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.

Change Your Lenses, Change Your Life (part 1)

When having discussions about Christian living, one topic that often gets overlooked is perspective; how we see ourselves and the world around us. Many of us are so focused on our works and performance, that we miss the central aspect of our identity in Christ and how that should change our lenses.

This is actually integral to the Gospel, and living in your new identity in Christ – and the scriptures contain many examples of how our lenses (how we see and perceive ourselves and our circumstances), can have an effect on our entire life.

So today, and over the next studies, I would like to have a discussion about how our perceptions both reflect and affect our identity and life in Christ Jesus.

How to Love God (By Receiving His Love)

How many times have you heard that you need to love God? This popular phrase is often heard when referring to Christian living and the Christian life, and is used in an attempt to conjure up reciprocal love for God.

However, when a person is trapped in legalism, with the burden of religion weighing them down, this phrase “you need to love God” takes on a heavy meaning which causes people to be introspective and focused on their own ability to love, rather than focusing on the root of the issue, which is God’s love for them.

I’ve spoken with a great number of people (and been one in the past as well) who were so consumed with trying to love God, that they completely missed His love for them – and in reality, the only way that we can truly love God at all, is by receiving His love for us in the first place!

So today in this study, we will be exploring the topic of how to truly love God, not by trying harder, but by receiving His love for you.

The Danger of Perceptions

There are numerous examples in the scriptures of God promising things to people; of Him telling them to do seemingly impossible things because He has empowered them. And along with those examples, there are also some instances where people who have been promised things by God, allowed their perceptions to influence their judgment and their beliefs – sometimes to disastrous results.

Perceptions can actually be quite a dangerous trap. The way that we see and perceive can hold us in bondage, and even damage our belief if we do not have a solid foundation in Christ Jesus. And what I want to share with you today is how a Christ-centered perspective is essential for enjoying victory, and how a perspective based on the natural mind and senses, can be dangerous, and sometimes even deadly.

Pictures of Jesus in the Beatitudes (part 7)

Welcome back to the 7th and final of our study series, looking at pictures of Jesus in the Beatitudes. Today we conclude with the last three verses of the Beatitudes – and while it is true that we have spent quite some time on them, I think that you will agree with me that it has been time well-spent; because it is always good when we see pictures of Jesus. Indeed this is the entire purpose of the scriptures (Luke 24:27, John 5:39), and this fact is something that we have studied previously also.

By seeing Jesus and more of His grace, His majesty, His splendor, power and love, it strengthens our own faith – our information of who He is, His character, His nature, and what He accomplished for us on the cross. And in-addition, as we see the truth of who Jesus is and what He has accomplished, we then also see our true selves… we see our real identity as new creations in Him; and this is the point of it all.

And today we continue seeing pictures of Jesus in the final section of the Beatitudes. Get ready, because this is going to be really good!

The New Covenant Perspective on Money, Tithing and Giving (part 3)

Welcome back again to the third and final part of our series on the topic of money, tithing and giving; specifically the New Covenant perspective on these topics, because it is so very important to actually have the proper spiritual perspective in all things – including money, that it was time to look at them honestly with fresh lenses and firmly on the solid foundation of Grace in Christ Jesus and the freedom which He has given to us.
In the previous two parts of this series, we first saw that money in-and-of-itself is not evil – and we also saw that our Heavenly Father is a generous giver who actually enjoys blessing us in every area, including our finances. He wants us to be healthy and wealthy; not only so that we can have pleasure enjoying the life that He has given to us (which He does want us to enjoy) but also so that we will have health and wealth to be generous with and share the love and blessings of Christ with others as well, as His ambassadors.

Then in the second part, we examined tithing, and saw that the old customs and Old Covenant system have been done away with in Christ, as He is the ultimate sacrifice, payment and tithe.

Now today we will complete this series by looking at true New Covenant giving, founded on the finished work of Christ. Giving freely, based on His love, and your new identity in Him.

The New Covenant Perspective on Money, Tithing and Giving (part 2)

Welcome back to the second segment in our series on the New Covenant perspective regarding Money, Tithing and Giving… probably one of our most important studies, simply due to the amount of confusion, and error that surrounds it.

Last week, we looked at the new covenant perspective on money in general, and we answered the question regarding “is money evil?” – and we also saw in that study how God actually is the source of prosperity, for our spirit, our soul, our body, and our finances; complete prosperity from our generous Father in Heaven, all based on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the blessings which He has bought for us in the New Covenant.

Today we will be examining the topic of tithing – specifically the New Covenant perspective on it, and as I mentioned, there is so much confusion and misunderstanding surrounding this topic today, and we are going to spend an entire segment of our series just on this, and allow Jesus, and the scriptures to explain tithing – not a man’s opinion, but actual truth, as always through the lens of Grace and the New Covenant of Christ.

The Names of God Show Who He is (Part 4)

Last week, we looked at one of the most important names of God, which was יהוה צדקנו – The ever-exiting God is our righteousness. And we saw how that righteousness is not merely a separate thing that He gives to us, but that He Himself is our righteousness. A very important distinction that highlights His glory, His grace, and the amazing union that we have with Him today in Christ.

Now in this study today, which is part four of our series looking at the names of God, we are continuing this theme by looking at the name of God יהוה מקדשכם, the ever-existing God, who is your sanctification.
This goes hand-in-hand with His name that we studied last week. And as before, it highlights His glory and His grace. As as we see this today, we will be able to enjoy deeper levels of unity with Him as we rejoice in the fact that, yes, He is both our righteousness and our sanctification.

What the Finished Work Means For You

Why did Jesus die? It’s a simple question that will get you a myriad of different answers. There is also another question that follows along with it… since He died, what does that mean for you today? It’s amazing that something so simple and so foundational to this thing known as Christianity, can be so confused and so misunderstood. But answering these questions is essential to living the live that Christ truly wants us to live… and it may not be what you expect – it probably isn’t what you have been told or what you have believed.

You see, Jesus didn’t die just for your old identity to endure – for you to remain a “sinner” and just suffer here on the earth as a broken vessel hoping and waiting for everything to be made well one day when you finally go to Heaven.

No, Jesus died for your remove that old identity from you and to give you a completely new identity, and to place His Spirit back inside of you, to indwell you fully and to give you His righteousness and a proper place as a beloved child of God.

This is the truth that I want to share with you today, and as you receive this truth, you will be able to enjoy new levels of union with Christ and enjoy the new identity that you have in Him.

You Shall Know Them By Their Fruit

You will know them by their fruit; The words of Jesus in Matthew 7:16, are often quoted in isolation, and many times in a judgmental way when looking at the deeds and works of others… “Haven’t you seen everything that this guy is doing? Jesus said you will know them by their fruit!” is what is commonly said, when being critical of others.

This kind of judgmental examining of people’s performance is not what Jesus had in mind when he said these words, however. And as we examine the additional things He said along with verse 16, we can see this clearly.

So what I want to share with you today, is what the often misunderstood verse of scripture truly means, and by seeing it, we will see another amazing aspect of Jesus Christ.