God Manifests the Sweet Aroma of Himself…Through Us (Week 1)

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”  2 Corinthians 2:14

Glory, Honor, and Thanks to God indeed!  He ALWAYS leads us in TRIUMPH in CHRIST.  That statement should reverberate completely to the marrow in your bones and be the joy in every thump of your beating heart!  Why would you choose to be led by anyone or anything else when you already know those ways are fruitless?  Being led by God THROUGH Christ is THE triumphant way!  Isn’t it astounding that He chooses to manifest HIMSELF through us ~ that sweet aroma in every place He inspires our feet to tread?  Hallelujah!  So what is it we are going to manifest?  Count on the Spirit’s fruit, for one thing, ~ Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.

God does not lead us to one single place hoping for a good outcome.  He leads us in triumph every single time…because…He….is…..GOD!  As followers of His leading, if we have this triumphant mentality we will not only walk differently but we will wield the Sword of Truth differently.  Through us He manifests this fruit we are speaking about and it is, by all means, a sweet aroma of Him in every single place.

Before we witness the Lord manifesting Himself through us, we first must yield ourselves to the Spirit.   It is when we completely submit and surrender to the Spirit, that we discover His anointing on us becomes stronger.  In addition, the more we mature IN CHRIST, the more fully we will be able to yield to the Spirit and remain yielded.   As you will discern, the biggest barrier to this yielded life is your own nature or flesh.

We also must discern this is not a 5-minute process, it will require time and effort.   Please be careful and don’t allow what you seek to be strictly an emotional response during your alone time with God.  It is a time of yielding YOUR will, emotions, and mind to the Spirit of God who is in you.  Spending time alone with God in prayer will develop the spiritual maturity that is required.   If a fresh anointing on your life is what you seek it will come by the Spirit of God, not by religion nor by works.  Yielding to the Spirit will be found through persistent prayer, persistent Scripture reading, and a persistent desire to crucify the flesh.

I modified the length of the challenge from eight weeks to nine because I felt it was important to include in our fast a week to consider what it means for our flesh to yield to the Spirit so we will begin our challenge today.  For a refresher on the outline please see the Oct. 24th post.

“Therefore, dear friends, since we have such promises, let us cleanse ourselves from every impurity of the flesh and spirit, completing our sanctification in the fear of God.”                        2 Corinthians 7:1

Now, a word about fasting.  This Thursday is the called day to fast.  You can eliminate food completely or merely abstain from certain foods.  If you are unable to eliminate food then consider eliminating something you enjoy doing.  It is important to remember that during this time of fasting to combine it with prayer.  Expect your flesh to not respond well and tempt you to end the fast because it is ‘difficult’.  Don’t give in.  Set a time in advance that you plan to end your fast and stick to it.  If you fill yourself with food before you fast to ‘hold you over’ your fast will not likely be successful.  Thank God in advance for what He will reveal to you and for HIS power and sustenance to be successful.  I suggest fasting at least one meal but if you desire you can fast breakfast and lunch and end your fast around 4 or so.  I also suggest drinking water during your fast as needed.

Jesus instructed us to put oil on our head and wash our face so that our fasting was not obvious to anyone but God.  (Matthew 6:17-18)  Let’s consider this.  When we extend mercy to someone we do it with joy (a work of the Spirit) and not with any hint of frustration (work of the flesh).  It is in this way the person can experience the impact of the fragrance of Christ.  When we fast ‘with oil on our head’ it signifies our joy (work of the Spirit) as opposed to our suffering (the result of crucifying the flesh).

“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.”  Galatians 5:24-25

But what is the “flesh” referring to? We are told our bodies can be used as weapons/instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:13) so looking at Galatians 5:19-21 we can determine that the “works of the flesh” are attitudes like idolatry, strife, anger, and envy; not just the many immoral acts of the body the verse speaks about and that we often hear about.   In summary, we are putting to death immoral acts of the body as well as attitudes of the heart that do not honor God.

Fasting is one way we crucify the flesh.  We are choosing to say we desire the things of God more than we desire to meet the demands of our flesh.  The Lord recently brought this verse to my remembrance regarding fasting.  “Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed for they will be filled.”   (Matthew 5:6)  During a fast, we do not hunger for food or thirst for drink and fulfill that need by our own hand but we hunger and thirst for righteousness that is supplied to us by God alone.  He has already promised that when you do you ARE blessed because you will be filled.  Is there anything better?

The persistent challenge in our lives is to not merely pursue righteousness but to prefer righteousness above all the other pursuits this world presents to us.  Ask the Lord this week what it means to yield to His Spirit so that He can manifest His fruit through you.

Be the aroma of Christ sweet things.

Amanda

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Spiritual Renewal ~ A Nine Week Challenge

Greetings fellow sojourners!  Have you discovered that if you desire to continually walk by the Spirit it will require a focused resolve on your part?  A determined yielding to the Spirit of God?  A knowledge and wisdom more of Spiritual things than of worldly things?  The Holy Spirit will renew us by giving us new life IN Him (Titus 3:5).  Jesus said we will recognize the real and the false by the fruit a person produces (Matthew 7:16-20).  If we are going to manifest this Spiritual fruit it would benefit us to know about the nature of this good fruit so that we can anticipate the results as we yield ourselves to the Spirit.

Will you join me in a daily challenge over the next 8 weeks and lean into what Galatians calls ‘the fruit of the Spirit’?  This fruit is manifested as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Over the next several weeks, we will have an opportunity each day to really allow each fruit to sink in.  Each week we will devote ourselves to one (kindness and goodness will be combined) of the fruits or characteristics of living life in the Spirit.

Tuesday:  Read the weekly topic presented at free2love.org.  Pray and ask the Lord regarding how to apply the meaning to your own life.

Wednesday:  What impacted you during our meeting that will assist you in yielding your heart and will to the Lord so that this fruit is manifested in your life?

Thursday:  Pray and fast (as you see fit) and submit your heart and will to the Father’s will.

Friday:  Repent of what is hindering you from manifesting the specific fruit in your life.  Let’s strive for fruit consistent with repentance.  (Ideally, we should come to the Lord before the close of each day with a heart of repentance.)

Saturday: Yield your heart and will to the Father’s will and make note of at least one time you manifested or were aware of this fruit working in you.

Sunday:  Yield your heart and will to the Father’s will and make note of at least two times you manifested or were aware of this fruit working in you.

Monday:  Yield your heart and will to the Father’s will and make note of at least three times you manifested or were aware of this fruit working in you.

“I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance — as I told you before — that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control.  Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”          Galatians 5:16-26

The desires of the flesh will overtake us if we are not careful.  If we walk by the Spirit we are told we WILL NOT carry out the desires of the flesh.  Thank you, Jesus.  Here is a promise with a condition:  We walk by the Spirit and the Spirit will equip us.   WE must walk by the Spirit.  Walking by the Spirit is terminology often used in a figurative way to mean “way of life” or “behavior”.  We are to allow the Spirit’s ways to be our ways.  This is accomplished by yielding our will to the Father’s will.  Jesus gave us many directions in His word regarding how we should live out this life in the spirit.

The flesh and the Spirit do not really get along; they have opposing desires. We can not make them both happy so we will have to daily choose.  If we try and make them both happy one of the results is that we will become a lukewarm Christian.  Imagine yourself fired up for the Lord one day and the next your enthusiasm is just not there ~ you are cold.  When you combine the swinging emotion of hot and cold you get lukewarm.   You have a choice ~ choose to walk in the Spirit.  The Greek word for ‘walk‘ is peripateō and has the meaning of treading all around, walking as proof of ability, to be occupied with (the walk), to make one’s way, to progress, to make due use of opportunities, to regulate one’s life, to conduct one’s self (Strongs).  We walk in the Spirit 1) as proof of our ability to do so, 2) we occupy our time with how we intend to progress in this manner, 3) we make full use of opportunities presented to us, and 3) we order and conduct our lives in such a way that point others to Jesus.

Being led by the Spirit has the meaning of going along by laying hold of and bringing to a destination.  Will you yield yourself to the Spirit of God and allow Him to lead you to destinations God chooses?

Let’s consider the following in regards to fasting and praying.  Hezekiah lays out a strong example of spiritual renewal in 2 Chronicles 29:1-32:33.  His father Ahaz never made an effort to put the Lord first in his life and as a result, the Lord was not put first during Ahaz’s management of the kingdom.  Instead of boldly choosing to serve the Lord, Ahaz boldly chose to serve idols.  It is no different for us.  If we do not put the Lord first in our life then our walk with Him will also reflect that decision.  After Ahaz died, Hezekiah became king and decided to forget the past and his father’s influence and instead do ‘what was right in the Lord’s sight.’ (2 Chronicles 29:2)  It will be the same for us.  If we have had a less than stellar influence in our lives we must never the less choose to forget the past and decidedly move forward in ways that please the Lord.  No fingers need to be pointed and no comments need to be made as this only indicates bitterness remains in our hearts.    It is a decision we make because we can and because we desire to do so.  No one has the power to stop us from moving forward except ourselves.  Decide now that the Cross of Christ has the power to remove a bitter root, pride, timidity, fear, rebellion and anything else that has kept you from making a bold and steady move toward Christ.

God forged an eternal covenant with us through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  A covenant was also forged with Israel so a new covenant was not needed in Hezekiah’s time but instead, a renewed one on behalf of the people was needed.  It would cost Judah something – initiating and maintaining a bold and distinctive devotion to God.  Hezekiah had a mind and heart for this and therefore ‘opened the doors of the Lord’s temple’ (2 Chronicles 29:3) and determined to renew the covenant in the people’s hearts.

Hezekiah ordered the priests to consecrate themselves in order to maintain the high standard God ordained for His priests because their role was to intercede with God on behalf of the people.  The priests were not to be irreverent in this matter.   I find it interesting that they were also to consecrate their garments.  Do you ever give thought as to what you wear?  Does it disrespect your body; the temple of God’s Spirit?  They were also to consecrate the temple of the Lord.  They were to ‘remove everything impure from the holy place’. (2 Chronicles 29:5)  If the priest were to not be irreverent in their consecration we should not expect anything less in our pursuits.  Our hearts should be completely on board with the things of God.

Once they had consecrated themselves and their garments, the consecration of the inward part of the temple began.  They also brought in sacrifices and thank offerings.  After the temple was reestablished, Hezekiah began his daily governing.  I find it interesting that in Hezekiah’s day, there were not enough Levites to step in and make sacrifices for those citizens who were unconsecrated.  Because of this, Hezekiah asked God, “May the good Lord provide atonement on behalf of whoever sets his whole heart on seeking God….So the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.”  (2 Chronicles 30:17-20)  Do you find the word ‘healed’ here interesting?  Does your heart need healing?  Bring it to the Lord in its present condition ~ He can be completely trusted with your heart.

The festival carried on for an additional seven days because of everyone’s great joy.  A person’s desire and willingness are essential for spiritual renewal.  This type of renewal is not genuine if it is forced or done from an unwilling heart.  Because the festival extended another seven days this meant the people had to re-prioritize their lives and schedules to put the things of God first.  Again, this will be no different in our own lives.

Consider these things as you fast, pray, repent, yield, manifest, and become aware of the fruit of God’s Spirit in your walk with the Lord.

I invite you to consider this.  What would you as a person look like completely yielded to the Spirit;  if you took your will and exchanged it for the Father’s will?  What would you imagine yourself doing if you gave Him your emotions, your heart, your energy, your imaginations, your dreams, and your future and saw what He would do with them?  What fruit do you imagine would be yielded from this?

In His grace,

Amanda

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Spiritual Strength Sappers

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”  Ephesians 6:10 KJ

Might is inherent (a permanent and inseparable quality, attribute or force that exist in someone) power or strength.  God has vast reservoirs of might which is THE fueling power in our Christian walk.  We must know that His might does not work in you and I as we sit passively.  His might works in us as we boldly rely on it and fearlessly step out and do what He has called us to do.

It is essential that we become strong in the inner man.  We MUST discern we are in a spiritual battle and the repository for the strength to fight in this battle emanates from the power of God’s might which is efficaciously at work in us.

Our spirit communes with, comes in agreement with, and thus yields to the Spirit of God in us.  It is then that we are able to boldly rely on the power of God’s might to competently wield the sword of Truth in spiritual battles with Kingdom jurisdiction.  As a competent sword wielder, our spirit must stay alert and we must be aware of anything that might sap our spiritual strength.   Prayerfully consider things that can be identified as spiritual strength sappers and whether they are in operation in your life.  If they are, are you willing to remove these barriers or find ways to not allow them to spiritually sap your strength and focus?  Here are a few sappers…

~ Committing to too many works or things (spiritual or otherwise)

~ Too much conversation, arguments, debates, wrangling (spiritual or otherwise)

~ Laziness

~ Too much time in the wrong company

~ Love of money and career

~ A desire for respectability and image

~ An unequal yoking with an unbeliever

~ Ungodly entertainment

~ A wrong attitude toward the Word of God

~ A steady diet of mental junk food leads to no appetite for spiritual nourishment

~Rebellion

~ Lack of a private prayer time

We can experience peace and internal control when we yield to the Spirit even though our external environment feels stressful and is chaotic.   The Spirit gives us the power to pray, and to demonstrate His fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) regardless of our surroundings.

Take time today to commune and come in agreement with God’s Spirit and steer yourself away from spiritual strength sappers.  Thank you, Jesus for giving us the ability to be powerful IN YOU and in the power of YOUR might.

In His grace,

Amanda

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Have You Been Pierced By The Word?

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  Hebrews 4:12

Greetings fellow sojourners!  Do you believe that when God reveals the truth regarding our inner thoughts and intentions that it is not to harm or embarrass us but to bring us out of darkness?

The word of God is living and active!  It posses vibrant spiritual life and is powerfully effective in what God instructs it to accomplish in the life of His people.  God verifies His word with His presence and power.  If you desire your teaching or witness to have ability and effectiveness, you must stay close to the revealed word of God.

Sharper than ANY two-edged sword.  The word has the God-given ability to pierce through and splay the soul and spirit, joints and marrow, as well as discern not only the thoughts but the intentions of the heart.  People are requisite to behold their true character under the revealed truth of God.  (Romans 7:7)  There are also other locations in the Father’s word where His word has been compared to a sword (Isaiah 49:2; Ephesians 6:17; (Revelation 1:16);  Wisdom Of Solomon 18:15-16).

Do you know what is so keen about the word ‘sharper’ here?  God’s word is so sharp it can pierce and divide with a precision that requires only one ‘stroke’.  In comparison, any other two-edge sword requires repeated blows and resembles hacking.  Keep this mentality in mind next time you bring out God’s sword and see if you don’t wield it differently!

The soul is the dimension of our life that we are by nature.  The spirit is the dimension of our life that we are by the regenerating work of the Spirit of God.  The word of God pierces to the ‘division of soul and spirit’ (but still working together) for the sake of revealing to us our true selves.  It is at this point that we are able to identify whether we are operating in the spiritual or if we are operating in the natural. Are we spiritually alive or are we deceiving ourselves?  Are the ‘thoughts and intentions of our heart’ of a spiritual nature or are they mostly in the natural?  The sure way to know is to allow the word of God to ‘pierce’ us in order to reveal and judge our true thoughts and intentions.  The Truth penetrates the very essence of the soul, and lays it open, exposed to the powerful, healing, restoring capabilities of God’s Spirit which is always at work in His children.

Bone joints are the thick, hard, outer parts.   Marrow is the soft, tender, inner part of the bone.  The word of God, the double-edged sword, is sharp enough to cut through the tough, hard outer part of the bone in order to get to the inner, soft marrow.  Only the very sharp, powerful double-edged sword has the power to penetrate the joint and reach all the way to the marrow; the innermost depths.  Is there marrow or life in our bones?  Or are we only a ‘skeleton’ with no living marrow?

God’s sharp double-edged sword is always used with eternity in mind.  We can trust Him to see things in us that we do not see and allow Him unrestrained access to our innermost thoughts and fears.  Someone not led by the Spirit of God may use words with us (which may feel to be as sharp as a sword) but because they are not Spiritually inspired, they will not be able to penetrate to the heart of the need.  This is why we can experience the ‘repeated blows’ or feel we are being ‘hacked on’ which always results in pain.

When we read or hear the word of God, we ought to sense ourselves pierced. The effect of this piercing is to reveal whether we are clinging to the effects of our natural soul which has not been exposed to the influence of the Spirit or whether our spirit is in agreement with God’s Spirit and is, therefore, acting in obedience to the Truth.   The word of God pierces with precision to accurately reveal to us the truth of our thoughts, our motives, and our selves.

 “The Lord’s lamp sheds light on a person’s life, searching the innermost parts.”  Proverbs 20:27

Lord, may no other word outside of Yours be allowed to or have the power to pierce us.  May all others lies be a blunt sword and have NO effect on us whatsoever in the name of Jesus.

In His grace,

Amanda

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F E A R L E S S

Wake up child of God!  Wake up!  Put on your strength which is the armor OF GOD and cloth yourself with HIS beautiful garment of salvation!  May you no longer allow a place for idols in your mind, heart, and soul!  Stand up!  Be who you are purposed to be!  Shake the dust off yourself for you have been sitting far too long!  Remove the bonds of strongholds from around your neck and be a captive no longer!  (Isaiah 52:1-2)

It is time to stand FEARLESS and face of the enemy.   No more hesitation, no more cowardice, no more hung heads, shrugged shoulders, turned backs, plugged ears, or blinded eyes!  Let’s forge through life FEARLESSLY.  That is my goal.  Are you in?

Here are some things we can FEARLESSLY do:

We can bravely say goodbye to ‘seasons’

We can courageously live the life God CREATED us to live

We can valiantly forgive immediately, completely, limitlessly, without holding back, without remembering

We can audaciously hope

We can lead boldly (by words and deeds) towards The Truth we currently know

We selflessly take 2nd, 3rd, 4th…or last place

We can dream of a wonderfully exciting future both now and for eternity

We can aspire to be…

We can sing with a happy, joyful heart that is free

We can love without reservation

We can encourage

We can LOVINGLY speak to strangers

We can pray out loud

We can intrepidly expand into unknown places with God

We can expectantly  search the deep things of God

We can find our confidence in who we are IN Christ Jesus and be fearlessly unwavering

We can firmly believe God IS who He says He is and can DO what He says He can do; we also can be heroes of faith

We can stand unwaveringly on God’s unshakable ground with clarity of mind and face EVERYTHING

We can fervently proclaim Truth to our own heart

We can stand against the enemy’s tactics with God’s powerful weapons

How do we know we can do these things?  Because…

“You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day;”  Psalm 91:5  We FEARLESSLY believe that with the armor of God we are positively able to obliterate all the fiery darts of the evil one and when we lie down to sleep at night God gives us His peaceful rest.  God’s love and power make us FEARLESS.

“The LORD is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me?”  Psalm 118:6  God is our Father.  Because we FEARLESSLY believe we get our strength from Him, there is NOT one threat man can muster or that WE can manufacture in our minds that trumps the good God has for us.  Not one.  If you are born again you are equipped to lead a FEARLESS life.

“I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.”  Psalm 34:4  God IS our deliverer.  His plan of deliverance breaks ALL of the enemy’s strongholds.  EVERY SINGLE ONE.  He WILL deliver us from ALL our real and fabricated fears.

“Each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, With no one to make them afraid, For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.”  Micah 4:4  God has the final word.  Period.  We will sit peacefully and be fulfilled with what HE has allocated to us.  NO ONE has the power to rob us of our peace.

“To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear”  Luke 1:74  God has rescued us out of the hand of the enemy.  We will NOT allow the defeated enemy to continue taunting us with his worn-out, moth-eaten, grasshopper invested, rust laden, rotten lies.

“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”  Romans 8:15  We were ONCE afraid of countless things because we were slaves of fear.  But NOW we have the spirit of adoption!  Now we are NO LONGER slaves.

“And it will be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.  I will even pour out My Spirit on My male and female slaves in those days, and they will prophesy.”  Acts 2:17-18  Yes, evil will erupt and become greater in the last days as we are seeing.  HOWEVER, God promises that in these days He will POUR OUT His Spirit on all humanity!  EXPECT to see an increase of Spiritual things in yourself and in others!

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.”  John 14:27  Jesus is telling us we MUST NOT be fearful.  How do we accomplish this?  RECEIVE His peace.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”  1 John 4:18  God’s perfect love poured into your heart suffocates every bit of fear that desires to hold out and wait to see if you really believe God’s truth.  He loves you.  So live FEARLESSLY.

In His grace,

Amanda

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