Hindrances to Christ's Rule
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." 2 Corinthians 10:4
The Bible says when Christ comes to live in your heart, old things are passed away, all things become new (see 2 Cor. 5:17). The Lord has put a new Spirit in us. Previously, I could not understand why so many of us who proclaimed Christ had such little impact on the kingdom of darkness. It seemed to me that our culture should be impacted much more if His children walked in the light as Jesus did. Jesus impacted His culture like no other man.
I saw many workplace believers, who proclaimed Christ, living no differently than a person who had not claimed Him as Lord. These men and women had a form of religion, but little power that reflected Christ's rule in their lives. Then one day God took me through a time of testing that led to a discovery of generational influences that impacted the way I viewed people and circumstances on a subconscious basis. I discovered this was a stronghold that had been implanted many generations earlier. Because the stronghold operated on a subconscious level, it was not easily recognizable. Strongholds keep us from being free to reflect Christ in and through our lives because they require allegiance until they are dealt with. Strongholds can often be so hidden that we would not even identify them as evil. A stronghold of fear, control, rebellion, insecurity, idolatry, pride, or bitterness may be hidden until it is revealed through circumstances.
All strongholds are built in our lives as a result of seeking to meet one or more of seven basic needs God has created in us. Once we believe a lie that God cannot meet a need without our effort, we open our spirit to a stronghold. The more lies we believe, the more we invite these strongholds to take root in our lives. Are you ineffective in your Christian experience? Are there besetting sins that seem to recur in your life? You may find that satan has built a fortress in your heart that has been there many generations. You must ask God's forgiveness for entertaining this stronghold, and you must renounce it. Then as Christ renews your mind and heart, you will see Christ's power released in your life like never before.
Dear God, Thank you for caring so much that you sent your Holy Spirit to touch me and live within me, sealing me unto the day of redemption. Thank you that there is an Intercessor and Savior, praying for me and standing in my stead when I do not even have the words to say. Sometimes, there is just so much to pray for, so many needs or so much heartache that I just do not know what to pray. But you know my heart. You know my needs. You know the needs of those for whom I am burdened. Father, I come to you now offering words of praise and thanksgiving, and trusting you to always be there and to answer the cries of the heart. I love you. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.
God Leads from Within
In our last devotional, we talked about the new covenant being better than the old covenant. One reason is found in Hebrews 8:8-11 which says,
..."Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them."
In the Old Testament, God had to lead His people externally. When fleeing Egypt, God led them by night with a pillar of fire and by day with a pillar of cloud. They did not intuitively know where God wanted them to go or what God wanted them to do.
But under the new covenant, God leads His people from within because He has now taken up residence within. I believe that is why on the Day of Pentecost God chose to manifest the coming of the Holy Spirit in tongues of fire that sat upon each person individually.
God was saying that while under the old covenant, He led His people by a pillar of fire, and now He is coming to dwell and lead from the inside of each believer!
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Recognizing God's Voice
Dr. Charles Stanley
Children seem to have special hearing when it comes to their parents' voices. They recognize when their mother or father is talking, regardless of how many other people are around.
In a similar way, Jesus assures us that we will be able to distinguish His voice among the insistent cries and conflicting opinions of our world (John 10:27). He promises we will be able to "hear" Him, even though He doesn't speak in audible words—one reason is that He has given us His Holy Spirit, who knows exactly what Christ is saying and will provide us with the wisdom to understand.
Have you ever noticed the way some children pretend not to hear their parents so they won't have to obey? Sometimes we can be like that—we might fail to recognize the heavenly Father's direction because of our own self-centeredness. We intently focus on what we want and ignore any opposing instruction.
There is another obstacle to hearing the Lord: impatience. Just like the culture we live in, we want answers right now. This tendency can cause us to listen to the wrong speaker. Surrendering our personal desires and fixing our attention on what matters to God will make it easier for us to discern His voice.
When Peter acted on his own ideas, he encountered difficulty. But when he gave up his way and listened to Jesus, he became a disciple to whom Christ could entrust kingdom work (John 21:17). Have you learned to distinguish the Lord's voice from the noise around you?
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit http://www.intouch.org/