirit. It’s easy to pick up biases from those we grew up with.

Discipline #4: Ask for more revelation of God (if you cry out for understanding, v. 3). You must actually pray for more revelation of God (Mt. 7:7-8; Eph. 1:17). Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds… (Mt. 7:7-8) That the…Father of glory may give…revelation in the knowledge of Him… (Eph. 1:17)

Discipline #5: Be diligent in your pursuit of God (search for her as treasures, v. 4). Be willing to pay any price find Him. I encourage you to spend the time, because there is a deep correlation between the amount of time we spend with Jesus and the measure of encounter that we have with Him.“…all the riches of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures” (Col. 2:2-3). Jesus is our greatest treasure, but is “hidden” until we seek Him with all our heart.

The Promise: Understanding and Knowledge Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. (Prov. 2:5) God’s promise to you—if you practice the 5 disciplines—is that will UNDERSTAND the fear of the Lord and FIND the knowledge of God. Think of the implications, the fear of of the Lord will not seem confusing or intrusive, because you will receive living understanding of the awesome person of God… you will know Him.

New Creation

Loving God with All Your Heart

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On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. (Mt. 22:40) Now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor. 13:13) You shall love the Lord…This is the first and great commandment. (Mt. 22:37-38)

The Holy Spirit’s agenda is to restore the first commandment to first place in the Church. And if you are part of the Church (the bride of Christ), the Spirit is also looking to do this work in your life. You are called to love Him with all your heart and mind because this is how God loves YOU.

You are an essential part of Jesus’ story. You are the work of His hands (Eph. 2:10). Jesus doesn’t want you disconnected from His story and glory. He wants you to love Him as He loves you. Don’t listen to the devil! He’s a liar and deceiver. God has not forgotten you, He is not trying to dismiss you or minimize you.

From the beginning God wanted to be personally involved with you. It is He who came up with the “idea” of intimacy and fellowship in the garden of Eden. God is yearning for “your” presence more than you are yearning for His. The Lord desires to be with you… remember that.

Why am I bringing this up?

Re-Establishing the First Commandment

Why am I bringing this up? Because in order to establish the first commandment to first place in our lives the Holy Spirit has to correct the “wrong” ideas we have about God. Thanks to culture, early programming and negative experiences, we accumulate all kinds of views of what God is like and how he feels toward us.

You simply can’t love God with all your heart, mind and soul if you have the wrong paradigm (idea, perception) of who He is. Put differently: you can not love someone wholeheartedly if you think that person doesn’t like you. And sadly, that is how many believers feel when they approach God.

That’s why encountering God’s emotions is so important. And why in every post of this blog, I’ll do my best to portray a life-changing angle of the beauty of Jesus: his burning desire for you.

Spiritual-Fuel-Devotional-226

The Source of Neverending Empathy

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For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:15-16)

What comes to mind when you think of Jesus as your High Priest? I think about my salvation and how He made a way for me to live in His presence. I consider how bold I can be (in approaching the Throne) because I know Jesus is there and He likes, understands and fights for me.

It’s like having a fountain of empathy that never runs dry… a fountain I can continually drink from in any season of my life.

Why You Can be Confident to Draw Near

Having boldness to enter the Holiest…by a new and living way…through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest…let us draw near… (Heb. 10:19-22)

John (the revelator) saw Jesus clothed in priestly robes with a golden breastplate, standing in the midst of seven lampstands (representing seven churches v. 20). In the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. (Rev. 1:13)

Back in the days of Moses, the high priest stood before the seven-branched lampstand, inside the holy place (Ex. 25:31-40). Jesus was girded about His chest with a golden band—as Israel’s high priest wore a robe girded with a sash and breastplate (Ex. 28:4; Lev. 16:4). Jesus, our High Priest, walks in the midst of the candlesticks (churches – Rev. 1:20) assuring us He is deeply involved… aware of our needs, frailty, and pressures.

Did you know that your High Priest is walking where you are? You are not alone. Jesus is aware of your needs, fears and pressures. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Jesus’ heart is full of empathy toward you and treasures every movement of your soul toward Him. He’s the source of never ending empathy; that’s why you can be confident to draw near.

He is Holding the Stars and Will Not Let Go

He had in His right hand seven stars…The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands…are the seven churches. (Rev. 1:16, 20)

The “stars” are symbols of the churches’ leaders—those responsible to make known the message John received from Jesus. Jesus is holding the seven stars (the leaders), and this affirms His promise to anoint, direct, and protect them. Are you serving the Lord? Do not fear… your High Priest is holding you. No matter how inadequate you may feel at times—you’re inside His hand and He will not let go.

Daily-Devotional-2

Meet The Man Christ Jesus

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Do you want to have a clear picture of who Jesus is?

How He thinks, how He Feels and what He wants? There is one chapter in the last book of the Bible that gives you a clear picture: I heard behind me

“I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,”…Having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead” Rev. 1:10-17

John could not take it anymore… After encountering the One who “looked like the Son of Man” but was extremely more glorious (than the Jewish Man he shared three and half years with) he fell at His feet as dead.

In this epic description, John reveals the Son of Man who is Prophet, Priest, and King (Rev. 1) and later on unfolds 24 aspects of Jesus’ majesty (Rev. 1-3). He Called Himself This Way 85 Times When Jesus referred to himself (very often) He used the title “Son of Man” (85 references), a title that comes from Daniel’s prophecy—foretelling the Messiah who would rule all the nations (Dan. 7:14).

By using this title repeatedly Jesus emphasized that He was:

Fully God and Fully human

“I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days [the Father] and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations…should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion…”Dan. 7:13-14

Jesus is the God-Man—only One who is God can draw so near on a heavenly cloud to the Ancient of Days (the Father’s throne).

Some scholars say “well, He was a man, but now He’s the resurrected Christ” Really? You should read your Bible again… Of course He’s the resurrected Christ (with a resurrected body) but He’s still a Man—He’s a priest forever (according to the order of Melchizedek: Heb. 5:6/Psalm 110:4). Jesus used the Son of Man title at His trial, to make sure the high priest and the Sanhedrin understood His claim to be the One prophesied by Daniel (and the he implications of their actions again Him). Jesus also used this title when teaching the apostles (privately) about His second coming (Mt. 24:30; 25:31).

“I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” - Mt. 26:64

In short, the Man Christ Jesus is fully God and fully Man—and that is good news! Actually, amazing news for you and I, because we can approach Him with confidence, knowing that Jesus understands our weakness and sympathizes with us. Because He’s still the Son of Man… still human! For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” —Heb. 4:15-16