Debie Misir: July 30, 2008

The Living Word

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

The Bible in its entirety is the word of God. It is the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth. Many have studied the word of God, acquiring many degrees in theology, and now teach this very same word -- as they should. For the word of God says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). Many of us embrace the word of God as though it were God and so we should also for John 1:1 says, “And the word was God.” But what does the word of God comprise and what does it mean to know the word of God? Essentially, in every word there are two aspects, the written word itself or the spoken word (the meaning and sound), and then there is the spirit behind the sound. In the word of God, there is the written word (the Bible and its statements of God’s truth) and then there is the Spirit behind the sound (the Holy Spirit) Who gives life to the written word and Who makes it -- The Living Word.

A pastor once explained it to me this way. He said…supposing I was in a faraway country and you never met me. I wrote you a letter telling you all about myself: what I am like, what I like, what I hate, what I do, what I don’t do; my love for you, and my instructions and promises to you. You read this letter over and over, until you can recite it word for word. You believe every word. You understand that I love you from what I have told you in my letter, and you follow my instructions and hold on to my promises for you know of my character from my letter-- but you never once wrote to me desiring to see me. I then come to visit you -- but you have no wish to meet with me personally. Sadly, the letter I wrote to you was enough for you. Can you imagine? This is how many of us view the Lord Himself and His word. We have the written word and we think this is enough. We rarely seek the Living Word. Yes, the word of God is God but it is the Spirit of the Lord Who makes it God. Without the Holy Spirit, the word of God is just another book. This is the reason many who do not yet believe do not understand the Bible. Their spirits are not quickened by the Holy Spirit so they cannot receive the true understanding that only the Holy Spirit can bring to the written word. It is now foolishness to them as witnessed by the word, “but the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

Beloved, there is a big difference between the written word and the Living Word. Ravi Zacharias in his book “Deliver us from Evil” said this of the Word. ”The one (Jesus Christ) who lived with such perfection pointed to the authority of the word when He said; ‘The Scripture cannot be broken.’ He spoke to the eternality of the word when He said ‘Heaven and earth shall pass away but My words will never pass away.’ He pointed to the centrality of the word when the Devil tried to tempt Him in the subtlest form of evil – to use His power for self-aggrandizement rather than the honor or God. That reflection was merely propositional in the Scriptures, but it was lived out in the life of Jesus. What good would the Law have been if its very author could not demonstrate its purity.” The written word is the pure, eternal, and indestructible truth of God, but the key to understanding His written word is God Himself. Without the Living Word demonstrating His written word to us, in us, and through us, we cannot understand and internalize the written word. Without seeking the Living Word Himself and having a personal, intimate relationship with Him, we cannot in turn demonstrate the written word to others and bring life unto them. Our teaching would only be from carnal knowledge, able to touch the mind and satisfy the intellectual and emotional needs of men, but unable to bring life to the spirit man. We need the Lord to take His written word and reveal it to our spirits in order to bring relief, love, joy, peace, and growth to our spirits.

The word of God says the Lord exalts His word above His name. But He is the once who exalts His word. He is the one who sends His word and heals our diseases. He is the one who is able to take His word and make it a “now” word for us. It is the Spirit of the Living God who hastens to perform the word, and He is the one who gives Scripture its truth, context, depth, compassion, and mercy all wrapped in His love to bring us life.

John 1:14 says The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. The Lord himself came to earth 2000 years ago, in the flesh, to demonstrate His word to us by living it in the flesh so we may relate and understand. He taught us about His character by displaying it to us. He told us of His great love by taking the punishment for our sins and dying an agonizing death on a wooden cross to purchase our salvation. Today, He continues to demonstrate His love to us by revealing His word in us as we seek Him, transforming our hearts and bringing us freedom from sin and fears and into the abundant life He promised in His word.

Many of us think we know the word. We went to various bible schools and theological seminaries and have studied the life of Jesus Christ and His word thoroughly. This is good for the word of God says we must study and meditate on His word…but without the Holy Ghost as your teacher, it is only carnal knowledge. 1 John 2:27 says, “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.” Upon receiving Jesus as Lord, He filled us with His Holy Spirit who is our teacher. We need to remain in and rely on the Holy Spirit in all matters. We need to be zealous in seeking the Lord apart from, and when studying the word, and be willing to leave our hearts open for the new revelations He wants to bring to us, validated by His word. Apart from the Living Word, we cannot know the written word.

The Pharisees thought they knew the word. They were great teachers of the written word yet the Lord had this to say to them…”You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39,40). They knew the written word, but did not come to the Living Word so they had no life.

Martha thought she knew the word. Lazarus had been dead for three days when Jesus visited the home of Mary and Martha and told them that Lazarus would rise again. Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” (John 11:24). That was the written word, the truth. Martha knew the word. Though She had eaten and fellowshipped with the Lord often, yet she did not understand who He was. She did not know that He was the Living Word who was able to take the written word and make it a “now” word for Lazarus. Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:24, 25). Thankfully, Martha opened her heart and received the revelation of the written word for her situation, brought by the Living Word.

David not only knew the written word, “I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws” (Psalm 119:30), but he also knew Living Word. He was not content with the written word, but he sought after the Living Word with all his heart, soul, and strength. He says, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:2). David wanted to meet with the Lord. He wanted to encounter the Living Word. He wanted to know Him intimately….and he did. When David and his companions were hungry, they went into the house of God and ate the consecrated bread which was only lawful for the priests. David did not break the law since the Lord himself referenced this act in Matthew 12. But, David understood the Law as revealed to Him by the Living Word. David knew that the Lord desired mercy and not sacrifice. David knew the whole truth. The Lord himself reveals this when His disciples desecrated the law of the Sabbath, which was the written word. Jesus proved that the ones who accused them did not truly understand the written word. They did not know Him, who was the Lord of the Law and the Lord of Grace -- the Lord of the written word.

They said to him, "Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath." He answered, "Haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. I tell you that one greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." (Matthew 12:2-8).

I have known many who are very knowledgeable in the written word of God, but have not personally witnessed any indication that they knew the Living Word. I know many of you have also. The scriptures are quoted with great eloquence of words, to suit their purposes and often to hurt others under the guise of bringing correction according to the word of God. The lack of love evident when using God’s word with little or no mercy left me many times, as a new Christian, with grave doubts as to whether many in the church ever really met the Lord or experienced His love.

Then again there are many who have had profound revelations of the word which could not be easily received simply because others have only a carnal knowledge of the bible which they hold fast to. Still others understand the bible as a single dimensional truth as opposed to the multi-dimensional character of God that is represents and this also they hold fast to. Be careful beloved. We should, with an open heart, always listen to consider all that is brought to us in the name of God’s word so that we do not limit the One Who is eternal and limitless. We can all receive deeper revelations of truth if we come to the Living Word and maintain an open, humble, seeking heart before Him. The Lord is able to reveal His word to anyone by any means. He is Lord of the very young, the old, the poor, the uneducated, the simple, and the downtrodden as well as all others. His has made His truth so simple that each and every person can understand and be reached through His all-surpassing love; by revelations, visions, manifestations, dreams, His audible voice, prophecies, word of knowledge and other gifts; through apostles, teachers, pastors, evangelists, the Body of Christ, the Unsaved, and indeed all of creation itself. The ultimate test is the love in which it is brought. The Lord does everything in love. If we are His ambassadors on earth, we also must also do everything in love otherwise it is not of the Lord. (see Ephesians 4:14-16)

Oftentimes I have stopped short, utterly horrified, after speaking or doing a particular thing whether in church or in everyday life, at finding that I did not speak or act out of love. This keeps me at the mercy seat, knowing that I can never have His life (His word) formed inside of Me unless I seek the Living Word always with a humble, repentant heart, desiring only to be like Him and willing to let go of the filthiness that has so contaminated my soul from birth. Here, at the cross, I continue to learn of Him and build my relationship with Him.

We cannot truly claim to understand the written word unless we have developed an intimate relationship with the Living Word. We cannot preach and teach truth unless we have received revelations of the unfailing love, mercy, and grace of His truth. And we cannot bring life to anyone unless His life is first formed in us, His love is flowing through us, and we are living and speaking His truth in love.

Debie Misir: July 23, 2008

Remember Your First Love

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.” (Revelation 2:4)

May I, with utmost humility, love, and respect, challenge all the children of God today with these words… “remember your First Love.” Wherever you are right at this moment – whether you are pastoring hundreds of churches or pastoring a small group meeting in a home; whether you are ministering in many countries or ministering to one person at work or in the street; whether you are operating in the gift of miracles nationwide or laying hands on a single friend or neighbor; whether you are evangelizing across country or witnessing to someone in the subway or bus: take time to – remember your First Love.

The Lord brings this most serious charge against the church in Ephesus, saying to them: “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary, yet I hold this against you…”

It seems to me that the church of Ephesus was doing everything right. They loved truth and good works of faith, and they did not tolerate evil. They were discerning correctly the things of God from that which was not of God. They partook in the sufferings of Christ and did not faint when trials and tribulations came, but instead persevered and endured. They did not forsake the work of the Lord or His commands. They were always careful to follow in His ways and to serve Him. But they forsook the Lord Himself: loving Him, appreciating Him, adoring Him, communing with Him, developing their personal relationships with Him… becoming intimate with Him.

How grave a deception the enemy brings to us, even in the midst of our sincere determination to serve God: to minister to the lost, to lay hands on the sick, to edify each other, to extend a helping hand to the poor, and to set the captives free? How subtle the lie, that even in being diligent to keep our hearts pure as we serve, being careful and alert to resist the enemy each and every moment, being quick to discern truth from lies in the body of Christ itself, being strong to flee temptation, being steadfast to abhor what is evil and cleave to what is good, and being swift to reject and cast away the things that are not of God, enduring great trials and sufferings, we can still forget our First Love? That even though we are sincere, dedicated, focused, and determined in doing all that is right in God’s eyes, we can still forget the most important one of all, the Lord Himself.

In the busyness of serving God and living a holy life, we sometimes lose our focus. We forget the One Who has loved us so perfectly. We forget that it is only through His amazing love that we are saved and empowered to be victorious in our own lives and be able to minister His grace unto others. We forget the One Who gave no thought for Himself, but took our punishment, suffering in our place and in the midst of His sufferings, thought only of us. We forget that when no one else saw the emptiness, despair, and hopelessness in our own lives, He saw, He came, and He rescued us. Not only did He save us from death and eternal hell, but He gave us abundant, victorious life right here on earth. Yes, we loved Him with all our hearts when He first saved us, and we remembered Him when He healed our bodies. We thanked Him when He delivered our souls from bondages and yokes, and we made up in our minds that we would follow Him and serve Him all the days of our lives. But then we got caught up in the “Purpose” and the “Call,” and we forget how it all started. We forget the love that filled our hearts when He forgave us and washed our sins away as if they had never been there. We forget the hours and hours we spent adoring and worshipping Him for His amazing love for us, and His heart that is so pure and full of compassion for us. We forget the intimacy we once shared when even being in a worship service was not enough and we could not wait to get back into a secluded room to adore and fellowship with Him in privacy, One on one. We forget the nights He would wake us up to worship and commune with Him. We forget how it makes us complete to just be in His awesome presence, and we forget that it is this union with Him that enables us to serve Him and bring His life to others. Without love for Christ – first and foremost – no matter how strong our efforts, we will be only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1) – all our works will be empty.

Mary did not forget. Mary adored her Lord with all she had and all she was. Matthew 26:7-9 says, “A woman came to Him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on His head as He was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor." It was His very own disciples, the ones who were His closest followers, daily traveling with Him and learning of His great truths, witnessing His divine miracles, and receiving of His power to do all He Himself did on earth… they were the ones who forgot. They chose the works of the Lord, over the Lord. They thought of feeding the poor, a noble thought, but they forgot the Provider Who was right in the midst of them. Mary accorded Him His rightful place in her life as Lord. She placed Him first and gave Him her all.

But praise be to the Lord for His faithfulness. For even when we forget Him, He does not forget us. He is always there to love, encourage, deliver, heal, strengthen, and yes, even to correct us. This too is His mercy and grace. He is faithful to call us back to our First Love, not because He so needs our love, praise, and worship, but because we need him. Yes He loves us with a divine love and yes He desires us to love Him, but it is all for our sakes. Someone once described God’s love this way… “God’s love is not some manipulative endeavor to get what God wants. God’s love is an effort to give us what we need”. The Lord Himself says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing (John 15:5).” Apart from Him we can do nothing. We need to abide in Him in love so that we can receive all we need for life and godliness. This is why we need to seek Him, love Him, worship Him, adore Him, and minister to Him. He is our First Love. He is our source. He is the never drying fountain of our love and our very life.

I once received a personal revelation in a particular situation in which the Lord said to me, “I have taught you well. No more can the enemy use the things of the world; riches, power, and pleasures to draw you away from me, for you have been tried and tested and you now see with great clarity the deception he brings in this area. Now, he goes deeper, for he is now using the things of Me to draw you away from Me. Beware.” This was such an awakening for me. At that time, I was very busy in ministry, attending conferences, prophetic and deliverances classes etc, and getting caught up in the gifts of the spirits and supernatural manifestations. My heart was sincere in seeking my purpose and calling, and I desperately wanted to help others. But, I did not realize that there is a big difference between the things of God and God. We cannot seek the things of God, thinking it is God or that it is what He has for us, apart from Him. We need to seek Him first, become intimate with Him, and then draw from His well of love and wisdom, allowing His Holy Spirit to lead us, guide us, and be with us in all things. With this revelation my eyes were opened to this very cunning deception of the enemy. I now try to be very alert in my spirit concerning such things, and I thank God every day for His faithfulness and His love which is so far above our human love. I seek Him, in Spirit and in Truth, to fill me with this same love – for Himself first, and then for others.

God’s love is too multi-dimensional and too deep to be defined by the earthly word “love” the way we know it. In a small way, it is captured in the love of this mother in the following story I read some time ago. As dramatic as it sounds, it brings home the point. Paraphrasing it sounds like this: An only son in a village, very much loved by his mother, fell in love with a young lady from a neighboring village and wanted to marry her. The young lady did not love him and made all kinds of demands from him, abusing his love. He complied with her every demand because of his great love for her. Finally, she asked the unthinkable; he must prove that his love for her was an unrivaled one by killing his mother, taking her heart out of her body, and presenting it as a trophy of his love for her over his love for his mother. The young man was in emotional agony over his options for many days for he truly loved his mother. Finally, his seeming love for the young lady overcame him and seeing his mother alone, killed her, cut out her heart, and with the bloody heart in his hands, ran all the way to the next village all the while fleeing the guilt that tormented him. On the way, travelling through a heavily wooded area, he stumbled and fell, and the heart bounced out of his hand. As he attempted to rise to his feet, he frenetically rummaged through the undergrowth looking for her heart. Finally, he spotted it and picked it up, and as he dusted off his knees he heard a voice coming from the heart saying… “Son, are you hurt?..... Son, are you hurt?”

Such is the love of Christ for us, unquenchable, unconditional, unfailing, and everlasting. Today He is drawing you back out of this very love. Today He is asking you for your sakes to… remember your First Love.

Debie Misir: July 16, 2008

Being a Living Testimony

"You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other." Galatians 5:13-15

I recently returned from a trip to Florida where someone commented that there was no difference, in her eyes, between someone who claims to be a Christian, and someone who is not. She maintains there are many Christians who sincerely claim to be true believers but whose words and actions are deceitful and desperately wicked, and then again there are Christians who are good. Likewise, there are non-Christians who are sinful but there are also non-Christians who are very good and kind people, often going the extra mile in ways she has rarely encountered in a professed Christian. I have pondered on this and as always first became very introspective. I looked within my own heart and saw clearly, as I often do, the wickedness she spoke off so passionately…not so much in terms of desires to do outward evil, but in the form of deep inner selfish motives. I have myself many times in the past despaired of ever becoming holy, even with the little understanding of holiness that I have, until I received a revelation deep in my spirit, that there is nothing in me that is good and there is nothing in me that can change the filth into good. This was not received from reading the scriptures (the written word) but it was after a particularly profound encounter with the holiness and purity of the Living Word as I experienced His manifested Holy presence during a time of worship. I only then understood, to some extent, what Isaiah was referring to (Isaiah 6) when He saw the true state of his filthiness before a Holy God. Then I realized that the only requirements of me as a true believer of Christ are my love and obedience… My sincere love for the Lord and my total surrender and obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit as by my faith, He sanctifies and purifies my heart… the same way the seraph brought the live coal and touched Isaiah lips, purging his guilt and sins. Isaiah could not cleanse and transform himself and neither can I.

I realized that the one who made the above comment is absolutely right. There is no difference between believers and non-believers…except for the blood of Jesus. This is the finished work of the cross. This is what makes us different….nothing of ourselves…..nothing but the blood of Jesus Christ. The Bible says we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are all the same…sinners by nature and by actions. But the good news, the gospel we proclaim, is that Jesus Christ came to redeem us sinners with His own most precious blood. It is the only thing that can redeem us from our sins and it is a free gift of God. We cannot earn it by being good, we cannot purchase it, and we cannot win it. To God be the glory! The word of God says "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8). It was by God's grace, through His unmerited favor, that I have been saved and it through this same grace that I will be transformed into the blameless and spotless bride of Christ. It is by faith that I received Christ through His grace, and it is by faith that I will continue to believe and trust in Him that the work He has begun in me and in every true believer, He will complete.

Now, if we are born again, after sincerely praying the prayer of salvation and believing with all our hearts that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again, then our spirits are quickened by the Holy Spirit and we are immediately reconciled to our Father in heaven. After sincerely repenting of our sins and receiving Jesus Christ as Lord, His Holy Spirit indwells us and begins a transformation of our hearts and our lives into that of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Obvious besetting sins, habits, and behaviors that are not Christ-like are immediately dealt with. We can no longer do the things that we used to do, the things that are displeasing to God. We no longer have a desire to do them.

Next the Holy Spirit will start to work on the hidden, secret sins and wickedness of our hearts that have become strongholds within us, to gradually reveal and uproot them. He does this through many trials and sufferings, imparting the character of Christ as we surrender our evil ways to Him. Total transformation is a process and a partnership. Know that the Lord will not do anything in our lives without our consent. He will not go against our wills. We must to surrender our hearts and align our wills with His. We need to obey the Holy Spirit every step of the way as He performs this sanctification work in us. Only then will our hearts be transformed. Only then will our lives be changed more and more. If we resist the work of the Holy Spirit and insist on living after the flesh as carnal Christians, we will remain unchanged, living lives no different from those who have not yet believed. This is a very dangerous place to be in. At best, you will not have the victorious, abundant life promised by the Lord. At the worst, you will stay in the bondage of continuous sin, eventually backsliding and falling into apostasy, losing your salvation. The word of God says we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Salvation starts when we receive the Lord, but we must allow the Holy Spirit to do His work to bring it to completion in us.

Know that a true believer will not willingly resist the Lord for the Lord is irresistible to him or her. If you are not being obedient to the voice of the Lord, and if you are not being changed from the inside out, and if this change is not obvious to all (believers and non-believers) then you need to either question your salvation or seek deep deliverances from yokes and bondages that are strongholds in your life preventing you from growing spiritually and changing. This is not said in criticism or condemnation but out of love, with a deep, sincere desire to open the eyes of all who are currently living a life that dishonors God after years of being a Christian, to the fact that there is something seriously wrong. I want to call to your attention, the word of God which promises… "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17). Do not allow the enemy to deceive you into thinking it is ok to be a Carnal Christian or that you are saved just by saying the words to the prayer of salvation. You must believe it in your heart. You must know that you know that you know. You must experience a transformation, a deep change of heart and lifestyle for it to be real. Seek the Lord for this blessed assurance. He will give it when you come to Him with a sincere, seeking heart…. I promise you…. and if Christ is in you, you will change.

Many claim to know the Lord and to be possessed of His Holy Spirit, praising the Lord often with words, but dishonoring Him in their actions to their own brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as to those whose eyes have not been unveiled as yet. Be careful, for how can we claim this when by thoughts and deeds we are constantly worrying, grieving, gossiping, backbiting, conniving, manipulating, deceiving, lying, envying, lusting, fighting, being selfish, arrogant, controlling, and oftentimes blatantly wicked. If your actions are often in the area of those described above beloved, sincerely seek the Lord for true salvation or deliverance from such carnality. For these are the traits of the ungodly soul and if you are exhibiting these traits, the truth is… either you are not saved or you are still very much Carnal. I once heard the testimony of a Pastor who said the prayer of salvation when he was a teenager, because of his parents who were devout Christians and peer pressure in the church. He said he did this several times from childhood to late teens. He was a talented singer and soon became the worship leader. He later became a pastor and preached for many years, over 25. He confessed that though out all of this, he was not saved. His heart was not changed and he was bound in continuous sin. He would preach all day, and do drugs and party all night. It was only after 25 years that he desperately felt he should truly seek the Lord. He went into a bathroom late one night and sincerely surrendered his life to the Lord. Immediately he knew the moment He was born again and that he was a new creation. His life was transformed from that moment on as he was set free from some addictions right way, and some through a process.

Paul says "Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace" (Romans 6:8-14)

A heart that has truly believed and received the Lord and is fully surrendered to the Lord will change. Your life will be transformed. You will hear His voice and obey… The Lord says… My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27) , and you will not desire to do anything to dishonor Him in whom you have believed. As the Holy Spirit works in you, the fruits of the Spirit will begin to manifest in abundance: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, and Self-Control. There will be no room for anything else. Everyone will begin to see Christ in you. Your personality may stay the same for God has given each of us a unique personality, but your character will change. You will have the character of the Lord Himself. Your actions will follow the change in your character. You become a Living Testimony. You will no longer have to verbally witness over and over again of the goodness and mercies of the Lord. You will no longer have to explain the transforming power of the Holy Spirit within. You will no longer have to share your own testimony of what Christ has done in your life… they will see it all. You are now your own testimony and a Living Testimony of the grace of God.

This is the place every true believer should come to. A place where words are no longer necessary but your very life becomes the living word. The entire world must see the goodness of the Lord in your goodness to them. The entire world must know the character of Christ through your actions. They will know by the life you live and the person you are, that you are somehow possessed of qualities that are beyond the natural and you could not possibly live a life so obviously evident of a supernatural power at work in it without a Holy God. They will acknowledge that truly He is Lord when they see His unconditional, abundant love pouring out of your heart for them. Beloved this is what the world looks for and this is what the Lord desires. Those who do not now believe, do not want to hear cleverly quoted scriptures, long eloquent sermons, even heartrending testimonies…. they want to see the word alive in you. They want to experience the touch of Holy Spirit through you. They want to know God's compassion and kindness through you. They will not trust in the power of God to save them and transform their lives forever if they cannot first see that same change in the lives of those who profess to be indwelt with His Holy Spirit. We are His face, His heart, His hands and His mind to a lost and dying world. We must reveal Him to a world that can only see Him through us, as their spiritual eyes are not yet opened. Let us glorify our Lord by becoming that Living Testimony He created us to be.

Being a Living Testimony is not always easy. It does not mean others will always see you as blessed and highly favored. It does not mean you will not have trials and tribulations, oftentimes more than those who have not yet believed. And, it does not mean you will not suffer loss and pain. But it does mean that you have the power of the Holy Spirit within you; the power to endure, the power to overcome, and the power to love through it all. Know that though your physical station in life may remain unchanged and your circumstances and situations may often get worse, this is when the change in us should be evident. This is when the character of Christ in us must show forth. This is the time the world looks for that difference that the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit brought to us… your reactions and actions in the midst of the good and bad, sickness and health, lack and plenty, and sorrows and joy. This is the time the life of Christ in you must be displayed. This is when your hope must shine. This is when your faith must be steadfast and strong. This is when they will say; truly the Lord lives in you and is with you.

Beloved, the gifts of the Spirit, church attendance and service to the body of Christ, acts of charity, singing in the worship team, much prayer and fasting…..outward actions of living a holy life….. Without true salvation which brings a lasting transformation in your hearts and lives do not comprise a Living Testimony. Such works might please your flesh and the flesh of others, but they cannot bring about spiritual change in your life or anyone else's life. I have come to the realization that unbelievers have a gift of sifting through the dross of Christianity and getting to the core with much less trouble than Christians. It must be a gift from God given to the unbelievers to help believers understand and examine their professed faith in Christ. We are so often caught up with trying to do the works we think a Christian should do, that we do not stop to examine the motives of our hearts in Spirit and in Truth. Are our hearts sincerely believing and trusting in God as our All-Sufficiency? Are we totally dependant on God for everything? Are our hearts free of all malice and evil motives? Are our actions pure and undefiled not only to brothers and sisters in Christ, but to those who are yet to be saved? Are we displaying Christ to the world? Be careful beloved. The salvations of souls are dependant on the work of the Holy Spirit in and through you. The world is watching for a revelation of Christ and they are looking for it in YOU…Let your life be a living testimony for the glory of God that all men might behold Him and souls be brought into the Kingdom as they come to the Christ they met in and through you. What a responsibility the Lord has bestowed upon us! What a trust He has place in us! Let us not disappoint for He has already equipped us to be what He has called us to… through the power of His Holy Spirit who works in us…a living testimony.

Kaye Mendoza: July 09, 2008

The Rich

"And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Matthew 19:24

When we think about being rich, we usually associate it with material wealth and affluence - and it is rightly so. Consider this, if we get most of what we want from whatever money can buy apart from God, like a spoiled child, our tendency is to no longer look on to Him as our Provider, but our dependence and our alliance will be on money first and foremost. We seek to find jobs that pay well, create money-making schemes, and even raise funds for charity's sake - all using our own efforts, instead of relying upon God to give us our heart's desires, forgetting that it is God himself who provides the money since He is the ultimate Provider. We seek after the provision but not the Provider.

This kind of thinking drives us far from God, because by then, our minds and thoughts are too pre-occupied with the material things that we so want to acquire. We are robbing ourselves of a great relationship with the Creator, our Abba Father Who delights in surprising us and giving us all good things.

However, if we think that being rich is only about being opulent, then I believe we are not getting the whole picture. In an email I received a long time ago, it says that we are richer than 75% of the world when we have food on our refrigerator, clothes on our backs, roofs over our heads, and places where we can sleep. We are in the top 8% of the world when we have money in the bank and in our wallets, and spare change in a dish.

Since we can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death we are more blessed than three billion people in the world; and because we have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, we are more blessed than five hundred million people in the world. Finally, to all of us who woke up this morning with more health than illness, we are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

It does not end there. We regard ourselves rich when we think of ourselves as basically good people - doing more good than harm to our society, being a nice fellow to everyone, not wanting to cause any trouble, relying alone on our own intellect, and even giving to different charitable causes - but still refusing the salvation offered by Christ. When we think we don't need anyone else, when we value our independence, when we say we are doing great even without God's presence in our lives - then we are affirming that we are rich.

"Who then can be saved?" Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God." Luke 18:26-27

I had a most beautiful conversation last night with a fellow believer, and we have reached the same conclusion, namely: we could witness all we want, tell our personal experiences to our hearts delight, share our heart-breaking testimonies, quote the bible, hand out a million tracts, live a life that is pleasing to God and fellowmen - indeed, being Christians, these are our responsibility - but ultimately, it is God's responsibility to draw you out and call your name and then it is your responsibility to respond and open up your heart to Him Who beckons you closer.

Despise us not, when we declare the goodness of God in our lives; scorn us not when we try to point out the way - we are not trying to convert you - because in all honesty, we cannot. What we do is merely our duty, to point out the Only Way to the Father, and that is not through any man - however Christian we may claim to be - the Way is only through our Lord Jesus Christ, and the shed Blood of the Lamb.

My prayer is for you, dearest one. May your heart be opened and not hardened to heed the call of God in your life. He desires to make you truly rich, not only in this world, but most importantly in the world to come. What is impossible with us, is possible with God - ask Him sincerely, dearest one - to reveal Himself truly and fully to you, in ways that only you can relate to. What our Father wants is not religion; He seeks to have a deep personal relationship with you. When you hear Him call, I pray that you will harden not your heart.

Kaye Mendoza: July 02, 2008

Love Never Fails

I had a vision wherein the Lord showed me a big gymnasium full of people – lying down on the floor, cold and naked, and sick. The people are trying to sleep, but even in the process of attempting to sleep and get comfortable, they kick one another as well as those who were trying to help them – hurting each other all the while struggling to maintain the warmth they have within themselves.

This is a bizarre vision for me, but one so vivid. The Holy Spirit told me that this is a representation of the Body of Christ at the time of the day when it is the coldest, the time nearest dawn… the time when it is nearest to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is at this time where the Body of Christ is sick, cold and naked. He quickened it within me that we are to pray for love – to cover the nakedness… for love covers a multitude of sins.

As we prayed for love to overflow, the vision continued and I saw white sheets borne by angels and saints wearing white dresses covering the nakedness and giving warmth to the people. After some time they became comfortable and colors returned to their bodies, relieving the deathly paleness, the saints wearing white were able to minister to their wounds and bandage them for healing.

Love never fails. We do show that we have emerged from death to life because we love our brothers – this is how we are identified by the people from outside looking into the Kingdom of God. If we don't exhibit love and compassion with one another, we are not any different to the ways of the world. We are Christians because we are followers of Christ and Christ is the anointed Son of God and God is Love – it only follows that in whatever we do, we are rightly called Christians when we do it out of love.

We all heard about the story of Joseph of Arimathea in Luke 23:50-53, asking for the body of the crucified Christ to bury Him. Christ is not yet raised, He was dead, but Joseph exhibited love by asking for His body to cover the nakedness. He doesn't know whether Christ will live again, he doesn't know if what Christ Jesus proclaimed will really come true, but his motive was love – to cover the nakedness of a "good man" who healed and had compassion to the people.

That example of Joseph of Arimathea is what we ought to do for our brothers and sisters. We are all believers of Christ, being transformed from glory to glory. We do not know the plans that our Father has for each and every person, but it should not be our major aim to know because no matter what, the command that we all have received is to love. I know that everyone knows how to love because it is deeply embedded within us.

Let us show love and compassion to our hurting brothers and sisters, because when they receive the love from us, they will become more open to allow us to help them deal with their wounds. Once love flows inside the Body of Christ, it is easy for us to dispense it to the hurting world. Love restores, revives and refreshes us to be able to give, lead and direct others. Without the love, people will just clutch and hold on to their wounds, instead of showing them openly as if saying, "Here, this is where it hurts. Please let your love flow and heal my wound." Always remember that all gifts – healing, deliverance, prophecies, tongues and knowledge – shall cease and vanish away, but love will always remain.

Let us stop kicking one another or throwing hurtful words, hurling attacks and assassinating characters – these are traits of the world, and are not in any way the character of God. We must be patient and compassionate in encouraging one another, keeping our joy and our peace in the process. If there's any doctrinal disagreements arise, let us be mature enough to agree to disagree, but always, always, let love have the final word.

God is Love and Love always wins.