Walt_Healy_Articles
 

Basic Christianity

Basic Christianity

Romans 14:17 says, “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Thus, any church’s goal must be to produce a society under the Lordship of Jesus Christ where righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit are hallmarks.

Basic to entering this society is faith as a conviction of an invisible reality (Hebrews 11:1. It is confidence in God who is invisible. This is not simply academic; it is a relational confidence in the reality of God and what He says. This will bring you to obedience (meaning = “to come under the hearing”). If you really believe God, not just in God, it will lead you to hear and submit in an act in obedience: “Show me; don’t snow me living.”

Real faith will produce real works. James 2:17-18 says, “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”


Read more...

Criticism or Judgment

criticism_or_judgment

Too often, our criticism is actually judgment of a person, a thing we are forbidden to do. On the other hand, we are to judge fruit and this can easily lead to the need to offer some criticism for dialogue. However, we must avoid unbiblical means of criticism which can tear down and attack others.

We have learned from the wrong sources such as American Idol’s Simon Crowell, and from election season when politicians wield criticism like an ax to cut their opponents instead of debating ideas in a civil forum. The blogosphere is criticism central. Bloggers attack the character of leaders they don’t know and rail against decisions made in circumstances they don’t understand. Often, their inflammatory tone escalates conflict without adding any substantial value to the interplay of ideas.

We need a healthy sense of criticism along with practical guidance for giving and receiving it. Dr. Bruce Weinstein says, “The goal of true criticism is to help someone be the best they can be…When criticism is done appropriately, the person who has been criticized will understand what he or she has done wrong and will feel inspired to make a change for the better. Not only should we not avoid being criticized, we should embrace criticism because it is the only way we can continue to grow professionally and personally.”


Read more...

ISRAEL: THE APPLE OF GOD’S EYE

Israel_the_apple_of_God's_eye 

Zechariah 2:8-10 For thus says the Lord of hosts: “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye. 9 For surely I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become spoil for their servants. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me. 10 “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the Lord.  

God’s eye is always on Israel. Israel can fit into Lake Michigan and sink beneath the waves. It is a little speck on the map but has occupied the attention, the emotions, the passions, and the beliefs of humanity for 4,000 years of recorded human history. It is a country that today more than ever before finds itself under attack, reviled, abused, living under a threat to its very existence, surrounded by neighbors who have committed themselves to destroying this country, and who say so regularly and constantly.

The Jewish people are a people who have come back and are coming back home; a people who are walking where their forefathers walked thousands of years ago. A people who want only to be left in peace to develop that home and worship God as they live their lives. They are a people who live, surrounded by a vast ocean of anger, hatred and hostility. Israeli’s understand the world of terrorism, anger and hatred. They have lived like this for more than 60 years. They have lived on the edge of the sword, waiting for the violence, the attack, the suicide bombings, the attempts to kill people. They know of no other existence. 

Israel needs friends, support, love, and champions. There has never been a more urgent time for Christians to stand with her. She is indeed struggling for her very right to exist against enemies sworn to her complete destruction. At the same time, Jewish people in many parts of the world face increasing hostility and threats to their well-being. In these troubled days, God’s ancient people need friends to step boldly forward and help. Just as Queen Esther was used by God to save the Jews from destruction, so Israel needs Christian friends in churches who truly understand that they have also been raised up “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).

Yes, there are differences between Christians and Jews but the bedrock that unites our faith communities is that our feet stand firmly planted in our belief in the Bible, the heart and core and center of everything we are and everything that we believe. It is a remarkable bond.


Read more...

Faithful Servants

Faithful_ServantsThe world is committed to promoting a preoccupation with self-centeredness, self-gratification and self-determination; a complete commitment to self-interest. Christianity delivers us from this. Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” We are released from the grasp of every restricting thing: fears, character defect, relational immaturity, finances, etc. However, the experience of this freedom has qualifiers. Therefore, the passage continues: Galatians 5:13-14 13 “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

We are free but not for self-indulgent activity. Rather, we use our liberty to serve one another. If we are free from debt it is so that we might help others. If we are free in relational issues it is so that we might bring others into greater relational harmony. Serving others becomes a mark of maturity and a privilege based on heart attitude rather than position. It stems from a new way of seeing life and interpreting it after our reception of the life of Christ at the new birth:

 

Philippians 2:4-9 4 “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name”

 

This attitude is prerequisite to maturing as a believer. Note the difference between rendering service for profit and actually serving another for their gain, not our own. Luke 17:7-10 7 “And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? 8 But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. 10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ”

 

This isn’t about a tyrannical boss but about the mindset of a true servant who isn’t thinking first of self but of the interests of another. Jesus pointed this out about Himself: Matthew 20:28 “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Note that Jesus did not mean that He was susceptible to every whim of expressed need nor did He go through life serving the practical needs of His disciples. In the pure sense of “serve” used here, He was serving the Father and giving Himself to men.

 

Everything He said and did was oriented to the will of the Father. In practical areas, He expected His disciples to do what they could to free Him to do what He could. He sent them to get the donkey, to prepare the meal and room, and to get the coin from the fish’s mouth. It’s all about attitude, not activity: Ephesians 6:6 “not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart”; Colossians 3:22 “Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God.”

 

Jesus is our example: John 13:1-17 “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” 7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” 8 Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”

12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

 

Note the use of “knowing.” Jesus had personal security and positional security. Peter and the rest did not which is the reason for Jesus’ personal example. The twelve had been arguing about their status of greatness: Luke 22:24-27 24 “Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. 25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ 26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. 27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.”

 

The twelve would never stoop to the lowly task Jesus performed because it was beneath them. Jesus’ response was to teach them that serving was not a mark of position but personal insecurity would cloud that. Personal security will give positional security but a lack of it means a lack in the other.

 

Look again at the passage in John 13, especially verses 12-15: V. 12 Do you know? This was rhetorical because He knew they were stunned so He just went on. V. 13 Teacher to the Hebrew signified one whose lessons we are required to learn; Lord signified one who we must obey. V. 14 Reversal to Lord and Teacher: thus, act (Lord) on the lesson (Teacher). The “ought” infers that a failure to do would indicate He was neither Teacher nor Lord. V. 15 Example (lesson from the Teacher) is to be done (action of obedience to the Lord). If the time between learning the lesson and putting it into practice is short, this is evidence of spirituality through obedience to the Lord. If long, this suggests an intellectual religionist not very different from the Pharisees who knew the Scriptures but did not apply them.

 

The time between hearing and doing is frequently marked by discomfort that increases over time: Hebrews 12:5-11 5 “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6  For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”

7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

 

The challenge: serving is not natural. It is in direct confrontation with your “flesh”, the self-gratifying principle of sin, the nature we are born with. True service is learned. It is an acquired skill and a progressive accomplishment. The challenge is to find personal security. When you know who you are, where you came from and where you are going, then you can easily obey the will of the Father because your confidence rests in Him and Him alone rather than on what men think.
 
Article by Walt Healy
Facebooktwitterredditlinkedin


Bring the Anointing Back

Bring the Anointing Back

Since December, the Pastors have been praying for the manifest anointing and Presence of God. The heart-cry is, “Be present, Lord, God!” This comes from recognition that even though God’s people have been set free from bondage, there can still be things that hold back the glory of God. One example is seen at the return from Babylon.

Haggai 2:3-4 “‘Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing? 4Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the LORD; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the LORD, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the LORD of hosts.”
 
Bring_the_anointing_back


Read more...

Planning for a Victorious 2015

Happy New Year! May you prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers (3 Jn 2).

Every believer must learn to read the Word of God and pray it back to heaven. It is God’s own word, which He watches over to perform. Agree with it until it fills you and becomes the treasure in your storehouse (heart). Then, “the good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things.” This is literally, he “manufactures good things”. Out of his heart of faith, God’s words frame the picture of a future and a hope, and the believer’s faith pours the substance of things hoped for. A whole new path opens up.

James says, “No man can tame the tongue,” but also refers to bridling it. You can’t tame it yourself so you must give it to the tamer, who is the Holy Spirit. Do not try to keep it in control, or give its control to any other person, or submit it to the culture of politically correct speech. Let the Lord reign in your world by giving Him complete reign over your speech.

“In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. Indeed they shall surely assemble {referring to enemies}, but not because of Me. Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.” Now, the Lord knew some would be slow to recognize His meaning so He clarifies by explaining, “Behold, I have created the blacksmith who blows the coals in the fire, who brings forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the spoiler to destroy. No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the LORD, (Isaiah 54:14-17). (Click below to read more . . .)
 
victory_2015
 
 

Read more...

They Limited the Holy One

 

no_limits

In every one of our lives there are limits or boundaries we face. These may be external such as traffic signs given for the protection and safety of ourselves and others, or they may be internals such as strongholds of the mind that keep us bound. Of course, not every external limit is good nor is every internal limit harmful. Where would we be if men’s consciences put no restraints on them; where could the underground church of

China take the gospel if the governmental restrictions were removed?  


Read more...

Hearing God #20: Faith Comes by Hearing (C)

Hearing God #20: Faith Comes by Hearing (C)

We have looked at: 1) The Open Ear; 2) Hearing His Voice; 3) Your Will and His; 4) His Knock at Your Door; 5) The Spirit and the Word Agree; 6) Setting Your Mind; 7) Taking Thoughts Captive; 8) Test All Things; and in parts 9-13, we looked into the various means God uses to communicate.
 
Live By Faith Website Banner

We saw external communications include: signs and wonders; putting out a fleece; dreams, vision and prophecy; circumstances; church “gifts” or governments; theophany; and angelic visitation. God’s internal means of guidance includes: the inner witness, the conscience, and the peace of God ruling over all as the final umpire in the heart.

In parts 14-17 we looked at achieving the fullness of the hope and future God has planned for you as you test everything and hold fast to that which is good, being careful to get objective confirmation for what you get subjectively. Now we are completing the last major theme of this series with focus on the walk of faith, for those who are doers of the Word. (e.g. obedient doers of what they hear).

We left off at James comments on faith requiring corresponding actions and also had looked at the faith heroes’ hall of fame in Hebrews 11. It ends with a notation that these all lived and died in faith and sets up the exhortation that opens chapter 12.

Heb. 12:1-3 1Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.  

Don’t do as Peter did while walking on water and look away. Keep on looking at Jesus.

Read more...