Debie Misir: March 31, 2008

An Unoffendable Heart

All of us, during the course of our lives, have often been offended one way or another. However, many of us have never really looked beyond the offence to truly understand the root cause of why we become offended or how to correctly deal with the offence. As a result, we struggle daily in our walk with God. We struggle to hear the voice of the Lord. We struggle to read the word and receive. Maintaining a fasting and prayer life becomes difficult, and gradually we loose our focus and zeal for God. Eventually, though our lips speak the words, we lose our love for the Lord. An offended heart, hidden or known, cannot walk with God for it is a heart filled with inequity. The Lord Himself warns us that in the last days an offended heart will become the ultimate cause of many falling away from their faith. “Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another... and because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." Matthew 24:10-12. This is a serious warning that we need to heed. We need to seek the Lord daily in maintaining an unoffendable heart.

In order to maintain an unoffendable heart, we first need to understand the truth about offences and how our hearts can become offended. Then we need to know how to deal with offences right away, the right way, when they occur. We need to continually be alert in our spirits to guard our hearts against this diabolical evil so that we can overcome to the end.

What is an offence? It is essentially a wound caused by an attack or a perceived attack on ourselves that we have not dealt with immediately and correctly, but we have either allowed it to fester and eat away at our fruits of the Spirit, or we have denied the hurt and buried it deep inside with the same effect or worse, though temporarily hidden. That wound becomes an offence which is in essence sin and must be repented of lest we fall.

It is no secret that although we are born again and we know that we must walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh, we still struggle to live this Word. Our flesh is very much alive and kicking and the process of crucifying it daily is exactly that, a process. Oh how we can identify with Paul when he says “For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” Romans 7:9, for we live it daily. Beloved, because we are yet imperfect, we are going to wound others knowingly and unknowing, and we are going to receive wounds. These wounds can penetrate our souls almost everyday and the attacks can come in various ways; in the form of someone rejecting us, someone disappointing us, someone wrongfully accusing us, or the million and one other injustices our flesh can drum up. It really does not matter whether the attack is real or perceived; the wound we receive is very real.

We are hurt and wounded primarily because of the false expectations of our imperfect hearts. You see our spirits and our souls were designed to only find satisfaction, security, and fulfillment in our God. Only He can give us perfect rest, perfect love, perfect peace, and perfect happiness. But we, imperfect ourselves, often look for this perfect love and fulfillment from the world and from others who are just as imperfect as us. It is when we take our eyes off our perfect Lord as our All in All and we begin to look to each other for approval, provision, love, and fulfillment that we become hurt, disappointed, rejected, and offended. We need to realize that others and the world cannot give us what they themselves do not have. We are all a work in progress and our ultimate and only source of fulfillment is our Lord. Only He is perfect and only He can satisfy our souls, quench every longing in our hearts, and fill every empty place inside of us. If we can get this deep into our spirits and set our hopes and expectations only on Him, we can overcome. If we can truly understand that all we have, all we are and all we ever hope to be and receive only comes from Him, we can unconditionally love our brothers and sisters, embracing their imperfections as our own, knowing the Lord is at work in each of us without favoritism.

When we are attacked and wounded we either nurse our hurts and withdraw into self-pity and rejection or we rise up in anger and revenge which can manifest in the form of gossip, betrayal, hatred, cold shouldering someone, rejecting that person, murdering them in our hearts, or even emotionally and sometimes physically abusing them. Here we have not dealt with the wound correctly. It quickly turned into an offence and the heart is now in sin, producing sinful intentions which manifest into sinful actions. We need to recognize the wound immediately, realize the root cause, and deal with it correctly before it turns into an offence. When we are hurt, we must immediately run to the mercy seat where the blood is sprinkled waiting to wipe away sins and cleanse our hearts. We must humble ourselves before our Lord in our hurt, with forgiveness in our hearts for those who hurt or wound us, knowing that the hurt came because of our own heart’s false expectations, so that we may receive His mercy and grace, and His healing. Beloved, this is the process He uses to take us from glory to glory. Every wound or hurt is an opportunity to humble ourselves more and more so that we may receive His grace and He can exalt us in Himself. When we do this, each time we become a little more like the Lord Himself. We need to see that "our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." 2 Corinthians 4:17 We must embrace all our hurts and seize the opportunities they present to grow in grace.

Though many of us in the Lord do not intentionally hide a hurt or react out of it, we often deny a hurt, brushing it aside, telling ourselves it does not bother us for we are in the Spirit. In actuality what we are doing by refusing to acknowledge it and deal with it in the Lord, is allowing it to enter stealthily into our hearts and hide for a while. This is the most dangerous reaction to a hurt. Have no doubt, it will surface in ways and dimensions you cannot imagine and when you least expect it to, contaminating all you do and who you are. Do not wait for this time, it might be too late. We need to acknowledge wounds immediately, recognize them, and deal with them in a Christ-like manner. Pretending they have not occurred opens our hearts to the spirit of deceit as well which can operate in our souls until the now hidden sin of offence is deeply etched in our hearts. This is when we are in real danger. Jeremiah 17:9 says.. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”.

Maintaining an unoffendable heart is vital to ongoing spiritual maturity and growth. We need to be careful. Jesus has an unoffendable heart and He died to give us life eternal and make us like Himself. He says in Matthew 5:39- 44 “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”. The Lord is, in essence, telling us that an unoffendable spirit, full of God’s love, overcomes all evil. Do not let your wound become an offence, for an offended spirit can neither give to nor receive from God. If we become offended and stay in our offence, it will eventually lead to spiritual death. We must be alert to recognize and process all wounds right way, the right way, and continuously ask the Lord to reveal and cleanse our hearts of hidden offences so that we may “put on therefore, as elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, and longsuffering.” Colossians 3:12 and overcome.

Wyeth Mendoza: March 24, 2008

Life of Holiness

2 Corinthians 7:1 “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all the defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

Matthew 5:48 "Be holy, as your Father is holy."

As I was in the subway one day, a group of friends sat across my seat and started discussing a pamphlet that was handed to them. One guy read the verse out loud, "He who believes in Him is not condemned; He who does not believe is condemned already, because He has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. -- John 3:16-18". He reacted negatively and blurted out that it is downright unfair and unjust. He continued by saying that even though he does not sin, he will still go to hell for not believing in Christ . The other one commented, "… Yes for He is holy and we are not, that's why we are all going to hell!"

Those words stuck in my heart and I started questioning myself "Am I living a holy life for God?" , since we are called to be holy priesthood in 1 Peter 2 : "You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

A call to holiness is true for all believers of Jesus Christ. This is something we strive for everyday in our Christian walk of faith. But isn't it ironic to think that the more we strive for holiness - checking your speech, demeanour and behavior toward others - we end up realizing how far from holiness and righteousness we all are?

And that the more we grow deeper in faith the more evident it becomes that we truly need God in our lives not just everyday , but every minute of our waking lives.

During the course of our walk with God, we often experience an inward pull towards self-will and the will of the world. Man has always and will always have the propensity to sin due to our fallen nature. As we try our best to love our neighbors as God taught us to -- we tend to get challenged by this inward pull to feel jealous, to feel envious and worse to feel hatred for our fellow brothers and sisters. The devil is busy working to kill, steal and destroy everything righteous we try to do for our brothers and sisters The devil is always quick to turn things around and make us feel greedy, envious, mad, upset and condemned instead.

We know that the devil is always busy to torment us. But we must always remember that God gave us the power and authority to fend off these attacks . If only we believe that we can do it through the Holy Spirit that is working in us. The key is believing and acting on it and God will do it for us. We only need to agree with the Father for He wants what is best for us -- all the time. We pray to God through the Holy Spirit to deliver us and free us from all unholy tempers, thoughts and desires. We pray to God to cover us with the Blood of His Son Jesus for it is through the Blood that we are restored and cleansed of all our sins, transgressions and iniquities.

The book of Matthew 5:48 said "Be holy, as your Father is holy." Being holy is a command from God that all His followers must obey. It is not a choice but rather an absolute directive from God that all His children on Earth must live a holy life.

But how can we live a holy life? It all starts with total obedience to God.

We grew up living our lives obeying the ways and indulgences of the world. It became so familiar that it comes naturally to us. We are comfortable doing it . The devil distorted our realization of the truth. As the ways of the world are the ways of sin and death and we were abiding in that way of life for so long , sinning has became our way of life too.

In order for us to start living a holy life, we should have a paradigm shift though the power of the Holy Spirit to break the chains and shackles which bind us , delivering us from our old worldly ways.

As through time you learned the habitual ways of sinning, you can also unlearn it. Make obeying God's commandments a habitual process in your life starting this day. Through the Holy Spirit, pray that He purge the old ways of sinning and start obeying God's Word. Yield to the power of the Holy Spirit everyday as He works His way in breaking and putting to death the sinful habits in your life. Cultivating a prayer life and fasting life are two of the most powerful ways to break sinning strongholds in your life. Through prayer and fasting you tame the flesh and yield to the power of Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit. These acts of faith are paths to living a holy life.

Lastly, as you wake up every morning, commit all of yourself to God through this simple prayer. Lord, I dedicate this day to you. I want to glorify You in everything I will do. I am an empty vessel, come fill me up through the Holy Spirit and come live Your life through me. I ask all this through the name of Your Son Jesus Christ, Amen!

Debie Misir: March 18, 2008

Come Up Higher

James 3:14-15 "But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil."

James 3:17 "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere."

Wisdom is word that is widely used in the body of Christ. It is always quoted correctly but often exercised incorrectly. The bible speaks clearly of two kinds of wisdom, one that is earthly and of the devil and one that is of heaven and is pure. The difference between the two in the body of Christ does not seem so clear cut as it is revealed in the scriptures. As a result most Christians possess and exercise earthly wisdom instead of displaying heavenly wisdom, not in their outward boastings of the bitter envy and selfish ambition in their hearts as unbelievers do, but in their denial of the truth of what is in their hearts. I do not say what is “hidden” in their hearts, but what is in their hearts, since whatever is hidden in their hearts is revealed to them over time by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The word of God says in Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”, but David speaks of this special One who does in Psalm 7:9 “O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts”. Only the Lord can search the heart of man and know the evil motives hidden deep within. This ability He gave to every born again believer filled with the Holy Spirit. We now have the mind of Christ and the gift of discernment. Thus, by the Spirit of God, our hearts can be revealed to us, and it most often is when God is ready to deal with and uproot a particular wickedness in our heart. God already knows the hidden sins, transgressions, and inequities in our hearts, and in His mercy and grace, He reveals these to us gradually at appointed times in our walk with Him. His only purpose is to set us free from the bondages of this filth.

The sanctification of our hearts is necessary in order for God to move us from glory to glory. However the process is not always pleasing to the flesh. Although we have the gift of discernment, we are quicker to use this gift on others, rather than ourselves. But here is a marvelous truth… it works just as well on us as it does on others. We are sometimes so horrified and embarrassed by our own filthiness and our fear of exposure that we often do not want to admit and face our filth, refusing to let God deal with it. This is where we often err. For God already knows it, He already sees it and He loves us in spite of it. He only reveals it to us so that we can acknowledge and surrender it to Him. He will then set us free and we can soar to higher heights in Him. Psalm 24:3,4 says “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart” We must be cleansed of all unrighteousness before we can ascend in the Lord. The Lord is calling us higher. We must surrender fully to Him, humble ourselves to His sanctification process, and be willing to lose it all that we might gain Him. We must answer His call to come up higher. We must be ready to relinquish all we hold dear to us, everything we hate and everything we love, that we may become one with Him. Are you ready to come up higher?

Kaye Mendoza: March 12, 2008

Thy Kingdom Come

“Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven.” Matthew 6:10

The end of this age is near; indeed the Kingdom of God is at hand. These days we see so many signs and wonders that pertain to the closing of this age of dispensation. We, as Kingdom people, have a responsibility to play in ushering in this Kingdom of God.

Our prayers must not be just prayers for ourselves, but it must be aimed at hurting the enemy. We should win souls not only for the sake of winning them, but to gain more power against Satan. Let us plead the Blood of Jesus against all the powers and principalities that be. With the defeat of Satan by US – the Kingdom people – we shall usher in the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Let us think beyond this life that we live in the natural. Let us rise up and take our firm position as Kingdom people belonging to the house of God, the family of the Most High God. Let us pray in one accord for the destruction of our enemy, Satan and his hosts.

We must let everyone know that Jesus Christ is the King alone and Satan has been defeated on the cross! We must take charge and stand on the authority He gave us to drive these rebellious usurpers away.

Our dearest Father in Heaven, we stand in the authority given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ. This day, we ask for Your Divine Revelation, that we may know what to pray, what to say, how to live – so that we may help in ushering in the Kingdom of God into the earth. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done… in Earth, as it is in Heaven. Amen.

Debie Misir: March 03, 2008

Experiencing God

“Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.” Psalm 42:7

Many of us have met the Lord and have been touched by Him. Some heard the word, a seed was planted and over time it germinated. In God’s perfect time they received the Lord into their hearts. Others only heard the name of the Lord Jesus, and instantly recognition came deep in their spirits. They came home. Still others have had radical, life-changing encounters with the living God. Though they were not seeking after Him, He sought them. These He required a special service of, and having chosen them from the foundations of the earth for this unique task, at the appointed time He called them into His kingdom. These are the ones that have had “Road to Damascus” experiences like Paul, and “Burning Bush” experiences like Moses. Experiences that changed their lives and charged their faith forever.

All of us who are born again, have met the Lord, one way or another, but have we all truly experienced Him? Have we all met Him face to face, heart to heart and fallen deeply in love? Yes, He has touched our hearts, but have we touched His? Beloved, we all need a one on one encounter with the living God, an encounter that reaches to the very core of our beings. We all need to meet Him in that place deep within ourselves where He not only touches us and transforms our very lives and hearts forever, but we touch His heart and become one with Him to the extent that we feel what He feels when He feels it. We know His thoughts and desires. We know the effect our sins have on Him, how they grieve His heart, and we know how our obedience pleases Him and brings great joy to Him. We need to meet him in that deep place where we know how our sufferings make Him weep and we feel His sorrows on our behalf. We need to encounter our precious Lord and Savior in the depths of our souls. If you have not had this experience beloved, desire it, yearn for it, and seek it from the depths of your heart and soul. For The word says “Deep calls unto deep”. Only when you are willing to go deep to find Him, giving up everything for Him, will you truly experience Him. We cannot allow Him to live His life in us and through us until we do.

Everyone can have such an experience with Him. Everyone can touch His heart deeply and be touched deeply by Him in return. We can experience Him so deeply that we become consumed by Him; His life, His love, His sorrows, His mercy, His grace, His laws, His judgments, and His compassion. We can experience Him by simply having a heart that wholly desires Him and His ways, a heart that wants to know Him and follow Him, an obedient, humble heart that only wants to please Him. A heart that is willing to give up everything just to “know Him”. Matthew 13:45,46 says “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it”. Knowing Jesus is more valuable that all you have. You can encounter the Living God simply with this heart attitude of sincere hunger, simple faith, and great determination. God cannot help but respond. Not only will He respond, but He will show up personally and you will experience Him in radical, life-changing, heart-transforming way.

Obeying Him to the point of death: Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego refused to worship idols for they knew how the Lord detested idol worship. They demonstrated obedience to the point of death by following His commandments and refusing to worship idols. They loved Him so much that they did not care whether He chose to save them or not, but were determined to obey Him. They touched the heart of the Lord deeply with their obedience. He came personally into the fire, and delivered them out of the blazing furnace.

Giving Him your all: The woman with her 2 mites touched the heart of God for she gave all she had. The Lord not only noticed her but pointed her out to His disciples and He wrote about her to all generations. She touched His heart deeply.

Determination to meet Him: Zacchaeus was determined to see Jesus. He did not care who was looking at him or how silly he looked; a professional man, running ahead of a massive crowd and climbing a tree. The Lord knew of his heart’s desire to meet Him and stopped in the midst of a large jostling crowd to meet Zacchaeus, go to his home and sup with him. Zacchaeus had a mighty personal encounter with the Lord physically and spiritually. It changed His life and heart forever.

Adoring Him: Mary risked abuse and insult to go amidst a gathering of men, in the house of a Pharisee, and wash the feet of Jesus with her tears and wipe them with her hair. Many would say it took great courage, but it was simply the act of a woman who loved much. Her adoration and devotion touched the heart of God. He commanded that what she had done be written in the Bible and until this day Mary act of deep love is remembered. She adored God.

Enduring persecution for Him: Stephen touched the heart of God when he endured great persecution for the name of the Lord. The Lord, seated at the right hand of God the Father, stood up as Stephen was being stoned, and received him when he died. Many say that when we go to Heaven, we are met at the gate by Abraham. But when Stephen died, the Lord Himself came to meet Stephen, honoring His death by standing up to receive Him. Stephen’s great love and endurance greatly affected the heart of the Lord. He was moved deeply as evidenced by His action.

Faith in Him: The woman with an issue of blood touched the heart of God with her great faith. She knew if she could just touch the hem of his gown, she would be made whole forever. She went to great lengths, suffering a grave illness, traveling in extreme discomfort and pain, battling a great crowd and risking rejection and shame to reach Him. She was justly rewarded. She was not only healed, but the Lord felt her touch. You see she did not only touch His garment, but she touched His very heart with her faith.

Humility before Him: The Canaanite woman whose daughter was possessed came to Jesus and humbled herself greatly before Him. The Lord allowed her to experience the greatest insult to test her humility. He seemingly insulted her Himself by indirectly referring to her as a dog when she asked for help, yet she took no offence. In Matthew 15:27, she replies "Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." She humbled herself and willingly accepted whatever He said, asking for the crumbs from His table, as dogs would. She did not encounter Him when she came to Him. She did not even encounter Him when she physically kneeled before Him. She encountered Him when she humbled her heart to the level of a dog, willing to accept the crumbs from the master’s table. Her humility touched His heart.

When a heart longs only for Him, desires only Him, humbles itself before Him, and is constantly seeking and reaching out to Him from its deepest depths, only then will it truly encounter and experience the Lord and be changed and charged with faith forever.