Document 194822

Vertical Life Ministries
How to Reap God’s Testimonies
S. Michael Lund
Receiving with Purpose
Begging Verses Taking
Two Kinds of Receiving
Stumbling Blocks to Realized Testimony
The ‘Vessel’ We Are
Sanctified ‘Unto God’ As Well As ‘Away from Sin’
Hands, Mouth, Ears
Learning to Walk in The Spirit
Done ‘In Us’ not ‘By Us’
Undiscovered Potential
A Chosen Vulnerability
Wisdom, the Principle Thing
Wisdom Unveiled
Faith Needs Lordship
Possibility Needs Responsibility
Wisdom Has A Voice
A Method to His Madness
Application Requires Action
God Needs ‘You’ to Receive
- Chapter # 1 -
Receiving with Purpose
What are you personally believing God for with you faith at this moment? What are
you hoping for? Or more specifically, what is your hope?
Now faith is the substance (of what?) of things hoped for,
the evidence
(the imagined expectation)
of things not seen
(as yet, unrealized)
Heb 11:1
We can get a clearer view of what this scripture’s intention if we come to better
understand this word, substance. In Greek, the word is: ὑπόστασις (hypostasis),
which means: a setting or placing under; a thing put under [to support]; that which has
foundation; is firm.
Allow me to give you a visual image of what substance actually means to faith which
believes for things hoped for.
Imagine you are building a new home. You going to put a cement sidewalk from the
street to the front door. Before the cement truck arrives with your cement; what do you
need to do?
Obviously, the sidewalk and the steps which will lead up and into the higher level of the
house will need to be ‘framed in’.
The steps are both functional and necessary. Without the steps, you can’t get in the
house. Without the concrete, you’ll have no sidewalk or steps. Yet, even with the
concrete, if you have no forms (i.e. framework into which to pour your concrete), you can’t
These concrete forms are designed to contain (receive) and mold (create the end effect) of
your sidewalk and stairs. They guide the sidewalk and stairs; to properly align them with
the house; to cause them to become one with it. And without these ‘temporary’
receiving, molding, guiding forms…you can’t even get started.
If you can imagine this example, then you will better be able to see that the substance of
your faith is designed to function in much the same way as the concrete forms. That
spiritual substance (i.e. substructure of faith) must be put in place first, before any specific
thing can be received or take purposed form in the earth.
Do you know how to build a viable sidewalk and stairs, able to contain concrete?
More importantly:
Do you know how to build a substance of faith
able to receive the works of God realized in your life?
The truth is: In the natural, most of us don’t know how to build such a sidewalk and stairs
at all. We have no knowledge; no experience. And it would be silly and ineffective
(probably even futile) to even try without that knowledge and experience.
The truth also is: That in honest, realistic, spiritual terms; most of us know very little
about how to create a viable substance of faith into which God can pour His works.
You probably don’t know how to build concrete frames for a construction project, could learn, couldn’t you?
Does it really look that hard? Not really. And the truth is that learning how to use our
faith to receive isn’t that hard either.
If we are willing to learn; God will teach us how.
- Chapter # 2 -
Begging verses Taking
Many times, a large volume of our petitioning faith is little more than a cross-yourfingers begging. We do the best we know how, yet sense no certainty of receiving. So we
pray…cross our fingers…and hope (wonder if) something will happen.
At best, this type of praying is immature; not to mention grossly ineffective. Praying to
receive in this fashion does not proceed from a spirit of biblical faith.
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer,
ye shall receive
Mt 21:22
And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him,
because we keep His commandments,
and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
And this is His commandment
That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ,
And love one another, as He gave us commandment
1 Jn 3:22-23
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy,
and find grace to help in time of need
Heb 4:16
One of the biggest problems we incur in prayer is that we put ourselves, and our own
problems, and our own needs ahead of that of other people. And this self-conscious, selffocused love sabotages the ‘faith that worketh by (God’s) love.’
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss,
that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts
James 4:3
Note: I will mention here that intercessory prayer for others is a ‘seeking first the Kingdom of
God and His righteousness’ which causes what you need to be added unto you as you walk
in ‘this obedience’ of unconditional love. [This is actually another whole lesson in itself]
When I speak on this subject in seminars, people often remind me that Jesus said, ‘It is
more blessed to give than to receive.’ I agree. It is more blessed ‘for you’ when you give;
because that giving brings both peace and joy to you.
On the other hand, if others are going to receive from God through you…and if you really
want God to make you a Giver…then you are going to have to ‘first receive from God
that which you will be giving.’ Acts 20:35; Jn 3:27
To do this kind of receiving, we must remember a very important biblical truth: Words
have power. We will be judged by every idle word we speak. And God looks upon every
internal, hidden motive behind our asking. Lk 6:38; Mt 12:36-37; 1 Sam 16:7
And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come
And let him that heareth say, Come
And let him that is athirst, Come
And whosoever will,
Let him TAKE of the water of life freely
Rev 22:17
Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you
For everyone that asketh, RECEIVETH;
And he that seeketh, findeth;
And to him that knocketh it shall be opened
Lk 11:9-10
It is interesting to note that the underlined words in these two scriptures are one in the
same. This is the Greek word: λαμβάνω (lambanō), which means: To take what is one’s
own; to take to one’s self; to claim, procure, for one’s self.
So just what is it we are supposed to take? What is it that God (not we ourselves) wants to
see received?
To open their eyes [and] to turn [them] from darkness to light,
and [from] the power of Satan unto God,
that they may receive forgiveness of sins AND inheritance among them
which are sanctified by faith in me
Acts 26:18
We need to receive, not only the forgiveness of sins purchased for us by the blood of
Jesus, but also; our spiritual inheritance which was purchased with the same blood.
Without argument, this inheritance is certainly our future eternal life to come in heaven.
But the Word of God is clear that we have an ‘earnest’ (i.e. portion) of this inheritance here
in the earth. And the inheritance of which this speaks is the authority we receive (or are
meant to receive) of the Name of Christ. Eph 1:11-14; Rom 8:14-17; Rom 5:17-18
You can’t ‘receive’ (i.e. possess) this inheritance unless you understand what is yours. And
you cannot possess this until you ‘take’ (i.e. procure by faith) what is yours.
To do this, you must indeed come to understand what is ours. And we must realize the
significance and responsibility of possessing it.
Bearing the authority of the Name of Christ is much more than wearing the religious label,
‘Christian.’ To bear the Name of Christ means being made one with the Father in Spirit;
even as Jesus is one with the Father. It means being engrafted into each other; even as
we are engrafted into Christ. Jn 17:20-23
It means that, both as individuals and as the Church; we are to be made in the express
image of Jesus, (i.e. His Spirit; His character; and His heart & mind.) And this means being that
express image of love in the earth as He is in heaven. Heb 7:24-25; Heb 1:3-4; 1 Jn 4:17
As the only Mediator between God and man, Jesus presently sits at the right hand of the
Father, interceding for all men’s reconciliation to God. This reconciliation comes only
through the Church. Mt 5:14-16; Rom 10:14
Thus as we are made into the image of Christ by the Holy Spirit, our self-conscious focus
must realign itself with the mind and heart of Christ. Instead of an inward focus toward
self; our faith must look outward toward the greater purpose and mission of the Church.
In short: It must embrace God’s world view.
God’s world view is not a mystery. His Word gives us a clear blueprint for His global
purpose. However, seeing His will realized in the earth is directly connected to the
following critical elements concerning His Church:
willingness to obey His instructive Lordship
core motive for responding to Him in obedience
revelation knowledge of the Word, by which She obeys Him
ability to walk in the Spirit, hearing ‘how’ to obey His will
If we are willing…and if our core motive for acting is our love for Him…and if we set
ourselves to obey Him in accordance to His Word, which clearly tells us ‘what’ He desires
of us. The all that remains is to learn to walk in the Spirit in such a way that we see Him
show us ‘how’ we are to apply our love by faith. Jn 16:15
That Greek word Lambanō ocould easily be defined, ‘Take to Receive.’ So as we move
forward in the book, I want you to think about this word in the following, illustrative
All things proceed from the Father
Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father to ‘take’ what is His;
And being one with the Father, He receives this
What belongs to Christ, belongs to the Church
The Church is engrafted into Christ to ‘take’ life;
And being made one with the Vine, they receive this
Being one in humanity, the Church calls all men to ‘receive’ her fruit
She is God’s Tree of Life in the earth
What God wants to pour into you (i.e. have you receive unto His glory) is much more than you
have imagined. Much, much more... Eph 3:20-21; Jn 10:10
There are however things which impede this receiving; just as there are, in the wisdom of
God; spiritual techniques which can be applied in faith to effectively receive.
Let’s look at some of these things, learning.
- Chapter # 3 -
Two Kinds of Receiving
Now to understand receiving, one must first understand giving, because receiving is an
‘action response’ to something which you are being given by God.
Generally speaking, in the Word of God; there are two main categories or types of giving.
One I would identify as: Giftings. The other: Harvestings of something we have
planted. Both of these yield something to be received.
Granted, there are myriad sub-categories of ways to receive and things to give. 1 But for
now, let it suffice for us to look at these two main Giving/Receiving truths; what I call the
‘two main fountains’ from which we receive the Waters of Life.
- Harvests Harvesting has to do with the Biblical Law of Sowing and Reaping. If you sow, and then fail
to return to harvest (i.e. receive) what you have sown…or if you sow, and don’t know how
to reap (i.e. procure) your harvest; then that harvest goes to seed…and you go hungry.
Now, before you think I’m headed off into a bunch of Financial Prosperity Pooh…I’d
ask that you take the time to hear me out. Even more importantly, I beseech you to
judge what I am saying by the Word; because a lot of important ‘receiving’ for the
Kingdom of God depends on your understanding this truth. Pro 9:9; Acts 17:11
Now we’re talking about a Law here; one which works in immutable, constant ways. And
one which we must understand the following facts about:
Fact: You cannot harvest what you have not first planted (i.e. given first)
Fact: Your harvest does not come in to you; you must go out to harvest it
Fact: Harvesting fruit is harder work and more time-critical than is sowing seed
Fact: You need the wisdom and grace of God to properly discern what part of your
harvest is seed for the coming planting season; and what part is bread
Fact #1
You cannot harvest what you have not first planted (i.e. given first)
You obviously cannot harvest something which has not been planted. I think most people
understand this without question. The problem is more our mis-understanding (or
ignorance) concerning the rest of these facts. And most notably, the personal motives of
our hearts which God sees connected to them.
See VLM Pamphlet: Principles of Spirit-Guided Giving
…the Lord seeth not as man seeth;
for man looketh on the outward appearance,
but the Lord looketh on the heart
1 Sam 16:7
And Jesus sat over against the treasury,
And beheld how the people cast money into the treasury:
And many that were rich cast in much
And there came a certain poor widow,
and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing
And He called unto Him His disciples, and saith unto them:
Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow
hath cast more in than all they which have cast into the treasury
For all they did cast in of their abundance;
But she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living
Mk 12:41-44
It is altogether evident in these two scriptures that God is concerned much less with the
gift than He is the heart motive in giving it. God can’t be bought. And as obvious and
even silly as that may sound to you; people consciously and unconsciously try to
manipulate this Law of Sowing and Reaping all the time.
Their internal motive is not really the glory of Jesus Christ or the advancement of the
mission of the Church to save the lost by having Christ revealed to them. Instead,
(conscious or unconscious), their motive is personal gain.
When people do this, what they are attempting to ‘reveal’ is not the Person of Jesus
Christ, but instead, an exaltation and revelation of the power of this particular spiritual
law. They are attempting to show other people how they can ‘gain power’ through its
use; an abuse of faith, which is not at all pleasing to God. Acts 8:18-20; Acts 5:1-10
Thus, with this truth in mind; let us respectfully look at the other facts of this law.
Fact #2
Your harvest does not come in to you; you must go out to harvest it
In Lk 6:36-38, Jesus said, give [first] and it shall [then] be given to you…through men. This
clearly shows us that we must sow to reap. But it also clearly identifies where we are to
find the harvest ‘and’ with what we are to harvest that fruit. “…good measure, pressed
down and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.”
Men are the field which you have to go out into if you want to harvest. But you will need
a container to receive that harvest into. You will need a ‘bosom’ into which to receive the
harvest and carry it away with you. Mt 13:38
You can see the description of
this Greek word bosom in the link
provided above.
Here in Bolivia however, the
indigenous women have
something of a similar nature
which can visually help you
understand how receiving works
in the Spirit.
An Aguayo is a multi-purpose garment which is wrapped around the shoulders and back;
then knotted in the front. In it, these women carry anything from babies, to produce, to
packaged goods, to bricks. (Yes, I said bricks)
The Aguayo is a very effective transporter in that it allows the body, and not the arms, to
carry the weight. Yet for this garment to effectively achieve its purposed use; above all
else, it must be properly knotted. And when carrying babies, it must be held firmly with
at least one hand.
Let not mercy and truth forsake thee:
Bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thy heart:
So shalt thy find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man
Pro 3:3-4
By humility [and] the fear of the Lord [are] riches and honor and life
Pro 22:4
Mercy and truth are the thread-work of this garment, but the garment itself is Humility.
So do not be deceived. Humility is the only ‘harvesting garment’ into which God pours-out
His riches and honor and life.
Fact #3
Harvesting fruit is harder work and more time-critical than is sowing seed
I have heard people erroneously pray for more humility while never realizing that Christ in
them is the fullness of the humility of God.
In reality, we lack nothing. We need ‘more’ of nothing; neither humility nor patience nor
faith. What we need is to ‘put on Christ’ by a choice of our own will in simple faith.
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved,
bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Forbearing one another and forgiving one another;
if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye
And above all these things, [put on] charity,
which is the bond of perfectness
Col 3:12-14
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.
Yea, all of you be subject, one to another,
and be clothed with humility:
For God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble
1 Pet 5:5
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ…
…and if ye [be] Christ’s
(in this way)
Then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise
Gal 3:26-29
This putting on Christ; this immersive baptism, is not some one-time symbolic religious
ceremony. Water baptism is symbolic. But what it symbolizes is my identification with
the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Rom 6:1-7; Gal 2:20-21
What this means is that my old man with all his natural (and religiously-based) strengths is
dead and buried. And when he is: Christ Himself rises-up to express the works of the
Father in me.
Now, this is not to say I must not act in faith. Absolutely, I must. For if Christ is to arise in
me with free reign to do the Father’s will; I must continually (i.e. daily) present myself to
God as a living sacrifice; dying daily so that He may do this. Rom 12:1-2; Jn 3:30; 1 Cor 15:31
Humility is Christ actively alive and at work in me in works of love
– Nothing less –
Christ must be Savior ‘and’ Lord in me. Without this decision made in faith; any other
so-called act of faith on my part is really nothing more than my own works replacing
Christ working in me. Acts 17:41; Titus 1:16; Jn 14:10; Jn 6:28-29; Mt 23:5-12; 2 Cor 1:12
Many of us claim Christ as Lord as well as Savior. However, there is a litmus test that
clearly proves this fact or fantasy: Is Jesus seen in us as the Humility of God,
giving Himself unto other men…or not?
God gives grace unto the Humble, which is to say, He gives that grace ‘INTO’ their
Humility, who is Christ. And He does not give any heavenly gift into anything apart from
this Humility.
Here in Santa Cruz, when we go out to visit the hospitals and clinics asking for medicines;
we have to humble ourselves.
That asking is not easy. It is humbling. Yet we receive because we are not strangers to the
people we are asking this from – We have already been sowing into them.
We appear in their world giving to them; long before we ever show-up asking from them.
We give of our time. We give of our money and stuff and compassion and love. And as
we do this, and as these people witness it; something happens:
Receiving our giving into them ‘first’…they then give back into us
I think the reason for this has little to do with the various different ‘things’ we give.
Instead, I think it is the willful giving of ourselves – That is the true testimony of God.
 We don’t have to visit the sick or the distressed in these hospitals or clinics...
 We don’t have to try and help them pay their bills…
 We don’t have to bring them food when they have no family to do so; or console
them in pain; pray for their operations; or suffer the experience of their death and
the grief of their families.
We don’t have to, but we do. And what men seem to witness in this is not so much the
time or the money or the stuff sown, but the love.
Because this love is sown, something happens. In an almost automatic way, the spiritual
Law of Sowing & Reaping comes into play; and men give love back to us.
Now that love can come to us in all kinds of ‘wrappings.’ It may come as a case of
children’s aspirin; or cough medicine; or thirty days worth of blood sugar medicine for an
elderly person we know. But let us discern this with a spiritual mind: What is actually
being given is none of those things in themselves.
The real life in each of them is the heart behind the giving; it is the love. This is what has
value in God’s eyes. The ‘things’ themselves are simply the containers; the outwardly
seen wrapping paper of the true gift.
Harvesting really is harder work than sowing.
Though it is costly, there is joy in giving; even when the cost is high. But in truth; to give to
other people requires a lot less humility than asking to receive from them.
People often think of their monetary giving as ‘sacrificial.’ In many respects, it can be.
But I count it a fact that: There is little bearing of a cross when someone gives money.
I’m not saying there is ‘no’ cross in doing so. I’m simply stating the fact that there is much
more cross-bearing in the giving of your time and talents and prayers than simply writing a
check. And beyond that; there is even ‘more’ cross-bearing experienced when we choose
to seek Kingdom harvest from men, for another human being other than their own selves.
(i.e. interceding for other people’s needs by literally approaching other people asking for help)
Now, Jesus was clear in what He taught about this:
 To receive, I must ask to receive
 I must go out (i.e. seek God’s provision) to receive
 And receiving is only realized in manifest testimony, when by a voluntary action of
faith, I go out and begin to knock upon the door of other men’s hearts
I will tell you from experience; this is not easy. I can both ask and seek in the safe refuge
of prayer. However, until I follow that prayer up with a willingness to ask and seek;
literally knocking upon the doors of other men’s hearts, I don’t experience Christ as my
Humility (i.e. by a true picking up of my cross)
I am not so wonderfully spiritual as to relish the doing of this. (As a matter of fact, I literally
hate doing it!) Yet this is where obeying my will or denying myself to pick-up my cross and
obey God’s will is truly tested. For clothing ourselves in this Humility is the only way in
which we can effectively step-out in God’s Spirit to do His will.
- A Note of Caution Concerning Motives In many ways we have attempted to ‘mechanize & manipulate’ the way this Law
of Sowing and Reaping works…to our own benefit.
God’s Word says that God is not mocked. Whatever we sow in fleshly motives
will only reap corruption. Yet what we sow in the Spirit (i.e. the Spirit of
unconditional love, because God is Love) will produce a fruit,
not only acceptable to God, but eternal.
Gal 6:7 & 9
Because of this potential danger,
We need to continually be assessing our motives
The world does not need to see this Law of Sowing and Reaping or any other ‘scriptural
principal’ exalted in the Church above the Person of Jesus Christ Himself. (Much less see us
doing it in the name of how much God loves us.) What they need to see is the Light of God in
the Prince of Peace; the beauty of the Lord Himself, revealed in us. Ps 27:4
To un-tap the fountains of God’s blessings, we must humble ourselves to ask, seek, and
knock. When we do, God releases the Living Waters needed to satisfy thirsting souls.
He does this in a way which humbles us; not makes us look powerful. He does it in a way
which creates a testimony unto Himself, not us. Our benefit is that as these waters flow
through us to others; we ourselves are refreshed.
Fact #4
You need the wisdom and grace of God to properly discern what part of your
harvest is seed for the coming planting season; and what part is bread
Finally, when you receive; you need the grace & wisdom of God to discern your harvest.
Harvest-to-harvest, you need to determine what part of that which you receive is your
seed, and what part is bread given to sustain you.
Now He that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food,
and multiply your seed sown,
and increase the fruits of your righteousness.
Being enriched in every thing unto all bountifulness,
which causeth through us thanksgiving to God
2 Cor 9:10-11
Most of us have probably heard said: God wants to bless you to make you a blessing.
Basically, I do not disagree. But I think it would be much more appropriate to say that:
God wants to bless other people through us. (And thus focus on the ‘through us’
rather than the ‘blessing’ part of this truth)
God does want to bless other people through a Church that is light, and love, and truth.
And the fundamental way in which God wants to do this is for us to first learn to live-out
His commandment to ‘love others as ourselves.’
Generally speaking, we do not love ourselves very effectively. We love ourselves carnally.
We pleasure ourselves. We invest great effort in seeking personal satisfaction. But we do
not love ourselves in a way that produces peace; even though that is really the end-goal
our hearts are seeking. Job 22:21; Ps 4:7-8; Lk 19:42-44; 2 Tim 3:1-7
 The reason we miss-out on our own literal experience of peace is because we don’t
first sow peace into other people
 The reason we show so little mercy to ourselves is because we don’t sow mercy
into other people
When we don’t do these things (i.e. when we focus solely upon satisfying only ourselves in an
egotistical way); we forsake our own harvest of mercy; and thereby, we forsake our true
peace. Mt 5:7 & 9; Jonah 2:8
The way to obtain mercy and learn how to love your imperfect self is to practice loving
other imperfect people, mercifully. And the way for you to experience peace, beyond all
theological theory, is for you to become: a peacemaker.
Doing these things fulfills the second greatest commandment to love others as you love
yourself. And it is in the practice of living-out this commandment that we learn to discern
between bread given to us by God for ourselves, (i.e. love sown into our own lives), and the
seed (i.e. love) He gives us to sow into the lives of others.
It is important that we discern these.
Some people withhold too much; thereby derailing the Law of Sowing and Reaping.
Others hold back too little for themselves and their families, producing the same result.
It has been my experience that people who withhold too much (i.e. fail to properly discern
what God gives them as seed) generally do not do this out of selfishness. Instead, they
mostly do it out of fear.
God however did not give us a new heart so that it might fear. He gave us a new heart so
we might cheerfully and confidently give by ‘purposing with that heart’ (correctly discerning)
what we should give according to God’s will, not our own. 2 Cor 9:7; Eph 4:28; 2 Thes 3:16
You cannot properly discern your bread and seed in fear, because fear always drives you
to try and make everything bread.
Fear distorts your ability to see things in faith. It gives you the false impression that your
own wisdom and your own strengths are what sustain you; not God. And the end result of
this is withholding the seed you should be planting for future harvest.
On the other hand, some people think in exactly the opposite extreme: ‘If I plant
everything I have, then that will produce just that much more harvest.’
When we do this, we are really reading the single verse of 2 Corinthians 9:6 out of
This verse is not telling us that giving more is always better and always produces more. In
the fullest biblical context, it is saying that harvest is relative to quantity, but there is also
time to give much and a time to give less (and a time to give at all points in-between)
We are supposed to give ‘as we purpose’ by our heart. And basically speaking, this means
that, in the intimate relationship between our human spirit and the Holy Spirit living in us,
we are to discern the Holy Spirit’s revelation of God’s perfect will.
When verse six is read in context with verse seven, it dictates that the knowledge of what
God would have us do, in our subjection to His Lordship; and in every several situation, is
found when we seek His perfect will. And the way we do this is by ‘purposing His will’ (i.e.
discerning it) with our heart. Ecc 3:1-9; 1 Cor 2:9-16; Rom 8:14; Jn 2:5
We are delegated a stewardship in our lives in respect to all that comes into our hands,
(i.e. my money, my talents, my time, my material goods, etc.) Being subject to the Lordship of
Jesus, and as Stewards of these things; we are supposed to submit our decision-making
about them to Him. Pro 3:5-7
Whatever the Lord tells us to do, THAT is what we must ‘purpose’ to do in obedience to
Him. Not more. Not less. Just what He says. This is the biblical definition of ‘Abiding in
Christ’ and ‘Walking in the Spirit.’ And this is the relational way in which God increases
out intimacy with Him. Jn 2:1-5; Ps 118:8-9
Making decisions apart from prayerfully seeking the Lord’s will is just a lot of good
intention on our part. It is walking according to the natural mind. And that is not the way
a child of God is designed to live (or give.)
Instead of deciding things in our heads, we must discern and purpose specific obedience
within our hearts. And we do that with the mind of Christ. 1 Cor 2:12-16
You can disagree with me and try to increase your harvest simply by increasing the volume
of what you sow, but, I’m telling you: The Law of Sowing & Reaping doesn’t work that
way. You’re trying to ‘mechanize’ it – To put it to use according to your mind rather than
subjecting your use of it to God, that you may discern and obey His mind.
You may do this unknowingly, but in effect, you are consciously or unconsciously trying to
‘manipulate & produce’ a specific end result, justified by your own mind.
Trying to operate the Law of Sowing & Reaping like this is more akin to a initiating a
process of manipulative witchcraft than it is subjecting ourselves humbly to Jesus Lordship
in a trusting faith.
The primary error we commit, operating this Law in such a mechanized way, is that we
overlook the ‘Relational Factor’ involved in the process.
Our covenant response to God’s Word must be an act of faith taken in the spirit of love.
Remove this factor, (i.e. the love) and you remove the life from the process. Gal 5:5-6
Even when we do this ignorantly and unconsciously, the results are still the same. You
may think that unjust. But the truth is: There are spiritual laws involved. And God cannot
break His own laws and remain just.
There is also another very important thing here that we fail to understand:
 Planting a seed of wheat will produce the necessary grain to make bread
 Planting flour…or flour-dough…or a piece of bread itself will not produce
anything – It will just rot in the ground
Planting bread next to good seed can sabotage the life and potential of that seed…
My father-in-law is 78 years old. He has been a farmer for over 50 years. And one day, I
had a very interesting conversation with him about certain prohibitive planting
While walking through his corn field, I jokingly remarked: “Hey Pop. You’ve got a lot of
space between plants. Why don’t you plant tomatoes? They’d thrive in the shade. And
you could double the yield on this acreage.”
He missed the joke and replied: “Oh, you can’t plant celery or tomatoes next to your corn
because they will prevent the corn’s healthy growth.”
Then, pointing out toward his potato field, he said: “And you can never plant cucumbers
next to potatoes, because they feed off each other. All you end up with are tiny potatoes
and tiny cucumbers that you can’t eat. Even if you try and use them as seed, they usually
won’t produce healthy plants.”
A 78 year old farmer is obviously going to be much smarter than I am about these planting
and harvesting issues.
In the same respect, God is far wiser than we are concerning the proper way His Law of
Sowing and Reaping works.
The fear of the Lord [is] a fountain of life to depart from the snares of death
Pro 14:27
Instead of taking a few verses out of context (because what we think they say may give us
power); we need instead to humble ourselves in a trusting faith.
We need to trust the full framework God’s Word; humbly subject ourselves to Jesus’
Lordship; and by these things, allow His Spirit to lead us unto the ‘purposed’ act of faith
which accomplishes God’s will.
Beloved, you can’t plant ‘bread’ together with your ‘seed’ because they will both just
consume one another and leave you with NOTHING! The only way to prevent this is to
bring the Relational Factor to bear upon this Law, coupled with the humility of trust.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding
(Your natural mind)
In all thy ways
(stewardship & service decisions)
acknowledge Him
(seek His counsel)
and He shall direct thy paths
(Guide your decisions)
Be not wise in thine own eyes:
(do not think your mind equal to the Lord’s)
Fear the Lord and depart from evil
(depart from self-governance and follow Him in trust)
Pro 3:5-7
God is the Giver. God knows how much of what He has placed in your stewardship is seed
and how much is bread. He knows what you should keep. And He knows how much and
unto whom you should give.
If we will by trust, abide in Jesus as we should (i.e. submit our lives to His Lordship in more than
name alone); then the Holy Spirit will reveal these things to us so that we may align our
actions of faith to fulfill the perfect will of God. Jn 15:5; 1 Cor 2:9-10
Jesus is the Husbandman. We are simply stewards. Jesus Himself is the Owner; and those
things which we have stewardship over are not ours to decide about, but His.
Since Jesus is Owner; He also has the responsibility to impart to us what we need to
effectively obey Him in our stewardship. For this, He gave us the Holy Spirit; whose job it
is to ‘take of His’ (i.e. Christ’s mind and goods) and ‘show these things to us.’ Jn 16:14
My friend, ‘you’ do not bear the responsibility of making correct decisions regarding what
you are to keep and what you are to sow. The Bible says ‘wisdom is the principle thing.’
And Jesus is the Wisdom of God, has preeminence over these decisions. Pro 4:7; 1 Cor 1:30
The responsibility which you bear is to obey the instructive guidance of Jesus’ Lordship.
When His wisdom enters your heart, you will find it pleasant to your soul.
If you feel that I have somehow brought an unbiblical or extra-biblical interpretation to my
use of these Bible verses, then please, write me and correct my thinking.
I believe this perspective. I live this perspective. It is my faith; my personal abiding.
I have not arrived at this believing through much study of the Word alone. I have coupled
what I discovered in the Word with a lot of trial-and-error practice. I have proved it out in
my life. And having done so, I have found in the process that submitting myself to the
Lordship of Jesus Christ in this way is both truth & peace for me. Jer 33:6
This is the real humility that ‘receives.’ It is the humility of Christ, who said of Himself,
that the words He spoke and the works He did, were not His own, but only what the
Father directed. Lk 22:42; Jn 14:10
The only question we must ask ourselves is: Are we willing to walk in the Spirit by trust,
doing only what we see the Father doing, (what the Holy Spirit instructively reveals to you)
even as did Jesus? Jn 5:19
If you are willing to do that, you can be sure, you will reap in due season. 1 Pet 5:6-11
- Gifts Gifts from God (i.e. any bestowed blessing outside His blessings of multiplication in sowing and
reaping) are generally thought to be only an expression of His love toward us. They are
that. But that is only half the story.
God wants to glorify Himself in us. He wants to manifest a testimony in our lives before
the eyes of the world. He wants to reveal His Nature; which is of course, Love. And
relative to the truth, God is ‘motivated’ to bless. But what we have failed to understand
is His primary motive.
Biblically speaking, we ‘deserve’ nothing as sinners. And most Christians I know have no
problem agreeing with that. In the very same biblical context however, we deserve
nothing as saints either. We can ‘earn’ nothing from God with our own works.
It is also equally true that we cannot earn anything from God through some kind of ‘thisfor-that’ exchange. We cannot obey and fulfill His works with the end-goal in mind of
‘gaining’ something from Him. Our motive in obedience must be to give.
In God’s eyes, obedience equals love, nothing else. We love Him because He first loved
us. We want to give Him joy. And obedience does that. Thus, obedience is simply the
love of His sons and daughters, demonstrated in a ‘reasonable service’ (i.e. a reciprocal
love) which is given unto God. Jn 14:15; Rom 12:1
This should leave us with the clear understanding that all that God gifts us with is done in
a spirit of mercy. Yet, when God in that mercy gifts you with blessing (i.e. any form of
abundant life & peace), that mercy is not limited to you alone. God wants other people to
see it; to know it exists; and to know it is available to them.
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge
(cannot be taught or comprehended with the mind, only experienced)
That ye might be filled with all the fullness of God
(see the full-scope of mercy in His Nature of Love)
Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
(by His merciful love)
according to the power that worketh in us,
(the faith in us able to receive His love as a testimony to His caharacter)
Unto Him [be] glory in the Church by Christ Jesus
(when this testimony is received and realized in us)
throughout all ages, world without end. Amen
Eph 3:19-21
God’s primary objective is to create a testimony in you which other people can see. He
wants to make you the ‘light of His mercy.’
Receiving God’s works of mercy is by no stretch of the imagination a ‘get-something-forgiving-something’ kind of thing. Receiving this mercy is an obedience. We are receiving
vessels. Yet if we are to become the testimony God intends, we have to learn how to
receive His works.
Different forms of testimony are received in different ways (just like Jesus did not always heal
in the same way); and we will talk about these shortly. But ‘all Testimony’ is received by
faith. And the basic precepts about this receiving are as follows:
1. Every expression of God toward man is an expression of His mercy
2. No matter your need or the particular form of testimony; ‘you’ (i.e. your need for
healing or anything else, etc) are not the primary objective of God’s act of mercy
3. You are the vessel; the sign-board upon which God wants to paint an ‘exceeding
abundant’ message of testimony to others, beyond your natural imagination
4. Other people are the primary receivers of this testimony
o – God’s first focus is to reveal Himself to the lost that they might be saved
o – God’s second focus is to reveal Himself to the Church in a way which
encourages & edifies Her
5. ‘Your benefit’ is no less important to Him…but…in a prioritized hierarchy; your
benefit is subordinate to these other focuses
I have had people adamantly disagree with this perspective saying it diminishes the truth
about God’s love for the individual. Well, I’m telling you folks…that just isn’t so.
God loves you but He finds opportunity in your need to love you AND others at the same
time; in a single act of love; with and through the testimony He wants to realize in your
life. (A testimony which is in fact much more about God’s character being seen in the world than it is
about you) Jn 9:1-3; Jn 11:4; Lk 17:12-19; Rom 11:34-36; 1 Cor 10:31; 2 Cor 1:20; Phil 2:11-13
The only thing that diminishes God’s love for people is our failure to give it and show it in
unconditional ways.
- Chapter # 4 -
Stumbling Blocks to Realized Testimony
Thus far, we have been talking about God’s side of covenant action more than our own.
But, before I get into specifics about our acting in faith to receive, let me mention this.
Most of us have a lot of trouble receiving from God because, on some level, we’re looking
for some kind of merit in ourselves. It’s a common problem. But even though we know
what the Bible says about grace; we know it more in theory than in experiential fact.
If your faith can grasp that God’s motive is to act ‘through you to reach other people’,
verses only ‘reach-out unto you’ in respect to your need…you will in fact find it becoming
much easier to receive the testimonies God wants manifested in your life; and your own
needs met at the same time.
If you will set-aside your natural mind; approach God in prayer; ask Him to manifest His
testimony in you; and ask Him to ‘show you’ (i.e. make you understand) how you need to
specifically act in faith to receive a testimony realized unto His glory, He will show you.
Note: Christians tell me all the time that God does not communicate with them in this
specific manner. They’re not seeing or hearing any of these things. (And essentially, they
are placing the blame on God) But the real problem is not with God but with them. They
have an almost impossible time setting aside their natural mind’s view. And they don’t take
time to ask God in faith what to do or how to do it, because they think it unnecessary
In my experience with this, I have continually witnessed people trip over the following
four basic stumbling blocks:
They look at circumstances with their natural mind instead of with the mind of
Christ; looking for some merit in themselves which calls forth this act on God’s part
 They are thinking about their need instead of God’s
They expect it to happen in other people before themselves (again, thinking with the
natural mind that ‘someone’ other than themselves must be a better choice)
 They are looking at themselves instead of God
They are unconscious of God’s desire to create testimony in the life of ‘any child of
His’ who will receive that testimony first unto His glory (verses only into their need)
 They are thinking about their need instead of God’s
And lastly, they have little or no understanding relative to ‘receiving instruments’
 They are thinking about how to receive instead of asking God how to
What this simply amounts to is that, until we can stop looking inwardly toward ourselves,
and begin to look in an outward direction towards God purpose and the Church’s
mission…we will remain unhealed, and that mission, incomplete
We ‘cannot’ look for merit in ourselves and then expect to receive anything (but
correction) from God
We ‘cannot’ be so irresponsible as to always expect God to use someone else. We
have to be a willing vessel. We have to be willing to receive; to be used
God called us the Light of the World, but we think this is only manifest through our
doctrinal declarations
o These things however only speak ‘about’ God.
o What God wants is, by way of living testimony, to ‘reveal His Person’ in us
o And this only happens as we ‘humble ourselves’ to allow Him
We can receive very little from God if we have no knowledge of the ‘receiving
tools’ available to our faith
I think thus far in the book, I’ve already given you enough information about the first
three issues to give you a head-start on overcoming them. So in the upcoming chapters;
let’s focus our study upon the general area of this fourth issue. Let’s talk about:
 Receiving Principles, which touch-on who and what we are as the Church
 Receiving Instruments, which empower us to effectively receive testimony
- Chapter # 5 -
The ‘Vessel’ We Are
God’s Word clearly calls us ‘vessels’…at least in English. And it’s this language thing that
trips us up; because hearing the word vessel in English, we typically think, ‘container.’
That is not an incorrect definition, but the definition of this word depends on the context
in which it is used in the Bible. And when this word is used in the New Testament, its
basic definition is: An Implement. (i.e. instrument)
This implement (or vessel) can be a container, but it can also be household utensils;
domestic gear; a ship; or the tackle and armament of a ship, [used specifically of sails and
ropes]; or what a working instrument or tool is to a laborer (i.e. that which enables him to
complete a task.)
It is also a term used to describe what a woman is relative to her husband; literally a
vessel or instrument able to proliferate her husband’s lineage (i.e. produce, contain, and
deliver a continuance of life.)
The most common use of this word σκεῦος (skeuos) in the Greek culture, which
influenced the epoch of the Apostles, was that of a Body (since the Greeks thought of souls
living temporarily in bodies/vessels)
The Church’s culture assimilated this perspective, believing that a body was not whole
unless it consisted of two basic life-giving parts; for without the procreative element of
each, it could neither exist or continue.
The marriage of a man and woman is biblically revealed in the New testament to be a
Type & Shadow of Christ and His Church, (He being the husband and the Church being His
bride) This was what the Apostle Paul called, a Great Mystery. Eph 5:23-33
As a Living Implement or Instrument of God, the Church, biblically defined as a Body, is
intended to accomplish God’s will in the earth. And She is seen to do so in two primary
1. She is the living container (i.e. womb) of the ‘Hope of the glory of God’ Col 1:27
 This Hope is Jesus Christ, living incarnate in His Church Mt 1:23;Eph 5:30
 Destined to be born out of us into the world as the Light of Truth Jn 8:12
 Witnessed in the world through the testimony of each living member Mt 5:14; Mk 8:38
2. She is a multi-purpose (many-membered) instrument Rom 6:11-13
 She is the incarnate hands and feet of God in the earth Rom 10:14; 1 Cor 12:12-20
 She is the voice of God in the earth Rom 10:15; Rev 22:17
 Jesus is recognized in Her by ‘infallible proofs.’ Acts 1:3; Mk 16:16-20
Now my point in painting this rather theological picture is that the Church, as a single
entity; as a Body; can only be as instrumentally effective as are each of Her individual
parts. She requires a healthy ‘wholeness’ which is not an ecumenical uniformity, but
instead, the living, singular mind of Christ.
Because of this, I propose that since God must work through His Body to accomplish His
will in the earth; His primary focus is the health (i.e. wholeness) of this Body.
God wants to heal the Church, purposefully, not sympathetically.
God does not want the Church inwardly focused upon Herself as though that were Her
mission. The end-goal of God’s internal healing work is not only to heal Her, but also to
raise Her up and enable Her by the Holy Spirit to reach outward into the darkness;
completing Her prophetic mission in the earth.
God’s mandate to bring light into the world cannot take place through a mute and
immobile instrument. The revelation (in Her) of Jesus Christ, cannot shine through a
handicapped body.
- Chapter # 6 -
Sanctified ‘Unto God’ as well as ‘Away From Sin’
I’d like to ask you a question with the understanding that the answer is more pertinent to
this topic of Receiving than you may imagine:
If you depart from one sin, only to enter another;
are you any better off ?
I know the question seems ridiculous, but the truth is: We fall into this trap all the time.
We depart from many ‘outwardly recognized’ sins of commission (i.e. smoking, drinking, etc);
yet at the same time, we continue in many ‘lesser recognized’ sins of omission.
As individuals, we socially and religiously condemn outwardly seen vices. No one who
considers themselves a good person wants to be identified with these vices; even less so,
the person who says they believe in the God of the Bible.
People who have this perspective tend to apply whatever influence they may possess with
other people to motivate them to ‘come away from’ these negative things and seek a
heathier, more spiritually moral lifestyle, apart from them.
Now this is fine (albeit rare) in a secular world, where people do not hold to a biblical world
view. In the eyes of God however, ‘ceasing’ the practice of these negative things is only a
first step toward ‘commencing’ the practice of being an active Doer of the Mission He has
assigned His Church.
Sanctify them through Thy truth, Thy Word is truth
As thou hast sent Me into the world,
even so have I also sent them into the world
And for their sakes, I sanctify Myself
that they also might be sanctified through the truth
Neither pray I for these alone,
but for them also which shall believe on Me
Through their word
Jn 17:17-20
Sanctify isn’t exactly a common, everyday word. It’s biblical; it’s religious; it’s churchy.
Like the word holiness; the words sanctify and sanctified get thrown around a lot; but that
doesn’t necessarily mean we understand them.
You shall know them by their fruits…
Mt 7:15-20
To look at the lives of a great majority of the Church…it seems obvious to me, that the
fullest meaning of this word sanctify (ἁγιάζω) has escaped us. By biblical definition, the
verb Sanctify means to do TWO things: ‘separate from profane things AND dedicate to
The problem we have as individual members of the Body in understanding and applying
this process of sanctification is: We understand and ‘do’ the first part…but give more
‘lip-service’ than love to the second.
Now, I’m going to be perfectly honest with you here. And hopefully, you are going to be
honest with yourself; because the following truth about human nature is a problem
common to us all.
As human beings, we can be ‘seen’ (and thereby measured) by other men’s opinions.
Because of this, we feel compelled by the light of these opinions to conduct ourselves in
socially acceptable ways. In short, we act: ‘Socially Responsible.’
To be socially responsible, we are willing to pay the cost to depart from the sins which
society distains. In this, we are willing to ‘separate ourselves from sin’ (i.e. sanctify
ourselves away from it.) Yet, we do not do this because we are good or because this sin has
no appeal to us.
The reason we pay the cost to leave these sins is because we do not want to be seen
‘identified’ with them because that ends up marginalizing us from other people. Thus, the
fundamental reason we depart from them is: They threaten relationship. (i.e. our social
There is a positive and negative side to this. And I think for the sake of this particular
study, it is best and sufficient to stick to the following three positive perspectives:
 It is good to value relationship highly enough to pay a price to maintain it
 It is good to have an accountability in life which leads you to chose a higher road
 It is good to seek Acceptance & Unity over Rejection & Separation
Our motivation is driven by our value of social relationships. Men’s opinions hold us
accountable to a certain standard of acceptance. To obtain this acceptance, we depart
from socially defined sins; becoming all the healthier because we do. But this begs a
question about our relationship with God:
Why does His opinion not produce in us the same kind of functional accountability?
Jesus prayed that we would be ‘sanctified by the truth.’ He prayed that the truth of the
Word would be the influence of accountability in our lives; that which would bring us out
of darkness (i.e. sin & death) and bring us into a life related to all that was God’s will.
That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
to perform the mercy [promised] to our fathers,
and to remember His holy covenant;
the oath which He sware to our father Abraham, that He would grant unto us,
that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies,
might serve Him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life
(by performing these mercies)
Lk 1:71-75
Beloved, we are not just saved from sin that ‘we’ might receive eternal life. We are
saved from sin, to perform mercies towards others, that ‘they too’ may be saved.
Sanctification is a transformational process, designed not only to bring us ‘out of
something’ but also into ‘the performing of these mercies.’ However, since the ‘out of’
side of this process is the only part seen and judged by other men; we are not compelled
by social opinion to do more than simply depart from sin. (i.e. seek a moral lifestyle as the
end-goal of salvation)
Being saved from sin ‘AND’ performing mercies towards other men are not personal
options when it comes to having a fully reconciled relationship with God. Both, together,
constitute a full obedience on our part; and therefore, a full love.
In respect to having a living, eternal relationship with God, no Christian would argue that
our personal salvation is somehow optional. Yet many (and I might even say most) Christians
will indeed argue that performing these mercies is ‘optional.’ And they justify their
argument by saying: It is somebody else’s job.
There is a story of four people named
Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.
There was an important job to do, and Everybody was asked to do it.
Everybody was sure Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry because it was Everybody’s job.
Everybody thought Anybody would do it,
but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody
when Nobody did what Anybody could have.
That poem is extremely telling, don’t you think? With no accountability to compel us any
further, we tend to stop short of what the whole end-purpose of sanctification was
designed by God to accomplish. We ‘stop doing’ a lot of things which are contrary to
God’s will; and this is good. But we fail to ‘start doing’ the things we were separated from
that sin to actually accomplish – We fail to engage mission.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:
[it is] the gift of God: Not of works, least any man should boast.
For we are His workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works
which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them
Eph 2:8-10
We are indeed supposed to depart from sin and also our own fleshly works (i.e. what we
think to offer to God for acceptance.) But God’s end-goal in sanctifying us exceeds this. Gen 4:5
We are not only expected to separate ourselves ‘away from’ profane things, but we are
also called to dedicate ourselves ‘unto God’ in a relational way wherein He makes us one
with Himself; a two-sided process called: Obedience. Jn 17:20-23; 1 Pet 3:14-16
God calls obedience love. And to be found loving God as He defines love: It is certain that
we must STOP practicing sin; but that love is not fully actualized until we START practicing
the doing of the Word of God.
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor,
sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use
prepared unto every good work
2 Tim 2:21
When we purge ourselves from the ‘committing’ of socially unacceptable sin, but at the
same time ‘omit’ to enter into the doing of biblically defined good works, we remain in sin.
And this sin of omission separates us from God just as surely does any sin of commission.
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God…none calleth for
justice, nor any pleaded for truth…and behold the tears of [such as were]
oppressed, and they had no comforter;
and on the side of their oppressors, [there was] power;
but they had no comforter
Is 59:1-4 & Ecc 4:1
If we will be truly honest with ourselves, we will admit that our departure from social sin is
motivated by our desire to be ‘seen as good’ by others (and ourselves); and thereby, be
accepted instead of rejected by men.
Our motivation to abandon these sins of commission is because they are openly seen and
judged by men; not hidden. Our leaving them is good. But our motive is more focused on
self than it is in loving and pleasing God.
Granted, there are many of these same kinds of sins which simply go ‘underground.’ We
maintain them in secret; live double-lives. But usually, even though we may resist
repenting from them; the Spirit of God has no trouble convicting us of their existence;
which is to say, we are at least not deceived about the sin.
Our failure to accept the responsibility of the cross, which calls us to lay our lives down for
other men, is more occult and self-deceiving. It is not so much a failure of works as it is
one of failing to reach-out in relational love.
The responsibility to make an inward personal decision to do this (i.e. reach-out to others in
love) does not ‘feel’ as mandatory as departing from these other, outward, more obvious
sins. In God’s eyes however, it is an equally valued obedience; and the very end-purpose
of our sanctification in the earth.
Some sin is more deceiving than other sin, yet; all disobedience is sin
This ‘sin of omission’ works in hiding; secreted away from the sight of other men; seen
only by the person themselves and God. And if ever we are called from our sin to
responsibly minister unconditional love to others; we generally justify our sin, saying:
That responsibility belongs to someone else, not me. 1 Cor 2:11-13; Heb 3:8-15; Deu 15:7-8
When we DO these socially identified sins, we sin in a way which separates us from God.
Yet at the same time, we need to realize; that when we FAIL TO DO God’s biblically
identified works of love, we also sin in a way which separates us from God.
Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to His disciples; saying,
The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat
All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, [that] observe and do;
But do not ye after their works:
for they say and do not
For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be born;
And lay them on men’s shoulders;
But they [themselves] will not move them with one of their fingers;
But all their works, they do to be seen (accepted) of men…
Mt 23:1-5
We convince ourselves that we are not disobedient; that we are not in sin. We say we are
loving; that we do love others. And in some rights, we do. Yet when it comes to paying
the cost of picking up the cross to love them in specifically commanded biblical ways, we
do not love them…
When we as the many several members of the Body of Christ omit to obey God in sharing
the Gospel with others, personally… We sin.
When we omit to mentor younger Christians, relationally… When we fail to help the poor
or visit the sick, on a more personal level than writing a check or sending a two dollar
card… In all of these things, we sin; just as much (and in one sense even worst) as when we
lie, cheat, and steal.
With words, we say we believe. With words, we say we love. Yet in works, our testimony
is something less than complete. And this saddens God.
If you look at the story of King Saul’s disobedience, you will see the result which this kind
of ‘half-obedience’ produces. Instead of receiving a greater measure of the Kingdom and
the victory which God desired for him to have; Saul’s self-justified disobedience caused
him to ‘lose what he already had, instead of receive more.’
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it;
But whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the Gospel’s,
The same shall save it
Mk 8:35-38
I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,
which is your reasonable service
Rom 12:1
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, He is a liar:
For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen,
How can he love God whom he hath not seen?
And this commandment have we from Him,
That he who loveth God, love his brother also
1 Jn 4:20-21
Much of what we claim as love is but the world’s love, not God’s. Even when we sacrifice
in this kind of love, it is still a love separated from the costs of the cross. Mk 8:38; Heb 12:2
For our natural love, we are praised. When we speak about eternal things in the love of
God however, we risk hate and reproach. So fearing the judgment and rejection of men;
we choose the lesser over the greater.
God deeply loves the world and wants desperately to manifest His works of love in us
before their eyes. These are not our works; for in ourselves, we can do no good thing.
These are God’s works; His gift to the world. Yet this is a gift which must come to the
world through the Church. Rom 3:9-18; 1 Jn 3:11-12; Jude 1:11
…and behold the tears of [such as were] oppressed,
and they had no comforter;
and on the side of their oppressors, [there was] power;
but they had no comforter
Ecc 4:1
Do we care about the lost as God does? Do we care about other men’s suffering? Or is
our daily consciousness more focused upon ourselves and our own comforts?
We are meant to be made in the image of God. We are taught to walk in the Spirit which
Jesus called, the Comforter. God’s Spirit is mercy. And the Bible says that those who are
led by the Spirit of God are the true sons of God. Gen 1:27; Jn 15:26-27; Rom 8:14
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
The Father of mercies and the God of all comfort;
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation,
That we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble
By the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God
2 Cor 1:3-4
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved bowels of mercies, kindness,
humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Forbearing one another and forgiving one another,
if any man have a quarrel against any:
Even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye
And above all these things [put on] charity, which is the bond of perfectness
Col 3:12-14
Until we are made in this image and found walking in this Spirit, the world will not and
cannot experience the comfort of the Hope of Glory, which is Jesus Christ in us.
Until we have sanctified ourselves, not only ‘away from sin’ but also ‘unto God’ (in a way
wherein His works of mercy can be received in and done through us); we are walking in
something less than the fullness of His will.
…I say unto you, he that believeth on Me,
the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do,
because I go unto My Father
(to take up an interceding priesthood to release these works into the earth)
Jn 14:12; 1 Tim 2:3-5; Heb 7:24-25
God needs each of us to ‘receive’ His works done in us, personally. This is His will;
something which far exceeds receiving personal needs and wants met by God.
Now unto Him that is able to do
exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us
(our faith working to receive these things)
Unto him [be] glory in the Church, by Christ Jesus,
(by this exceeding abundance being manifest in us)
throughout all ages, world without end.
Eph 3:20-21
You are designed to receive these ‘exceeding abundant’ things, but to do that; you are
going to have to learn how.
I want you to learn how. I hope you want to learn how. For if you would know the truth;
this receiving, (and the subsequent giving away to others of that which you receive), is God’s
great joy and your true peace.
- Chapter # 7 -
Hands, Mouths, Ears
Please don’t fool yourself. Learning how to receive from God really is a trial-and-error
process. It will cost you something. And the first thing it will cost you is the cross of
placing God’s interests ahead of your own.
The human soul wants instant gratification, even in respect to spiritual (i.e. religious)
things. But you can’t simply pick-up a book on Receiving from God in your local Lifeway
Store; read it in an afternoon; and begin receiving the ‘exceeding abundant’ things God
that He wants to flow to you and through you, just like that.
We invest four to six years of our lives and a whole lot of money in university educations.
And why is that? Because we know there is a return on that investment. And we value
the return enough to make the up-front sacrifice of investment.
Learning how to effectively use your faith to receive; to give; to minister unconditional
love towards others costs time and effort. Engaging the doing of this is your investment in
learning how to do it; and experiencing more of the peace of God because of your
Experiencing the real-time, living peace of God, literally keeping your heart; is a matter of
your personal values: How much are really willing to invest to mature your faith and
love…and put it into action?
The following principles and truths about faith and receiving will help you; but only if this
investment of God’s unconditional love is sown in relationships and prayer beyond
substitutional religious ritual. Is 58:1-12
Remember that Greek word, Take? (λαμβάνω (lambanō): to take what is one’s own; to take to
one’s self; to claim, procure, for one’s self.)
Well, even though this is far from everything you need to understand about receiving, it is
‘key’ to your beginning to receive. So we’re going to focus here as I try and use some
illustrations to make my point.
If I buy you a Bible as a gift, or if you buy a Bible from me in a store; at some point in the
process, I am going to extend my hand with the Bible in it for you to ‘take.’
Now tell me: When we reach this point: ‘How will you go about receiving this Bible from
me?’ Will you take it from me with your ear? With your foot?
Of course not. Instead, almost automatically without any real conscious thought at all,
you will take it from me with one of your hands. Because in this particular example of
receiving: Your hand is the appropriate ‘tool’ to ‘take’ that item.
Now I want you to think about ‘Asking & Receiving’ in terms of ‘Tools & Taking.’
What we have to remember, is that there is a relative relationship between the nature of
what is being received and the type of vessel we become (i.e. receiving tool) to receive that
particular thing. Thus, a large stumbling block to taking possession of what the Lord has
prepared for us is: We don’t understand the instrumental way to receive it.
We try and receive that Bible with our ear instead of our hand; and it doesn’t work. We
try and receive water in a hand; only to see it seep away from us. We try and re-try these
things over-and-over again; until finally, we get frustrated and give-up trying to receive
When this happens, we have a very bad tendency to blame God or ourselves for the lack
of results. Either we blame God for not giving us an ear capable of receiving bibles…or we
end up condemning ourselves as inadequate (“Oh you stupid, worthless ear!”)
The real problem however is neither of these things. The problem is: We’re just not
seeing, in a spiritually clear way: HOW TO RECEIVE. And because of this ignorance, we
regress to a form of religious prayer.
We present things to God…cross our fingers…and make everything God’s responsibility.
But this doesn’t work, because we are a people of covenant. And our personal faith is a
living part of God’s will becoming manifest in the earth.
- Chapter # 8 -
We ‘Must’ Learn to Walk in the Spirit
The reason we get frustrated, defeated, and ineffectual at prayer is because we try to
reason with our own minds what we should do, verses pause to ask God; wait on and
receive His answer; and then do what He says.
We should pray ‘to be led by the Holy Spirit’ in prayer (and every other action of faith we
take.) And then, we should humble ourselves to say and do only what He shows us.
Believest thou not, that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?
The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself:
But the Father that dwellesth in Me
He doeth the works
Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me:
Or else believe Me for the very works sake
Jn 14:10-11
The reason people saw and recognized God in Christ was that Jesus, as ‘The Son of Man’
(i.e. Jesus the second Adam, in His humanity), was a vessel for the works of the Father; an
Instrument in God’s hand.
As Jesus walked in faith, people saw ‘God’ because they saw ‘God doing the works in
Him’…not Jesus doing the works ‘for’ the Father.
Apart from the sin of indifference, this is perhaps the biggest error we make.
We try to learn how to ‘do for’ God with our own abilities and strengths; instead of
learning how to ‘submit ourselves to God effectually,’ that He may then realize His
works in us. Is 64:6; Rom 12:1-2
Of Himself, Jesus said and did nothing. This is to say that Jesus ‘decided’ nothing on His
own in His humanity, apart from the directive guidance of the Holy Spirit revealing in Him
the Father’s perfect will.
Wherefore my beloved, as ye have always obeyed,
not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence,
work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you,
both to will and to do of [His] good pleasure
Phil 2:12-13
God willing and doing His good pleasure in Jesus…
God willing and doing His good pleasure in each of us…
When we submit ourselves to an all-out trust of the Holy Spirit’s guidance as Jesus did;
therein we are found working out our salvation ‘with fear and trembling.’ (i.e. reverence
& the total mis-trust of personal ability)
Beloved, if the learning and the living-out of this experience was necessary for Jesus in His
humanity…how much more necessary is it for us to learn to walk in the Spirit in this
way? Heb 5:7-9; Lk 22:42
Granted, I am almost always challenged on this point for the following reason: People
always tell me: Jesus was Jesus…and we are not.
As the second Adam, Jesus fulfilled His earthly mission in the flesh, as a man. When He
turned His back on sin to obey God, He demonstrated obedience. But if he had not turned
His face toward God to obey His perfect will (i.e. take up His cross); He would have been in
disobedience; and we would not be saved. Rom 5:14-15; 1 Cor 15:45-47
If Jesus had not fulfilled ‘both’ levels of obedience, and not done so in the flesh as a man,
guided by the Holy Spirit… then He could never be our example of obedience; much less
our present High Priest. Heb 12:2; 1 Tim 2:5
So the first principle we really have to learn is how to ‘sanctify’ ourselves to God in exactly
this way. We have to humble ourselves to God. We have to surrender our lives to Him in
such a way that He may conceive, grow, and birth His works out of us into the world by His
Spirit. Rom 8:10-14; Zec 4:6
I desired mercy, and not (religious) sacrifice;
And the knowledge (relational knowing) of God,
more than burnt offerings
But they like men have transgressed the covenant:
(walking in religious works instead of relational mercies)
There have they dealt treacherously against Me
Hos 6:6-7
Beloved, except we learn to walk in the Spirit, performing the mercies of God; all we offer
unto God (i.e. try to do ‘for’ Him) is little more than the offering of Cain. Lk 1:71-71; Gen 4:1-11
It’s a choice of the heart…
[The Book will be updated to include Part 2, NLT 9-15-2012]