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Monday
Jan162017

The Ultimate Measure

“The world in which we live is geographically one. The challenge that we face today is to make it one in terms of brotherhood.”1

- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered for leading the Civil Rights movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his assassination on April 4, 1968. He was an advocate for African Americans, women, and veterans. What is even more honorable about him is that he protested peacefully during socially and politically hostile times. In love and strength, he transformed American culture and politics.

In a lot of ways, today’s cultural climate is not much different from what it was then. One thing I admire the most about Dr. King was how he fought for freedom and equality peacefully and in love, without wavering in his message. With tensions of all kinds stirring today, it’s more important than ever for us to walk in that same strength. But the only way to walk in God’s kind of love is to surrender to the Holy Spirit.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Galatians 5:16, English Standard Version

God doesn’t see the color of our skin. He sees the state of our hearts. If we’ve given our hearts to Him, all He sees when He looks at us is Jesus. That’s our unifying factor in Christ. Galatians 3:28 (Amplified Bible) reads:

There is [now no distinction in regard to salvation] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you [who believe] are all one in Christ Jesus [no one can claim a spiritual superiority].

Dr. King championed equality, and in doing so, he left a legacy for unity and a vision for a better future. We as the body of Christ have a similar vision. So, how can we carry that out today? The answer is simple, although it maybe not always be easy.

I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore, you shall choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.

Deuteronomy 30:19 (emphasis mine, AMP)

Choose life in your words. Choose life in your treatment of people. Choose life in your thoughts. And choose life even in your feelings. As you walk in the Spirit and not your flesh, the power of God will empower you to live like He did, laying down your life for others while not compromising the
truth (Luke 6:28).

Character is tested in times when walking in love and forgiveness is not the easiest path to take. But as sons and daughters of God, we must guard our hearts against our love growing cold and bitterness taking root. Otherwise, our effectiveness as Christians will be compromised (which is exactly what the Enemy would want). Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. understood this struggle and described it this way:

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge
and controversy.”2

So, what is the “ultimate measure” of your character going to be? You get
to decide.

Please share a comment below if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life has
inspired you.

1 http://www.thekingcenter.org/archive/quotes
2 http://www.thekingcenter.org/node/554

Monday
Jan092017

A God Secret—Drop the Rope!

During my middle school years, there was a lot of “tug-of-war” between my younger sister and me. I was under the mistaken impression that being a year older gave me certain rights. Our conflicts often ended in her walloping me. After one such incident, I remember a picture came into my head. It was of a tug-of-war game when, suddenly, one person simply dropped her end of the rope. Ah-ha, I thought. Game over.

The next time we got into a fight, I thought of that tug-of-war picture and decided to try it out. I simply said, “Okay.”

“You can’t do that!” she insisted. I asked her why, and she said, “Because it’s not fair.”

Fast forward six years, I became born again as a college freshman. I read John 10:18 where Jesus was explaining this same “drop-the-rope” principle as it related to His laying down His life: No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” Later in John 19:10-11 (New King James Version), Pilate said to Jesus, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Essentially, he wanted Jesus to pick up the other end of rope and struggle with him. Jesus simply said, You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.”

In Hebrews 12:2, Paul wrote that Jesus “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.” His heart was fixed. He had learned not to get in a power struggle with anyone’s flesh. Instead, He kept His purpose and His Father’s will before Him. He had prepared to succeed.

You may be thinking, That was Jesus, the Son of God. Of course, HE prepared and fixed His heart! However, Jesus wasn’t the only one who was prepared for difficult circumstances. Joseph, when propositioned by Potiphar’s wife, said, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9). He had obviously hidden God’s Word in his heart because it came up like a force field to protect him.

And then there was David. Saul was trying to kill David—he had been for years after David had been anointed king in Saul’s place. In 1 Samuel 24, David could have killed Saul, believing God had delivered his “enemy” into his own hands. But David’s heart was fixed (Ps. 57:7). He penned it himself in Psalm 105:15: Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.”

In his How to Prepare Your Heart teaching, Andrew says that King Rehoboam “did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord” (2 Chr. 12:14). Andrew explains that when people don’t prepare their hearts before they are faced with a circumstance, they respond to their situation based on how they feel at the time.

Joseph and David prepared for success, and they weren’t even born again. They sought God and hid His Word in their hearts long before they faced their trials. If you recognize that you have been unprepared and have ended up in a tug-of-war in some of your circumstances, then Andrew’s How to Prepare Your Heart series will change your mind and give you the practical wisdom you need to prepare for unforeseen obstacles that may come your way.

Please consider sharing your experiences of when you may have been in a tug-of-war with your circumstances. Comment below.

Monday
Jan022017

When God Speaks

Shame is a great silencer. But it doesn’t just shut people up—shame drowns out the still, small voice of God.

Sometimes, when God wanted to convey an important message back in Bible times, He sent an angel to that person. Chances are, an angel is not going to appear to you in response to every question you ask Him. So, how are you supposed to know it’s God speaking when your own thoughts and emotions seem so much louder?

In Andrew’s How to Hear God’s Voice teaching, he says,

“The primary way that God speaks is not through the spectacular, not through an audible voice, not through an open vision. He can do all of those things. He has done it. I believe He still does miraculous things like that. But the primary way that God speaks to us today is just in this still, small voice, and it can be drowned out by other voices around us.”

One way you know you’ve heard the voice of God is when fear dissipates and a fresh boldness rises up in your spirit. Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears” (English
Standard Version
).

Another way to discern the voice of God is through hiding the written Word in your heart (Ps. 119:11). While developing a mental understanding of the Bible is good, the goal is a heart change. This requires more than memorization. Andrew continues,

“The Bible isn’t written to your brain. It’s written to your heart. You[’ve] got to read the Bible with your heart, not just your head. God will speak to you through the Word. But the natural man, either a lost man or a Christian who doesn’t have their mind renewed and is listening to the Holy Spirit, cannot understand ‘…the things…of God…they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned’ [1 Cor. 2:14]. And I’m telling you this is why so many people read the Bible, but it doesn’t do anything for them. And they don’t understand it because they are reading it with their intellect. You can’t just put information in your mind. It’s got to be quickened to you by the Holy Spirit.”

The Word is like gasoline. Not until a lit match falls on it will it combust into rivers of flame. You could be filled with the Word, even have whole books of the Bible memorized, but it will not ignite a fire in your heart until the Holy Spirit comes in contact with it. When the Holy Spirit quickens the Word in your spirit—WHOOM! You know exactly what to do, how to do it, where to go, and what to say. The old ways of thinking and believing—shame, unbelief, and fear—are burned away, and God replaces that with His ways.

Let the Holy Spirit light His written and spoken Word in your heart with Andrew’s How to Hear God’s Voice teaching. It’s available in CD format. You can also watch Andrew teach this on the Gospel Truth broadcast. This teaching will help Psalm 34:5 become your reality: “Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed” (ESV).

Post a comment below if this has blessed you.