- Back to Gilgal (5/8/2017)
I teach a Bible study on Tuesday evenings and we have been in the book of Joshua for a year-and-a- half. It’s an awesome book, full of Old Testament ‘types’ that give insight into New Testament realities. The theme we have been focused on is Possessing Our Possession. You see, God had already given Israel the land of Canaan and had defeated their enemies before Joshua led them in to possess it. Their destiny lied in the principles of taking the land as their inheritance. In the same manner for New Testament believers, Jesus has already blessed us with “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians !:3).”
Lately, however, in the Bible study, we have been focusing on a place in Canaan near Jericho called Gilgal. Gilgal was a place where Israel first camped when they crossed they Jordon. The Lord told Joshua to set up twelve stones they had taken from the Jordan River and set them up as a memorial. In Gilgal, they were circumcised, observed the Passover, ate the produce of the land, and had a revelation that the Captain of Lord’s Host (Jesus) would be the one fighting their battles.
In short, Gilgal was the place from which all their campaigns were fought, and it was a place where they would come back and rest after a decisive battle. It represented a place of victory and rest. To New Testament believers, Gilgal correlates to the reality of our being seated with Jesus in the heavenly places. A place where “it is finished” and everything has been accomplished.
Further, it’s a place where the enemy has been defeated and placed under Jesus’ feet, which means they are under ours as well. It’s a place of rest from which we live and face everything in life. It’s walking in union with the resurrection power and life of Christ.
To sum up, the Lord is always taking us back to ‘Gilgal’ to remind us of who we are in Christ (our identity) and to remind us of all that we possess in Him.
- What If and What Is (11/7/2016)
I (TC) recently went through a time of stress concerning the potential of what could and is already happening in our country. Realizing that stress is not from the Lord, I asked for His word. As He started to speak, joy filled my heart. I remembered the words He’s spoken in scripture. Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world, and that, as the darkness spreads, the light will grow brighter. In other words, “I win.”
It doesn’t mean we won’t have great persecution but where the gates of hell rise up, Jesus promised they would not prevail. So we can’t focus on the darkness but are to be looking for the brighter light. We are to set our eyes on the promises of God and look intently for them. He not only promised harvest but He commanded us to look for it. It is coming.
The challenge for us as Christians is to say, “not my will, but yours be done” and then become very yielded and awakened to His purposes. As we set our faces like flint to His will, we will be filled with great joy, peace, and grace to do His bidding.
- Enter Into God’s Rest (7/1/2016)
In the book of Hebrews, there is an amazing directive to all believers to enter into God’s rest. As a matter of fact, the scriptures encourage believers to be ‘diligent to enter that rest’ (Heb 4:11). It sounds almost contradictory, however, once we understand more clearly what His rest necessitates then the concept will make more sense.
Hebrews chapters 3 and 4 speak metaphorically of rest using Israel’s entrance into the land of Canaan as a type of New Testament reality. Also, the believers rest is also referred to as the ‘Sabbath rest’ referencing the seventh day of Creation where God rested from His works; therefore signifying Jesus’ finished work of the cross. To enter His rest is to participate and celebrate the accomplished work of Calvary. Simply, it’s Spirit filled, victorious living as New Testament believers. The Lord’s rest is not inactivity, but His activity working through us.
Also, rest doesn’t mean a life without conflict. More accurately, it’s a life full of battles and struggles. How we, as believers, face the clashes and labors determines whether or not we are at rest. To face conflict at rest is to understand that we start from a place of victory, actualizing that Jesus has conquered and has triumphantly defeated the enemy or situation. We just show up for the battle and give thanks.
The greatest enemy of rest is unbelief. Hebrews chapter 3 and 4 make reference to this foe. Unbelief is most always the root sin of a defeated Christian life. The good news is that Jesus defeated unbelief, too. We are now filled with His champion faith. So ‘today if you hear His voice’, enter into His rest.
- Rejoice Always (3/31/2016)
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoicing always is a command in scripture that seems to be unreachable at times. It’s easy to rejoice when things are going our way or circumstances are working out like we hoped. However, scripture holds us to this concept of rejoicing at all times even when we feel bad or things aren’t going our way. Recently, the Holy Spirit spoke to me concerning this word, and He led me to look at the original meaning of the word from the language the Holy Spirit chose to pen the earliest manuscripts – Greek.
The word rejoice literally means to delight in and experience God’s grace. Therefore, in all places and at all times the Lord wants us to draw from His all-sufficient grace (all that’s ours in Christ). That’s what it means to rejoice. Awesome, isn’t it! If that’s not encouraging, then wait until you hear what the word ‘thanks’ means because the above verses also direct us to give thanks in everything. In the Greek, the word thanks is taken from two words – the word ‘good’ and the word ‘grace.’ In essence, to give thanks is to acknowledge that God is good and to once again receive His all encompassing, empowering, abundant grace.
So, to rejoice always and to give thanks in everything is not really an emotion or expression. Rather, it’s an attitude that positions us to receive God’s grace. Much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).
- Take Joy Out For A Spin (12/31/2015)
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the joy of the Lord. Joy is not an attribute that I have always walked in, nor is it prevalent in the lives of most believers. I’ve always stated the enemy hates a joyful Christian. One thing I’ve concluded is we cannot muster up real joy, and we can only fake it for so long. The truth is as follows: The fruit of the Holy Spirit is joy, and the Holy Spirit lives in me to express joy through me. Therefore, He wants me to experience His joy. It’s a gift by His grace-it’s supernatural. All I can do with a gift is receive it and open it. By faith, I thank the Lord for His gift and by faith, I receive it. It’s that simple.
So, during this festive season, take JOY out for a spin. Realize that all the joy of the Lord dwells in you. Thus, receive it, open it and see how it makes a difference. (And you can stop feeling guilty because you haven’t experienced joy. Remember, you can’t apart from Him.)
- A Higher Law (9/30/2015)
In the physical world, there are laws God has set in place that govern the universe. One is the law of gravity. The law of gravity keeps things grounded and keeps us from floating away. However, there are certain laws of physics that allow ships to float and airplanes to fly, that can override the law of gravity.
Let’s say such laws of physics are higher laws than that of gravity. Accordingly, in our spiritual lives there are laws. One such law the bible speaks of is the law of sin. As stated in scripture, we all have this law of sin dwelling within us.
Like the law of gravity, the law of sin, or flesh, tempts us and pulls us toward sin. It is the main avenue the enemy of our souls uses to heap condemnation on us whenever we give into it. However, just like the higher laws of the physical world, there is also a higher law in the spiritual world.
The higher law is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:2).
Scripture declares that this law has set us free from the law of sin. This awesome reality, that Jesus won for us on the cross, prevails, dominates, and supersedes the lower law and makes a difference in how we face life and temptation. Since we “have been” set free, we therefore can face anything from the starting place of victory.
- Better Things Concerning Us (6/30/2015)
“Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity… beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you … And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. … He swore by Himself, saying, ‘I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.’”
Hebrews 6:1a, 9-14
Good News: There are better things concerning us!
The full assurance is everything that has been promised to you. Diligence is what gets us there. When we get promises from God we can become sluggish (dull, blunt) in the pursuit of those promises. Abraham finally began to believe that “what God has promised God is going to perform” and he chose to diligently wait on the Lord, pursue Him, and seek Him until he saw the fulfillment of the promise. When that attitude becomes mine and yours, we are not dull anymore and God will so arrange our lives to help (make) us seek Him more diligently. He will put our blades to the grinding stone to keep us daily waiting patiently on Him, seeking Him with all of our hearts, standing, believing, and crying out for those things that He has spoken to us in our lives.
God doesn’t just let us stay in one place. If we stay in one place, we will not get to experience the better things concerning us. So, there is always this pressing on to maturity with Christ and to do that, we have to let some things go that will keep us from getting to the next place that God has for us.
In God’s waiting room, as we are patiently waiting for the promises to be fulfilled, He purifies us by dealing with our hearts and getting all the unbelief out. Why? Because God really wants for us to have and experience everything that is available in Christ in this life and He wants that more than we want it.
God is pushing us towards faith and patience so that we will inherit our promises!