Living Light

Stirring The Deep

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When First Things are First, then All Else Follows

When First Things are First

Then All Else Follows

Like many books on Christian growth and discipleship, Dallas Willard in The Great Omission, mentions various spiritual disciplines; prayer, fasting, silence, solitude, worship, scripture memorization, and proper fellowship. And if we do these, then they will aid us in being true disciples of Christ and conforming to His image.

As I thought about these disciplines, what came to mind were two things 1.) the verses that state the Word needs to be our foundation to each one of these acts and 2.) my own experience.

1 Corinthians 14:15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.

John 4:24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Proverbs 28:9 One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith (acting on His Word) it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Luke 4:4 But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.'” (during a 40 day fast)

The Word is to be our foundation to all we do because it is the originator of our understanding, trust, faith, and beliefs. Without it spiritual disciplines aren’t worth much, but with it they powerful beyond measure.

I have found this true in my own life. Despite my diligence in doing various spiritual disciplines, I was empty, in bondage, spiritually starving, powerless and wanting more. Frustrated, overwhelmed and tired, several years ago I put everything aside and did the one thing my Lord commands in Matthew 6:33. With His Word in first place, my spiritual life started to prosper. All else followed. Everything changed. Abiding in His Word is the key to everything else because then truth and faith in Him is infused into the depths of our soul.

When we put first things first, then everything else flows with purpose, depth and power. If we don’t, the rest is forced and ineffective, weak, and shallow.

Therefore, personally abiding in the Word is the cornerstone to our spiritual lives. We can’t own His truth by listening to someone else’s rendition of it. We have to engage, abide, and swim in it and look to the Spirit to write it in our minds and hearts. Why can’t we just listen to the preacher? Our abiding fosters intimacy with our Husband, His will for us. A personal engagement with the Word requires us to trust Him to teach and guide us through the intricacies of His words. That trust leads to the relationship He desires with us. When we come to God in His Word like we would our spouse; intimate, alone, consistent, and with a heart to know Him and be united to Him, then His truth will become ours. This is God’s design. Our beliefs will move in line with His truth and will, and everything will start to flow from that foundation.

Yet how often is abiding in His Word the last thing we do or have time for? Everything else comes first. Many churches overtly or covertly support that abiding is no big deal. Stop listening to them. Listen to God’s truth. He says His Word is the cornerstone of our lives. It is the cornerstone because our beliefs affect everything else.

All we do comes down to the beliefs we hold. Belief is the work that Christ gave us to do (John 6:29). It is work to believe because the world inundates us with its lies. Faith, our beliefs in motion, comes from hearing the Word, not interpretations, stories and someone else’s opinions, but hearing the pure Word taught to us by the Spirit. (John 14:26) Without faith in Him and the right beliefs, then our prayers, worship, acts of service, fasting, fellowship and all else is without truth. We are following the god of our minds which we, society and others have created. Yes, straightening out our beliefs and faith in Him takes time, but who are we cultivating faith in?

If we want to honor God and have our lives infused with His then we have to do things His way. His will is for us to abide in Him, the vine, the truth, the light, Christ, the Word. When we do He promises that all else will follow and all we do will be done in truth, spirit and power.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth

How different Christendom would be if each one of us abided in God’s Word as He instructs us. The Word is to be the cornerstone of our lives. Without the cornerstone the temple falls apart as we are witnessing.

What is the main act you do for your faith? Church, prayer, service? Whatever it is that is your foundation. Spiritual disciplines are very important, but if they are not established on a personal engagement of the Word of God then those acts lack power because they are based on something else and honoring someone else. What was designed to be first can’t and won’t take second place. Let’s put first things first and abide in The Word.


Preacher, Are You Sure I’m Saved?

Preacher, Are You Sure I’m Saved?


How often do we hear – say the sinner’s prayer and be saved? I remember sitting in the church pew whispering the prayer at the invitation just in case God didn’t hear me the last seventeen times. I was terrified of not going to heaven; not realizing it is mostly about a state of soul.

I recited it over and over because I had the head-knowledge that Christ died for my sins and through Him I could be forgiven. I recognized my need and knew I needed deliverance and of course I didn’t want to go to hell (not realizing the churches understanding was bound in lies), who does? However, I remained in charge of my life (often the part of the gospel quickly overlooked as churches focus on the number of people walking down the aisle). Jesus wasn’t Lord of my life, I was. I split Christ in two; I wanted Him as my Savior but His Lordship was on the back burner – and according to most churches that was okay, but it wasn’t and deep down I knew something was off, just not exactly what. I figured I just needed to say the prayer with more passion.

With Christ it is all or nothing. He is Lord and Savior. My plea was in vain because what I was looking for was a quick fix to my guilt, fear and terror of “hell” instill in by the church. Nothing changed in my life because I didn’t want to let go because I didn’t take the time to seek Him so I could know Him so I could trust Him to be my Lord. When it comes to salvation many churches overlook the significance and meaning of Christ as our Lord, it is all about a prayer and Lordship is an option. And for many who profess Christ is Lord, He isn’t. Our actions tell the truth; who we listen to, who we trust, who is the source of our truth, really. Words are useless without action backing them up. James 2:20

I wanted to believe in the words of pastors telling me that if I just said a prayer all was okay, but the restless in my spirit remained. Despite how I felt, for years I continued to try to trust in their words that left me barren, empty and spiritually deprived because without Christ as Lord we’ve got nothing.

The sinner’s prayer isn’t a magic prayer that takes us on a carpet ride into His kingdom; it is only an acknowledgement that our way isn’t the way to go. Surrendering our lives, believing in Him, Him being our Lord and Savior, and Him becoming the love of our lives is a much longer process. It entails knowing, trusting and living out what we know. We gain knowledge, trust and faith by abiding in His Word and cultivating a relationship with Him. If we aren’t abiding in His truth we can’t personally know and trust Him as He calls us to. Believe is a loaded word. If we truly believe Christ is our Lord then what would our actions be?

Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

1 Corinthians 15:1-2 “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you–unless you believed in vain.”

Telling people they are saved if they say a prayer presents a false security and denounces Christ’s Lordship, besides how do we know if they are saved or not? We don’t save others; we don’t save ourselves, only God saves thus eventually he will “save” all. It was never a question in the magnitude of his love. It puts us in the wrong position in their lives, a position that only God should hold. John 1:12-13 We have to be very careful not to be the surety or guarantee of someone’s salvation by telling them they are saved – only Christ can be their surety of new life.

Proverbs 17:18 “A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge, And becomes surety for his friend.”

Proverbs 6:1-3 “son, if you become surety for your friend, If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, 2 You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth. 3 So do this, my son, and deliver yourself; For you have come into the hand of your friend: Go and humble yourself; Plead with your friend.”

Hebrews 7:22 “by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant”

A ticket to heaven and a prayer that is the be-all-end-all is a dishonor to God and to what Christ has done for us. He came to give us new life, to be our Lord and our Husband, for us to draw near to Him and abide with Him now not just when we die. Going to heaven is only the continuance of what we have done on earth – abiding with our Lord.

We are to point people to the One who saves, not give them a false pre-mature security by telling them they are saved. It only cripples their spiritual growth and we play God’s role as being their guarantee of new life.

1 Corinthians 4:5 “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.”

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Leaving the Institutional Church

Leaving the Institutional Church

Times are changing and many who say they are following God’s instruction to be watchful for the end, abiding in the Word of God, and trusting in God and not man are feeling led out of the Institutional Church, the man-made church system.

Below is a link to some of the letters they have written about their personal experiences, Letters from Leavers

All each one of us can do is to seek God and His truth in this area and not man’s.


Mountain Moving Prayer

Mountain Moving Prayer


Without God’s incessant guidance mankind creates destruction because of its own wicked and selfish heart. We see man’s insufficiency in government oppression, mismanagement leading to poverty, abundant financial debt, hideous animal and child abuse, and the widespread lies leading to spiritual death. When self is in control – mankind suffers.

As believers with the power of God on our side and the ability to call upon Him, we can be an influential force in the world for God’s purposes. In the stillness of prayer, we galvanize the strength of God. If we trust our own strength we are fighting a losing battle. Good will only come if we call upon and trust in God’s power and not man’s. Ezra 9:12

Many pray then go off and fight the battle in their own strength in the name of God. We are never to fight in our own strength. The act of prayer, which we are to do unceasingly, means we are acknowledging God’s strength, surrendering to His power, and letting Him direct our steps and guide our actions – not us.

God wants us to call upon Him for this forsaken world and He wants to show the world His power and might through His people – that is you and me. God wants our faith to drive us with conviction to His feet and in response He will restore, mend, and heal according to His will.

1 Timothy 2:1-3 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,

2 Chronicles 7:14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Where we need to start in our fervent prayers is for our own people, the true Church. To be effective outwardly we have to be healthy inwardly. We have been beaten up and weakened by a religious mindset, mega churches, works mentality, deception, shortage of truth, lack of abiding in God’s Word, being taught by man instead of the Spirit, and neglecting the ubiquitous call to be one with Him. We have become too complacent with spiritual and physical decrepit lives for ourselves and our brethren, when those lives are supposed to be abundant and glorifying to God.

Understanding the impact of interceding on each other’s behalf is exemplified in Moses. God, completely frustrated with Israel, planned to destroy them, but Moses interceded and God saved them. Psalm 106:23 Moses’ prayer turn the tides for a nation headed for destruction.

But what made Moses’ prayer so successful, and what will make ours?

1. Intimacy with God – Moses’ effectiveness resulted from the intimacy he cultivated with God. Like our earthly relationships, we develop intimacy with God by spending time with Him one-on-one, listening to and abiding in His words and not man’s interpretations, growing in knowledge, and cultivating trust. Moses knew God face to face. For our prayers to have power we have to pray in spirit and truth and that means we intimately know our Lord and our spirits in Him are healthy and thriving. Praying without abiding in the Word is a self-center focus and a one-way relationship. To get our focus on Him and to develop true intimacy, we need to abide in His personal revelation to us, Jesus Christ, the Word. John 1:14

2. Understanding God’s will – Moses knew God’s will to be glorified through Israel. Exodus 32:10-14. God’s will is not the same for all people. Some people He wanted to completely destroy like the pagan nations as the Israelites moved into the promise land Deuteronomy 31:3. Some He wanted to save like Nineveh Jonah 3:10. We have to seek God’s will in every area of our lives and the lives of others because He is sovereign and all knowing and not follow our wills which are limited and deceived. Walking daily with God, Moses understood His heart. We come to understand His will by daily abiding in His truth. When we pray His will we honor Him, not us. If we don’t seek His will, we aren’t listening to Him but advocating our own agenda, however good we think it may be. In being taught by the Spirit, we find that these stories about destroying the pagan nations is about letting the truth of God destroy our internal enemies; pride, arrogance, selfishness, self-rigteousness, etc. As for others, we are called to love all and treat others as we want to be treated. Love is what heals and renews and what is needed.

3. Trust in God’s mercy. From their experiences together, Moses developed a steadfast faith in the mercy of God. He knew what God was capable of, what they deserved, but knew He was a God of mercy. He didn’t rely on his own goodness to save these people. His hope was in God’s compassion alone.

Moses made a profound difference from his conversation with God so can we when our prayers are based on a similar relationship with our Father. We have access to the power of God so we can be victorious as a nation of His people. As we continue to seek after God’s heart so we can pray in spirit and truth, His power will heal us and be manifested in us infusing His goodness into the world.

Proverbs 15:8b But the prayer of the upright is His delight.

James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much


Temporary Reign of Our Self Will

Temporary Reign of Our Self Will


I was thinking how this world is saturated with “evil”; philosophies, ideas and beliefs full of deception that cause all kinds of pain, destruction, horrific acts, and death to our spirits. The extent of evil became overwhelming, but then I realized, most of the world is going to be evil because for the time being God has put Satan, the personification of our self-will, in charge of this world. 1 John 5:19, Ephesians 2:2 I think for two main reasons; to show us that following self doesn’t work and the power of God’s love to redeem us out of this world into His Kingdom.

Satan, our self-will, doesn’t submit to God therefore he can’t bring about anything that is truly good, pure and of love because only God’s ways produce these things. As prince of this earth, our self-will governs all the major powerhouses; politics, education, business, media, and religion. (Here I am defining religion as the man-made system and doctrine supposedly established on truth which creates a belief structure dictating certain behaviors.) Most of us don’t think about our religion, our safe haven, as overrun by evil, but if you open your eyes you will see it is one of the worst as the Bible states repeatedly.

For example, in the man-made system that blankets true Christianity lies bondage, legalism, focus on self, and customs that separate us from God – the formula of religion, which reads: if you were a good Christian you would be in church, tithe, baptized with the right amount of water, walk the aisle, honor this day, don’t drink that, and so on. Evil, anything contrary to true goodness, disguised as good is the worst form of evil – because people are easily led astray. Any belief system that goes against God’s truth is evil.

Evil in religion is most damaging because people put their trust in it. It forms the foundation of people’s beliefs and views about them, others and God. When it is full of lies and deception it is incredibly destructive leading to spiritual decay and death.

We are here in these bodies to learn that following self or man’s will, in religion and everywhere else, doesn’t work. For creatures with a free will, we have to learn whose will to follow. We are all seeing the ramifications of the reign of self in our lives and the lives of others and it isn’t a pretty picture. God created us to be united to Him, dependent on Him and for Him to be in charge not us. Any other way destroys life, physically and spiritually.

So what do we do to avoid being consumed by the evil around us particularly in religion?

1. Cultivate a relationship with God not with religion. Many of us have spent more time nurturing a relationship with the church and ministries than with God. This flip flop leads to one thing, spiritual death. God called us out of religion and into a relationship, because religion, man’s list of should do’s and have to’s, is easily corrupted.

2. Develop a relationship with God so we can submit to His will. We can’t submit to someone we aren’t personally acquainted with. Without intimacy, there is no true knowledge or trust and therefore no submission.

3. Abide in the truth, the Word of God. Self-will, the cornerstone of evil, is built on a foundation of lies because it promises things it can never deliver because only God can; truth, freedom, peace, rest, joy and love. Therefore the only way to come out of it is by countering it with the truth. The truth sets us free. Without reading and meditating on the Words of God on a daily basis, we won’t know the truth to be able to discern what is true and what isn’t. When we do abide, we gain discernment in all areas including religion.

God’s people are the ones He called out to show those lost in deception that His ways lead to true life, joy and love – everything we desire. However, without the Word as the cornerstone of our lives, our self-wills will reign and our spirits will be overtaken by the world and we won’t stand out. Without the Word there isn’t truth and without truth we remain in bondage to our self-will. We will continue to live in fears, afflictions, lies, depravity and lack of love manifesting our own evil.

The result of Satan’s governance in religion is churches have put our life source, the Word of God, at the bottom of the priority list. It has been tossed aside, interpreted instead of read, and is no longer the priority. Why? Because it has power, life, and transforms lives – the one thing Satan doesn’t want. Most churches are bypassing the requirement for our lives that Christ is our Lord. People have tunnel vision about what the Word says about Christ’s Lordship. Because they are listening to their leaders and not in the Word themselves, they believe the gospel is about a ticket to heaven and that is a lie that causes death to our spirits. Going to heaven is a result of His Lordship in our lives. We need to examine what it means for Him to be Lord. When He is Lord of our lives, then the Word is at the center of our days because He is the Word, and we stand outside of evil as a beacon of light, truth, hope and love.