A Culture of Honor
Since our goal is to be more like Christ, then we must wonder why we fall into the trap of negativity with our words and actions. It’s because there is no active Culture of Honor in place. Releasing honor must be a core value in how a person lives and interacts with others.
Our first duty is to give honor to God so this is and always will be a house that brings honor to the name above every name, Jesus! We want the people of GAP to be those who honor God first and also consistently look for ways to honor other people. Developing this culture must become intentional. We need to honor each other and always build each other up in private and public, looking for ways to bless each other and support each other in life and ministry.
Biblical Background for a Culture Of Honor
Even if your judgment of another person is accurate, if your words, tones, or body language expose their faults by focusing on their weaknesses, then you have stepped outside of the core value of walking in a culture of honor and grace. Love covers other people’s faults, does not complain about them, and does not seek to expose.
Proverbs 17:9 He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends.
1 Peter 4:8-9 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
THE GREAT COMMISSION
Matthew 28:16–20 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
If I knew my time to go to Heaven was near, what would I want to say to those whom I loved? What challenge to see clearly the responsibility of life? What encouragement to stimulate them?
Biblical Perspective on Immigrants
One of the major issues in the recent Presidential election was immigration. What does the Bible have to say about it? How would Jesus vote regarding immigration?
Last year the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 was discussed in the 110th United States Congress. The bill would have provided legal status and a path to legal citizenship for the approximately 12 million illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States. The bill was portrayed as a compromise between legalization of illegal immigrants and increased border enforcement: it included funding for 300 miles of vehicle barriers, 105 camera and radar towers, and 20,000 more Border Patrol agents, while simultaneously restructuring visa criteria around highly skilled workers. The bill received heated criticism from all sides in the debate, and was never approved as it died through a series of votes on amendments.
One critic of the immigration reform bill said that American taxpayers would be saddled with a huge bill to pay for the social services needed by the illegal immigrants. They would receive $2.5 trillion more in social service benefits than they would pay through taxes.
Regardless of one’s view, this is a divisive issue. What would Jesus say about it? One person wore a T-shirt that asked the question this way: Who would Jesus deport? The Bible has something to say on the issue. The words “immigration” or “immigrant” do not appear in the Bible but that does not mean the issue is not found there. The NT uses three different terms to describe immigrants: “foreigner,” pilgrim” and “stranger.”
The word “foreigner,” comes from the Greek word par-oikos. It literally means to have a home (oikos) near or beside (para). It corresponds to our concept of resident alien. Abraham’s descendants were resident aliens in Egypt. Acts 7:6 (NRSV) says, “And God spoke in these terms, that his descendants would be resident aliens in a country belonging to others…”
40 KEYS TO OPEN THE GATES FOR BREAKTHROUGH (12)
*A military movement or advance through &beyond an enemy’s front line defense; the removal or surpassing of obstruction or restriction; the end of stalemate; any significant or sudden advance, development, achievement or increase that removes a limiting factor to progress. Anointing lifts the burden, breaks and destroys the yoke. (Isa. 10:27)
Mic. 2:12-13 12 “I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together like sheep of the fold, Like a flock in the midst of their pasture; they shall make a loud noise because of so many people. 13 The one who breaks open will come up before them; they will break out, pass through the gate, and go out by it; their king will pass before them, with the Lord at their head.”
Jesus goes first, rends the veil – every obstacle to the presence of God – and the church breaks out, breaks through the gate with the King of glory as their head. He removed every obstacle to the favor of God under the Breakthrough Anointing:
Acts 10:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed;
His work rendered the gates of hell powerless to stop or hold back His people. Hell & death could not hold Him (Acts 2:24, 31) and thereafter could no longer hold His people in bondage (Heb. 2:14-15). Just as He had led His people, Israel, out of the power that held them from their destiny, so He breaks through every obstacle to the outworking of His will and His promise over the church. Indeed, one of the names attributed to the Lord is Master of Breakthroughs:
2 Sam. 5:20 So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim.
This name, Master of Breakthroughs, is the “Breaker” of Mic. 2:13. The name comes from “paw-rats” or “Perez,” the twin son of Judah from whom came the line of David and of Christ. This word is rendered as break: out, up, through, into, down, over, out of, open, and in pieces. This is the anointing that breaks the yoke.
This is what the Lord has been preparing His people for. He has been quickening and the time has come for the release of the Breaker Anointing. The Lord is breaking through and His people are following. It is time:
Eccl. 3:3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
The church has been in preparation for such a time as this. It is time to experience the breakthrough, breaking in, breaking out, breaking up, breaking open, and breaking in pieces the gates of our cities and towns. Jesus said, “I open and no one can shut.”
Isa. 54:1-3 1 “Sing, O barren, you who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman,” says the Lord. 2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. 3 For you shall expand (Hebrew: break out) to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited.
God is quickening the Breaker Anointing so His people will take back the land. It is time. “The One who breaks open” will go before you but you will have to break out under the anointing and pass through the gates. David call upon the Master of Breakthroughs in 2 Sam. (same account is in 1Chronicles and adds another feature to the understanding):
1 Chr. 14:11 So they went up to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there. Then David said, “God has broken through my enemies by my hand like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore they called the name of that place Baal Perazim.
(Isa. 59:19c When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.)
The Lord breaks through the enemy but David’s own hand defeats them. He will break open but you will break through. He will go before you but your hand will defeat them.
Zech. 4:6c …‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.
Isa. 11:2 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him (the Head and the body), The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
Here is the Breakthrough Anointing, the spirit of might. In this third day, even as the spirit of antichrist invades and takes control of the gates of our cities, the Spirit of Christ will rise up in His people, bring them into great intimacy in worship and send them out in the spirit of might to penetrate the darkness.
Dan. 11:32 Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.
No power of hell will be able to withstand the pressure of this kingdom of everlasting advance. (Isa 9:7)
Matt. 16:18-19 18And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
As He breaks open, you will go through and your hand will defeat them by the spirit of might.
Isa. 45:1-3 1 “Thus says the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held— to subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings, to open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut: 2 ‘I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron. 3 I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel.
This Breaker Anointing was for Cyrus, a pagan! How much more for His body! How much more will He break open the gates and treasuries of darkness and divide the spoil with the strong? (Isa 53:12b) If while we were enemies…then how much more now that we are sons?
Isa. 45:11 Thus says the Lord, The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: “Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons; and concerning the work of My hands, you command me.
Breakthrough Anointing is a catalytic dispensation of Holy Spirit to break through the gates, breaking down every obstacle and hindrance to the furtherance of the kingdom of God. It shakes lose everything holding back the people of God from entering their destiny and inheritance. It is a time of the strong advancement of the purposes of God as His kingdom does come and His will is done here on earth as it is in heaven.
It is time to ask and receive, time to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Eph 6:10) It is time. Even from the days of John the Baptist until now it has been the last days. Jesus said…
Matt. 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
How do you take it by force? Like David, you give yourself to the Breaker and His anointing and then your hands bring the victory that has already been secured because “The One who breaks open will come up before them: they will break out, pass through the gate, and go out by it; their King will pass before them, with the Lord at their head.
You make declaration of the word of God over the territory, over the spirits, and over the issues and it carries the Breakthrough Anointing. The Lord said,
Jer. 23:29 “Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?
Declare the Word of the Lord!
40 KEYS TO OPEN THE GATES FOR BREAKTHROUGH (11)
GATEWAY TO VICTORY
KEY VERSE: But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. —I Corinthians 15:57 (NKJV)
Key #36: For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.— 1 John 5:4 (NASB)
Victory over the World
The age we live in is under the influence of darkness. It bombards us daily. Society challenges us, financial pressures surround us and interactions with a lost humanity try to pull us down. I cannot understand how anyone can try to fight this in his own strength! We have but one call: to live by faith. As long as we are in the body, we must put our faith in Christ who has overcome the world for us.
Our faith in God to show up in the areas of life that confront us is our strongest front. Simply believing the promises of His Word, holding them higher in our hearts than the circumstances that are pressing against us, and resting in that, brings victory. The Bible shows us that we are aliens of this world-age, and our true citizenship is in heaven. The Bible also tells us to ‘”love not” this world-age and to live by faith with our eyes focused upon Him.
I’m sure you’ve heard “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Without faith, brothers and sisters, it is impossible to overcome this world. We inherit a kingdom that is not of flesh and blood, but a kingdom which cannot be shaken—a kingdom where victorious living is possible in this world to those who would live it by faith. Our faith changes things, and that’s real breakthrough!
Confession: I am an overcomer. My faith overcomes the world.
Prayer: Father God, may I meet the challenges of life by faith in Christ’s accomplished work. In Jesus’ Name I ask, Amen.
Journaling Question: Do I live life by faith? What does this mean to me?
Resources: Book: Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs, Bruce Wilkinson
Key #37: For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.—Romans 8:6 (NASB)
Victory over the Flesh
Everyone struggles with the flesh. There is but one answer; kill it. This is the first key to unlocking this breakthrough. I’m not talking about a literal physical death, but there is an attitude that we must adopt in our hearts, as Paul says, “I die daily.” We daily find those desires that are contrary to God’s Word and will in us, and bring them to the cross of Christ and leave them there. We walk as new creations in Christ Jesus.
The problem is the flesh doesn’t want to die, but rather its will is to do anything it can to live. It will try to act religious, try to tell us it can change and try to linger as long as it can. Don’t be fooled. We must live by the spirit and not by the flesh. They cannot co-exist in harmony.
Where we set our minds is the second key to this breakthrough: we must sow to the spirit. We must do something with God’s Word and communion prayer to sow into our recreated human spirit. We can’t be sowing to the flesh and the spirit at the same time. This is what we call a miserable Christian! Victory over the flesh is available to us daily, but we have to make the correct daily choices, using the spiritual keys God’s Word has given us in order to walk in the victory He intended for us to have. Try fasting—the flesh hates it!
Confession: I set my mind on the Spirit and chose life.
Prayer: Father God, guide me daily by Your Spirit on how to sow to the spirit and not to the flesh. In Jesus’ Name I ask, Amen.
Journaling Question: Where in my life do I continually sow to the flesh?
Resources: Books: Victory Over Temptation, Bruce Wilkinson; The Three Battlegrounds, Francis Frangipane
Key #38: When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. —Colossians 2:15 (NASB)
Victory over the Devil
The Biblical truth is that Jesus has already defeated the devil at the cross of Calvary, and left him an eternal “cripple” (Hebrews 2:14, 15). We start with this fact. Scripture also shows us that Satan is the god of this age, and since our physical bodies are in this realm, there is warfare against the Church. The good news is that it is a spiritual warfare where we have spiritual defensive and offensive weapons in Christ that are superior to that of the dominion of darkness. We enforce Jesus’ victory at the cross. An example would be Berlin in WWII by the end of the war. The Nazis were fighting a losing battle, whereas the Allied Forces were fighting a winning battle. Yet, it was a battle! The Christian has the winning battle, and the dominion of darkness has the losing battle. This is good news!
All the devil has to offer the Christian is lies and deception. Paul tells us we should not be ignorant of his schemes. We have the weapons of the Word of God, the Blood of Jesus, and the use of the Name of Jesus. These are complete weapons. They work! Christians lose in spiritual warfare when they are ignorant of them, lose patience, live in the flesh, act in double-mindedness, and live married to the world. No believer should ever lose in spiritual warfare.
The breakthrough in this area is holiness. Holy living and holy pursuits greatly empower the believer. Coupled with avoiding the reasons why Christians lose (in the above paragraph), these components ensure victorious living. If the individual believer and the Church corporately get it together in this area, we’d probably win the whole nation to Christ! Unfortunately, not all choose life. It does come down to daily choices. What will your choice be?
Confession: Jesus has set me free. The devil is defeated in my life.
Prayer: Father God, may the eyes of my heart be enlightened to comprehend the victory I have in Christ over the dominion of darkness, and may I live accordingly in holiness, never taking this for granted. In Jesus’ Name I ask, Amen.
Journaling Question: Am I fighting the good fight of faith? Do I lack in personal holiness? Do I understand the danger of being married to the world? Where am I in love with this world-age?
Resources: Books: Know Your Enemy, Novel Hayes; Victory Over Darkness, Neil Anderson
Key #39: For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.—Romans 10:10 (KJV)
The Victory of our Confession
Confession means saying the same as. We possess what we confess. Christians need to get this. What we speak out of our mouths will affect our lives for the good or for the bad. The day to day victory we can live in as believers is directly related to what comes out of our mouths. When the Word of God is the profession and confession of our lips, we are putting the truth of God’s promises in motion coupled with our faith. Faith has a voice and must speak, and the voice of faith is the confession of our victory found in Christ.
Too often Christians mix their words. They’ll speak the Word of God, but they mix their conversations with complaining, murmuring, gossip, words of fear, adverse circumstances, and doubt. Scripture clearly shows us a double-minded man receives nothing. Double-minded conversational confessions go nowhere and produce no victorious living.
People need a breakthrough in this area. It is a decision and a daily choice to correct our speech, and begin to get our conversations to line up with the confession of God’s Word. There is no “Plan B”. Either you do or you don’t. Victory is available to all, yet not all grasp the seriousness of this. I hope we all get a breakthrough in this area of life. Faith first, and second speaking in faith from our lips the truths of God’s Word, the victory Christ has won for us. There is victory in our confession!
Confession: I confess the victory of the Cross in my life and I shall eat the fruit thereof. Not one of my God’s promises shall fail me; they are yes and Amen to me!
Prayer: Father God, help me to see the importance of my conversation lining up with the truth of Your Word. In Jesus’ Name I ask, Amen.
Journaling Question: What comes out of my mouth? Do I speak the belief I have in God’s promises, or do I speak the problem? Does my confession and conversation please the Master?
Resources: Books: Faith and Confession, Charles Capps; The Tongue A Creative Force, Charles Capps
Key #40: But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.—1 Corinthians 15:57 (NASB)
Victorious living is the normal Christian life. The average Christian life in America is far from this, but we are not called to the average Christian life; we are called to the normal Christian life where the victory of the Cross reigns in our lives. It should be normal to live victoriously. It should be normal to have triumph over the world, the flesh, and the devil. It is normal to live in the Spirit.
Living in Christ’s victory, living a spirit-controlled life is a series of daily choices. Choices to submit to God, to put the flesh under the control of the spirit, to resist the devil, and to listen to guidance of the Spirit of God. Daily choices to guard our hearts, guard the ear and eye gates entrances to our hearts, and to hide His Word in us, so that we might not sin against Him. Letting the victory of the Cross triumph in us should be as easy as breathing.
This spiritual breathing becomes difficult and labored when we do not yield to the Spirit of God and sow to the flesh. I’m sure many need a breakthrough in their walk with God. I encourage you to let Christ reign in your life and cease being lord over your own life. To the degree we will yield to Him and rest in His accomplished work, will be the degree to which we will experience victorious living. A major key in all of this is being a thankful people. A thankful people live in victory!
Confession: I live in Christ’s victory.
Prayer: Father God, it is with thanksgiving in my heart that the victory I live in has come through Christ’s accomplished work. May my heart and lips remain thankful all my days. In Jesus’ Name I ask, Amen.
Journaling Question: Am I living in constant thanksgiving for God’s goodness?
Resources: Books: Full Life In Christ, Andrew Murray; Spirit-Controlled Life, Bob Yandian
40 KEYS TO OPEN THE GATES FOR BREAKTHROUGH (10)
GATEWAY TO RELATIONSHIPS (Part two)
KEY VERSE: No floods can ever quench this love, no rivers drown it. If a man offered all he has for love, he would be laughed aside. —Song of Solomon 8:7 (Moffatt)
Key #32: Behold, how rare it is, how lovely, the fellowship of those who meet together. For in the fellowship has the Eternal fixed the blessing of an endless life. Psalm 133:1, 3b—(Moffatt Translation)
Relationships with the Brethren
God’s Word calls us to be different and reflect the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives. Jesus prayed for His disciples in John 17:21 that they might all be one so that the world might know and believe that the Father has sent them. Unity is the ingredient for breakthrough and is a quality that reflects the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. A true charismatic quality is love and hospitality. These are sowing and reaping qualities that will build unity among the brethren and in our witnessing to the lost! In Acts 2, unity brought house-shaking results that changed a people and eventually changed the world. What wonderful power is released in unity!
Rainer Maria Rilke wrote: “Once the realization is accepted that in between the closest human beings infinite distance must continue to exist, a wonderful being side by side CAN GROW UP!” Unity among the brethren is a love relationship that will truly open growth both individually and corporately. What we need is to be shaken and poured out.
Exercise: Schedule a specific place, date and time within the next month with another individual or couple from church that you know, but have not become personal with.
Prayer: Father, touch the hearts of Your people by Your Spirit and increase the love we have for one another through the unity of Your church. May we be one in both word and in action so that the world may be jealous for You!
Memory Verse: Become useful and helpful to one another..—Ephesians 4:32 (The Amplified Bible)
Resources: Book: Jesus Wants All of Me: Sharing God’s Love, Phil Smouse
Key #33: A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. —Mark 1:40-42 (NIV)
Relationships with the Unsaved
The ministry of Jesus was marked by touching what ultimately brought breakthrough to a man that had lost all hope of a cure. Jesus’ first command to us was to “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to all men” (Mark 16:15). Isn’t that exactly what He demonstrated in His earthly ministry? He came to seek and save those ordinary people. Some of them you might not want to touch! But His purpose and plan was to set the captives free, rescue and deliver them. That’s getting personal—out of our comfort zone. That’s breakthrough.
There’s something different about Jesus. His life was a demonstration of His relationship with the Father. Ours should be the same—being imitators of Christ! Many of the miracles we saw our Lord perform were done out of compassion. We must exemplify that same compassion if we are going to be witnesses to the unsaved. We want the unsaved to be jealous of what we have been given! The apostle Paul declared in I Corinthians 9:22 “…I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some!”
The message of Christ can and should be related to our world in a way that they can relate to in today’s life. Breakthrough comes when we allow the Holy Spirit to use our lives to produce the simplicity of the Gospel to our friends, family, etc. Are you prepared to give to the lost that which you have found? Are you looking for opportunities to be a witness? Begin with prayer, and then be prepared to be used by God’s Spirit. Here am I, Lord—send me, use me!
Exercise: 1) Begin with prayer for an individual who is an unbeliever and look for a way to share Christ with them this week.
2) Always be on the lookout for ways to help your neighbor in practical ways and be ready to share the gospel with them.
Journal: Set goals on how you can become more aware of being a soul winner for Christ at work, home or school.
Memory Verse: Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15).
Resources: Books: Jesus Wants All of Me: Sharing God’s Love, Phil Smouse; How to Pray for Lost Loved Ones, Dutch Sheets
Key #34: This is My commandment, that you love one another, even as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his soul for his friends.—John 15:12-13 (Worrell Translation)
Relationships That Last
Jesus declares that there is no greater example of the love of God than that of a man laying down his life for his friend. Two elements of laying down our lives for others are being a servant and counting the cost.
Galatians 5:13 says, “through love we are to serve one another.” Christians serving one another is Christ-like character that brings breakthrough to any relationship, no matter how difficult. The saying “going the extra mile” is pertinent in any relationship.
Jesus took twelve disciples of different backgrounds, temperaments, job skills, etc. and taught them by example how to serve one another with a loving heart. Upon reading God’s Word, it seems that the twelve got along quite well with each other. But there was a price to be paid—time. Quality time must be invested to cause a relationship to last. It has no room for selfishness. We have heard from our pulpit that we are to invest our time, talents and treasures into God’s kingdom work. Giving of our time is a stretching exercise. It builds Christ-like character while exemplifying the fruit of the Spirit!
Romans 12:9-10 says, “Let love be without hypocrisy…Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” Verse 13 talks about “contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” Verse 16 states, “Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.”
Lasting relationships find their solutions built upon the principles of God’s Word. Henry Ford said, “Don’t find fault, find a remedy!” We should become people-builders and in doing so, we build relationships, and through relationships, we help to shape the world.
Exercise: Read I John, Chapter 4
Prayer: Father, help us to be good examples of who You are. Forgive us and help us to conduct ourselves in the world and especially with our relationships to others in holiness and sincerity that can only come from You!
Resources: Book: Jesus Wants All of Me: Forgiveness, Phil Smouse
Key #35: Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.—Galatians 6:10 (NKJV)
Relationships in Christ
In the above Scripture we see the importance of doing good in showing the love of Christ to all men. We endeavor to do good to those we have relationships with, and thus we should make the most of such opportunities. However, we see the Body of Christ is in a special category here in the above verse. Especially to the household of faith Paul tells us, that is, our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We have a special duty to the brethren. They are of like faith, and we share with them the same hope of glory. So as we treat the brethren, so then in turn do we treat Christ. We can’t separate Jesus from His Body. We can’t have relationship with Jesus and think we don’t need to maintain relationship with His Church—His people. The Scriptures show us that if we’re related to Christ, we are also related to His Church! It is the relationships in Christ that are the eternal relationships!
We are called to love everyone (agape in Greek, meaning unconditional love). We are not called to “like” everyone. (The liking part is a conditional love – phileo in Greek). We can love the brethren in a higher agape love, without the need for a friendship conditional phileo love. We need to be concerned about how we treat the brethren. I have come to realize because they are of like faith, they are my true “spiritual” family in Christ. It is a breakthrough to realize that the relationships we have in Christ are connected to the relationship we have with Jesus, and He is watching how we treat His family. We must hold them in high esteem, with respect and agape love.
Exercise: Take 30 minutes today—5 in worship (in English), 5 in prayer (in tongues), and 20 minutes—to meditate on the Scriptures of today’s study.
Confession: My heart is filled with the love of God for His Church.
Resources: Book: Six Keys to Lasting Friendships, Kent/Thorpe
GATEWAY TO RELATIONSHIPS (Part one)
Key #29: Yet I insist that among you also, each man is to love his own wife as much as he loves himself, and let a married woman see to it that she treats her husband with respect.—Ephesians 5:33 (Weymouth Translation)
The will of God in marital relationships is built upon an attitude of lifelong love. H. Norman Wright wrote that a marriage may be made in heaven, but the maintenance must be done on earth. Just as commitment and imagination will cause romance to grow in a healthy relationship, so marriage is a lifestyle based upon love, passion, and intimacy. It is what you make of it. Under God, it is the most important relationship in your life. Guard your marriage from all intruders! Never allow friends, family, work, or anything else to come between you and your spouse. Getting a breakthrough in your marriage begins with three important words…I LOVE YOU! Love and respect go hand in hand, along with considering each other first before others.
GATEWAY TO LOVE (Part two)
KEY VERSE: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. —1 John 4:7 (NKJV)
Love toward your city
There is a real maturation to breakthrough in our Christianity when we come to the realization that we should love our city (town, county, etc.). Few believers understand this. This type of love truly requires selfless devotion and vision through the loving eyes of God. God loves people—all people. He desires all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. He desires to see our city/town transformed into a public place of devotion to Him. He needs believers to hold this desire of His heart as a desire of their own hearts.
Learning to love our town is the first stop. Walk its streets, declare in the heavenlies that this town belongs to God and darkness is not welcome here. Declare that because you live here, salt is here. You are God’s covenant partner to be an avenue for life to come into your town. Yes, it depends on us caring and doing the works of faith. His eyes are looking to and fro for someone to stand in the gap and pray!
Prayer is the breakthrough your town needs. You are the prayer agent for the breakthrough your town needs. Be a change agent! Be one of the faithful ones God can trust to stand in the gap for your city.
Confession: I love [name your town] with the love of the Lord. I declare Jesus is Lord of [name your town].
Prayer: Father God, open my eyes to loving [name your town]. In Jesus’ Name I ask, Amen.
Journaling Question: Do I pray for my town? If not, what’s keeping me from doing so?
Resources: Books: Loving Your City into the Kingdom, Jack Hayford; Taking Our Cities for God, John Dawson
Key #27: I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word.—John 17:20 (NASB)
Love as your Mission
We are representatives of Christ. As the world came to believe on the Apostles’ words, so through the centuries it has come down to us now in our generation that the gospel goes forth on our words. Men will come to Christ through our words. Our mission is to lift Christ high, that all men would be drawn to Him. Our mission is to make disciples. Our mission is a mission of love. Our mission is to love first the church and then the world.
Do you view your mission in life as a lover? A lover of God and a lover of men’s souls? Love must be our mission. All that we do must be motivated by and through love. Doesn’t Paul show us that without the agape love of God we are nothing? Regardless of our role in the Kingdom, without love, we are nothing. God is not impressed by how much we know and by how highly others esteem us in their eyes. He is taking notice of our actions of love. He is blessed by seeing lovers show His nature of love.
When love is our mission in life, we are saints bringing breakthroughs to the lives of others. When love becomes our mission, we bring the living Christ to all who come in contact with us. Why? We shine the nature of the Father brightly: that God is agape love who has revealed Jesus, crucified, risen and coming again!
Confession: Love is my mission.
Prayer: Father God, may my mission of love be seen by all, as I live as a written epistle of Christ read by all men. In Jesus’ Name I ask, Amen.
Journaling Question: Is love my mission? How will I carry out this mission?
Resources: Book: New Kind of Love, E.W. Kenyon; Lord, Teach Me How to Love, Creflo Dollar
Key #28: But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.—1 John 3:17,18 (NASB)
Love in Action
Here’s a simple but profound thought: love in action means love with actions associated with it! The Apostle John clearly shows us that our love must have actions that show we love. God is results-oriented and is interested in the fruit we bear for Him. Real biblical love leaves fruit behind, an abiding fruit that brings change to people’s lives. And, real love will cost you.
If love is your mission, then love actions must follow. There will always be opportunities to show love in tangible ways that touch people’s lives. Don’t pray about it—do it! God is looking for lovers in deed and not word only. As the Holy Spirit leads us, we show the love of Christ in ways that show God is love. We are the flesh extension of Christ to this world, and our love actions will love people into the Kingdom of God.
Be a breakthrough lover! Our love actions are gospel breakthroughs to all we come in contact with. Yes, there is a cost to this. There is a cost in time, personal inconvenience, dollars and cents, and personal belongings. Consider, however, when we’re in heaven at the believer’s throne of judgment, judging the works that brought a cost into our lives, I’m sure no one will say “I knew I gave too much!” Rather when our eyes are opened in eternity we’ll say, “I knew I should have given more!”
Confession: I act in love to everyone I meet.
Prayer: Father God, may my mission of love have actions of love. Lead me by Your Spirit in my love walk. In Jesus’ Name I ask, Amen.
Journaling Question: What does love in action mean to me? Am I holding back love actions because I don’t want to pay a personal cost?
Resources: Book: Love: the Way to Victory, Kenneth Hagin
GATEWAY TO LOVE (Part one)
Key #22: And He said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the great and foremost commandment.—Matthew 22:37-38 (NASB)
Love toward God
Without exception, as Jesus points out to us, this is the greatest commandment! In fact, the entire first half of the Ten Commandments falls under this command. How do we love Father God with our whole heart, whole soul and whole mind? It is by Him owning us in Christ, and by us not claiming ownership of ourselves. It is seen by our actions and not by our lips only.
If He owns me, that is, if I have been bought out of the bondage of sin, paid by the highest price possible—the precious blood of Jesus, then I submit to Him in all the actions/behaviors of my life. First, His Word is His revealed will. Second, Jesus is the will of the Father. That is, when you look at the Son you’ve seen the Father. And lastly, scripture shows us that Jesus and the Word are one! We need to take the guidance of Holy Spirit through the Word of God to be the standard for all our behavior in life, thus showing love for the Father by submitting to His Word no matter what it costs us!
Unfortunately, this is not how it is in American Christianity. The majority of Christians in America live for themselves and love God with their lips only. Oh, do we need a breakthrough! This breakthrough comes by our reckoning ourselves as dead to self, consecrating ourselves to Him, and letting the Holy Spirit direct our paths. Will we die to self, daily as Paul says? Will we consecrate our plans and pursuits to Him? Therein lies the breakthrough for America. Will the real Christians please stand up?
Resources: Book: Loving God With All Your Mind
Key #23: The second is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” —Matthew 22:39 (NASB)
Love toward your Neighbor
Without exception, as Jesus points out to us, this is the second greatest commandment! The entire second half of the Ten Commandments falls under this command. Scripture tells us that we cannot love God whom we have not seen with the naked eye and, at the same time, not love our neighbor whom we can see with our eyes. The point is: you don’t love God if you don’t love your neighbor! Make no mistake on this point! Of course, if we do love God, we will love our neighbor, because the love of God shines through us toward our neighbor.
And so the tough question is, how do I love my neighbor? When the man asked Jesus this in terms of “who is my neighbor?” Jesus pointed to the Good Samaritan and told him to go and do the same. The Samaritans were hated by the Jews in the first century, and yet the Samaritan showed love toward his Jewish neighbor. Jesus’ illustration was that first, love is shown by actions; second, love is shown even when it costs us something; and third, love is unconditional even toward those who hate us! You love your neighbor because the love of God compels you to do so.
Wow! Do we need a breakthrough in this area! Most tend to love only the loveable, or those who give love in return. Most tend not to reach out to those that hate us. Most tend to love to the point of little or no personal cost and discomfort. We need to grow in love. We need actions that show that we have been with Jesus, our example of a surrendered, submitted love for the Father.
Resources: Book: Love Your Neighbor,
Key #24: For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same?—Matthew 5:46 (NASB)
Love toward the Unlovable
Recall in Key #23 that Scripture tells us we cannot love God whom we have not seen and, at the same time, not love our neighbors whom we have seen. Here in Matthew 5:46 we see Jesus’ instruction to His disciples on this issue of love.
Our love as believers must go beyond the church pews and reach out to those no one will love. Mother Theresa clearly pointed this out in her ministry. There was nothing of value in what she did in men’s eyes, but there was great value in it to heaven’s eyes. Perhaps a better way to put this is to ask yourself, “Will I reach out to the unlovable?”
We get a breakthrough in love when we reach out to those who cannot bless us in return. Food pantry service, clothing ministry, homeless ministry, and prison ministry are only a few areas where we meet those who society has pushed aside. Perhaps it is a deep personal question we must ask of the Lord: “How do I love the unlovable?” A greater and higher dimension of our Christianity awaits us as we become doers and not mere talkers of loving the unlovable. Maybe, as Mother Theresa once said regarding our ministry to the poor, we might meet Jesus there.
Resources: Book: Love Your Neighbor,
Key #25: Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.—Galatians 6:10 (NKJV)
Love toward the Church
We are called to love all men. Love is seen in our actions and not merely by lip service. Yet we have instruction from Scripture that we are to show a special dedication of love first to the household of faith—the Church. The Church is our family. How you treat the household of God is how you treat Jesus. Unfortunately we live in a Christian culture that wants to separate Jesus from His Church and not look at them as one. They are one. The Body is connected to the Head.
You are the Church. Your brother and sister in Christ are the Church. Your love toward the saints is your love toward the Church and directly related to how you show love toward Jesus. Jesus’ authority structure in His Church is also connected to this. You and I cannot escape this truth that in this life, we are connected to Jesus’ Church as much as we are connected to Him! Now that’s a breakthrough thought for some!
Love towards the Lord’s Church is seen by our service of ministry. It is seen by the fruit we leave behind as believers. Love toward the Lord’s Church is seen in our active participation in the Body of Christ. There is a breakthrough here—we need to get busy with the Lord’s work in the Lord’s Church and not live for ourselves. There are no lone ranger saints. There is an army of the Lord marching forward. I wouldn’t want to explain to God one day why I was AWOL in His Church Army! Would you?
Resources: Book: My Church My Family,
40 KEYS TO OPEN THE GATES FOR BREAKTHROUGH (6)
GATEWAY TO HEALTH (Part two)
In part one we looked at: The health of the tongue, The health of your lifestyle, and the health of your eye and ear gates. We will proceed with:
Key #19: Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. —Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
Health To Your Heart
“above all else …”
Hearts need healing when impurities and defilements have crept in. Darkness is the source. The vehicles of this dark source can be the occult, sexual sin, unforgiveness and bitterness; pride of life; embracing the lusts of the flesh; defiling things like pornography; and loving the world age we live in. Allowing such things as these in us is not keeping a watch over our eye and ear gates and certainly is not guarding our hearts. When the wellspring of life gets contaminated we need healing and deliverance. We need a breakthrough.