UNDERSTANDING HOW TO SERVE THE LORD: Through the River of the Holy Ghost

 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”  (John 7:38-39)

After His resurrection, Jesus told His disciples to “tarry” or wait in Jerusalem until they would be endued with power from on high.

“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)

Jesus knew that in order for the disciples to do the work that He had called them to do, there had to be a supernatural change take place in their lives.

Until now, they had walked in a similar anointing as did the prophets of old. The Bible teaches us that everything that happened in the Old Testament was a “type” or a “shadow” of better things to come, and that these things happened as an example for us.

The old prophets were a type of Jesus disciples. Just as the anointing of the Holy Ghost would come upon the prophets for a particular job or mission from God and then depart, Jesus had anointed His disciples at various times and sent them forth to do miraculous works.

But the Bible tells us that this occasional anointing of power only caused the prophets to yearn for something permanent and life changing.

“Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:” (1Peter 1:10)

“Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” (1Peter 1:11)

In the same way, although Jesus had anointed the disciples to cast out devils and heal the sick, and they had returned rejoicing that the devils were subject to His name, there was still no power to change from within, as evidenced by their abandonment of Jesus at the time of His crucifixion.

In John 7: 38 & 39, Jesus described the Holy Spirit which the disciples would receive as rivers of living waters flowing out from them. This river of the Holy Spirit is prophesied in the Book of Ezekiel in the Old Testament.

“And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles.” (Eze. 47:3)

“Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins.” (Eze. 47:4)

“Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.” (Eze. 47:5)

The prophet shows us that the further along the river we go, the deeper the water gets, until finally the river is so deep that it sweeps us away. We go the way of the river, and not the way of ourselves. Jesus revealed that the river of the prophet is the river of the Holy Spirit.

This progression into the depth of the Holy Spirit is the key to walking in the power of God.

The prophet talked of the river to the ankles. This is the initial touch of the Holy Spirit. This is where the current begins to tug at your ankles and pull you in the direction of the flow.

Jesus said that no man would come to Him unless the Father draw him. (John 6:44) Jesus said, “Ye have not chosen me but I have chosen you.” (John 15:16)

The prophet talked of the water to the knees. After Jesus rose from the grave, He appeared to the disciples, breathed on them, and said, “Receive Ye the Holy Ghost.” (John 20:22) This is that born again experience that Jesus spoke of in the third chapter of the Gospel of John.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6)

This is when Christ comes into your heart through the Holy Spirit. You are not the only one living inside of your body anymore, but now another presence has come inside of you to live also.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)

“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:17)

He seals you unto the day of redemption, and you now belong unto Christ. Jesus has purchased you with His blood and you are not your own anymore.

“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Eph. 4:30)

“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Rom. 8:9)

You are in the water to your knees. The river has half of your legs, and you have the other half. The Holy Spirit is directing you one way, but you have the power to go the other. This is where many Christians find themselves today.

They have been born again and the Holy Spirit has come inside of them. They are like the disciples who Jesus breathed upon and said, “Receive Ye the Holy Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit is directing them to go one way but their common sense and will are directing them another, and sadly the common sense will usually win. This is why Jesus told the disciples to “tarry in Jerusalem.”

They had already received the Holy Spirit in them, now they needed to be endued with power. They needed to be filled with the Holy Ghost. They needed to come out into the river to the loins.

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” (Acts 2:1-2)

“And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:3-4)

The early Church knew that this power from on high was so necessary that whenever they encountered believers who had not received it, they made sure that they were filled with the Holy Ghost also.

“Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:” (Acts 8:14-15)

“(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:16-17)

“He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” (Acts 19:2)

“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” (Acts 19:5-6)

As we look at the prophecy of Ezekiel concerning the river, we see that each depth must be reached first before we can go further. We cannot just jump out into the deepest part at the beginning and receive the fullness of the river, the fullness of the anointing and power of God.

We must first be drawn by the Spirit, the waters to the ankles. (John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”)

We must be born again, the waters to the knees. (Romans 10: 9-10 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”)

We must be filled with the Holy Ghost, the waters to the loins or the waist. (Luke 11:13 “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”)

If you have not yet asked Him, simply ask the Heavenly Father to fill you with the Holy Ghost and He will do it.

Now we are out in the water to our waist. The current of the river has control of our legs and is pulling us in the right direction. We are being led by the Spirit of God, but we are still standing on our feet.

Before we can have the faith to take the next step and launch out into the waters to swim in, to leap out into the full force of the current and the depth of the power of God, we need to realize the purpose of the river. Why do we need to go out into the deep?

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Next- UNDERSTANDING HOW TO SERVE THE LORD: As a Vessel unto Honor   

All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

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UNDERSTANDING HOW TO SERVE THE LORD: Through the Power of the Holy Ghost

 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)

POWER. From the Greek word dynamos which, according to Strong’s Concordance, means: force (literally or figuratively); specially, miraculous power (usually by implication, a miracle itself)

It is the same root word from which we get the word dynamite. It invokes thoughts of life changing, earth shaking, and explosive power.

It seems that man has always looked for someone with superhuman power. Whether it is the gods of mythology or the stuff of fairytales, legends, and comic books, men have always conjured up stories of individuals whose abilities went beyond those of mortal man.

A man whose power could change the elements of nature and the course of mankind, who could always vanquish evil and establish good.

However, all dreams of such power are only that: stories birthed in the imagination of man, except for one individual recorded in history. Only one man whose power was unlimited, who had the Spirit of Almighty God without measure.

Only one of whom the Bible says that He is the image of the invisible God, the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

Only one whose miraculous power was witnessed by so many individuals that any court ever assembled would have no recourse but to conclude the reality of His wonderful acts.

That one individual is the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, who fully intended for His disciples, His Church, to walk in that same miracle working power after His resurrection and ascension into Heaven.

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;” (Mark 16:15-17)

“They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:18)

“So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” (Mark 16:19-20)

The Bible tells us of how the early Church experienced all of these manifestations of the power of God. The Book of Acts records how the first believers would speak with tongues as the Holy Ghost came upon them. The Apostle Paul said, “I speak with tongues more than you all.”

The early disciples cast devils out of soothsayers and fortunetellers. They would lay their hands on sick people and they were healed. The Bible records that there were instances when even the shadow of Peter or handkerchiefs from Paul brought healing to the sick.

We read in the Book of Acts when a poisonous snake bit the Apostle Paul on his hand, but he shook it off and felt no harm. The history of the Church tells us that the Apostle John was poisoned several times in attempts to kill him; however the poison had no effect on him, even to the point that many believed John could not die and would remain until Jesus returned.

Were these signs and miracles only for the Apostles, for the disciples who had been with Jesus, or to help the early Church get established and then they would disappear?

NO! Definitely Not!

“For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:39)

God intended for these signs to follow all that believe.

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;” (Mark 16:17)

Believe what? Believe that they are able to do such things? Believe that they have some supernatural ability greater than other men? No!

These signs shall follow them that believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who believe in His ability, in Who He really is. Those who truly believe that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That He never changes. That the Jesus we believe in today is no less a Jesus than the Jesus who healed the sick, and opened blinded eyes, and raised the dead so long ago.

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” (Heb. 13:8)

One might ask, “If Jesus Christ is the same, why don’t we see the miracles today that we read of in the Book of Acts and in the Gospels?”

There was a time in the Old Testament when someone asked almost the identical question.

“And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” (Jdg. 6:13)

We can look at the Church today, and as Gideon, we might say, “Where be all His miracles?”

The 17th Chapter of Matthew tells us of a time when the disciples of Jesus could not cast the devil out of a boy. When they asked Jesus why they were unable to do it, He replied in the 20th verse, “Because of your unbelief…”

The problem today is not that we live in a different time period in which miracles do not exist, but the problem is the same that it has always been. It is a problem of unbelief!

The Bible tells us that there would come a time when the Church would have a form of godliness, but would deny His power.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,” (2Ti 3:1-2)

“Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2Ti 3:3-5)

It would seem, as we look about us at the world and the Christian Church today, and if we would be honest with ourselves, that these Scriptures describe the time that we are living in.

However, there is a remnant today that has a desire in their heart for their personal experience with Jesus Christ to be more than a powerless form of godliness.

There are those who are not content to have “church as usual”, but desire to be used of God in the same way that He used the early disciples to manifest His power and glory.

If you are willing to lay aside the vain traditions and opinions of men, If you are willing to believe only the Word of God, If you are willing to have the attitude that if Jesus said it, I believe it and if Jesus wants me to have it, then I want to receive it, then come with me and we will begin a journey through the Word of God that will cause your faith to grow and will bring you into the deep and powerful river of the miracle working power of God.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Next- UNDERSTANDING HOW TO SERVE THE LORD: In the River of the Holy Ghost   

All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

UNDERSTANDING HOW TO SERVE THE LORD: Through the Power of the Atonement

 “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”  (Rom. 5:11)

To those of us who have accepted Christ and been born again, God has bestowed upon us His unmerited favor and put us in the position of grace because of the blood of Jesus Christ.

And because we are in this position of grace, God wants to manifest the power of grace so that we can abound to every good work.

He wants to give “grace for grace”.

This is helped by our understanding and having faith in the “atonement”.

“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Rom. 5:11)

In the Greek, the word translated “atonement” in the King James Version actually means “the exchange”. This “atonement” or “exchange” happened at Calvary.

The Bible teaches us that before a new covenant can be established, the old covenant has to be fulfilled. Jesus said that He came to fulfill the old covenant which was the Law of Moses.

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” (Mat. 5:17)

The Bible says that sin is “the transgression of the law”, but that Jesus committed no sin (2 Cor. 5:21). Therefore, Jesus fulfilled the law in all points.

The Law of Moses promised that there would be certain blessings bestowed upon anyone who kept or fulfilled the law and did not transgress it.

“And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.” (Deu. 28:2)

Among the blessings that would be given to those who fulfilled the law were long life, prosperity, health, and righteousness.

The law could not be fulfilled and blotted out of the way in order that a new covenant could take its place until these promises were bestowed. God says, “If you do this, then I will do this.” This is what constitutes a “covenant” or “contract”.

And yet we see Jesus, who rightfully earned these blessings by fulfilling the law, but not receiving them.

The law promised long life, yet Jesus gave His life at the young age of 33. The law promised prosperity, but Jesus said that “the son of man hath nowhere to lay his head.”

The law promised health and sickness removed from their midst, yet Jesus “took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses”.

Jesus earned these blessings but did not receive them. Why?

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2Cor. 5:21)

Because all of mankind had transgressed the law, man deserved the curses of disobedience. By being the only man to fulfill the law, Jesus deserved the blessings.

Jesus willingly rejected the blessings contained in the law and accepted the curses, so that He could transfer the blessings of His fulfillment to those of us who have believed on Him through the cross.

“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” (Gal. 3:10)

“But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.” (Gal. 3:11-12)

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” (Gal. 3:13)

This is the atonement, the “exchange”.

This is where faith for grace lies.

I am not blessed because I was faithful to pay my tithe or give an offering. I can expect to be blessed because Jesus fulfilled the law for blessings but rejected the reward for that fulfillment in order to pass it to those who believe.

I cannot expect to be healed because I have been faithful to work for God and now He owes it to me. I can expect to be healed because Jesus earned it by fulfilling the law and rejected it so that I can receive it.

I am not righteous because of my holy lifestyle, but I am righteous in the sight of God because Jesus became cursed so that I could have His righteousness. 

What freedom from all self- dependency! This answers all of my questions:

Why would God hear me?

Why would God answer my prayers?

How could God use me?

The answer is because of the atonement, because of the exchange done through Calvary.

As the Apostle Paul said,

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Php. 4:13)

We see by the Word of God that Jesus rejected the blessings. How can we be sure that God accepted this offer to transfer His obedience for our disobedience? How can we be sure of the place with God wherein we stand?

Because Jesus has sent the Holy Ghost as proof that His offering and exchange has been accepted and the new covenant has been established.

“For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:” (Heb. 8:8)

“And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” (Heb. 12:24)

Since the new covenant has been established, then the old covenant has passed away. And if the old covenant has passed away, then it had to have been fulfilled.

Part of that fulfillment was the issuing of the blessings. If the blessings that Jesus obtained have been issued, where are they now?

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” (Eph. 1:3)

They have been issued and placed into our account to be drawn upon by faith.

“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” (Mark 11:24)

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” (1John 5:14)

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” (James 1:6)

When we become a believer in Jesus Christ, receive Him into our heart, commit our life unto Him, and are born again, God bestows His grace (unmerited favor, acceptance) upon us and places us in the position of grace.

He then gives the power of His grace within us to begin to empower change in our life. As we yield to the power of this grace and allow our lives to be transformed by His power, we begin to become the vessels through which God can touch the lives of others.

“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2Tim. 2:19)

“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor.” (2Tim. 2:20)

“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2Tim. 2:21)

God has already placed you in the position of His grace. He has already placed within you the power of His grace. Now by believing that this has all been done because of what Jesus Christ purchased for you at Calvary, you can walk in the grace of God, sufficient in all things, dependent on His power, unto every good work.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Next- UNDERSTANDING HOW TO SERVE THE LORD: Through the Power of the Holy Ghost   

All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

UNDERSTANDING HOW TO SERVE THE LORD: With Sufficiency of Grace

 “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”  (2Cor. 9:8)

“GRACE.”

In the Old Testament Hebrew it means kindness, favor, or acceptance. In the New Testament Greek it means the divine influence upon the heart and it’s reflection in the life. Many have also translated it to mean unmerited favor.

The grace of God is what causes God to look upon us and not see our failures and shortcomings, but instead causes Him to smile and His “face to shine upon us.” It is what makes us “the apple of His eye.”

But it is more than just God’s attitude towards us, more than just unmerited or undeserved favor.

It is that divine flow from God that washes over our heart and changes our nature. The prophet Ezekiel prophesied:

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” (Eze. 36:26)

Grace is that divine unction which comes into our heart and mind, changes our will to conform to God’s will, and then empowers us to enact God’s will.

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Php. 2:13)

It causes our desires to change and become God’s desires, so that He can then enable us to perform His desire for our life.

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

The degree of the provision and supply of our needs is in direct proportion to the degree of God’s grace.

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” (2Cor. 9:8)

In writing to the church, the Apostle Paul says that “God is able”, making us to know that this particular degree of grace he is talking about is not already established.

Also, the Apostle Paul talks about “all grace”, whereby we see that we can have a portion of grace or we can have all grace.

Lastly, we see that “all sufficiency” and “abounding” is dependent upon our having “all grace”, not just a portion of grace.

“And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” (John 1:16)

We read here in John that “his fullness” of grace is related to us having “grace for grace”. What does the Bible mean by “grace for grace”?

We see then that there are actually two types of grace. God gives the grace of unmerited favor. This is His attitude towards us.

Unmerited, because we did not earn His favor, but we obtain it because someone else has earned it for us. This unmerited favor then puts us in a position of grace.

Because of this position of grace, God then empowers us with His divine influence upon our heart and its reflection in our life.

It is a divine power that transforms our will to become His will and then empowers us to perform that will.

This is “grace for grace”.

If the degree of our provision and ability is contingent upon the degree of grace, how can we cause this grace to grow to be that abundant grace, so that we can have “all sufficiency in all things” in order to “abound unto every good work”?

The answer is in understanding what God’s grace is, thereby believing in it and causing it to grow according to faith.

The faith to believe in God’s grace lies in understanding and believing in how God sees you.

The Old Testament describes the Israelites’ forty year trek through the wilderness. The Bible says in First Corinthians that these things were examples to us:

“But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.” (1Cor. 10:5-6)

The Bible teaches us that these things we read of in the Old Testament were not only examples for us to learn by, but they are also shadows of better things to come.

Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” (Heb. 8:5)

The Bible tells us that as the Israelites travelled in the wilderness; they were led by a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud that covered them by day.

“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:” (Exo. 13:21)

Often we read that when the Israelites would sin, God would see their transgressions and the punishment of the Lord would issue forth from the pillar of fire (Num 11:1).

And yet, when Balaam prophesied concerning Israel he stated:

He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.” (Num. 23:21)

The pre-incarnate Christ was the “king” that was among them. He was in the cloud and in the fire, beholding the sin of Israel and dealing with it on the earth.

Yet God in heaven was looking down upon Israel, and looking through the cloud (through Christ), He beheld no iniquity.

This was the type and shadow of our relationship with God today. The Bible teaches us that in this world, there is a result of sin:

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Gal. 6:7-8)

If a Christian commits a crime, he could go to prison. If a Christian smokes, he might get cancer. If a Christian makes foolish financial judgments, he might go bankrupt.

In this life, there are results for the decisions we make, both good and bad. However, when we repent of our sins and are cleansed by the blood of Christ, God looking from heaven looks through the blood and:

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isa. 1:18)

I had often thought that if sin had a color, that it should be black. I could not understand why God referred to sin as red.

Then one day, as I was preparing to preach as a visiting evangelist, I had gone early into the Church Sanctuary to study before service. This particular Church had red stained glass windows.

As I sat next to the window and opened my Bible to the New Testament, I noticed that the words of Christ in red had disappeared and there was a white blank where they should be. The sunlight shining through the red glass had cancelled out the red words printed in my Bible. Red cancels out red.

In the Old Testament, God looking through the cloud beheld no iniquity in Israel. In the New Testament, God looking down through the red blood of Jesus that covers your red sin beholds no sin or iniquity in you.

This is the position of grace.

It is the unmerited favor of God, earned by Christ through the shedding of His blood. It has nothing to do with how many times you have succeeded or how many times you have failed.

This is the same grace for all who have accepted Christ and are walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:1)

But God will give “grace for grace”.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Next- UNDERSTANDING HOW TO SERVE THE LORD: Because of the Atonement  

All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

UNDERSTANDING HOW TO SERVE THE LORD: With Faith’s Proper Direction

 “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.”  (Mark 11:22)

“And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.” (Luke 8:25)

On that stormy night so long ago, Jesus addressed His disciples on three issues concerning faith. He addressed the problem of “no faith”, He addressed the problem of “little faith”, and now He addresses them concerning what may be the greatest problem of all: “Where is your faith?”

The same question could be asked of Christians today. Where is your faith?

There are those who mistakenly have faith in themselves. They have been told by well-meaning but errant advisors, “God helps those who help themselves.”

They spend their lives dependent upon their own abilities, or wisdom, or knowledge expecting that God will stand by as a faithful servant to bless all of their endeavors whether it be His will or not.

“These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.” (Psalm 50:21)

Although they may enjoy temporal success in this world, and may on occasion be able to deliver themselves out of precarious circumstances by their own devices, one who is dependent upon himself is headed for spiritual bankruptcy.

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

“If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:6)

Then there are those who put their faith in others. It may be due to the fact that a certain individual possesses great knowledge, or apparent wisdom, power, or even anointing. They lift him or her up more highly than they ought and bestow their faith in a human being.

No matter how well intentioned, that individual will ultimately stumble, and those who have put their faith in that person will fail.

If we have no faith, the adversary of our soul has us in his grasp. If we have little faith, he is not concerned about us because we have no power.

If our faith begins to grow, then he attempts to distract us by causing us to misplace our faith by putting it in a person, whether that person be ourselves or another.

This was the condition of the disciples in the boat, for they said of Jesus, “What manner of man is this?” They had their faith in Jesus for the wrong reason.

Some followed Him for the miracles, some followed Him for the provisions, and some even followed Him hoping that He would restore the glory of Israel.

For whatever reason, by their own statement of “What manner of man is this?” they revealed that they still believed they were following just a man. In their own hearts, they had put their faith in a man.

A very special man. A very anointed man. But still just a man.

It wasn’t until after the resurrection that they came to believe in who He really is.

“And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28)

“Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

The last misdirection for faith is the most insidious, for it impersonates itself as the true spiritual direction for faith. This is where much of the church today has been deceived.

This is when we take the faith that God has given us, this ability to believe and not doubt, and we put that faith in our faith.

The world calls it the power of positive thinking. The church spiritualizes it and calls it the power of faith or the power of prayer.

It is believing that by praying hard enough or long enough, it is the prayer itself that changes the situation. Or similarly, it is the idea that believing strong enough for something to happen will cause it to come to pass.

We even have phrases to describe this that sound very spiritual. “Prayer changes things” and “Faith changes things” sound good, but they miss the mark. They may just slightly miss the mark, but they are a miss nonetheless.

We ought to be saying, “God changes things.”

There is only one direction for faith:

“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22)

“For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” (Mark 11:23)

The mountain will be removed when spoken to, the prayer will be answered and the things desired received, but the foundation that must be established before any of this can happen is to have faith in God.

There can be no other direction for faith.

This ability to believe and not doubt, to have this God kind of faith, is a gift given by God for the sole purpose of returning it to Him: to believe and not doubt in Him, to believe and not doubt in His power and ability, to believe and not doubt in His nature, His love, and His faithfulness.

“God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.” (Psalm 62:11)

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Mat. 28:18)

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:38-39)

“To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.” (Psalm 139:1-4)

“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” (Psalm 139:17-18)

Before Moses came, God revealed Himself to men as the Almighty God. When Moses came, He revealed Himself to the nation of Israel as the Lord. When Jesus came, He revealed God to each individual as the Father.

God is your Heavenly Father. He knows your innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing can separate you from the love that He has for you through Christ Jesus. His thoughts about you are so many that they cannot be numbered.

And when Jesus died on Calvary, the veil that separated God from man was torn by God from the top to the bottom, so that there is nothing that separates you from God. You can get as close to God as you want to.

Nothing can stop you from being as intimate with your Heavenly Father as you want to be, to know Him, and His faith, and the power of His resurrection.

Innumerable books and sermons have been written upon the subject of faith. Faith has been dissected, taken apart, examined, and put back together in every way that can be imagined.

But I fear as the Apostle Paul did:

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2Cor. 11:3)

The sum of the matter and the simplicity of the matter is this:

God has given to every believer “the measure of faith.” Every believer has been given the same amount of faith. It is God’s faith, not your own.

It is like a mustard seed and needs to grow. Hearing from God is the only thing that will activate it and make it grow.

Hearing and recognizing the voice of God can only come by the Word of God. By spending time with God in reading, studying, and meditating upon His Word.

By getting to know and understand God intimately, you will hear His voice and know His will in every situation and will be able to take this God kind of faith, this ability to believe and never doubt, and redeposit it back in God and see God manifest His power and perform His will in all His glory.

You will pray and believe according to His will, mountains will be removed, things prayed for will be received, and the glory of the Lord will be your rearward.

In other words, God’s glory will remain when everything else is said and done.

And you will know what it is to walk in the faith of God.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Next- UNDERSTANDING HOW TO SERVE THE LORD: With Sufficiency of Grace 

All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

UNDERSTANDING HOW TO SERVE THE LORD: With Mature Faith

 “And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed…”  (Luke 17:6)

“It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew…” (Luke 13:19)

How does the little mustard seed measure of faith grow to be the mature, fully grown God kind of faith? Just as a seed needs the proper type of ground, water and sunlight to grow, so the mustard seed of faith needs the proper nourishment.

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)

The Bible says in Romans 4:3,

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Rom. 4:3)

Other than Christ, Abraham more than anyone else is to be our example of faith. What is so special about Abraham?

In the book of Genesis, we read of how God chose Abraham and told him to leave his idolatrous home and go to a land that He would show him. Abraham obeyed, and later God told Abraham that his descendants would be as the stars of the heavens for multitude.

In his later years, he and his wife Sarah had a son named Isaac. As Isaac grew into manhood, God told Abraham that in Isaac would his seed be called. In other words, that his descendants through Isaac would be as the stars of heaven for multitude.

Then a strange thing happened. God told Abraham to take Isaac and go to a certain mountain and offer him as a burnt sacrifice.

Most, if not all, believers would not have believed that God spoke this to them and would not have gone. This was contrary to God’s promise. How could Abraham have descendants through Isaac and they be as the stars of heaven if Isaac was dead?

Isaac had not yet married and had any children.

This was also contrary to God’s nature, for God forbade human sacrifice and said that it was an abomination to him. But yet Abraham took Isaac and went anyway. Why?

Over the years Abraham had become so familiar with God that he knew His voice and never doubted. Abraham had walked with God. He had sat in the door of his tent and ate with God.

The more time that Abraham spent with God, the more he knew His voice, His nature, His power, and His plan.

Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice and another they will not follow.” (John 10:27)

Abraham had learned that God always keeps his promise, so he knew that even though it seemed impossible for God’s promise to be fulfilled if he obeyed God, he still knew that somehow God would make his descendants through Isaac as plentiful as the stars of heaven.

Abraham knew that God would never require a human sacrifice, so he knew that something would happen to prevent it. Abraham knew that God’s power was unlimited, so that even if his son suffered death, God was able to raise him up in order to fulfill His word.

And Abraham knew that God does everything by design. He knew that God had a plan, and that everything was for a reason.

So he told his servants, I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and WE shall come again.”

Even when Isaac asked him, “Father, here is the wood and the fire but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?”

Abraham said, “God himself will provide a lamb for a sacrifice.”

After ascending the mountain, Abraham bound his son with cords, placed him upon the wood, and raised his knife. An angel immediately appeared and called to Abraham.

“And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.” (Gen. 22:11)

“And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” (Gen. 22:12)

“And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.” (Gen. 22:13)

“And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” (Gen. 22:14)

“And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,” (Gen. 22:15)

“And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:” (Gen. 22:16)

“That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;” (Gen. 22:17)

“And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” (Gen. 22:18)

The word “Jehovahjireh” means, “The Lord will provide”, or more literally, “The Lord will see to it.”

Abraham believed God and never doubted because he had come to know the voice of God. He also trusted God. He had come to know the nature of God.

The Bible says, “God is love.” He knew that God would never do anything contradictory to his nature, and so he knew that everything would work out for his good.

Abraham never doubted, even though the circumstances seemed against him. And because he never doubted but had faith and obeyed, God was able through this situation to foreshadow the coming of the Messiah

God was able to portray a beautiful picture of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world so that we might go free. Because of his obedience, Abraham received a blessing from God which now the Bible says that we have inherited.

How did Abraham have the faith that never doubted, the God kind of faith? By knowing and hearing the voice of God.

Romans 10:17- “Faith cometh by hearing…”

How could Abraham have been so certain that it was God’s voice that he heard? Because he had come to know God by spending time with Him. God’s voice might be imitated, but never His nature.

Romans 10:17- “…and hearing by the word of God.”

Abraham could sit in his tent door and spend time with God to get to know Him.

God has given us His written word so that we can read it, spend time with Him in it, and get to know Him even more so than Abraham did.

“Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,” (Psalm 40:7)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

As you daily read the word of God, you get to know Him and His nature. As you spend time with God in His word you develop spiritual hearing and learn to recognize the voice of God.

Hearing and recognizing God then causes faith to grow from the “measure of faith” to the God kind of never doubting faith.

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mat. 11:15)

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (John 10:27)

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Next- UNDERSTANDING HOW TO SERVE THE LORD: Through Faith in God

All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

UNDERSTANDING HOW TO SERVE THE LORD: With the Gift of Faith

 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”  (Heb. 11:6)

FAITH. The Bible says that it is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Simply put, it is the ability to believe in something or someone without any evidence of the existence. (Heb. 11:1)

No taste, no sight, no sound, not anything to prove the reality, yet you still believe with all of your being, even to the point of eternity. This is real faith. This is the God kind of faith. This is the faith that never doubts.

Just as there is a God kind of love (agape love), there is a God kind of faith. This is the kind of faith that calls those things which be not as though they were, and then they are. This is the kind of faith by which God framed the worlds.

“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Heb. 11:3)

Unwavering, unshakeable, undeniable faith.

There are those who think they don’t need it. That if it can’t be seen, or felt, or touched with the senses then it doesn’t exist. Such is a miserable existence.

There are those who think they have it, or who hope they have it, or who work hard to try to get it. Such is an uncertain existence.

And then there are those few in whom it actually dwells. Those who walk with God. Those who, as it says in the book of Daniel, do exploits for their God. These are those who live and walk in real joy, and peace, and the anointing of God.

There is only one way to obtain it, and that is to receive it. And there is only one you can receive it from, and that is from God.

God is the only one who can create it, and He is the only one who can give it away. God is the source of faith, and it is His gift. This ability to believe and never doubt is a gift from God.

And there are few who have it.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Eph. 2:8)

“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Mat. 7:14)

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Rom. 12:3)

The Bible teaches that this gift of faith, this God kind of faith, is given only to those born again believers in Christ in whom the Holy Spirit has come to live.

The Bible teaches that when we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in our heart that God raised Christ from the dead, then we are saved and become born again. (Romans 10:9)

The Bible says in Romans 8:9 “… Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” When we are born again, the Holy Spirit comes and dwells inside of us and with Him comes this measure of faith. It is His fruit. It is, among other things, what He produces. (Galatians 5:22)

Understanding that God through the Holy Spirit is living inside of you right now, and that the Holy Spirit is producing God’s faith inside of you right now, is the beginning of operating in His faith right now.

There are those who say to “release your faith”. This is not Scriptural. God’s faith does not need to be “released”. It is not bottled up inside of you or in prison. As a matter of fact, the Bible says that even our unbelief cannot make the faith of God of none effect. (Romans 3: 3 & 4)

It is God’s faith. It is inside of you. It is right now a miracle working faith. But Jesus compared it to a mustard seed.

“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Mat 17:20)

It is the measure of faith. It has miracle working capabilities. But it is like a mustard seed. And as a mustard seed, it needs to grow.

“It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.” (Luke 13:19)

The Gospels tell of an occasion when Jesus was with his disciples in a ship upon the sea and a storm arose. As the storm blew, Jesus was asleep inside the ship. When the disciples feared for their lives, they awoke Jesus and he spoke three things concerning their faith.

To those who were still not believers (remember Judas Iscariot) he said, “How is it that you have no faith?” These were the ones who asked Jesus, “Carest thou not that we perish?”

They didn’t believe that the Lord even cared for them, that He was unaware or could care less about their situation or what was happening to them.

Then there were those to whom Jesus said, “Oh ye of little faith.” These were the ones who said to Him “save us, we (including Jesus) perish.” They were believers in Jesus because they had been given faith.

They knew Jesus loved them and cared for them, because He stayed with them during the storm. They knew that He would never leave them even if it meant that He would sink with them. They knew that He could save them, because they asked Him.

However, they were unsure if it was His will to save them. This is the position of many Christians today. They believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. They have been born again and have received the measure of faith.

They know God can do anything and that His power is able to deliver from any situation, but they do not know what His will is concerning that situation.

These are those of little faith. They have the mustard seed of faith, but it needs to grow. They may think they know God’s will, or they may hope that it is His will, but as long as there is any doubt then it cannot be the fully grown God kind of faith that sees something come from nothing.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Next- UNDERSTANDING HOW TO SERVE THE LORD: With Mature Faith

All twelve books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices

All twelve books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy are available now in one collection of two volumes for $6.99 each at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all e-reading devices