You Need God’s Grace

You Need God’s Grace 

“From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another” (John 1:16). “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:16-17).

By John David Hicks

“The unaware life is not worth living,” said Socrates.  It’s also true that the Christian who is unaware of the beauty of grace in his life has missed the entire point of living the Christian life. Out of the awareness of grace come freedom, authority, power, love, worship, and life in abundance (John 10:10).

Grace is more than second chances, surprises, and unmerited gifts. Grace comes in our inability and failure, and provides radical changes and a paradigm shift. Grace gives new opportunities and a fresh revelation of God and life. Grace will transform you.

God is love. He cares for you and is faithful to His covenant promises, and so He forgives you. God is holy and righteous, and paid the price that forgiveness requires in Jesus Christ. When love, faithfulness, and righteousness were united at the cross, grace and forgiveness was offered to you (2 John 3; John 1:12).

What is so amazing about grace?

You can read the rest of the article at “Articles,” You Need God’s Grace.

You are being tested!

You are being tested!

By John David Hicks

There is a difference between being tested and being tempted. The bible calls them both trials. Temptation is a strong appeal to do something wrong or unwise. You want to do it or to have it, even though you know you shouldn’t. Temptation seduces you or has the quality to seduce.

But when you are tested it will bring out the quality of your character. Testing is an appeal to do or stand for what is right. If a situation or problem tests you, it will establish the strength of your character. Every hardship of life holds the possibility of being a temptation or a test.

In Judges the 3rd chapter God outlines this: “These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan… 4 They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the LORD’s commands, which he had given their forefathers through Moses.”

But they didn’t pass the test. “7 The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs.”

Martin Luther said there are three things necessary to create a successful minister of God: prayer, meditation, and temptation. The strength and reality of your faith is revealed only as you experience difficulties in life. This is how you know for sure that God can be trusted.

It was the apostle Peter who said, “Thou all men forsake you, I won’t.” Peter’s faith had to mature by testing and failure. As you know, he denied Jesus three times. In the testing Peter discovered love and grace. He became the great apostle we read about.

God allows situations into your life to develop you and to give your faith opportunity to be established. Only in battle can you become a skilled warrior. So God will allow trials to come your way in your family, where you work or in the church that will build your faith and relationships with God and others.

If you fail the test; remember: “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more… (so that) grace might reign through righteousness” (Romans 5:20–21). Learn from Peter that you can experience afresh God’s love, grace and righteousness in all your trials.

Prayer and Worship

Prayer and Worship
By John David Hicks

“Thank the Lord because He is good. His love continues forever” (Psalm 106:1). “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name” (Psalms 100:4).

The gate into the presence and worship of God is opened with thanksgiving and praise. Throughout all generations, the Lord’s goodness, love, and faithfulness endures.

“Worship is when you’re aware that what you’ve been given is far greater than what you can give. Worship is the awareness that were it not for his touch, you’d still be hobbling and hurting, bitter and broken. Worship is the half-glazed expression on the parched face of a desert pilgrim as he discovers that the oasis is not a mirage.

Worship is the “thank you” that refuses to be silenced.

We have tried to make a science out of worship. We can’t do that. We can’t do that anymore than we “sell love” or “negotiate peace.”
Worship is a voluntary act of gratitude offered by the saved to the Savior, by the healed to the Healer, and by the delivered to the Deliverer. ” So writes Max Lucado in Grace For The Moment.

Without worship, you are unfulfilled. Jesus said, to the woman at the well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Thirst speaks of our desires. The Lord satisfies your desires by inviting you to drink freely from the water of life. “He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son” (Revelation 21:6-7).

Pray and Worship with me: Lord, I thank you that your are the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End of everything. You know me, love me and have redeemed me. I have accepted your invitation to drink without cost from your spring of living water. Thank you for the abundant inheritance you have given me. I am fulfilled in you. Today, again I take your strength, knowing that you are with me and I can face anything. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Why is there Pain and Suffering?

Why is there Pain and Suffering?
By John David Hicks

Two weeks ago I was painting the deck on a tall ladder. The ladder tilted and I fell on to the tile cement below. I cracked two ribs, skinned up my arm and whacked my head. The pain pills the doctor gave me helped some, but they made my head “foggy”. If I coughed or moved the wrong way, the pain was intense. Nevertheless, per doctor’s orders, I had to breathe deep and cough or risk getting pneumonia. For the first week, I could not lie down to sleep. Frankly, I felt miserable. I found myself focusing on my pain and how I felt. My wife said, “That is what sick, hurting people tend to do—they focus on the pain and their comfort.”

Compared to others, my pain and suffering wasn’t much. But for me it was very real. I found that my faith was refined in the fire of pain. Suffering gave me a fresh understanding and sympathy for hurting people. And it did cause me to pray more.

Researchers recently asked a cross-section of adults: “If you could ask God only one question and you knew He would give you the answer, what would you ask?” The majority of the people responded, “Why is there pain and suffering in the world?”

That is one of the oldest questions; in the Bible, Job asks it. The book named after Job tells how the “terrorists,” destroyed Job’s property and stole his camels and donkeys; his wealth was now gone. Then Satan caused a tornado or hurricane to kill his twelve children. Finally, his health is broken and he is suffering in much pain.

Job asked “Why?” seven times in chapter three. “Why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?” Again he asks, “Why did God allow this to happen?” “Where is God?” “Why didn’t God do something?”

In Hebrew, the word “why” is a cry of protest. They reasoned that all suffering is unjust and that God’s silence is inexcusable. If God is in control, then he must have let this tragedy or crisis into our lives. Like Job, we want God to explain Himself and give us a good reason.

The fact is that God is Sovereign, and does not have to explain Himself to anyone. So God is silent for the next 37 chapters as Job complains. Then God asks him a question, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding” (38:4). Simply, “You wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t decided to create you.” Then God added, “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it” (40:2).

Some people believe that the main reason for pain and suffering lies in our bad choices. But Job’s story seems to indicate that the reasons for suffering may go beyond our understanding. God may not act on your timetable. He may not follow your agenda. He may not choose to give you an answer. But suffering will move you toward or away from God.

This is where faith comes in. Job cries out, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (13:15). Job trusted in the character of God. A life of faith knows the person of God. Your faith will not stand until you see that God is good and righteous. He loves you and wants what’s best for you. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). “The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name [character] will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you” (Psalms 9:9–10).

What is Intercession?

What is Intercession?

by John David Hicks

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone” (1 Timothy 2:1).

The high calling of God to prayer is not just another obligation; it is the most important ministry you can do. Many are busy for God and have substituted busyness for prayer. At times all their work and energy appears to be in vain. They have little to show for their labor. The reason is that we are labors together with God (1 Corinthians 3:9). Human energy must have the anointing of God (Acts 10:38) “Without me,” said Jesus,” you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

There are five elements in prayer: worship, or adoration; thanksgiving; confession; petition and intercession. Real prayer should have all those elements. Jesus teaches us this in the “Lord’s Prayer.” Our worship, thanksgiving and confession are the first part given to God. The second part is manward, petition and intercession. In the Greek, petition means “to beg.” It comes from a sense of inadequacy, helplessness to meet your needs. It’s crying out (Hebrews 4:16). Intercession is by nature bringing together a person with a need to another who has the answer. Thus, intercessory prayer is a petition, or appeal for a favor from God for another. It is like your father is the king, and you go into the king’s presence and petition him in behalf of another.

Intercession is also unselfish, agape love for the needs and interests of others. God rewards the prayer for others by blessing the one who prays. God made this plain in the life of Job. “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10). Prayer helps others, but it also helps you. Your prayers for others during a time when you are inwardly dry spiritually will releases personal renewal, blessing and power into your life (Psalms 34:18). Prayer for others gets your mind off yourself and on to others and God. When you pray for others, the side benefits are that you will be ministered to by the Holy Spirit. But the greatest benefit of intercession is in fellowship and identification with Jesus, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Heb 7:25).

Walking With God in the New Year

Walking With God in the New Year

By John David Hicks

Jesus says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20 NKJV). God wants to fellowship with you. Out of that fellowship you will do and see what the father is doing.

Jesus’ times of prayer were not seeking God’s will but seeking fellowship, His presence. When you read the Gospels you see that Jesus has a message and put it into practice. He is doing what God is doing.

To walk with God and live in His presence is the birthright of every believer. If you don’t grasp this truth, your quiet time will turn into a routine Bible study and prayer. You will miss “the path of life… joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11).

When you walk with someone, you get to know them. When you go through problems and struggles together, their character is revealed and you are bonded together in relationship. Your faith is tested in difficulty. When you are assaulted and come out trusting, your walk with God takes on a new dimension. When you know the character of God, no proof is necessary for your belief. If you question God’s character, no proof is sufficient. Faith is born out of a relationship.

We are commanded to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Formal, audible prayer would be impossible to carry out. The Lord wants a constant attitude of prayer in midst of your daily living. In this way you maintain a continuous unbroken fellowship with God. You are totally dependent on God (John 15:5). When you acknowledge your reliance on God and realize His presence is within you, then it is natural to pray frequent, spontaneous, short prayers.

As you pray without ceasing engage the Lord in all your activities. As a businessperson, as a student or as a parent, continually look up and have an inner dialogue with God. For “There is one Lord…Who is above all [Sovereign over all], pervading all and [living] in [us] all” (Ephesians 4:5-6 AM). “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

John Wesley, in Works, viii p. 343, explains his experience of walking with God in the third person: “[H]is heart is ever lifted up to God at all times and in all places. In this he is never hindered, much less interrupted, by any person or thing. In retirement or company, in leisure, business, or conversation, his heart is ever with the Lord. Whether he lie down or rise up, God is in all his thoughts; he walks with God continually, having the loving eye of his mind still fixed upon Him, and everywhere “seeing him that is invisible.”

“In learning to walk with God there is always the difficulty of getting into His stride,” says Oswell Chambers, “but when we have got into it, the only characteristic that manifests itself is the life of God. The individual man is lost sight of in his personal union with God, and the stride and the power of God alone are manifested.” Choose to “pray without ceasing” this Year.

Hearing the VOICE of God

To My Prayer Partners!

Jesus says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20 NKJV). God wants to fellowship with you. Out of that fellowship you will do and see what the father is doing.

By John David Hicks

Jesus’ times of prayer were not seeking God’s will but seeking fellowship, His presence. When you read the Gospels you see that Jesus has a message and put it into practice. He is doing what God is doing.

To walk with God and live in His presence is the birthright of every believer. If you don’t grasp this truth, your quiet time will turn into a routine Bible study and prayer. You will miss “the path of life… joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11).
When you walk with someone, you get to know them. When you go through problems and struggles together, their character is revealed and you are bonded together in relationship. Your faith is tested in difficulty. When you are assaulted and come out trusting, your walk with God takes on a new dimension. When you know the character of God, no proof is necessary for your belief. If you question God’s character, no proof is sufficient. Faith is born out of a relationship.

The heart of prayer is knowing God. Prayer is the only way to communion with God. His passion and values can come no other way.
I once struggled with guilt over my prayerlessness. I knew that I needed to pray, but it was hard to find time. I’d rush in to church Sunday morning, pray a quick prayer and ask forgiveness for not praying more; and then promise God that I would pray more. Next Sunday the same thing. But there came a time when I had a fresh encounter with Jesus. At about the same time I attended the “Change the World School of Prayer.” A new power and freedom came into my ministry, and a new desire to pray.

After six months, I began to settle back into the old rut. The desire and enthusiasm were gone. I read books, preached on prayer, and attended the prayer seminar again. Nothing happened. Then I sought Jesus and everything changed. I had sought prayer and duty and missed Jesus. It was then that I realized that God does not give us impersonal things like prayer, power, victory, or service. He gives us a relationship with Jesus. Instead of seeking a prayer life, seek Jesus. The prayer life comes out of the relationship. ” Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Jesus is God come in the flesh. As you read the Gospels and talk to the Lord in prayer, He know about your temptations, struggles and problems. “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith… Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:2-3). Prayer is all about His presence.

The VOICE of God

I have found some guidelines that have helped me hear God’s VOICE. Here’s an acrostic, VOICE, that is easy to remember.

V—Value the Lord for who He is and what He has done for you as you tend to worship what you value. So value the Lord by “Enter[ing] into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; bless His Holy Name” (Ps. 100:4-5). Acknowledge and worship the Lord as your Savior and King (2 Pet. 1:10-11). Note what this value does in Revelation 5:12, “In a loud voice they sang: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’”

O—Observe the Lord by focusing on Jesus who is the author and perfecter of your faith (Heb. 12:2). In fact it is He alone who redeems you, makes you His child, and gives you an everlasting inheritance of Himself. You are deeply loved, highly favored, and greatly blessed by Him (Num. 6:24-26). His love for you has been unchangeable, unshakable, and unfailing (Jer. 31:3). When you receive His “grace” abundance and the gift of righteousness, without condemnation, you will reign in life (Rom. 5:17). When you embrace the Lord’s trustworthy character (Ps. 9:10), that He will never leave you or abandon you (Heb. 13:5), Christ’s love will make you more than a conqueror (Rom. 8:37).

I—I am in Christ, accepted as His beloved bride (John 3:29), and I died with Christ (Gal. 2:20) and I am made alive in Christ (Col. 2:13). I abide in Him (1 John 2:27-28). I am God’s dwelling place (1 Cor. 3:16) and seek to hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:27). “In Christ,” I have the Holy Spirit as my 24/7 helper (Heb. 4:16). He makes it possible to be present with Christ in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6). “He who is in me is greater than the one who is in the world“(1 John 4:4). Since Christ is my life (Col. 3:3), I can sense His reactions and responses within me (1 John 4:13).

C—Conviction and Peace are the two witnesses that confirm God’s Word to your mind, will, and emotions. Knowing or conviction confirms your inner peace (Rom. 9:1; James 1:6), and that peace in you will govern and guide you (Phil. 4:6-7). “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Phil. 2:13); He is faithful to keep you blameless and in fellowship (I Cor. 1:8-9). It is not you but the Lord that brings life-changing conviction, faith, and peace in your thoughts, feelings, desires, or impulses when you have missed the mark (Rom. 14:23).

E—Enlightenment and Revelation come as you wait on the Lord (Ps. 38:15). Journaling gives you clarification. “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you” (Jer. 30:2; Prov. 3:3, 5-6). Isaiah voices this Enlightenment in chapter 50:4-5, “The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back.” “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17).

Remember VOICE:
V—Value the Lord for who He is and what He has done for you.
O—Observe the Lord by focusing on Jesus.
I—I am in Christ, accepted and loved.
C—Conviction and Peace will confirm the witness of God’s Word to your heart.
E—Enlightenment comes as you wait and journal with the Lord.

Paul summarizes hearing God’s voice in two verses: Col. 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” 2 Cor. 13:14 AMP, “The grace (favor and spiritual blessing) of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the presence and fellowship (the communion and sharing together, and participation) in the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen (so be it).”

The Voice of Freedom

The Voice of Freedom

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me…. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says” (Rev. 3:20, 22 nasb). “And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32 nasb).

By John David Hicks

The Christian life is all about relationship, and communication is at the heart of any good relationship. There must be an exchange of thoughts, messages, or information. Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” In verses 3-5 He says the shepherd “calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

As the chaplain in a gospel mission, I sometimes deal with individuals who are depressed and find it hard to function. Many live under condemnation because of sin, failures, or abandonment. Others are confused, in conflict, and sometimes suicidal. I explain that “in your mind you hear three voices”:
One is from God. His voice is holy, good, kind, and loving. Jesus promised that His “sheep” would hear His voice (John 10:27).

A second voice is yours. As a Christian you want to do God’s will (John 7:17), so your mind is going through a transformation process (Rom. 12:2; Phil. 4:4-8). At times your old fleshly mind raises its head with hurts from the past, and Satan then inserts greed, bitterness, fear, and negative self-talk.

The third voice is the devils. His voice is negative, condemning, and evil. He fools you into thinking that his voice is yours so you will hear it, and then he can tempt, accuse, or deceive you (Luke 4:13).

You’ve probably seen a cartoon that pictures a good angel on someone’s shoulder whispering in his ear and on the other shoulder the devil whispering in the other ear. There is a lot of truth in this. Jesus attributed all evil to demonic forces (Mark 9:25; Luke 11:14; 13:11-16; Acts 10:38).

Remember when Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?” (Matt. 16:15). Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you…for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.” Peter heard God’s voice. Jesus then explained that He had to go to Jerusalem and be crucified. Peter began to rebuke Jesus. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus did not rebuke Peter, but Satan. “Get behind me, Satan!” (v. 23).

Peter didn’t mean to be an offense. However, the devil inspired Peter’s statement, and Jesus went after the real source. That is your example to follow. Learn to recognize the lies of the devil.

In Destined to Overcome, Paul Billheimer says a lot of difficulties and troubles in our body, mind, and spirit are caused by demon personalities under the command of Satan. They use our thoughts to affect our moods, condemning us, depressing us, and making us fearful. “There is no such thing as abstract evil; evil always has an intelligent self-conscious source. There is no evil that does not originate in a personality.” Evil spirits watch your reactions to situations and the words you say before they influence your thoughts toward evil. The only way you can overcome the devil is to expose him and resist him in the name of Jesus.

Satan wants you to focus on yourself and to see people as for you or against you. His voice is coming from your flesh when you hear: “I’m such a klutz”; “I’m so stupid”; “I can’t do anything right”; “Those people don’t like me.” Satan uses thoughts from your old patterns of living which are still in your brain. When you hear the devil’s voice and think it is your voice, you will receive it. When you receive these negative thoughts, they instantly become yours. That is what makes you discouraged, condemned, and defeated. The key is to instantly “capture” them and reject them. When you say, “Stop, I will not receive this,” or “Get behind me Satan,” you short-circuit the negative. Now focus on what is true and positive.

Paul was concerned about you when he wrote: “I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3). Satan wants your mind to become polluted, your heart to become indifferent, and your flesh to demand sinful pleasure. Don’t be like Eve and become deceived by the devil’s craftiness. You are at war with demonic forces of evil, the world system, and your fleshly mind.

Listen to God’s plan: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Rom. 12:2 nlt). You are tempted by the world, the flesh, and the devil. This world’s system is at cross-purposes with God’s plans and values (1 John 2:15). Life in the “flesh” is lived under the serpent’s lie of judging that is independent of God (Matt. 7:1; Rom. 7:18). Jesus said the devil is the thief that has comes to steal, kill, and destroy you (John 10:10; James 1:13-15).

The main way you will win the battle for your mind is to learn how to separate yourself from the evil thoughts the devil puts in your mind. You will know the devil’s voice when he puts into your mind: anger, pride, greed, bitterness, jealousy, lust, resentment, spite, negativism, pessimism, condemnation, guilt, confusion, deceitfulness, and revenge. All these evil thoughts are coming from the enemy.

Since those thoughts are not yours, you are not responsible for them any more than you are responsible for someone using profanity in your presence. But then you must learn to disregard them and not accept them as yours. If you accept them and believe those thoughts are yours, the devil has got you and will shame you, make you feel guilty, and condemn you. All bondage begins first in your mind.

The secret, Paul says, is: “Christ lives in you” (Col 1:27 nlt). You are in Christ and are to live out of His life. It’s like abiding in the vine—the branch will bear much fruit (John 15:5). “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:22-24). “In Christ,” you die to your old self as the center and make Jesus the Lord in your new self (Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 5:17).

Here’s the good news: “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). You have spiritual weapons from God that will put the devil to flight. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4-5 nlt).

Whatever you set your mind upon will ultimately determine your behavior. The first temptation in the Garden was to doubt the Word of God. On the other hand, Jesus overcame Satan by quoting the Word of God. Align your thought life with the truth that comes from God’s Word. Then the truth will continue to make you free. “Watch [or guard] over your heart [innermost thoughts, pictures, and words] with all diligence, for from it [your innermost thoughts, pictures, and words] flow the springs of life” (Prov. 4:23 nasb).

Every word you think about has power—to build or destroy your hopes and dreams, to restore or cause you loss, to heal you or break your spirit, to bring you delight or despair, to bless you or curse you—for “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21) and in the thoughts you accept (Prov. 23:7).

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). As you “submit” to God’s love and authority, and order Satan to flee, you will recognize a new freedom from oppression and ignorance. The devil cannot deceive you or defeat you if you are established in the love of God and His Word. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8:35, 37).

When you resist the devil by telling him you will not receive his negative thoughts and to flee from you in the name of Jesus, he will go. He knows he has to. But if you don’t resist the devil, the Bible warns you that you will become a double-minded man, unstable in all you do (James 1:8).

“The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s [or devil’s] judgment: For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:15-16). As a “spiritual man” you have the “mind of Christ” and can discern thoughts from God, yourself, and the devil.

As you submit to God and resist the devil, he will flee from you. This truth will set you free from Satan’s schemes to defeat you. You’ll have power to live a life of peace, joy, and victory over the devil and every negative thought. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13).

The Truth Sets You Free!

The Truth Sets You Free!

by John David Hicks

I want to share with you a simple technique the Lord has used to break down strongholds in the lives of people I have ministered to. Ed Silvoso said, “A stronghold is a mindset impregnated with hopelessness that causes the believer to accept as unchangeable something he knows is contrary to the Word of God.” This bondage and oppression hinders the believer from experiencing the victorious life (John 10:10).
There are two approaches to deliverance: the truth encounter and the power encounter. Neil Anderson represents the truth encounter and traditional deliverance. You cannot cast out sin and you cannot repent of a demon.

The “truth sets you free” from spiritual conflicts and bondage not caused by demon spirits. Satan’s first and foremost strategy is deception. Satan’s power is in the lie, and when his lie is exposed by the truth, his plans are foiled. When you renounce strongholds of sin and bondage and take them to Jesus, Satan’s influence is canceled. But he tries to remain undetected and deceive you into believing a lie so he can control your life.

The second approach, the power encounter, casts out demons.

Both encounters, truth and power, are needed. The truth encounter invites the Holy Spirit to unearth and expose the lies you believe that keep you in bondage. When you renounce the lies, forgive, and apply the truth of God’s Word, you receive freedom and power (John 1:12; Rom. 1:16).

The power encounter, the more direct approach, requires discernment to identify afflicting spiritual forces and influences, and then remove any legal rights of the demons to be present. The believer can then be set free by exercising our authority over demon spirits, casting them out and binding their influence by the blood and cross of Jesus. When the 70 disciples returned to Jesus, they stated, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name” (Luke 10:17). Paul proclaimed, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4 NKJV).

There is a battle in your mind. Your thoughts dictate your actions. The Bible effects transformation in those who read it. Jesus said in John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” God wants you to align your thought life with the truth in His Word. He made you so that your mind can be renewed. In your mind, higher levels of thought change lower levels of thought. The higher truth will replace the lesser truth. God wants you to apply the higher thought (feeling or state) to the lower level of thought, so that the second thought will be changed by the more powerful first thought. “Overcome evil with good” (Rom.12:21). Then the truth sets you free.

“Watch over your heart [innermost thoughts, pictures, and words] with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Prov. 4:23 NASB). Your thought patterns must be changed. You negate Satan’s lies by affirming God’s truth. The heart of sin is rejection of Jesus (John 3:18). Jesus is the only way of deliverance (Acts 4:12). Salvation is not based on your performance but on the shed blood of Jesus, walking in the light of repentance and letting the blood cleanse you from all sin (1 John 1:7, 9). The grounds of condemnation is that Christ the “light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

How can you get set free? You take it to Jesus! “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

In your mind, picture Jesus as your Savior. “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin” (Rom. 4:7-8 NLT). Yes, you are loved, accepted, and forgiven; you are God’s beloved child. Picture that in your mind.

Now go to a lower thought and picture it in your mind. Think of rejection, fear, bitterness, shame, anger, pride, greed, bitterness, jealousy, lust, resentment, spite, condemnation, guilt, confusion, deceitfulness, or revenge. All these evil thoughts are coming from a stronghold of the enemy in your mind.

Satan wants you to focus on your sin, your hurts, or your problems, which he uses to discourage, defeat, or condemn. The thoughts you accept will build up or destroy your hopes and dreams; they will bless you or curse you.

First you take a negative, unpleasant memory, difficulty, or embarrassment, one that has the power to make you feel bad. Now run that movie in your head with sights and sounds. Notice how it feels. As you watch that unpleasant memory on the screen of your mind, your brain will keep updating what you have learned with new information. That’s how we learn and change. You can take control of what you do inside your head and that can take you in a new direction.

The key is to “capture” those thoughts and reject them. Listen to God’s plan: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Rom. 12:2 NLT).

Again, you change your thinking by taking the higher truth of “Christ in you,” and taking the lesser truth to Jesus and letting Him replace it. “Repent [change your mind], then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

Gather your sin, shame, or wound in your arms and give it to Jesus. Now imagine yourself stepping into the River of Life – God’s River of Love, Healing, and Forgiveness that flows from the throne of God. Let it wash away everything that is old, dead, and sinful. Let the Lord’s life flow into your hands and body.

Some people do it by picturing taking the lower level thought or feeling to God. Many lift their hands to the Lord. When you know that Jesus has taken it, that you have submitted it to God’s love and authority, you will then recognize a new freedom from oppression and ignorance (James 4:7). You’ll know a peace and joy that all is well in your soul. The higher life has overcome the lower life and there is freedom and victory. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [as conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57 AMP).

God wants you to change your behavior through your mind. Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Your mind is being renewed in the Spirit to make you consistent with your new identity as a child of God. Notice how this makes you feel, how it draws you and pulls you in a new direction.

Even after you have given a sin or hurt to the Father, Satan will try to re-open the wound or bring back shame. But when he brings those thoughts to your mind, hit them with your Return to Sender stamp. Don’t open them up and dwell on them. Simply say, in the name of Jesus, I will not receive this. Remember that Jesus is Lord of your life. As you do this, you will abide in the vine and the life of the vine will flow through you and you will grow strong and bear fruit (John 15:5).

The Bible gives us a picture of how to activate the power of God to change our lives. “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this’” (Rev. 4:1). Jesus had already revealed Himself to John: “I am the Alpha and the Omega…who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8).

John said earlier that he “was in the Spirit.” Now notice the Lord’s invitation: “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” Jesus is telling John to simply disconnect where he was and go up and be with the Lord. When you “activate” the thought-feelings of your higher level beliefs and values in His presence, you give the Holy Spirit permission to work in your life to dissociate your lower level of thought and feelings. Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” When you “go up to the higher level” and join the Lord, you can mentally bring the lower level into His presence and replace the thoughts and feelings of the lower level as the higher truth overcomes it.

From that position with the Lord, you can “let go” of your negative emotions, and change the meanings and perceptions of your mind to reflect your true spiritual values and beliefs in the Lord. By “dissociating” the negative and “associating” with the Lord on His throne, the Lord’s love and power will heal your hurts, fears, and sins.

Try it. Imagine yourself in the presence of the Lord. Now give Him your anger, bitterness, depression, or hurt. Watch Him “evaporate” your negative thinking.

See yourself as being “in Christ,” whose “divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Colossians 2:10 reads, “And you are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and power” (NKJV). When you are in Christ, you lack nothing.

To be “in Christ” sums up what it means to be redeemed.
Your faith is in Christ (Gal. 3:26).
You have eternal life in Christ (Rom. 6:23).
There is no condemnation in Christ (Rom. 8:1).
You cannot be separated from God’s love in Christ (Rom. 8:39).
You are approved by God in Christ (Rom. 16:10).
You experience God’s grace in Christ (1 Cor. 1:4).
You are triumphant in Christ (2 Cor. 2:14).
You are reconciled to God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:19).
You have liberty in Christ (Gal. 2:4).
You are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3).
You are a partaker of God’s promises in Christ (Eph. 3:6).
Your righteousness comes through faith in Christ (Phil. 3:9).
Your heart and mind is guarded by God’s peace in Christ (Phil. 4:7).
Your needs will be supplied according to God’s riches in Christ (Phil. 4:19).
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

This picture by Dr. Bob Bodenhamer illustrates what I have been saying.

burdens are lifted

How is your outlook on Life?

How is your outlook on Life?

By John David Hicks

“This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalms 118:24).

How is your outlook on life? Do you enjoy each day to the fullest? Or, do you dray yourself through each day, always looking on the gloomy side?

I had a friend in Seattle who never seemed to have a good day. Her life seemed drudgery and she always felt miserable. One day she heard about the power of choice and she decided she would choose to have a better attitude toward life. She chose for the next twelve hours to enjoy the day. She began to enjoy the people around her and the activities in which she was involved. Then, for the next twelve hours, she again chose to enjoy the day. She soon developed into a positive person that people liked to be around.

Your day is generally conditioned by two five-minute periods—the first five minutes when you wake up and the last five minutes before you go to sleep. The Bible says in Psalm 92:1-2 “It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night.” When you wake up, give thanks to God for life, health, strength and for His blessings. When you lie down at night, thank Him for His faithful guidance and loving mercies through the day.

All of us have much to be thankful for when we take a few moments to think on it. G.K. Chesterton, a Christian writer from the beginning of the twentieth century, wrote these few lines:
Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?

My Affirmation

My Affirmation
By John David Hicks

Faith comes from hearing the Good News from the word of God. Thus, according to your word Lord, I am who you say I am! (Rom. 10:17). “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary (Ps 107:2).

Lord, your said I can get rid of all moral filth and the evil influence in the world that is so prevalent, by humbly accepting the word of God that is planted in me, which can deliver me! (James 1:21)

Lord, thank you for helping me to understand that the access I have gained into your grace in which I now stand has come to me by faith. Help me to rejoice in the hope of your glory! (Rom. 5:2).

This is Who You Are In Christ

You Are A New Creation: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” – 2 Cor. 5:17

You have been born again: “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” –1 Peter 1:23

You Have Been Adopted as God’s Child: “Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” – Eph. 1:5

You Have Been Redeemed and Forgiven: “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” – Col. 1:14

You Are Free Forever from Condemnation: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” – Rom. 8:1-2

You Are Free from Any Charge Against You: “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” – Rom. 8:33-34

You Are Justified: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Rom. 5:1

You Are Bought with A Price and Belong to God: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” – 1 Cor. 6:19-20

You Are God’s Workmanship: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” – Eph. 2:10

You May Approach God with Freedom and Confidence: “Christ Jesus, our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.” – Eph. 3:11-12

You Are Complete in Christ: “And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” – Col. 2:10

You Are Hidden with Christ In God: “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” – Col. 3:3

You Are United with The Lord: “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” – 1 Cor. 6:17

You Are A Minister of Reconciliation for God: “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” – 2 Cor. 5:18-19

You Are Assured That All Things Work Together for Your Good: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” – Rom. 8:28

You Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens You: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Phil. 4:13

You Are Established, Anointed and Sealed by God: Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” – 2 Cor. 1:21-22

You Are Seated with Christ In The Heavenly Places: “And raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” – Eph. 2:6

You Are A Member of Christ’s Body: “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.” – 1 Cor. 12:27

You Are God’s Fellow Worker: “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.” – 1 Cor. 3:9

You Are A Branch of The True Vine: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:1,5

You Have Been Chosen and Appointed to Bear Fruit: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” – John 15:16

You Are the Salt and Light of The Earth: “You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” – Matt. 5:13-14

You Are A Personal Witness of Christ’s: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” – Acts 1:8

You Are A Citizen of Heaven: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Phil. 3:20

You Have Not Been Given A Spirit of Fear, But of Power, Love and A Sound Mind: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Tim. 1:7

You Cannot Be Separated from The Love of God: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Rom. 8:38-39

You May Find Grace and Mercy in Time of Need: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Heb. 4:16

You Are Confident That the Good Work God Has Begun in You Will Be Perfected: “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” – Phil. 1:6

The Philippians 4 Prayer

The Philippians 4 Prayer

Lord, I rejoice that I find my joy and peace in you! Again, I do rejoice and Praise your holy name! Your gentleness, goodness and faithfulness are so evident to me. Help me be considerate to others in all I do, for you are in me and your second coming is approaching soon.

Lord, you have told me not to be anxious or worried about anything—but to pray about everything, to come with boldness to your throne of grace with my requests and petitions. Then you will turn my prayer into thanksgiving and praise with the assurance that you are working on my behalf. Lord, let your peace and joy which transcends my understanding rule my heart. Let it guard my mind with the knowledge that I am living in Christ Jesus and have the mind of Christ.

John, as I answer your prayer: I want you to fix your thoughts on the things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable—anything that is excellent and praiseworthy; yes, I want you to think on these things! What you have learned and received, heard and seen in my Word—put it into practice and share the truth with others. And My peace and joy will overflow in you. You will discover that you can face and do anything with my strength. For I will supply all your needs with one rich blessing after another. All this is given to you, as you abide in Christ Jesus, your Lord and Savior. I am faithful and true—I will do it.

Philippians 4:4–9, 13, 19: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you… 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength… 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:24, “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”

Castle Howard

Castle Howard

To celebrate our fifty-fifth wedding anniversary, June and I recently spent two weeks in England. We traveled from one end of the island to the other, seeing various historical sites. The building that most impressed me, however, was Castle Howard. I was fastened with its history.

To see the picture of the castle:

The Howard family got the land in 1566 and the construction of Castle Howard began in 1699. It was not until 1811 that the building was finally completed, over one hundred years from the start. The house and land cover over 13,000 acres (22 square miles) and is surrounded by four villages and its own railway station. It is a place of beauty with lakes and gardens. Even today it is used as a setting for various television shows and movies.

The Howard family was very political, catering to kings and parliament and marrying into wealth. The castle was built for show, not for defense. In the beginning, their faithfulness and loyalty to kings brought them land and wealth. Their politics and social status caused them not to offend anyone or to take sides, unless it was on the winning side. When England went into civil war led by Oliver Cromwell, they sided with him and parliament. When King Charles II returned to become king, they changed sides and supported the royals. The king asked the Howards why they didn’t support the throne during the war. They made all kinds of silly excuses, finally saying they wanted to, but were simply unable. King Charles then give them a coat of arms that read, “WILLING BUT NOT ABLE.” Their excuse was that because of circumstances they were not able. But the real issue was that they were unwilling to make the commitment! The king wanted to illustrate to everyone that they were all talk, but no action. To this day, that slogan is on the coat of arms over the front door of Castle Howard.

Is your loyalty to the throne of King Jesus or to your own interests? Jesus said that He would separate the sheep from the goats (Matt. 25). The sheep follow the shepherd. The goats are independent and do their own thing. When King Jesus returns will he give you a “coat of arms,” that reads, “WELL DONE, THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT” (Matt. 25:21)? Or will your coat of arms read, “WILLING BUT NOT ABLE”? Are you all talk, but no action? Full of excuses, but really you are unwilling to make a commitment to King Jesus? The command of scripture is to “Be doers of the word and not hearers only.” Only when you step out by faith will you get to see God work; for God honors His Word. “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do” (James 2:14, 17-18).

James says your faith can be living or dead, depending on your corresponding actions. Living faith has conviction or persuasion plus corresponding actions. Dead faith has belief, conviction, or persuasion, but no corresponding actions. It is lifeless and powerless. Every reference to faith in the New Testament is talking about living faith, never dead faith. Faith is being confidant in God, that He will keep His Word (1 John 5:14-15). Faith plus action equals results. Hebrews 11:1 gives the best definition of faith: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

You obey Jesus by receiving God’s word and acting on it. That is what gives you life-giving power (John 1:12). Your faith is a conviction, a sense of knowing from the Holy Spirit that God has spoken. In Acts 16:10, the Macedonian call first came through an inward conviction and vision, then “concluding that God had called us,” they moved out. Remember, the Holy Spirit twice stopped them from going into Asia by a sense of restraint. It was the witness of the Holy Spirit in their hearts that gave them the assurance and confirmation that God was able and willing.

It’s like having the title deed to your car. The title deed is the assurance from the Word of God and the Holy Spirit verifying that you “have the petitions” that you’ve asked of Him. You own it and have the proof. This assurance of faith causes you to move out and put your Bible-faith into action in word or deed. But the Word has no life or power until you act on it (James 1:22). As you believe it and put it into action, you will receive it (Mark 11:24). This is the leap of faith. It will always have some risk to it.

To cross the Jordan, you must first step into the water. To kill your Goliath, you must first confront him with your sling-shot. To walk on water, you must first get out of the boat. For the lepers to be healed, they must first show themselves to the priest. For the blind-man to be healed he must first wash the mud out of his eyes. Thus, “Faith without action is dead.”

Through the Lord’s precious promises, you can share in His divine nature. “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires” (2 Peter 1:3–4 NLT). Ask the Lord to help you to not only hear the word, but to put it into practice; to help you to be a “good and faithful servant.”