Change Your Lenses, Change Your Life (part 3)

Welcome back to part three of our discussion about perceptions; where we are exploring how the lenses that we see ourselves and the world around us by, can have a powerful and dramatic effect on our entire life. And not surprisingly, the scriptures have quite a bit to teach us about our lenses.

Last week, we paused after seeing how the Israelites failed to enter the Promise Land, by allowing their circumstances and their skewed lenses speak louder to them than the multiple promises of God that they had already been given. This is a scenario that plays out today as well, in the lives of a great number of believers, and it keeps people wandering in the “spiritual wilderness”, continually lost, weak and defeated, when in fact they have countless unclaimed promises of victory right in-front of them.

I also mentioned last week, at the end of our study right before we paused, that even if that picture resembles you today, that there was no need to despair, because there is a way out of the wilderness, thee is an answer, and we will find out what that answer is today in this study. So join me now, as we continue our discussion about changing our lenses, and changing our life.

Healing is Easier Than You Think

Throughout my years in the ministry, I’ve had a lot of conversations with people regarding healing. Healing and finances are actually the two most popular topics – and we have numerous resources on both because of it.

What I have experienced in my time, is that people place healing on a strange pedestal, as if it were somehow more difficult to receive than other blessings, or even more difficult than receiving salvation itself!

This is another classic example of our human mind, reasoning and theology complicating what God has made simple. Healing is not as complicated as we make it out to be; and it’s actually easier than we think!

Join me today, as we explore, how to easily receive healing, as a gift from God, in Christ Jesus.

Your Healing is Unstoppable! (part 4)

Welcome to the fourth part of our series of studies on how because of the finished work of Christ, your healing is unstoppable.
So far, we’ve already seen some things that that have greatly strengthened both our faith and our belief:
In part one, we saw how sinful deeds cannot stop our healing, and we destroyed a big stronghold for a lot of people regarding this common false belief that sin can stop or block our healing.
Next, in part two, we continued this theme by seeing how living in a sinful world also cannot stop our healing, which is another common false belief, closely related to the first one.

Then in part three we moved to a more internal level, as we examined how our new identity in Christ is a fundamental principle of why our healing is unstoppable.

Now today in this fourth part, we are going to examine another popular idea… what about having not enough faith? Can having a lack of faith stop healing? Join me today, as we answer this important question.

How to Respond When the Situation Looks Grim

Over the years I have had a number of people ask me: James, things just aren’t working. Things just don’t look good. What am I supposed to do?

And I can understand how these people feel. I can understand their heart. We have all of these promises which God has given to us; what is the proper way to respond if what we are currently seeing doesn’t seem to line-up with what was promised?

Well, today we are going to answer those questions.

And the answers will strengthen our understanding of what is actually going on, as well as to enhance our perspective of God’s Grace and goodness, even when the situation looks bleak.

Understanding the Sheep and the Goats

The sheep and the goats is one of the most striking and the most controversial statements made by Jesus regarding the final judgment. It is a time when the genuine believers (the sheep) will be separated from the non-believers (the goats).

Now over the years, this has caused a lot of fear and confusion, as I have heard people express to me their fear that they might be a goat and not know it. After all, what exactly is a goat, and how do we tell a goat from a sheep in the spiritual sense? There are some who say that a genuine sheep will be the hardest worker for God, while a goat will slack-off on their spiritual duties and responsibilities.

Is that true?
If so, how do we know when we’ve worked hard enough to merit sheep-hood? And afterwards, can we fall back to being a goat?

In order to have any real assurance and security, these questions must be answered – and thankfully, God hasn’t left us wondering about the answers; Jesus spoke plainly about them.
This is what we will be examining today in this study, and by seeing this, you will not need to be confused or afraid about the sheep and the goats any longer.

Speak Victory, Not Defeat

Many people have heard the famous quote from Proverbs 18:21, that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”, and countless sermons have been preached over the years about the power of positive confession – even the secular world understands that speaking (and thinking) positively can have a benefit.

The scriptures however take it deeper than what most people realize. Positive thinking and positive confession without a foundation on the truth of Jesus Christ, is empty. It is just words without substance, it is clouds without rain if we don’t understand exactly why we can speak and think positively – and have it be more than simply nice words or pleasant thoughts.

Many people, including believers that I have talked to, are trying to get the benefits of positive thinking and positive confession, without the foundation… putting the cart before the horse; and without the basis of Jesus Christ, it all falls flat.

So what I want to share with you today, are some examples of how this was used by the people in scripture, about the very specific positive confessions that they spoke, and how they actually obtained results… and by seeing this, you will be able to speak and think positively, with confidence and substance, because you will know why it is true for you.

Are You Trusting in the TEXT or in the PERSON?

It seems like a strange question at first: do you trust the text of scripture? If you are a believer the answer is of course, yes – and I’m sure this study is going to raise a few eyebrows. However I want to to share with you something that God has recently shared with me… and it is precisely the difference between trusting in the text of scripture versus trusting in the person that the text is speaking about. It seems almost like semantics or hair-splitting at first, however I believe that as you begin to see this difference and what it means, it will open-up new levels of belief on Jesus Christ, and security in Him.

It may surprise you to also learn that this idea did not originate with me… This distinction is not my invention, but it began with Jesus Himself. He was the one who first spoke of it, and with good reason… this is actually a fundamental issue of both faith and belief. And again it is my privilege to share this with you today.

Don’t Let the Tares Spoil Your Harvest

A popular phrase, is that “if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything.” It’s a bit simplistic. My mother managed to simplify it even further to “Don’t be a downer!”. And there is no place that this advice is needed more, than in the realm of the spirit. I remember one time when I was in a small group and we were having a time of prayer, specifically for healing; we were praying for a specific person who was sick and not able to attend that meeting, and it seemed as though a were achieving breakthroughs, but then as our prayer time came to an end, one lady spoke up and said “you know, my friend had those same exact symptoms and she died.”

As soon as those words were uttered, the atmosphere completely changed. The hearts of everyone became somber, and their spirits were all moved from “Yes God is a great Healer!” to “Well, maybe He doesn’t heal.” – all of the belief was sucked out of the room.

My friend, this is not always just blind ignorance. There is a deliberate strategy of the enemy at work here to sabotage the faith and belief of God’s children. Jesus spoke about this exact thing, He taught on it, and the disciples and apostles also warned against it. And today I want to share with you, what Jesus said about the wheat and the tares, and how to not let them spoil you from receiving everything that God has given to you.

Jesus is the Source of Your Confidence

Do you have confidence? I’m not talking about self-confidence, but confidence in God. Many people today just aren’t sure. They aren’t sure of God, they aren’t sure of His motives, they aren’t sure of His intentions, nor His character. Many people are afraid that God will strike them down. And they are afraid to ask God for help or provision or just plain fun because they are afraid that He will think they are being greedy or unholy. And then when they do manage to find the courage to ask God for something, they are on shaky ground, because they mostly expect Him to deny their request for a variety of reasons – from God trying to teach them a lesson, to having sin in their life – basically any reason mankind can come up with as an excuse for God not granting their request.

This kind of thinking about God has caused a lot of pain over the years. It is easier for our natural mind to assume the worst about God, than to see a God that actually wants to grant our requests. Our default mindset is “We can ask God, but don’t get your hopes up!”

However today I want to share with you the truth about God straight from the scripture regarding this issue. Not what man has said about God, but what He says about Himself. And the truth may surprise you.

God Simply Wants You To Be

Do you have a nagging feeling that you need to do something for God? A lot of believers have this feeling, and it causes them a lot of distress because they feeling as though they are somehow “letting God down” or not living up to their full potential. It’s actually a huge mental trap to get stuck in – especially because churches always tell people that they need to find “God’s Perfect Will” for their life; and so people are left wandering around and stumbling about looking for this mythical unicorn of “God’s Perfect Will” – I know because I’ve lived that way, and it is very discouraging and disheartening thinking that there is this magical path you need to go down, but not knowing where it is; and having so many Christian brothers and sisters telling you that you need to find it, but no-one seems to be able to help.
Well, if that happens to describe you today, then I’m going to share something with you that’s going to be very freeing… you don’t have to do anything for God! Now I know that right away some people will want to scream blasphemy! Heretic! Yet the Biblical truth is that God only wants you to do two things, and neither of them are what we could consider to be “works of service” He wants us to: Believe, and Live.