Is God Holding Out on Us?

Who has your ear? Who do you trust snd believe?

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Mark Altrogge

Friday, March 9, 2018

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)

Satan can’t force us to sin. So he tries the next best thing – to get us to doubt God’s word and character.

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He tempted Eve to doubt God’s word.

God had warned Adam and Eve that if they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they’d die. Satan said, “You will not surely die.” He says to us, “Go ahead and sin, nothing will happen to you.” “You can sin just this once and it will be okay.” “Only one more time and you can quit tomorrow”  “God will forgive you.” “You’re saved, you won’t go to hell.” “No one will see you.”  “Everybody else does it, and nothing happens to them.”

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He tempted Eve to doubt God’s character.

“God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” In other words, “God’s holding out on you. Lying to you. He’s not good. He knows if you eat you’ll become like him and he doesn’t want that.”

God’s word is filled with promises which reflect his character. Promises to never cease doing good to us. To never leave nor forsake us. To be with us in trials, to be near us and hear us. To protect and deliver us from evil. To sustain, provide for, counsel and guide us.

But life throws things at us that seem to contradict God’s word and character. We lose a job or a loved one. We feel incredibly weak and helpless. We can’t see any possible solution to our dilemma.

“God doesn’t love you,” Satan whispers. “A loving God wouldn’t do this to you.” “If he were good he could have prevented this.” “God doesn’t answer prayer. After all, how many times have you asked and he hasn’t come through?”

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A Few Truths…

We don’t have to be going through tough times for the enemy to attack God’s word and character.

After all, Eve was in paradise. Satan will tempt us when things are going great. Perhaps he’ll tell us to ignore one of God’s warnings or commands to flee evil.

The devil doesn’t announce himself with a bullhorn.

“Satan here, feeding you lies to destroy you!” No – he presents these thoughts as our own. They are the “fiery darts” we must put out with the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:1-23). If they aren’t directly from Satan, they arise from our own unbelief. Either way, these thoughts challenge God’s character.

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A Charge for You…

Will we believe Satan’s lies or God’s word?

Will we believe God’s promises or our own interpretation of things? Eve looked at the fruit, and it appeared to be good for wisdom. So she believed her senses instead of God’s word.

Cling to God’s promises, no matter what fiery darts the enemy shoots at you.

Believe God’s promises even if all creation seems to contradict it. Believe God’s word over your strongest feelings. Of course to believe God’s promises, you must regularly take them in, for “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17).

So what are you believing about God today?

Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have four sons and one daughter. Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.

Editor’s note: This article has been adapted from “Is God Holding out on You,” found here.

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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

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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

The Peace of God

Phil 4_7 beach

As Sisters and Brothers in Christ, I feel it is important to share our experiences with the Lord. This is my testimony.

Hearing the voice of God lead you and direct you is the most rewarding experience in life. It is greater than giving birth or anything else that is satisfying in your life. It elevates you and takes you to a place of peace that is greater than our understanding. You experience serenity and the reverence of God. I can’t even image the ‘peace’ we will experience in heaven. NKJV, Philippians 4:6,7 is clear and succinct.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Every believer has the ability through prayer to experience the peace that surpasses all understanding because at this point we have entered into God’s heavenly space.

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‭‭This peace exceeds anything we can understand, and when you find yourself there, your relationship with the Lord becomes so much more fulfilling. You long for the indescribable experience and desire to continually live in it. The indescribable peace guards our hearts and minds, we are in the presence of Jesus. The resistance you once felt to obey the Word falls away. Suddenly you no longer doubt, question, stray from, or desire the world as you did before. Having entered this space, I can say, the world no longer draws me as it did before. You see the war, the strategies the evil one uses to lure you into an immoral life has been exposed. You no longer want to conform to this world, your mind has been renewed and your sole purpose in life is to prove what is good and acceptable and perfect in the will of God. Your behavior changes. You no longer hold precious the things of the world. You simply long for our Lord and Savior and an ever-growing relationship with him. When you experience God’s peace, the scriptures make sense. They are no longer intellectual jargon, but become ‘The Truth’, without question or premise. The world becomes less inviting, it loses its hold on you. You enter into God’s will. It is more than good, it is perfect and pleasing to your being.

Romans_12-2 earth

This experience brings meaning to ‘humble yourselves’. According to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, Humble means to make low, to be abased; lowliness of mind. Abase, to bring to a humble condition. You are brought to a humble condition when you lavish in this peace. You can’t be anything else but humbled because you know your righteousness is Gods and not our own. Our salvation is bright and unyielding. It is clear we are filthy rags but loved none the less. Grace and mercy become living words and the peace becomes real.

Praise the Lord for this experience. He is my strength, my refuge, my rock, my Savior and my Heavenly Father.

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Scriptures-Biblegateway.com

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Change Your Filter, Hear His Voice

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My refrigerator has a water filter symbol that changes color to let me know it’s time to change the water filter. Its purpose is to remove toxins and purify our drinking water. As I ventured to the garage to get the replacement filter, God quipped, ‘filters work, write about how you can filter out the voice of the evil one and change in your life’6B8123ED-07EF-4863-A450-AD942066208C

This could be a figurative process, but my recommendation is to take out your calendars and place a weekly or monthly reminder to evaluate what happened throughout the week or month and how you approached it. It is easier to jot down the day’s events, highlights, good and bad, so at the end of the month, you have a plus/minus chart or checklist. A plus referring to Gods voice and minus to the evil ones’ voice. 1EFF2914-4406-4CC8-AA4D-F1ED7AFB8488

What are we looking for when evaluating the chart or checklist? 784A3D0E-B85D-493A-AB76-5CDA5C051C23We are looking for our level of dependency on the Lord and whether we heard his voice and instructions and acted accordingly. This is a process, but first, we must ask ourselves, do we know how to identify Gods voice because if we cannot, we cannot be obedient.

Filters have agents in them to filter our specific toxins. The Word are the agents. Our filter is the same, filtering out sin. We need to learn how to identify Gods voice and then filter out the activities of the evil ones’ impact on our lives. We must learn to avoid the wiles of evil one, known as sin. Sin is not just listed in the 10 Commandments but every one of the components of the Fruit of the Spirit. It’s our behavior and how we approach life’s situations. The toxins are the grunts of the evil one and our folly. To eradicate the toxins, we must learn to identify and listen to Gods voice.B25734C6-BAAE-4776-B03B-AB1DD6E8BAEB Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
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John 10:27 NIV

I read something that explains how sheep learn to recognize the shepherd’s voice. Lambs, baby sheep, are not born knowing the shepherd’s voice. They are conditioned to hear his voice. Initially, the lambs simply follow the flock wherever they go. Over time they become conditioned to move towards the sheepherder’s voice, they learn that his voice equates to feeding time. When sheep hear a new voice,  their conditioning begins again. “Even sheep that are introduced to a new flock will follow the other sheep until they too recognize the shepherd.” *

We must learn to differentiate between

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God’s voice, the evil one’s voice, and our own foolish folly. We must become familiar with the Word of God by reading the Bible, and studying the scriptures. Samuel, could not identify the Lords voice the first three times he called him, and Eli told him it was the Lord that had been calling him. He began to recognize the Lords voice over time. The same is true today, we must learn the Lords’s voice through trial and error until it becomes a norm.

In 1 Samuel 10:3,1-10, we see Samuel, a young bondservant of Eli’s, learning to identify God’s voice. The chapter is about Samuel’s conditioning. One night everyone was asleep, and Samuel thought he heard Eli calling. He went to him, and Eli was asleep. Samuel asked Eli, did you call master? Eli said, no. This happened two more times, each time Eli said, go back to sleep, I did not call you. The Lord called Samuel’s name a third time, again Eli told him to go back to bed, but before he left, Eli said, if He calls again, answer ‘Speak Lord, for Your servant hears.’

“Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”
1 Samuel 3:8-10, NIV

When God first spoke to Samuel he did not know His voice, he learned to recognize his voice just as the sheep learn to recognize the sheepherders’ voice. Samuel learned to recognize Gods’ voice, and we must learn to do the same.

Both the Old and New Testament informs us that our Lord wants to have a relationship with us and to do so, we must learn to hear His voice. This is not as easy as it sounds, it is a process. 31500D9A-5D1C-449C-85C2-C20490C1FACDAt times we hear the evil one mimicking the Lord’s voice nudging us to do or say something that is not consistent with the Word of God, and sometimes we follow the flock that does not belong to the Lord.

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So, the question becomes, how do we know it is Gods’ voice? We know his voice because God will never tell or suggest anything that is not consistent with His Word. This means that when you hear the quiet voice if it is not the Word of God, it is not His voice. If the voice says, call in sick and go with your friends (lying); take the change off the counter, no one will see you (stealing); look at your friends test and copy their answers (cheating); refusing to help a co-worker (lack of gentleness); lying (dishonesty); and gossiping (lack of self-control).* it is the evil one’s voice you are hearing. His commands or suggestions never impart the Fruit of the spirit 2Fruit of the Spirit or Gods’ laws. We have to learn to identify which voice we are hearing. It is not exactly black or white, there is a third voice, our own, which sends us down a pathway fit for fools.  You may ask, how do we avoid the pitfalls? The answer is, we learn His voice by reading the Bible, studying scriptures, researching commentaries, going to Bible Study and discussing the Word with others more mature in how to apply the Word of God in their lives. This is a lifelong process, but like Olympians, we may fall, stumble or fail, but we get back up and correct our weaknesses.

Changing our Filter

07579BE1-ACE8-4ED8-8686-730F7E87CF6AEach week or month, recap your experiences that you have written down. How often did you identify the quiet voice as the evil one, how often was it the folly of your own making, and how often was it the quiet voice of God. Applying this process provides you the tools to manage your behavior while eliminating negative behavior. This process is similar to the steps Harm Reduction uses  where you identify the attributes you want to maintain as those you want to eliminate.

As you are assessing whose voice you are hearing and following, you will begin to quickly acknowledge whose voice it is. If it’s the Lord, you will follow him, if it is another voice you will reject it and move on. And, as you read scriptures in the Bible, you will more readily begin to understand how the Word applies to our daily activities and become stronger Christian Warriors.

Changing the filter gives you the power to eliminate the toxins that make you ill, weak and subject to the wiles of the evil one. We learn to say and do what is right, not because people are watching, but because we are Gods’ children. We learn to be obedient and not act in a way that is comfortable to the flesh; as the Bible says, ‘not as men-pleasers but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from our heart’. (Eph 6:5,6)

The voice we follow directs our path. Our goal is to become active in the Word, act obediently, and ultimately become wholly dependent on the Word of God. As we regularly change our filter, we will find fewer toxins existing in our lives. God’s voice will be acknowledged earlier and we will become more dependent upon his love for us. Our relationship blossoms and we become radical Christian Warriors.

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Note, I mentioned in yesterdays Post that God often speaks to us three times to get our attention, this is another case of speaking three times before Samuel identifies his Voice and acknowledges the Lord.

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Scriptures-Bible.com; Bible Studytools.com

* Learning to Recognize the Shepherd’s Voice. Carol Pipes. ww.christianitytoday.com. 2/21/2018

See my Post, From Punishment to Correction and Healing for more about the Fruit of the Spirit.

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