Discerning Your Times – Week 2 – What are we not seeing?

What are we not seeing?

John 12:27 Jesus declared, Now my soul is deeply troubled (struggle). Should I pray, Father save me from this hour? (many of us stop here and do this because we are looking for emotional release and restoration)

No. For this is the very reason I came to this hour! Father bring glory (reveal yourself) to your name. (Jesus looks (sees) past his pain and emotion struggle and sees the plan of God)

Faith enables us to look past the turbulence of circumstance to see and hear Jesus standing and calling us out of the boat (fear, control) and onto the water. This brings glory to Him.

1 Cor. 10:13

No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy].

But God said he would not put more on me than I can handle?

The implication in this passage is that you are living IN HIM. Often people struggle with this passage because they find themselves over-taken by temptation or fear, stress and anxiety. But the reality is, we will be overtaken, if we, as saved Christians, are still trying to control our lives. What makes this passage applicable, is the assumption that you are letting go of your life and allowing yourself to be led by God – trust God – and believe who he says you are. We must remember, God has given us power as spiritual children. But, When we are in control, when cannot live out of the power given us by the spirit of sonship. It is impossible to look past the thing that is controlling us (our problems, circumstances, past, present and future). Here’s the sobering truth! You and I only think we are in control, but truth is, we are slaves to the fear (the boat) our circumstances create. So what you see, is what you continue to focus on the most. But what you are not seeing, is who you are in him, which allows you to look (as Jesus did) past the circumstance and declare “Father bring glory to your name.”

John 12:35 – whoever walks in the dark, does not know where he is going. Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of Light.

John 14:15-24 – obedience reveals God

“If you love me, keep my commands.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Discerning Your Times – Week 1 – What are we not saying?

What are we not saying?

John 12:37 – 50

Verse Focus

42:Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, (what are we not saying with our actions) they were afraid of being put out of the synagogue; 43: for they loved the praise of men (see, hear, in the natural) more than the praise of God.

The hour of vulnerability is upon us. We can no longer live with a mask of religious expectation. Because the church is tied so much to our heritage, it is easy for us to fall into the act of doing church, instead of being the church.

Doing: to perform, to accomplish

Being: live, reality of the soul, spirit and nature or essence of a person.

The language of God is not found, nor established in what we do in Church, but rather our experiences with God in life. John 12:25-26 – those who love their life (maintain control) in this world will lose it. Those who care (lose control of) nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to serve me must follow (the being) me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

As much as talk is, or, can be cheap, the language of the believer to day must come from our willingness to do life with God. This forms the words we speak and establishes not a religious tone, but a experiential tone that has its origin in vulnerability and truth.

What are we not saying? If the Holy Spirit is charged by God to lead us into all truth, than this leading (if we give up control enough to be led) establishes the very words and language of God (truth) that is needed for declaring or speaking words of discernment that define the time. We must speak, and be willing to speak, by the spirit, the truth that defines the moments in our lives that matter to us – words that flow from doing life with God – our vocation, or economical status, social status, spiritual status, mental status, physical status.

We must be careful. To make statements about the times we live in, that we know are contrary to what God believes concerning the times, or that validate a world view, will keep us spiritually blind to the truth – casting our lot with those who are not Spiritually minded.

Back-2-Basics: Relationships – Intimacy & Sex Part 2

In a society filled with pornography where lust is glorified, sex is cheap, marriage is portrayed as nothing but a problem and living together a solution, where men and women are viewed as nothing more than a body made to gratify the lust of our flesh and the sexual orientation of a man or woman is compromised by the lie of Satan (Cole pg. 86) – it is refreshing to see that God is raising up a generation who are still willing to do things Gods way. 

Quick Points: 

1). VIRGINITY – Living together, and, or, being in a sexual relationship has become common practice among those who call themselves Christians.

a). What is their justification?

b). Why is there compromise concerning the institution of Marriage?

Those who are willing to save themselves for marriage are the minority in society and are often met with criticism and even potential abuse.  Among the believers, Virginity should be commonplace. There are many even among the so-called-faithful, who compromise and battle in this area.

Recommended:
There is Power in Being Single

~ by Larry Reese

The Virginity of a man or woman is the one area in relationship where we see tangible representation of moral security, meaning, sex is a spiritual act, reserved for a husband and a wife. In lay-mans terms, Virginity is a tangible representation of something spiritual. Sex is both physical and spiritual – it’s the one act in which two individuals submit themselves completely to each other, literally exposing themselves physical, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. This is why Virginity is so valuable.

 

2). SEXUAL ABUSE – Sexual abuse has become more-and-more a common conversation among (mostly) women, but men as well.  Often abuse leaves sexual scars that carry over into marriage, unless there is healing – this healing, which comes from God, establishes a new emotional and physical platform for sexual intimacy.

Two types of abuse:

a). Permissive sexual abuse – consensual – both parties know what they are doing and are in agreement – this usually leaves both emotionally abused, which leads to a void that in their minds can only be filled with more sex (giving way to multiple sexual partners). In addition, this abuse has spiritual ramifications, in that submission to a husband or wife becomes more difficult outside of the marriage bed, and even that too is compromised.

b). Un-permissive sexual abuse – non consensual – one party forces him or herself on the other. This leaves the victim emotionally and physically scarred.

 

Sex is the highest physical act of Love between two people to show and express their union (unity) in spirit, which is a covenant relationship (Cole, pg. 87) As much as Sex is a physical act, Sex must be seen as spiritual. The problem we run into as believers, is we do not live-out the other aspects of our relationship with a covenant mind-set, so when it comes to Sex, we do not appreciate the covenant value, only the physical value it brings. If we are going to have satisfying sex with our spouse, we must have satisfying (unifying) life with our spouse.

 

The Covenant

The covenant we have with God in relationship affords us the opportunity to live a “Resurrected Life”  (or New life) in him through Christ Crucified. Christ is the fulfillment of God’s covenant with us, so, no longer is there the sacrifice of animals, because Jesus was the sacrifice – or the circumcision of a man, because now we have circumcision of the heart when we accept Jesus. Father’s covenant with us says we are no longer slaves or servants, but sons and daughters, which teaches us how to love Him and be loved by Him.

This covenant is realized in full through our participatory living with God, (obedience and submission) so that we do not take on the same perspective spiritually, that we tend to take on sexually –

Self gratifying – The perspective that God (or his presence) is just a fix that I need in order to get by.

You see, if we treat our spouse as the means for a “sexual fix,” then we are distorting the covenant relationship, causing a divide in the unity. If we are not careful, we will treat God the same way, seeing him as “the Fix,” or “a fix,” but never doing life with Him (causing a divide in the covenant relationship).

Often we see this concerning worship, we tend to worship God’s presence (because of how it makes us feel) more that we worship God (This is called a Spiritual Orgasm). Remember, you can be in the presence of anyone, but not know who they are. As believers, the covenant relationship should never be compromised by our need for fulfillment, but, understanding, that as a marriage, husbands and wives submit to each other, so that the covenant is fulfilled and lived.

Sex becomes easy when a husband and wife are submitting to each other in life. 

 

Like spirituality, we often look for a physical fix (by way of God’s Spirit), but we do not know how to do life with God. The more we submit to God in life, the easier it is to get to know the real God… God revealed through Obedience.  As we submit to each other in Life, as husband and wife, sexual intimacy serves as a bi-product of submission, which is man revealing himself to his wife, and the woman revealing herself to her husband.

 

When we do not submit to each other in life, we will always dip into the (Honey Pot), meaning we will always look somewhere else for fulfillment. Submitting to each other in life preserves and grows the love we have for each other, (obedient love) but selfishness in the relationship, feeds our need to be satisfied, and when we are no longer satisfied by our spouse, (physically, emotionally, and in communication), we will always look to someone or something else.  Once the honey in the Honey Pot is gone, it becomes clear (meaning we feel justified) to our selfish nature, that we need fulfillment from another source. This often occurs in multiple ways, but the most common is Pornography (primarily because of how easily accessible it is).

Other ways include:

  1. Emotional relationships that eventually turn physical
  2. A change or conflict in sexual orientation, which leads to homosexual experimentation
  3. An intense focus on another area of life, like a job or career, which leads to ignoring the relationship

This is why the submission principal is so key to the physical (sexual) well–being of the relationship, as the unity created spiritually through submitted sex serves to establish an unbreakable bond of friendship, which at the core of all of this is what is usually lacking.  Often we will (love) our spouse out of obligation, but do not know how to be friends.

A man and a woman need to know how to be friends with each other, to know how to be a husband and a wife. (Cole, pg. 122) again, this gets lost, because of a lack of submission.

 

Colossians 3: 18 – Wives Submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in (this word ‘in’ implies that you are submitting Gods way – not submission to a mans selfish or self-centeredness, but submitting as you would submit to God) the Lord.

Colossians 3:19 – Husbands, love (obedient submissive love-love from God’s perspective) your wives and do not be harsh (harshness comes from selfish ambition) with them.  Men – lust is a perverted and distorted version of love. Love desires to satisfy others, even at the expense of self (submission). Lust desires to gratify self, even at the expense of others.  (Cole, pg. 92)

In wrapping up the conversation on Intimacy and Sex, we must always be mindful of the value of unity. I cannot stress enough the need for unity in living, as this will greatly affect the marriage bed. In order to solidify unity, we must PRACTICE submission. I use the word practice intentionally, as this is a daily process. Even the apostle Paul confessed to “dying daily” in 1 Cor. 15:31 and in Luke 9:23 Jesus encouraged the believer saying “a true disciple submits their life daily and takes up their cross to follow Him.”

If we are not willing to practice submitting our lives fully to Christ (who has already submitted his life), then we will struggle to submit to our spouse. If submission is not being practice, then there is not unity. Remember,  SUBMISSION equates to faith and trust, all of which are aspects of GRACE, but an unwillingness to submit, means you are subject to the Law, and if you live by the law, you will die by the Law.  Grace serves as a buffer (balance) between the sin nature and your spirit.  As you get to know Father in relationship, submitting to Him in life, the Sin Nature diminishes in value causing you to grow into (or in confidence) your Spiritual Identity.

Back-2-Basics: Relationships – Intimacy & Sex Part 1

Intimacy

“Trust Makes Vulnerability possible. Lack of trust makes it impossible” (Cole, pg.45)

It is often difficult to talk about one’s level of intimacy with others, because in our minds, intimacy equates to Sex. But the truth is, in any relationship, there are levels of intimacy that occur. TRUST is at the core of our interpretation of LOVE. In fact, in order to give oneself away fully, there has to be a level of trust that has been established by extensive experience with someone. This experience is what provides us with healthy perspective.

Healthy Perspective is everything. 

 

TRUST leads to SUBMISSION.

Jesus said in John 14:15 If you LOVE me you will obey what I say – this level of Love has its origin in Obedience, and establishes a strong unbreakable level of Trust through submissive obedient experience. The provisions of this love are, Identity, security, and Stability (Cole, pg.46), which are key for developing a solid relationship. From Submission, Jesus says, we are able to receive (Believe Him) the Spirit of Truth, a helper who dwells in us forever.

Submission (Honey Pot) is at the core of Intimacy, which leads to unity. Often the great struggle in Intimacy between two people is:

 

Unity

The primary reason why we struggle to be unified in Relationship or marriage is because we are selfish.  The example of Christ selflessness should be enough for us to reconcile in our mind, will and emotions the need for Submission – but, the truth is, it does not work that way. In fact, the only way we get to a place of unity between two individuals with individual personalities, likes, dis-likes, wants, needs etc. is the practice of selflessness.  By practice, I mean we intentionally go against our need to be right, have our way, and submit to each other in life, so that unity exist.

 

Our Words and Actions play a profound role in Unified Relationship and Intimacy. 

Words

Our words will either increase the bonds of Unity, or destroy the Unity we have in marriage, causing our spouse to put up a protective wall in order to guard against future attacks.

As a married man, and a man with a strong personality, I know first hand the level at which my words effect the Unity between my wife and I. Early in marriage, Holly and I would have a dis-agreement, in which my focus would be on one solitary thing, winning the argument! In fact, I would be so focused on winning that I didn’t even care what we were in dis-agreement about, I just wanted to win at any cost, even if it meant manipulation. Holly always called my bluff though. My need to be right and for her to see that my way was right, caused me to literally lose my mind, saying things that I would regret – saying things that would cause Holly to build a wall of hardness to guard against being hurt.

 

The Wall

I knew that Holly loved me, but the wall that she built for protection, was affecting other areas of our marriage. No matter what I did over the years, my words would continue to serve as another layer or brick in that wall which would effect our communication and intimacy as a couple. As a male, there is truly something to be said for getting rid of the ego and humbly submitting yourself in the areas you know you carry pride and un-renewed thinking. The unfortunate truth is, all the sorry in the world will not cure or pull down a wall built by a spouse – only prayerful change in attitude and action will soften the heart of your spouse and bring unity back into the relationship – even then, this takes time. If time was and has been spent building a wall, then it will take time to see it torn down. Understand, that praying alone, does not fix the problem. If you and I are not willing to listen to and believe our spouse about the legitimacy of their pain, then we will not be able to hear Gods Spirit when he tries to lead us into the words that he knows will keep us in Unity.

 

Remember, that as believers, the level at which we are submitted to Gods Spirit, will come-out in the level at which submit to our spouse, and in other relationships. You may think you are submitted to Gods Spirit, but the reality is, you are not as submitted as you think you are, if you remain selfish in relationship.