Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…

In every area, let us follow the example Jesus gave us, in the Bible, in how to conduct GOD’s ministry in the earth and how to live our lives…

Jesus’ disciples ask Him, “who is the greatest in the kingdom?”

The greatest person in the kingdom will of course be Jesus.

After that, ranking the greatest is full of surprises.

Matthew 18:1–5 records, “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’

[Jesus] called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me’” (see also Mark 9:35–37; Luke 9:46–48).

What are God’s priorities regarding His church?

Jesus speakings to Peter, after Peter had denied him three times:

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’

Peter said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs’.

He said to him a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’

Peter said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’

Jesus said to Peter the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’

Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’

Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep’”
— John 21:15-17
———

GOD’s priority and instructions to the elders of the church, is NOT for them to become a CEO of a 501(c)3 corporation (who have, under the articles of their incorporation, made themselves the servant of the state), but rather it is to be a servant unto GOD’s people:

1 Peter 5:1-11
The Voice (VOICE)

1 Now for the elders of the church. I want to encourage you. As you know, I am an elder, too, like you.

I have witnessed firsthand the sufferings of the Anointed One as well as shared in the glories which are soon to be revealed.

2 When you shepherd the flock God has given you, watch over them not because you have to but because you want to.

For this is how God would want it not because you’re being compensated somehow but because you are eager to watch over them.

3 Don’t lead them as if you were a dictator, but lead your flock by example; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will be crowned with honor that will shine brightly forever.

5 You who are younger in the faith: do as your elders and leaders ask. All of you should treat each other with humility, for as it says in Proverbs,

God opposes the proud
but offers grace to the humble.

6 So bow down under God’s strong hand; then when the time comes, God will lift you up. 7 Since God cares for you, let Him carry all your burdens and worries.

[NOTE: Humility is rarely a virtue that our culture values.

We’re trained from an early age to show our strengths and hide our weaknesses.

This type of thinking also spills over into our models of leadership, as we learn to dictate to others how they should perform.

Peter, however, says that we should be humble in our relationships with one another and not lead as dictators.

In fact, this humility before one another and God is actually the position of the greatest strength.

Our enemy desires to consume us, but we find strength to resist him when we are dependent upon God for His strength.]

8 Most importantly, be disciplined and stay on guard. Your enemy the devil is prowling around outside like a roaring lion, just waiting and hoping for the chance to devour someone.

9 Resist him and be strong in your faith, knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are fellow sufferers with you.

10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of grace who has called you [to His everlasting presence] through Jesus the Anointed will restore you, support you, strengthen you, and ground you. 11 For all power belongs to God, now and forever. Amen.
———

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What does it mean to follow Jesus…

Learning to live by faith means…

Learning to live GOD’s way (in recognition that following Jesus is the way – see John 14:6), means trusting in Him with ALL our heart and NOT leaning on our own understanding (Prov 3:5-6).

Sept 21
The Spirit Filled Believer

LET DOWN THE NET
by Dick Mills

“Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”
— Luke 5:5

Here is a rhema promise for everyone who has read the manual, followed all the rules and still not attained the desired results.

One leader complained, “I went to a church growth seminar. While I was away some of the folks in the church got discouraged and quit.

When I got back home from learning how to help the church grow, I had fewer people than when I went away. I must be doing something wrong.”

If anyone knew how to fish, it was Peter.

Prior to meeting Jesus, Peter had been a professional fisherman. He knew about fish. He knew their feeding habits, when and where to go looking for them, and how to catch them.

Peter had fished right the evening before. He knew that the fish fed at night up close to the shore, so that’s where he fished for them.

Yet he had caught nothing. Then along comes Jesus, a carpenter, who tells him to do two things, both contrary to all the rules of good fishing practice.

First, He asks him to fish at the brightest time of the day. (Any lake fisherman knows that when the sun is on the water, the fish all go to the bottom of the lake.)

Secondly, Jesus asks Peter to reverse his direction and fish out in the center of the lake rather than along the shore.

Peter knew the habits of fish. But he also knew the power of Jesus’ Word.

His response to these seemingly contradictory directions was, “Master, we have done it right, but have had no results.

However, at Your rhema (Word), we will try it again Your way.”

The Lord’s way worked! His way and His Word will work for us, too!

[Source: The Spirit-Filled Believer’s Daily Devotional by Dick Mills]
———

Learning to live by faith is all about taking a risk and jumping into the deep end of the pool; or to put it another way, it means leaving those safe harbors behind and casting your faith out into the deep, because that is where Jesus is.

This is where the adventure begins,

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Draw nigh unto God…

Draw neigh unto God and He will draw niegh unto you…

The Bible tells us that God has done EVERYTHING needful to bring us home; to forgive our sins and reconcile us back into God’s family; BUT WE ALSO HAVE A PART TO PLAY IN THIS RELATIONSHIP.

Matthew 11:28-30
The Message (MSG)

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?

COME To ME. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.

I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.

Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

The Bible tells us that Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father, meaning He has finished His work.

But in spite of that, we see in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, after having seen His son a far off, the Father comes running to him, indicating that He had been prayerfully watching for his return each and every day.

Luke 15:20-21
The Message (MSG)

20-21 “When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him.

The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’
———

Sept 18
The Spirit Filled Believer

DRAW ME, LORD
by Dick Mills

“Draw me, we will run after thee…”
— Song of Solomon 1:4

We are told in the New Testament to draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to us (James 4:8).

In this verse, the bride (a symbol of the Church) says to the bridegroom,

“You do the drawing, and we will respond.”

This attitude is one of compliant submission to the actions of the bridegroom as a forerunner.

In Jeremiah 31:3 the Lord expresses His love for us in these words,

“With lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”

In Hosea 11:4, He speaks of His children, saying,

“I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love….”

“Draw me” can be a statement of total dependence upon the Lord.

It implies a looking to God for all our needed help.

David says in Psalm 25:15,

“Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord….” Later he pleads to the Lord, “Send out Your light and Your truth. Let them lead me”
—Psalm. 43:3

Jesus told us that He was going to be lifted up (referring to the crucifixion) and that He would draw all men to Himself (John 12:32).

He also stated that no man could come to Him except His Father drew him (John 6:44).

This prayer in Song of Solomon 1:4 is a good prayer to pray:

“Draw me, Lord, and we will run after You.”

I do believe there is a restlessness expressed in this statement. It comes from a soul that does not want too great a distance between itself and the Lord.

It is the expression of an earnest desire we all should have for closer communion with our Lord.

David said it for each of us in Psalm 73:28,

“It is good for me to draw near to God….”

[Source: The Spirit-Filled Believer’s Daily Devotional by Dick Mills]
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Let us boldly come into GOD’s presence…

GOD never tells us to ask Him for things He doesn’t want us to have…

We need to understand that the Old Testament Believers were looking forward to the cross; and we, as New Testament Believers, are looking back at that same cross.

It’s because of the Cross of Calvary and the precious Blood that Christ (our Messiah) shed there, on our behalf, and also because of the New Covenant — which is better than the Old Covenant — that the Bible tells us that we can now BOLDLY come into God’s presence, with our petitions, just as we see that Jabez did.

Hebrews 4:16
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

This is GOD’s will for EVERY Believer:

Ephesians 1:15-23
J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

I thank God for you, and pray for you
15-19 Since, then, I heard of this faith of yours in the Lord Jesus and the practical way in which you are expressing it towards fellow-Christians, I thank God continually for you and I never give up praying for you; and this is my prayer.

That God, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ and the all-glorious Father, will give you spiritual wisdom and the insight to know more of him: that you may receive that inner illumination of the spirit which will make you realise how great is the hope to which he is calling you—the magnificence and splendour of the inheritance promised to Christians—and how tremendous is the POWER available to us who believe in God.

20-21 That power is the same divine power which was demonstrated in Christ when he raised him from the dead and gave him the place of supreme honour in Heaven—a place that is infinitely superior to any conceivable command, authority, power or control, and which carries with it a name far beyond any name that could ever be used in this world or the world to come.

22-23 God has placed everything under the power of Christ and has set him up as head of everything for the Church. for the Church is his body, and in that body lives fully the one who fills the whole wide universe.

1 John 5:14-15
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

14 And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us.

15 And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.


The word, in both Hebrew and Greek, for PRAYER means to supplicate; and the American Heritage Dictionary defines supplicate as to make “earnest petition,” which means to make a legal demand (petition) requesting a right or benefit in a court of law.

We as Christians, whatever trials and tribulations may be confronting us in the Earth, regardless of any accusations made, by the “Accuser of the Brethren” – who is Satan, we have to learn to make our appeal (our petition) in the Courtroom of Heaven, where Jesus is our Advocate and the Judge is our Abba Father.

So that whatever accusations are brought against us, by the “Accuser of the Brethren,” in GOD’s courtroom, all we need to do is request that the scrolls be opened and when that is done, we have no need to defend ourselves; all we need do is ask that whatever accusations are made that they be placed under the Blood of the Cross, and that one act frees GOD the Father to move on our behalf.

You see the cross of Calvary, and the shed Blood of Jesus there, has taken ALL the leverage that Satan had against us, on account of our sin, away from him.
———

Sept 15
God At Eventide
by Two Listeners

BOLD IN PRAYER

My child, there is no arrogance in your assertion when you say,

“I will not let Thee go unless Thou bless me.”
— Gen 32:26b

Have not I ever told you to claim big things. In so doing you obey Me.

You do right to wrestle boldly in prayer. There are times for demanding, for claiming.

Now is the time to claim. You are in no doubt about My Will. Claim its manifestations on earth.

Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
— Jude 1:24-25
———

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We are more than conquerors in Christ…

The Bible says that, “We are MORE than conquerors in Christ,” and also that, “We can do ALL things through Christ that strengthen us” (see Rom 8:37 and Php 4:13)…

As Christians, our main objective in life should be to fulfill our destiny and become all that God created us to be; and this can only be done as we learned to live and walk, by faith and obedience, in Christ.

Psalm 139:16
The Message (MSG)

13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!

Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!

You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,

The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.

Ephesians 1:7-14
The Message (MSG)

7-10 Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

11-12 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.

13-14 It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.

Romans 8:29-30
The Message (MSG)

29-30 God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son.

The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored.

We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.

After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name.

After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.

———

Jesus our Creator, the author and finisher of our faith, has also told us that,

“I am come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly.”
— John 10:10

If we are to experience that abundant life, which can happen only as we learn to fulfill our God given destiny; and if we are to go where God intends for us to go in life, then we have to learn to trust in Jesus and recognize that NOTHING of any eternal consequence or value can ever be accomplished, except we abide in Christ, as He is the Creator and author of each one of our lives.
———

September 3
God At Eventide
by Two Listeners

YOUR FAILURES ARE MINE

Lord I present to Thee my failures. Only Thou couldst . . repair the harm that I have wrought.

Because you are Mine I must identify Myself with all you are.

I play the harmony of which you made such discord. I sound the hope in ears you had no charm of Love to woo from sin and failure.

I lead to happier ways those you misjudged, despised.

I take your failures, and because your desire is towards Me, and you know Me as Lord, these, your failures, it is My sacrificial task to bear, to reclaim.

Step up from your slough of failure into the robe of faith and love I give you.

Be strong to save as you have known salvation, strong in Me, your ever-conquering Lord.

“Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
— Jude 1:24-25
———

Lastly, we know by faith (based on the scriptures I have already mentioned), that God has a plan for our life, and so it falls to us to trust in His plan; and to do so, by faith, in spite of any and all negative feelings and or circumstances.

We need to understand that God’s power is never cancelled by our negative feelings or circumstances; and that what God promises He is well able to perform and do in our lives.

The test and rub of life, where the rubber meets the road for all of us, is whether or not we can believe?

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
— Jeremiah 29:11

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