Kaye Mendoza: November 24, 2008

Life Transformation


Colossians 2:6-7 "As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving."

When I became born again, it was easy for me to say as in 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." In my own naiveté, I thought: "If I believe, quote and declare the scripture frequent enough I'll wake up one day completely changed - without any selfishness, anxiety, irritability, anger, offense, hurt or any excess baggage anymore." Many of us are like this: declaring the Word, waiting for the instantaneous change into this new (spiritual) man... alas, I have yet to see someone like this.

Our fallen nature is deeply embedded in our characters. Once we became born again, we have to purpose it in our hearts and decide to change so that this sinful nature will no longer be part of who we are. We have to exercise ourselves to godliness; discipline ourselves; tame this lower nature and make it submit to our renewed spirits. When our nature becomes Christ-like, every yoke will thus become easy and all burdens will be light as we submit to the Spirit of God.

It takes a strong spirit to initiate this change; thank God we are not alone! We have the strength of the Holy Spirit within us that urges us, prompts us, and enables us to realize this goal - to be transformed into the very image, likeness and character of Christ.

As Jesus said in Mark 8:34 "… If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross, and [joining Me as a disciple and siding with My party] follow with Me [continually, cleaving steadfastly to Me]." In His very own words, we become His disciples when we follow Him as He became obedient by the sufferings He endured.

Let us follow Christ as He disciplined Himself by practicing the ascetic disciplines of life, which, according to Dallas Willard, are the disciplines of solitude, silence, fasting, frugality, chastity, secrecy, sacrifice, study, worship, celebration, service, prayer, fellowship, confession and submission. Let us approach them with an open heart and pure motives. We may not be able to do all these things at one time all the time but I believe we should do the discipline that is hardest to us first. It will get easier as we exercise them, with the grace and mercy of God.

When through continuous discipline, we have learned to be Christ-like, we will no longer ask, "what will Jesus do?" in every situation - we will know what He will do - because our nature has been changed into His nature. We will now live as He lived.

Life transformation is not a one day affair. It takes time to develop a habit; and perhaps an equal amount of time for this habit to change into character; the kind of character which is Christ-like and which enables Him to live His life through us. Then we can truly say, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me."

Let us pray. "Father, in the name of Jesus, I thank You for the provision of the Blood of Jesus as an atoning sacrifice for my sins. I believe that Your Son, Jesus is Christ and I welcome Him to be the Lord and Savior of my life. I ask the Holy Spirit to dwell in me and help me as I embark into these life transforming disciplines… that I may walk as Christ walked and live as He lived. Thank You Father for Your love. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."

Debie Misir: November 18, 2008

Be merciful to me oh God!

“Be merciful to me oh God” (Psalm 56:1) was always David’s impassioned plea before the Lord. David knew the unfailing love of a God who had destined Him for greatness, given Him much power and wealth, and blessed His generations to come. David had seen the miracles of God and felt the hand of God’s grace in His life many times in impossible situations and crippling battles. He knew He was the beloved of God and that He was chosen by the Lord Himself for a mighty purpose. He felt the power and favor of God in His life as He watched himself miraculously being taken from His lowly status of a rejected shepherd boy to that of a mighty King. He worshipped and experienced God in his daily life, and he knew who God was and who he was in God. It was this knowledge and this knowledge alone that enabled him to come time and time again before God in abject humility regardless of his physical station in life, crying out….”Be merciful to me oh God.”

What made David stay in this place of humility? What made David grow deeper and deeper in humility? After all, God did call him “a man after mine own heart.” (Acts 13:22) It seems to me, the more a person advances in the world, the more he or she gains physically, intellectually, and materially; the more confidence, boldness, and a growing sense of self worth, if not blatant pride, would rise up. Yet it seemed the more David gained in the world, the more humble he became before God - for David never stopped coming before God; and the more he came before Lord, the more He realized that all his power, all his might, all his wealth, and all his influence came only from God. David knew he was dust and that it was only by the grace of God that he was even breathing, much less ruling as a king with great power and wealth over Israel. He stood in awe of God and was humbled by God’s love for His creation as evidenced in (Psalm 8:4) “what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” David hid this knowledge in his heart and learned to depend only on God. It was this dependence, this humility which enabled him to receive from God and remain a man “after God’s own heart.” What then is humility or meekness? It is total trust in God; it is unshakeable faith in God; it is total dependence on God; and it is standing always in great awe of God -- His creation and the marvelous works of His hand. In this place of humility, God pours in great strength into a person and controls that strength to exalt that person and glorify Himself through that person. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6)

The Word of God says “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). When God created the earth and man, He gave man dominion over all the earth. Man was in constant fellowship and communion with God, totally dependent on Him. It was this humility before God which enabled man to carry the power and dominion God gave him. When Adam fell from grace through his disobedience, He lost His meekness - his humility before God - for sin entered into man. But, through the obedience of one man (the last Adam, Jesus Christ), who paid the price for all the sins of mankind, righteousness was restored. “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19). We have been redeemed and all dominion and power has been restored to us. However, we do not as yet operate fully in this authority or walk totally in this dominion power. Sometimes we operate in this power and dominion in the Church, in ministry, and even in our private lives. But oftentimes we keep fluctuating back and forth; in the Spirit one moment, and in the flesh the next. Why is this? It is because our hearts have not been fully surrendered to the Lord so that His humility (His meekness) can be imparted fully into us. Only when we have this humility restored to us and we again become totally dependent on the Lord at all times for all things, can we carry His power and exercise the dominion He has died to restore to us.

This meekness, this humility is the childlike humility the Lord himself taught us about. He taught that it is the mark of true greatness in the Kingdom of heaven. He said that childlike humility is the mandatory requirement for all who would even enter the kingdom of heaven. When His disciples asked the question: “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (Matthew 18:1), He presents a child to them, responding with “Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). The humility of a child has three important aspects which we must imitate: their sense of wonder and awe at all the Lord has created; their total dependence on adults to provide for all their needs; and their unquestioning trust that their needs will be met, that they are loved, and that truth is taught to them. Throughout the New Testament, the Apostles are constantly exhorting on this characteristic called humility, for they knew that this is what enables us to carry the anointing and power of God, and this is what enables the Holy Spirit to transform us into the spotless and blameless Bride of Christ. Paul writes to the Romans: “By the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned” (Romans 12:3). And to the Philippians, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. . . Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross” (Phillipians 2:3, 5-8). James says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6, Proverbs 3:34).

“Be merciful to me oh God,” must be the cry from our hearts whenever we go before God. Yes, the Word of God says, we must go with boldness before the throne of God. This does not mean we must be bold before God, only bold (confident) to go before Him for Christ died to give us direct access to the throne of God and we must embrace all He died to give us. When we stumble and fall through failures and sins, we must never be ashamed or hesitant to go to the mercy seat. For this is where the provision has already been made for the pardon of our sins. Quickly we must come before the Lord. But, when we come, we must come in abject humility like David. This means coming in the knowledge of our nothingness and filth before an Almighty Holy God knowing deep inside that it is only by His grace that we live, move, and have our being, and it is only by His mercy that we carry His Holy Spirit, which is power from on high. All our boldness must be reserved only for the world and the devil, proclaiming the Word of God and fighting spiritual battles. But before our Heavenly Father, we must humbly, reverently seek His mercy all the days of our lives.

At the same time, we must be careful not to be deceived by the imitation of humility which comes from the enemy; false humility (pride) which will often seek to deceive a sincere child of God. The following story I once read clearly illustrates the dangers and subtle deception of false humility. It is the story of a Sunday school teacher who was teaching on spiritual pride. He referenced the most appropriate scripture reference to do this -- the teaching of the publican and the Pharisee. The Pharisee goes into the Church and begins to pray. (Luke 18:11-14) records “The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." The Sunday school teacher held up the Pharisee as an example of spiritual pride and self-righteousness before his young students. He expounded the dangers of spiritual pride and showed how blatantly the acts of the Pharisee depicted spiritual pride. He spoke of the humility and meekness of the Tax Collector in comparison. His preaching was accurate, pointed, and correct. At the end of the sermon he turned to the children and said….Children lets bow our heads and pray, “Lord we thank you that we are not like the Pharisee...” M.R. DeHaan said “Humility is something we should constantly pray for, yet never thank God that we have.” For the moment you think you have it, you’ve lost it.

Many confuse meekness with weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth. A.W Tozer said “The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. He has accepted God's estimate of his own life: In himself, nothing; In God, everything. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring.” Moses possessed this quality of character, above all men, according to the Word of God, and He was a great leader who carried God’s mighty anointing and power easily. (Numbers 12:3) records “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.”

The Lord Himself demonstrated great power and authority while on earth, even in His self-limiting capacity after “emptying” Himself of His divinity. He stood up to the great teachers of Israel, chased the money changers out of the temple with a whip, and performed mighty miracles like raising the dead and rebuking the winds. Yet, as recorded in (Matthew 11:29), He was the meekest of all. He says “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Meekness is strength and power under control. It is what enables us to carry God’s power and allow Him to control this power in and through us for the benefit of all.

To carry God’s anointing and power without the spirit of humility is a very dangerous thing. I remember a prophecy being given to someone in the ministry on receiving a greater mantle of God’s power. As this mantle was given, the leader was exhorted to stay in the place of humility otherwise the weight of the mantle would be more than he could bear. God’s power can only be carried easily by someone wearing a cloak of humility (meekness), otherwise that same power would destroy them. For God’s power is given to serve others. For us to carry His power, we must have a servant’s heart. Operating in God’s power without humility will quickly invite the spirits of pride and lust and the judgment of the Lord will be swift and hard. Someone once described God’s power, in a small way, as a roomful of dynamite. If you do not know how to control it or use it properly, it would destroy you and multitudes around you. But if you allow God to instruct you and use His power through you, then great and mighty miracles will ensue and multitudes will be rescued from the very mouth of hell. For this to happen, you need a servant’s heart which is always humble before (totally dependant on) God, receiving strength (His power) and placing that strength under His full control. “How do we know if we have a servant’s heart? By how we act when we are treated like one!” (author unknown)

Let us pray: Be merciful to us oh God! As we come humbly before Your throne of grace in the name of our Lord Jesus, help us to see and understand the error of our ways. Help us to always come before You with a humble repentant heart, open and willing to let go of that which is unclean before You. Help us to surrender everything that we are and that we have and allow Your Holy Spirit to work in and through us. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

For those who do not know the Lord and would like to know Him please pray this prayer:

Be merciful to me oh God! Lord Jesus, I believe You died and rose again. I repent of my sins and ask You to come into my Heart and be my Lord and Savior. I thank you Lord.

Kaye Mendoza: November 12, 2008

Heart Checkup

Proverbs 17:22 “A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”

How do we know if we have a happy, healthy heart? Just as much as we have to take care of our physical hearts by exercising, having less stress, eating well, stopping vices, and engaging in a support group; we must take double care in keeping our spiritual “inner” hearts sound. We allow ourselves to be subjected to physical heart tests that range from doctor’s visits, EKGs, blood tests, nuclear scans, or coronary angiography; we must also, from time to time, test our spiritual hearts for vital signs.

God’s business is transforming our hearts. Ezekiel 11:19 “And I will give them one heart [a new heart] and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the stony [unnaturally hardened] heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh [sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God].” He desires that our hearts be changed into that of Christ’s – soft and tender to hear the cries of the poor, childlike to enjoy everyday moments.

How far are we in our transformation? Let us take time and test our own hearts so that when the Lord tests us, we will not be found lacking. As written in Psalm 26:2 “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; test my heart and my mind.” Let us give ourselves a chance to sit in solitude and really examine the soundness of our hearts.


How do we exercise our hearts? Let us check ourselves – are we able to feel profound emotions like love, joy, peace, appreciation, and perhaps even pain or anger? When was the last time your heart was touched by a worship, a song, a movie, a hug, or a circumstance? Do you remember the last time you have shed a tear or laughed out loud?

Are we really living in the present – enjoying every moment with your family, friends, relatives, loved ones or even time alone with God? Perhaps we are just floating around, being in a certain place physically but not really there – not giving our all. Remember that the only real time we have is NOW. Past is already gone and tomorrow is not in our hands. Too often, we think that the future is sometime way ahead of us – but no – the future may be an hour from now. Let us live in the NOW, no matter where God takes us.

Let us make ourselves approved of God by doing what He appointed us to do at this moment. 1 Thessalonians 2:4 “But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the glad tidings (the Gospel), so we speak not to please men but to please God, Who tests our hearts [expecting them to be approved].” Tears and laughter differs us from the rest of the creation… let us exercise our hearts moment by moment – whether doing something common or something sublime – for the glory of God.


In Luke 18:16 tells of a situation where “… Jesus called them [ the parents] to Him, saying, Allow the little children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for to such [as these] belongs the kingdom of God.”

Do we have time set aside for enjoyment like a good book, arts or crafts, music, or even quiet solitude? Do we enjoy natural spontaneity – anything goes, doing (fun) things without a plan? Do we dislike unscheduled programs – that request to pray for a friend or that phone call out of the blue?

Sometimes we tend to think that ministry is the only thing that pleases God. Let us not forget that the Lord is the Creator of all pleasures. The enemy corrupted this when he overdid pleasure… The Lord wants us to enjoy pleasures this life has to offer in moderation. He died for us so that we may have life and life more abundantly. Let us become as the little children are; easy to please, uncomplicated, effortless in forgiving, eager to learn, straightforward, laughs and cries without difficulty (may even do both actions at the same time)…


In the very words of our Lord Jesus in Matthew 4:4 says, “… It has been written, Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” Our food is God’s word.

How long has it been since we heard that still small voice and the hushed promptings of God? 1 Kings 19:12 “And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice.” When we eat our physical food, we take time in scheduling, thinking, preparing, buying and doing whatever is necessary to make sure we are eating the right and sumptuous meals. Indeed there are times when we know exactly what we are going to eat for dinner as soon as lunch is over. We must do the same for our spiritual food. Let us set aside a specific time, let us think about it – meditate on it, prepare ourselves and make sure that we get our daily nourishment.


If we take time to check our hearts, I believe much of the sicknesses and diseases in our bodies will be remedied. We are responsible for our very own well-being, especially the status of our hearts. In the natural, we stop smoking because we know it is bad for our hearts… indeed not only our heart, but the entire body. We must do the same in the spirit – to stop the things that are not encouraging us in our walk with the Lord.

Do you feel like you bit more than you can chew? Gluttony is bad in the physical as much as it is bad in the spirit. Are you overextended? Do you feel like you are being burnt-out in the ministry? Perhaps you are wearing clothes that do not fit; serving in areas where you are not called to; or giving out what you do not have. Are you running on the Spirit of God or by your own adrenalin? Do not sustain yourself with your own strength because sooner or later, you’ll get burned. Let Christ lead you – because when He leads, He will also equip you to carry through what He started.

Do you spend time to weed out the dark grasses that settles in our hearts? Do you find it necessary to earn your worth or prove yourself all the time instead of taking your identity from Christ? Do you impose burden on others that should not be theirs? Psalm 127:1 “Except the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; except the Lord keeps the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.” Let us spend time assessing ourselves and stopping the things that do not help us or others have a healthy heart.


Once the vital signs of your heart is diagnosed, remember to join a support group that will encourage you in the inner work of transforming your heart. You may start with a few people – friends, brothers and sisters, family – in the Body of Christ whom you can trust. I believe you know them by their names – they are the ones who knows you inside out, even your murky and annoying sides.

Start by being honest. Tell them that you want to change your heart and you’ll appreciate sincere feedback. Once they see that you are truthful in your desire to change, they will offer genuine views on how you can transform yourself into the kind of person the Lord wants you to be.

We all want to please the Lord. Yes, the work is in the spirit but the Lord gave us these bodies as vessels to show for. Our vessels that are clean on the inside will only shine all the more on the outside. What better way to see ourselves than the eyes of our friends! Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose].”


Dearest Father in heaven, I know now that You are in the business of transforming my heart. I ask the Lord Jesus to come into my heart and receive of His saving grace this day. Please change my heart. I desire to see transformation in my self so that I may glorify You. I trust that the Holy Spirit will work in me moment by moment to achieve this change. Thank You Father. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Debie Misir: November 04, 2008

By way of the Cross

Many of us have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior by believing and repenting. We have been forgiven, washed white as snow, reconciled to the Father, and granted eternal life. We go to church, worship the Lord, diligently search the scriptures, and even zealously serve the Lord in ministry by preaching, teaching, evangelizing, prophesying, healing and casting out demons. Yet, many of us have not fully understood the death of our Lord and many of us have not fully embraced the cross. This is acceptable for the babes in Christ, but there comes a time in the process of working out our salvation when we must start to eat the meat of the gospel - to surrender to the deep work of the Cross upon our flesh. Paul says, “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal.” (1 Corinthians 3:2) Many who are yet “carnal” (living after the flesh) cannot embrace the cross because they have neither understood the cross nor the fact that their salvation comes by way of the cross.

The Word of God says we have been baptized into His death. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Romans 6:3). Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20). The way of our salvation: our forgiveness, our reconciliation with our heavenly Father, and our passing over into eternal life, is by way of death on the cross. First, the death of our Lord and Savior which provided the way of our salvation, and then our own death, the death of our carnality (our old man) on the cross which will allow us to live honorably before our heavenly Father and victoriously after the Spirit.

We, like Paul, have been crucified with Christ on the cross at Calvary in order that we may be resurrected with Him in new life -- life in the Spirit. It is the work of the Cross to bring death to our soul life, our old man; and it is the power of the Cross which will resurrect us into eternal life, our new man. For this reason, we must not only embrace the Cross, but we must glory in it. We must glory both in the work that it has already accomplished, and the experiences we must go through in order for this finished work to be made manifest in us. Paul says “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Galatians 6:14). Paul does not glory in the birth, life, miracles, power, ministry, resurrection, or coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ. He glories in the Lord’s death on the cross. Yes, if Christ had not risen again, then our faith is empty and we are a people with no hope. But if He had not first gone to the Cross, He could not rise again. The salvation of all of mankind is entirely possible only because of Christ’s death on the cross. For it is at the Cross that God’s perfect justice was satisfied by His perfect love; it is to the cross that our sins were nailed for all of eternity; and it is at the Cross that our carnality (our flesh) must be crucified.

God’s completed work of man’s salvation was accomplished on the Cross. God’s perfect justice was satisfied on the Cross; a justice which says that the wages of sin is death and all who sin must pay these wages. I once heard a pastor explain God’s justice this way: he says many think that God’s justice is like a scale which weighs all our good on one side against all our bad deeds, thoughts, and desires on the other. But this is not so, for the Word of God says there is none good except God. So God does not weigh our good against our bad, but He stacks all of our good and bad on one side of the scale and He places Himself on the other side. You can just imagine the result. It is like weighing a feather (our good and bad) against a million, billion pounds of God (good) a trillion times over. The scale does not move. We are found guilty and we must die. But, Jesus Christ took our punishment and died in our place, and when we receive Him as our Lord and Savior, He comes and lives in us. Now when the Father looks at us, He sees His Son Jesus who is perfect goodness. When He is ready to execute judgment on us, He places our bad and our good on one side of the scale and Himself on the other. What do you think happens? Jesus Christ Himself goes and takes our place on our side of the scale. The scale becomes perfectly balanced…Jesus on one side, God the Father on the other…both equally God and equally good for they are One. Perfect justice is satisfied.

Jesus Christ made this provision for us at immeasurable cost to Himself. He who knew no sin became sin itself for us as He took our sins to the cross paying the penalty for each one; past, present and future. He died an excruciating death, the horrific tortures of which can never be adequately conveyed through mere words. The Lord Himself, knowing the agonies He must suffer on the Cross, travailed in prayer in the garden of Gethsemane before the crucifixion and briefly sought an escape, “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me (Luke 22:42). He is essentially saying..”Father if there is any other way…”.…How agonizing this must have been. The Bible says “His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:44). But, all of Heaven was silent, for there was no other way but by way of the cross. The Lord hesitated no longer…”nevertheless not my will, but thine be done”(Luke 22:42) He says. His all-surpassing love for mankind overcame His seeming hesitancy to suffer and die on the Cross. He now scorned the pain, injustice, suffering, rejection, shame, ridicule, and heartbreak He would experience at the Cross and thought only of the souls that would be saved as a result. He willingly laid down His life at the Cross so we may live. He says… “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (John 10:18). From the cross, the Lord says to us all…”I love you”.

The work of salvation was already accomplished. There is nothing left for us to do except to surrender totally to the work of the cross in our lives daily so that this work can be made manifest in us. The way of our salvation is by way of the cross. There is no other way. The Lord could not bypass the cross and neither can we. We must embrace the cross. We must embrace the suffering of our Lord as our old man (our carnality) is crucified, and like Paul say…”That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10). For Paul understood the way of the cross. He understood the death of the Lord on the cross meant that when he came to the cross, everything that is flesh in him must die as well. He must be made “conformable unto his death.” He must identify with the death of Christ in that he must comprehend the death of his own self with Christ; and he must now acknowledge his death by surrendering and living in total obedience to the Holy Spirit.

Our old man cannot truly love the Lord, cannot walk with Him, cannot commune with Him, and cannot serve Him. We must crucify our old man (our flesh, soul life) daily. We must deny ourselves so that we can walk with Him.. “And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) - denying ourselves means denying our soulish desires, our natural soul power, and our soulish emotions. It means allowing the will of God to become more prevalent in our lives than our fleshly desires, strength, and emotions. The Lord went to the Cross once for all of mankind. He died so we may live. We, in turn, must surrender our soul life in order to apprehend that which He died to give us. There is a cross we must take up daily….our own.

We must crucify our soulish emotions. That means we need to relinquish our natural relationships, families, friends, enemies, loves and hates to the Lord. We must allow Him to replace our soulish emotions with the emotions of the spirit subjected to the Holy Spirit. The Lord teaches in Luke 14:26 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.” This is not because the Lord wants us to hate anyone the way we know hate, but He wants us free from soulish ties and attachments. According to C.S. Lewis “To hate, in this sense, is to set ourselves against anything, any other love even, that would try to position itself higher than God's type of love or love for God.” He knows the deception of soulish affections and emotions and how they can lead to the destruction of both ourselves and the ones we think we love, and this He illustrated in the Bible through Peter. Peter had had just received a mighty revelation of who Jesus was declaring to the Lord, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God”. The Lord responded with a mighty, everlasting promise, ”And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18). Soon after this he tried to persuade the Lord away from the cross. Oh yes, Peter loved the Lord and absolutely believed He was acting out of his great love. He did not want the Lord to suffer and die. But, in His lack of spiritual insight, He was actually trying to destroy God’s plan for the salvation of all of mankind. He was allowing the enemy to control Him through His soulish emotions. Therein lies the deception. The Lord “rebuked Peter, saying, get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.” (Mark 8:33). That which flows from soulish emotions is not of God and hence is reprehensible to God and destructive to man.

We must crucify our soulish desires. This is in a word - Selfishness (self-pity, self-love, fear of suffering, pleasure-seeking, etc.). This will continually pull us away from the cross as it is always in opposition to the Spirit. We must surrender all to be crucified on the cross - all that we love, all that we hate, all that we are attached to, and all that we possess: talents, wisdom, intelligence, knowledge, and abilities. Unless we do this, we cannot come into the things God has in store for us, the life He wants us to live, and we cannot bear fruits. Outwardly, we may be models of Christianity for we have received the Lord, we worship and praise, and we serve the Lord with all that we are and all that we have… but we do it all in our flesh (soul power, emotions and desires) and as such can bear no good fruit. The word of God says “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24). Flesh must die.

Where are you on the scale of surrender? Are you ready to sacrifice your Isaac if God asks you? Are you ready to sell all and give to the poor if God asks you? Or will you hold back some like Ananias and Sapphira or refuse to sell all like the rich ruler? Will you joyfully accept the plundering of your property if that is what is asked of you? (Hebrews 10:34). Yes, some of you may say God has given me my family to love and to care for; and God has given me all the things I have to enjoy, but I tell you truth, God has not given them to you for you to allow them to possess and have dominion over you. For whatever is capable of occupying your attention and loyalty more than God becomes your god. If there is anything in you, in relationships with friends and family, or in the world that would prevent or even slightly hinder you from loving and serving God with all your heart, soul, and strength…you must bring it to the cross and leave it there. Of relationships the Lord says, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37), and of the world He says,”Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)

By way of the cross means death to self and a life of obedience to the Lord. It means we must be prepared be serve Him. It means we must obey His commands. If we are under the control of our flesh, we can neither hear nor obey Him. He rebuked many who were guilty of the same, as recorded in Luke 6:46, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" The way of the Cross is dying to self and living for Jesus; to become a witness for Him; to suffer ridicule, rejection and all manner of persecutions. He already warned us.. "Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:20). Many Christians expect to have the abundant life in terms of prosperity, health, strength, etc. They look to the physical and material instead of the spiritual. The Lord has already told us, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17). The spiritual strength, peace beyond understanding, and joy unspeakable that is of the spirit and not of the flesh is the abundant life He promised, for these do not depend on people, situations, or circumstances, but comes from God. He warned us that we would have trials and tribulations, persecutions, and the spiritual warfare. We must expect this and be prepared for it, instead of complaining, whining, travailing and lamenting. We should not be surprised as though we did not know. The Lord records, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12). Your friends may reject you. Your family may disown you. Your fellow workers who had respected you in the past may think you have gone quite mad and refuse to associate with you, and you will most often find yourself standing all alone like a stranger in a world that has suddenly become alien to you. Peter says, “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul”.(1 Peter 2:11). This too is evident of your salvation and the way of the cross. When you are born again, you are no more of this world and nothing in this world or in your carnality should dictate your actions and reactions, only the will of God. Henceforth, your answer to God must be always be…“nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.”

Those who truly have apprehended the heart of the Lord will not hold on to anything this world has to offer or even the blessings and gifts from the Lord. All they desire is to rest in God, the Giver of the blessings and gifts. God wills us to be attached to nothing but Himself. To become totally attached to Him and detached from everything else, we must come to Him by way of the cross and allow the cross to have its perfect work done in us. We must surrender our soul life willingly to death on the cross for it is only then that we can receive life and life eternal. The Lord warns us, “The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:25)