25. Does the Bible suggest that someone who is sick or desperate can hear the Shepherd’s voice more clearly? I am reminded of this type of thinking from the monks in the monasteries as they would whip themselves with the intention of bringing their flesh under submission. The idea was that through the pain of physical suffering, the mind and will could be humbled and this in turn could bring an individual into a deeper spiritual sensitivity. I am not condoning self-mutilation but the concept of suffering and sacrifice can definitely create a serious focus on what is important. It could be argued that those who have been afflicted and have walked through grief, sorrow and pain within the valley of death know more about the divine reality of spiritual awareness than those who have not been there. Within the times of isolation and quiet we can more clearly meditate about God and listen to his voice but the sad truth is that we seldom take the time. Unfortunately, it does seem that people become more SERIOUS about touching the face of God when their life is falling apart than when things are wonderful. Why? Because when things are going great we are caught up in the moment of enjoyment and happiness.

We know the apostle Paul had some type of problem and asked for it to be removed but we cannot confirm what it was or what happened about it. Some believe this hindrance was for his “benefit” so that he could stay humble and focused on his mission and not drift away through pride and the carnal temptations of the flesh. Since God can use whatever means necessary to accomplish His will and produce results why should we not accept this line of thought? I do not like to agree along these lines that God would bring affliction in order to discipline us but I also want to stay open to the truth of His sovereignty. Another view on this event is that God was trying to explain that His grace was available to be “activated” through an individual’s faith and the authority and power in the name of Jesus would be sufficient to take care of the problem. Whatever the case, hopefully none of us will ever become so rebellious or distracted that God would need to bring a plague upon us just to communicate with us. What do you think? Do you feel that God loves us so much that He would intervene into our life and intentionally bring suffering so that He can get our attention? God knows exactly what would cause us to lay down our self-independence and become more dependent on Him – right? Becoming physically helpless has a way of getting God’s point across. The common response is that it would be better to save our spirit and lose our body than the other way around and I must admit I do agree. I personally believe the perfect life would be to live for God completely and be a recipient of all of His covenant blessings (including a long healthy life) but as we have said before, the Lord can see the entire spectrum of not only our life but how we cross-over into other people’s lives while we are only able to see one day at a time. Within our mortal limitation we cannot understand all that He does or why – we just need to have faith in Him. In this light, the strongest pillar of our foundation is to trust and obey and know within our soul that He always wants the best for us.

26. In the Beatitudes, Jesus say’s in Mathew chapter 5 and verse 3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” Why would God use the word “poor” and what does this really mean? I do NOT believe this is in the context of materialism or worldly riches. I believe Christ is referring to spiritual realities that are crucially important for all of us to learn in order to walk intimately with Him. Being “poor in spirit” is not something that many people are aware of and those that have thought about it – quickly forget. We are poor because we have nothing to give (God or the world) except the love within our heart and even that has been placed there by God’s mercy. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God thou wilt not despise.” (Psalm 51:17) Being poor in spirit is admitting that, because of our sin, we are completely destitute spiritually and can do nothing to deliver ourselves from our hopelessness. Jesus is saying that, no matter your status in life, you must recognize your spiritual poverty before you can come to God in faith to not only receive the salvation He offers but in order to walk with Him in the fullness of His anointing. We must admit we are desperate for His grace and help in all that we do and all that we are. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). When Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” He is declaring that, before we can enter God’s kingdom, we must become aware of the utter worthlessness of our own righteousness and the inability of our own power to do anything.

I am honored to have a weekly nursing home ministry along with singing and preaching at a cancer hope center on a regular basis. I am familiar with fear and anxiety and I have looked into the eyes of helplessness, weakness and frailty. I am learning firsthand what it means to not have the power or ability to change a circumstance or to bring deliverance. I KNOW who has the power and I pray for the sick and the afflicted but being poor in spirit realizes that God is the ONLY one that can change a situation! In the cancer center, I have never witnessed a more intense, hungry audience that wants to hear EVERY WORD anyone speaks about hope and healing. I cannot hold back the tears when I read God’s promises and sing the great songs of peace and hope. When a person is literally clinging to the bare threads of life, believe me they are attentive to any sliver of hope and encouragement. This sounds strange, but when I speak, I can “feel” the words being pulled out of me and I know that God’s message is being absorbed like a sponge. These warriors hug me and cry the tears of joy when I leave and I know that God has touched them with His compassion and love. Oh if we could live in this level of tenderness and awareness of His presence. This would be living and breathing within the Kingdom of heaven and walking with the King of Kings. I have always heard the beatitudes could be nicknamed, “be in this kind of attitude” and I can see this more clearly than ever before.
Through many years of singing and teaching in the church environment I have discovered that when people are healthy and blessed they have a tendency to be sluggish and lukewarm. However, when a crisis arises, it is common for people to cry out for God to immediately fix what is broken so they can continue their way of living. I was raised in a religious tradition that provided salvation messages every service (which is fine) but some pastors do not seem concerned about discussing how to live once a person gives their life to Christ. Just explaining Bible events as a history lesson alone does not necessarily impart revelation that can inspire us to demonstrate God’s will. This lack of practical spiritual education gives the impression that Christianity is just about obtaining a golden ticket for a front seat on the bus to heaven and that everything else will all work out somehow. I have studied about the blood covenant of Jesus for over 30 years and it amazes me how ordained ministers can shrug their shoulders and say they do not really know God’s will along with an attitude of whatever happens – happens. If God’s general will is closely associated with His general Word, (and it is) then our prayers of healing and deliverance are in agreement with what He has already promised. (That is worth reading again). If Christ did not intend for US to continue His ministry He would NOT have recorded His examples and demonstrations of miracle power. I thought the life of Jesus was to show us how to replicate His works and continue where He left off and that the Holy Spirit was sent to lead and guide us into these divine appointments! I thought “If we asked for a fish would He give us a stone” was not just a clever saying but a revelation of divine wisdom to encourage our faith so that we might believe and ACT on His Word! Amen!

Is there not such a thing as power and authority in His Name? YES. But the when’s and the when not’s are always the mystery question. We react when God reveals (I like that). Does it always turn out the way we think? No. When it comes to our specific blueprint, our individual unique destiny is conditional upon our obedience which clearly explains much of the failures and disappointments we face. God does all that He can with what we offer Him and yes there will be situations that will leave us speechless, but I also understand that it is much easier to blame and use the excuse that it is God’s “will” than to stand courageous in faith and believe who He is and who we are IN HIM. It is time to face our responsibilities and realize the serious consequences of being lazy. Imagine the opportunities we are missing and the souls that need to hear the life changing power of the gospel. Of course there is good news! There are still pastors that are preaching the divine truth of God and there are still committed followers of Jesus Christ that live in the reverential fear of God! Yes, there is a movement to destroy right and wrong and to eliminate spiritual absolutes but we will NOT allow the lies of the devil to stop us from proclaiming God’s miracle power! Jesus is moving NOW! His Word is setting people free and nothing is impossible with Him! He has never changed His thoughts and desires about healing or being blessed – He is still the same as He always has been! I’ll even amen that! There is VICTORY in Jesus and ABUNDANT LIFE but in order to WALK in This level of spiritual awareness it will take a very serious minded student and disciple of Christ! His mysteries are being revealed to His remnant and they are being used in this last hour to glorify His Name.

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