Why and How Should We Deny Ourselves

Deny Yourself
SUMMARY:
TO FOLLOW JESUS, WE MUST FIRST DENY/DISAVOW OURSELVES, FROM OURSELVES AND BECOME OBEDIENT DISCIPLES ASSIMILATING CHRIST’S VALUES TO GOVERN OUR LIVES AND EMBRACE THE WILL OF GOD.

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Taking up the cross requires full submission to the will of God. Full submission requires denying or disavowing our natural man for our spiritual man. Jesus is commanding us to reject our natural feelings about ourselves. Mark 8:24 is not about possessions as we so often think. Possessions are a byproduct of our natural selves. Our possessions govern who we think we are in the natural. Jesus wants us to deny, disavow, that we are our own, that we own ourselves. Ray Stedman, Authentic Christianity, writes:

“Jesus is saying something very fundamental. It strikes right at the heart of our very existence, because the one thing that we, as human beings, value and covet and protect above anything else is the right to make ultimate decisions for ourselves. We refuse to be under anything or anyone but reserve the right to make the final decisions of our lives; this is what Jesus is telling us. He is not talking about giving up this or that, but about giving up ourselves.”

1 Corinthians 6:19–20 explains the transference very clearly, if we are going to follow Jesus, we no longer own ourself. He has ultimate rights; He has Lordship of our life. So, we no longer belong to ourself; Jesus will make final decisions when the issues of our lives hang in the balance. This is what Jesus means by “if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself,” we must deny our self-trust, deny our self-sufficiency, deny our feeling so we can handle life by ourselves and run everything to suit ourselves.

Jesus is saying that discipleship requires disavowing ourselves from ourselves and putting him in charge of our lives. It is our pride that keeps us from being dependent upon God. God is calling for us to disavow our human traits and pick up his traits Paul described Galatians 5:16-26 NIV, Freedom in Christ.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

There is only one way to becoming a disciple of Christ, and that is to obey his commands and be completely dependent upon Him for direction. We have to choose to do what Jesus says and not what we think independent of Him. If he instructs us to turn right when we planned to turn left, do so, we never know what lesson lies ahead or what harm you are avoiding. Only Jesus knows the plans for our lives. We are not our own.

“Following Jesus is not a decision for the moment, but a program for a lifetime, to be repeated again and again, whenever we fall into circumstances which make these choices necessary.”

References -BibleHub.com; Biblestudytools.com; Blueletterbible.org.

Note: Much of the context is either quoted or paraphrased from Ray Stedman, The Way of the Cross. Raystedman.org.

Images: Google Images; Discipleship image – Heritage Christian School

 

Thank you for visiting my Young Christian Warriors site and dailyinspiration-lisasthoughts.com.

Oh, Your Thoughts, Your Thoughts

The AMP version reads:

“Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].” Phil. 4:8

Today we experience a magnitude of hate, violence, and racism at are more deceptive than ever before, due in large part to the conveyance of information through all forms of the media. It is overwhelming and we tend to get caught up in the muck and the mire. As Christians, we need to seek out and focus on the things that are true, honorable, right, and pure. Our focus should be on developing a Christian thought life. One of Satan’s strongest ploys is to distract us, to focus our minds in such as way as to create forms of depression and oppression in our thinking.

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‭‭I like the phrasing in the image – FIX YOUR THOUGHTS. Focus on the thoughts that are filtering through Satan’s smoke screens and are things of God, implant them in your heart. We must control our thoughts, and be intentional about what we think, to‘ demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,’  we must ‘take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.’ 2 Cor 10:5.

Other Posts that focus on this subject:

*Horses, Blinders, and Distractions, Aug 3, 2018
*Rotating Sphere, Depiction of Chaos in Life, July 7, 2018
*Second Guessing God, Self-Deception, March 6, 2018
*Living Through the Muck and Mire of Life, February 16, 2018

psalm51-12
Scripture – Bible.com, AMP, NIV
Images – YouVersion, Google Images

Thank you for visiting my Young Christian Warriors site and dailyinspiration-lisasthoughts.com.

Be Strong, Do Not Waver

It is important that we do not waver in our faith, even when we do not feel like it, or when things are not going our way.

The Lord is our rock, shelter, healer, teacher, advocate, counselor, guide, friend, and Father. He is always by our side. He is always with us.

We are secure in the hands of the Lord, when we waver, we enter uncharted waters.

Images – bible.com

Scripture – YouVersion, Bible.com

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.

Wisdom

God has bestowed wisdom upon all Christians. According to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, ‘wisdom’ is defined as understanding and prudence. As we mature as Christians, our spiritual wisdom also matures. We begin to discern situations differently, we can examine the environment of principality wars and how it impacts our lives.

Wisdom is affected by our desire to either apply free will, our own thoughts and direction, or to counsel with our Lord, and apply His Will to our situations or circumstances.

Wisdom also dictates our desire to apply the Fruit of the Spirit as our guiding or core principles to our lives, behaviors, and decisions. Wisdom is the ability to live life fully. Solomon, the author of Proverbs 1-29, scribbled Jesus’ words in 8:12-13:

“I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”
Proverbs‬ ‭8:12-13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Or, the NKJV states it this way:

“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And find out knowledge and discretion. The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.”
Proverbs‬ ‭8:12-13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

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Charles Stanley explains these verses like this, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil. As we grow spiritually, we gradually change from trying to stop doing the evil thing that we really want to do, to actually hating the evil thing so that we no longer want to do it.” (Charles Stanley Life Principles Bible)

 

The Fruit of the Spirit describes how we should govern ourselves. Wisdom frames our thought process during our transitional behavior, from hating our carnal nature to eliminating our sinful nature, to identifying when we are backsliding, to embracing the entrance into our new Christ-like nature.

“Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.”
Proverbs‬ ‭4:26-27‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

As Christians, we sometimes find ourselves falling into sin, not intentionally, but because we are not paying attention. God calls us to stay spiritually alert at all times, which includes focusing on our life’s direction.

In closing, again we find ourselves pondering the principles of obedience, dependence upon the Holy Spirit, examining free-will, God’s Will for our lives, and His Promises that fulfill our life. Wisdom is the key to attaining God’s Will for our lives. Without wisdom, we have no vision (Proverbs 29:18) for our lives, and without vision we perish, choosing to live in cardinality and separate from the Lord.

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Proverbs 4:7 KJV – Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

Proverbs 2:6 NIV – For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

James 1:5 NIV – If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Colossians 4:5,6 NIV – Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.

James 3:13 NIV – Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

Daniel 2:23 NIV – I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.

Proverbs 13:10 NIV – Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.

Eph 5:15-16 NIV – Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

James 3:17 NIV – But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

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Resources – Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary; Charles Stanley, Life Principles Bible, NKJV (quotes and paraphrased)

Images – Google Images, LAB’s Personal Photography

Scriptures – Holy Bible, BibleGateway.com

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.

 

 

 

Free-Will, Water Cooler Talk, and Responsibility

We have free-will, but is it really free. God gave us free-will, the ability to act as we see fit, but it is not without responsibility. We have the freedom to choose to

live a Christ-like life or to live in the world allowing sin and self-righteousness to lead us down the earthen path.

But because Christ has risen, we have been given the gift of repentance. Repentance is not a free ’ get out of jail’ card. It does not mean that we can ask for forgiveness and then repeat the action over and over. It means much more. When we study the Bible, we learn the precepts instruct our daily lives. We repent to acknowledge our mistake before God and ask His forgiveness.


Christ has risen and we should not squander our birthright. Christ suffered the cross to save us from sin that was destined to doom us. Today we live a life that is afflicted by sin, but one that we can be redeemed from through repentance.
The sinful and wicked do not fear God. They flatter themselves to much to detect or hate sin. Their words are wicked and deceitful and they fail to act wisely or do good. They lay in bed plotting evil and commit themselves to a sinful course. They do not reject what is wrong, Psalm 36: 1-4 NIV. But for the grace of God, we can turn from our evil ways. Our free-will is like a two edge sword, we can cut away the evil sinful ways of the world and turn to our Lord. We can repent. The requisites of repentance is to turn away from evil and turn to the good. Our free-will gives us the ability to choose. (Read my Post, Pt.2, Wisdom Directs Your Steps.)

But what does that mean in our daily life? We must be diligent and listen to our thoughts and words in much the same way that you listen to your thoughts and how to verbalize them at work, school; to bosses, parents, leaders, associates and friends. Have you ever run free, doing as you pleased, and then looked around and realized you were running in circles – obstructing your ability to move forward into your destiny? How many times have you experienced doing what you pleased only to learn that the end result hurt or adversely affected your wellbeing? How often have you heard His quiet voice, or ignored His nudge only to wish you had followed His direction? As humans we often find ourselves in these situations.

Water Cooler Talk

For example – What about gossiping by the water cooler? How many times have you gossiped at the water cooler, feeling guilty about it, but continuing on to discover the person you are talking about is standing behind you? We know we should not gossip but we do. When I was working I tried to stay out of the gossip circles, away from the water cooler during lunchtime and breaks, but from time to time joined in and found I shared private information that got back to the person that shared it with me. I heard the quiet voice telling me not to get involved in the conversation, was warned through the nudge not to say it and then I heard my voice speaking out anyway. It was quick and I did not take heed. I immediately felt guilty but could not take it back, the act created the consequences, and my relationship with the person ended as abruptly as when I spoke about them. Other times it created a sense of distrust and our conversations became matter-of-fact, no longer friendly or open. These were learning moments. I learned to think before I spoke. I learned how betrayal hurt the person that was the topic of discussion and me. I learned to avoid environments that led to my downfall.

As humans, we always stumble over our own feet. We are always learning from our mistakes and attempting to apply God’s values in our daily lives. Thus, I go back to free-will is not free, it comes with responsibility. God gave us free-will as a gift, and it is our responsibility to use our free-will wisely. It is a lifelong learning process.

The purpose of free-will is to allow us to experience how to use it to further Gods will on earth. We are his ambassadors on earth. Freedom is not free, it is a choice. Freedom permits us to follow God and spread the Good News because we choose to follow our Lord. Free-will requires denying or dying to self, (Read my Post – Dying to Self) and putting God first. It means following his instruction, not picking and choosing, not being selective, but following all of His principles. It means that while we are experiencing our attempts to follow the principles, we mature as Christians, and in the process when we make mistakes or err, we can ask God’s forgiveness.

When we repent, our sin no longer exists, we will no longer carry the weight on our shoulders. It has been removed from us. Living a Christ-like existence leads us down the path of favor. He will help us spend our lives humbling ourselves, choosing to lookout for others and putting ourselves second, helping us to build our Christ-like character in this life. We practice are denying ourselves and following the Lord. Though our decision to deny self, we become obedient to the God’s call on our lives.

This leads us back to obedience, dependence and love, our March focus. No matter what we do, we can never get to far away from being obedient or dependent upon the Lord. It is through obedience that we can exercise our free-will and live a Christ-like life, embodying the character of Christ. It is through dependence that we become aware of our actions, behaviors and outbursts and, it is through love that we have the strength to persevere.

“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. 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.”
‭‭John‬ ‭14:23-24‬ ‭NIV

“But don’t just try to follow a list of rules or be a ‘good Christian.’ Following Christ means believing you have no righteousness of your own and choosing to trust and enjoy Christ, knowing He is all you need.

The more you seek after Him with all of your heart and follow Him fully, the more He will become your All in all, cleansing you, satisfying your longings, healing your wounds, and forming you into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 8:29, Colossians 3:10).” [Know God’s Power and See His Glory. Bible.com]

Free-will is a gift, but like all gifts we choose how to use it. We can stray from the word and live in this world subscribing to its values of selfishness, lust, hate, pride, greed, dishonesty, and trustworthiness or we can turn to turn God and live using the values Jesus demonstrated during his short time on earth. Please do not think that the sin we fear is always boisterous, it is generally subtle and subdued. It sneaks up on you when you are distracted from the Word of God.

Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour.
Peter 5:8 AMP

Christ has risen, we have free-will and the responsibility attached to free-will is our gift to live by. Becoming an intentional Christian and joining the body of Christ, is a joy; our salvation is our rock, as we follow the Lord who is our light and our way. Jesus said,

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
John 14:6 NKJV

Websites – Other posts on faith, hope, obedience and dependence, and more on lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com
youngchristianwarriors.com
biblestudytools.com

Scriptures – Bible.com, Biblegateway.com

Images – Google Images. Bible.com. LAB’s photo collection

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.

Miraculous Healing

Jesus told the disciples, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭19:26‬ ‭NASB

Miraculous healings are not open for debate. There is an ongoing theological debate over healing. Some say miraculous healings only occurred in the Old Testament, others believe they still happen in the New Testament dispensation. Many people do not weigh in at all. They have no need for miraculous healing and think little of it, but when you are in need, it is no longer open for debate, you start calling on God. I believe miraculous healings still happen today. Why you may ask, because it happened to me. What I can tell you is that I was one of the uncertain many. I asked for healing for many years for one thing or another, but my faith was weak, lukewarm at best. This post is not about theological debate, it is a witness perspective. This has been a difficult topic for me to write. I have been grappling with it for days. This topic, nudged in prayer, was an assignment. But because it is such a fluid topic, has not been easy to express.
Let’s begin with, miraculous healing requires radical faith, extreme faith, uncompromising faith.

Throughout this month, my emphasis has been on our dependence upon God and our obedience to the Word. As these two practices strengthen, our Christian life matures and we develop a radical faith, in other words, we do not doubt or question what God is able to do in our lives, we recognize the Word as the TRUTH, and believe that everything the Bible says can happen though FAITH. This being said, we cannot command our own healing, but we can ask God to heal us. We have the authority to pray in the name of Jesus to answer our prayers.
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Uncertainty —> Certainty —> Healing

As humans, we think to much, we query everything, even the Words and instructions in the Bible. I shared that God no longer gave me the option of studying the Bible or spending time with him. He did this because he loves me. He did this because he wanted me to share the Word and let everyone know that what he did in the Old Testament, the precepts, he does today. I had many questions and over a few years stayed in prayer and communication learning to hear his voice and follow his instructions for my life. I spent time in prayer learning from the Lord. I mentioned that I prayed for healing for this or that over the years, no miraculous healings, though God did direct the doctors to perform surgery and God gave me quick healing.

Recently my Pastor called congregants who wanted healing from tumors and cysts to come forward. I had a cyst on my finger. I decided to go up and was anointed. This was not a cyst I imaged, my doctor said she would have to remove it before severing the sheath around my tendon causing a trigger finger. One week after my anointing for healing the cyst disappeared, but the trigger finger is still present. I asked God what happened, why was the cyst miraculously healed but the trigger finger still exists.

His quiet voice said: I instructed your pastor to call up people who needed tumors, of all types, to be removed through faith. I wanted you to know that I am still in the healing business and wanted you to share your (personal)experience others. I removed your cyst.

I then asked, when you perform miraculous healings, and you heal someone, why don’t you heal everything in the persons body? He answered, there are numerous examples of healing in the Bible for one thing or another, they were specific to the need. In your case, you cried out for me to heal the cyst on your finger, not your finger or other aliments. I may had done so had you asked. Sometimes I will heal everything and other times not, depending upon where you are in your Christian walk and what lessons you embrace.

So why is our faith weak, we ask for partial healing and when we receive it, we ask why didn’t we receive more. I believe, it is important to remember, whenever asking our Lord for anything, including healing, we must believe the Lord is able, nothing is impossible for God.

If God answers his children and he also answers others, is radical Christian faith necessary to be healed? God does not discriminate. He healed believers and at least in one case healed non-believers. See the John 5:3-6.

Jesus performed 37 miracles in the Bible. I believe 30 are shared in the New Testament. Healings were performed by Jesus or his disciples, today his disciples are our Pastors and church leaders. They often perform healing miracles for member’s of their flock, but God still performs miraculous healing for non-Christians, and non-devote believers as well. Where is the proof? There is a saying, the proof is in the pudding. Doctors often report healings that cannot be ascribed to their practice or medicine. Many doctors contribute unknown healing as being a miracle, and Christian doctors may tell you it is a miracle from God, the recipient (believer and non-believer) will almost always tell you it was God. The doctors don’t know why the person was miraculously healed, they just know it did not happen as a result of anything they did. This leads me back to my premise, miracles still happen and require radical faith.

Christ and his disciples no longer walk the earth. Jesus is not physically here to lay hands on the sick, speak to the spirit as in the case of the little girl, or simply speak the word and then visit the healed servant. It is through faith that we are healed today. All who receive miracles today have heightened faith. Christians may know God and cry out in full faith, and non-Christian’s may call on the Lord because they are desperate and need healing. These are forms of radical faith, regardless of who is petitioning God.

Radical faith is the key. Your dependence on the Word and your obedience to God build radical faith. Radical faith is where miracles reside. It is where maturity lives. It is where we experience healing of all types, spiritual, emotional and physical.

Radical faith is needed and attainable if we spend time in the Bible, in study and in prayer. Our God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is eternal, our relationship with him is eternal was well. The flow of communication resides in our understanding of the Word.Miracles are ours upon request. Our faith activates them. Our faith in God, if we are Christians, and faith in a higher being if we are not Christians, or follow a different Christian doctrine. It is a faith issue.
Jesus once said,

Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?
Matthew 8:26 KJV

My take away is – when God steps in Miracles happen. Radical faith is required to be healed yesterday, today and tomorrow. Your faith may be heightened for a time such as this, or it may be out of desperation, but it is radical faith non-the less.

Our Lord said,

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, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Matthew 7:7-8 NKJV

These are not just words, our lexicon. They are the words and actions of radical faith. Radical faith is an ‘all in’ faith. If you want to be healed of an ailment , infirmity or disease, ask for complete healing and tell our Lord what you want to be healed. Don’t ask for partial healing when you can have complete healing. Don’t be dismayed of it is not immediate, it took a little over a week for my cyst (the operable cyst mentioned above) to disappear. Yours may take less time or much more time. Our time is not God’s time. We do not know what he is teaching us through the healing as it is occurring. And, just as importantly he may not remove the problem for years. He wants what is best for us and he knows what will happen over our life time. He heals today and tomorrow, and gives us the strength to endure. Just keep telling yourself, our Lord is still in the work of miracles. I am his child, and he wants what is best for me. I am the recipient of a miracle today.

Wait for the Lord ; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Psalms 27:14 ESV

Websites – Other posts on faith, hope, healing and more on lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com
youngchristianwarriors.com

Scriptures – Bible.com, Biblegateway.com

Images – Google Images. LAB’s photo collection

Thank you for spending time on my sites, if you like what you are reading, follow me, lisasdailyinspirations.wordpress.com and receive the daily inspirations in your inbox, or visit my other site, youngchristianwarriors.com and subscribe.

Note
I read a good post today about healing and faith. Take a moment to read it, entitled: Stop, waiting, you are wasting. By chilavertnmezi.wordpress.com