ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: THE PSALM 23 ADVENTURE, Part 3
July 1, 2016
Are you beginning to grasp where we are going with this discussion? Are you beginning to see what change and what destiny God has for you, personally?
We are not just having this discussion as a generic thing for the body of Christ as a whole, but rather for each of individually. There are many “Christians” (and I use this term carefully) hear or read the Word almost in a theoretical sense – NOT as something that applies to them or their lives TODAY. Thus, their lives are a far cry from what Jesus has paid for on their behalf.
They don’t see the complete cancellation of the curse that came upon the world and upon mankind in general. They don’t see what Paul declared when he put it like this in writing to the Romans:
Romans 8:2: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
One of the tragedies of "modern" Christianity (as opposed to Biblical and First-Century Christianity) is that religion has wiped out much of the significance of Jesus' Lordship in the life of the believer. For a person raised and/or taught in many modern churches, salvation is simply taking care of one's fire insurance. In fact, the Lordship of Jesus Christ extends to every area of our lives.
If Jesus is Lord and Shepherd indeed, then His Lordship and accompanying authority is also Lord over our health and welfare. And yet, there are far too many "believers" for whom the concept of walking in perfect health is a fantasy. Healing is almost accidental. More Christians rely on the medical profession than they do on the authority of Jesus Christ (and their personal right to appropriate that authority) over sickness and disease.
I'll get into this in the next step of this series, but the overwhelming majority of Christians still believe that it is somehow holy and righteous to live austere, poverty-stricken, or at the very least, minimalist lives. That contrasts sharply to every single individual we see throughout history who partook of the Abrahamic Covenant.
They were far and away among -- if not THE -- richest people on the face of the earth. This kind of poverty thinking strikes at the very heart of the price Jesus paid on the Cross so that we could access and be party to the Abrahamic Covenant by faith.
It also contradicts the Word where Jesus said (See Luke 4:18),
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.”
Good news to the poor is hardly the news that they are going to have to continue living that way.
What has happened is that the Devil has successfully gotten Christians to pick a couple of scriptures out of context and buy the lie that Jesus was poor, that His disciples were poor, and that Christians should not expect to live prosperously in a material sense.
The Spirit of Religion likes to refer to this as “The Prosperity Gospel,” and phrase it in the most negative sense. Are there ministers who — because they are ruled by the Spirit of Poverty — try to preach and profit personally from the Scriptures without any real understanding of the promises of God?
The answer to that is, “Obviously!” And there’s the tragedy!
Prosperity has been relegated to "prospering in our spirits." Let me give you a couple of choice examples.
Matthew 5:3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of God.”
This gets read as, “Blessed are the poor,” and the rest of the statement gets left off. In fact, the word “poor,” as it is used here has an entirely different context. This is a reference to “those who are lifted up in their own selves.”
Matthew 8:20: “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.”
What folks miss is the fact that Jesus was traveling when He made this statement. He was not at home, and there were no hotels or motels for Him to stay in. There were no Best Western hotels or Hiltons or Comfort Inns anywhere. Thus He stayed in whatever home or homes were opened to him. Jesus did have a home of His own, incidentally. He was not poverty-stricken. (See John 1:39)
What a farce! What a fraud! What a lie! It leaves God's people never having the kind of surplus needed to support the growth and advancement of the Kingdom of God. It leaves them without the ability to show generosity in giving and shouldering the responsibility to "care for the widows" and minister to the poor. It deprives them of the ability to demonstrate the love of the Lord in a tangible, material way that meets people's needs.
This lying doctrine has been perhaps the biggest reason why we've turned to the government to take over responsibilities that belong to God's people. Christians have been cheated out of the joy of giving from their abundance.
Judas was a prime example of this kind of thinking. Remember when Mary took a pound of spikenard (See John 12:1-7) to anoint Jesus feet? By today's monetary system, her gift represented many hundreds of dollars in value. Judas groused about it, and his gripe is one we often hear among poverty-thinking Christians today, "Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?"
But, as John writes, "This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein."
Got the picture? So you can understand the significance of what Mary did, a Roman penny represented the equal to a day's wages back then, and would value at $3.64 in today's money. Thus 300 pence was a good year's wages back then -- $1,092.00 in today’s reckoning. And Mary took that to anoint Jesus' feet! It was a spectacular gift of love on Mary's part.
And we know how Jesus responded to Judas' penny ante thinking, "Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always."
There is, perhaps, no greater demonstration of the approval and the manifestation of the covenant -- the New Covenant (or Testament) -- that we have in the Lord than that which becomes available once we have entered into it by faith in and through Jesus Christ. This is the Abrahamic Covenant, but this is that covenant now extended to "whosoever will."
Let's not forget that everything we have and receive in this covenant begins with our speaking agreement with what God promises and declaring our possession of that covenant by faith! That is mandatory.
One of the things Bill Winston said at a Believers’ Convention we attended -- and this applies not only to life generally but specifically to our covenant walk -- is this: No one can, or will ever, rise to a level beyond their confession.
Let me say this once again.
NO ONE CAN, OR WILL EVER, RISE TO A LEVEL BEYOND THEIR CONFESSION!!!
We cannot have the Lordship and Shepherding of Jesus Christ without our confession of that; and furthermore, that confession must be a faith confession -- not just empty rhetoric. The same is true of everything that follows that place of commitment.
"I shall not want" is not just a place of theoretical or spiritual happiness: it is the absolute provision of everything incorporated into the Abrahamic Covenant, and made accessible to us as believers in Christ Jesus by virtue of His death on the Cross and subsequent resurrection.
It is the promise of health, strength, long life, favor in relationships, favor and blessing in family, the practical dimension of walking free of demonic control in our lives, having dominion in every aspect of life, prospering in our walk with God, prospering in our relationships, prospering financially, prospering in business -- in fact, living the life that exemplifies the blessing of God in every single area of our lives.
Let's back up for a moment to the picture of the Garden of Eden.
Genesis 1:26 tells us that we were made in the image and likeness of God, imbued with His characteristics, His power and His authority. We were "like God."
Now don't go running off and telling folks that Regner Capener is preaching some kind of heresy. We were created to be like God in every respect. We just weren't created to replace Him or take His place. Mankind is NOT the Creator: he can, therefore, NEVER supplant the Creator. OK? Still with me?
The Earth and all that is therein was created specifically for man. When Adam and Eve were first created, God placed them in the Garden of Eden (I'll come back to this in our next discussion). What is the very first thing heard by human ears?
"And God blessed them..." Got it? They heard blessing -- NOT curse. That word, "blessed," has a core meaning which literally translates to "empowered to prosper." When they heard that blessing, it created within them exactly what God intended to create: the ability to create with their words.
Let me repeat myself! We said that the Earth and all that is therein was created specifically for man. When Adam and Eve were first created, God placed them in the Garden of Eden (and we will come back to this). What is the very first thing human ears hear?
"And God blessed them..." Got it? They heard blessing -- NOT curse. That word, "blessed," has a core meaning which literally translates to "empowered to prosper."
If you are among those who get your Hebrew translations or definitions from Strong's Concordance, this is one place where Strong's Concordance really oversimplifies. Dr. William Gesenius, in his Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, uses nearly four pages to describe this word in all of its applications; but first and foremost, he says that the word, Cøa baòrak, means "to invoke God." Hence, everything that God is -- His power, His authority, the creative and active force of His Word going forth, His love, etc. -- is employed when "blessing" goes forth.
Thus, when God "blessed them" (Adam and Eve), He invoked His blessing, His empowerment to prosper, His divine favor, His empowerment to abound in every good work, His empowerment to multiply.
Are you seeing the picture? Good! Then you'll understand why the Hebrew word for "Eden" ïãòÈ -aòdan, literally means "voluptuous living with great pleasure and delight; to live sumptuously."
Now! Do you see any lack there? Do you see Adam and Eve having any want of any kind? One cannot even imagine in their wildest fancies the spectacular provision Adam and Eve enjoyed.
I don't really want to go there today because it would sidetrack this discussion, but several years ago, the Lord took me in the Spirit and transported me back through time into the Garden of Eden to see Adam and Eve, how they lived, and the pristine beauty of Eden. We simply have nothing like it in the world today.
OK: a few descriptions. There was no death, no decay, no deterioration of any kind. The colors were brilliant and pure. Leaves were green -- and I mean GREEN. There was no brownish tinge -- the tinge of decay or death. Flowers were nothing less than gorgeous. We think our flowers today are beautiful -- and they are -- but they pale into nothingness by comparison to what Adam and Eve saw. The sense of peace was almost unbelievable. No cacophonous noises filled the air. Birds chirped and sang harmoniously instead of in a minor mode. Everywhere you looked, things were lush and full. The Garden -- under Adam and Eve's care -- was breathtakingly stunning in its beauty and symmetry.
Having lived in the arctic for much of my life – particularly during a time when the atmosphere was not polluted and the skies were contaminated in such a way as to alter their color – we experienced blue skies unlike that which most people accept as the norm today. When I was in the Garden, what I saw for the blue color of the skies was a depth of blue that modern humanity has no concept of. Anyway, 'nuff of that. That was the beginning of the existence of mankind.
Got to stop for today. More next week.
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call normally takes place on the first Monday of each month at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Monday, July 11, will be this month's Prayer Call because of the Independence Day 4th Celebration this Monday. Our call-in number is (712) 775-7035. The Access Code is: 323859#. For Canadians who have difficulty getting in to this number, you can call (559) 546-1400. If someone answers and asks what your original call-in number was, you can give them the 712 number and access code.
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (605) 562-3140, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you miss the live call, you can dial (605) 562-3149, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Blessings on you!
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