How Are You Perceived?

Perceptions, especially self-perception, is one of the most powerful influences in the world.

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Text for Today – Acts 1:8 – But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

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As I see it, there are four legitimate perceptions of any human being today: your public perception, your private perception, your personal perception, and God’s perception of you.  Your public perception is what people see of you in the public arena.  Your private perception is the way you are perceived by your family and closest friends in closed context.  The personal perception is how you see yourself.  We live our entire life with these three, and yet if the three could be compared, there will be differences.  In fact, in some cases, they may not even resemble the same person.

While those three perceptions have differing degrees of importance, the one that really counts is God’s perception of who you are.  Look at Job.  His community and friends thought of him as someone who had achieved greatest success; very wealthy, a community leader, and highly regarded.  In private, he was a very concerned father, especially about his children’s spiritual condition.  Personally, he knew himself to be a man living in fear.  He had said himself, “The thing I feared the most has come upon me.”  Yet in the eyes of God, Job was a “perfect and upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil.  Four completely different perceptions of one man.

Of the four perceptions, the one which is most important is God’s perception, while it was Job’s personal perception that was shaping his day-to-day life.  God was asked two times about Job, and both times His response was, “Have you considered my servant Job?  There is none like him in all the earth; a perfect and upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil.”  Though God’s ways and thoughts are higher than our ways and thoughts, the way we perceive ourselves holds more weight in our outcome of life in the earth than even the will of God.  Yet in the Job scenario, God stood unchanging in His perception of Job, despite the devastation of Job’s personal perception.  When troubles came upon Job, public perception changed from a blessed and righteous man to one who had sinned against God.  Private perception changed from a man who loved God to a man whose wife told him to “curse God and die.”  Yet it was his own stubbornly fixed personal perception that governed the affairs of Job’s life until he was powerfully confronted, first, by a man of God, and then God Himself.

Today, take the time to determine what God’s perception of you is, and work with all diligence to live that perception.  Through faith in Jesus Christ and His Word, work to cause your public, private, and personal perceptions of who you are to align with God’s perception.  That’s where His blessings, power, and life are most richly revealed for you, in you, and to you.

Manna for Today – Romans 3:4; Hebrews 1:1-4

How Are You Perceived?

Perceptions, especially self-perception, is one of the most powerful influences in the world.

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Text for Today – Acts 1:8 – But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

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As I see it, there are four legitimate perceptions of any human being today: your public perception, your private perception, your personal perception, and God’s perception of you.  Your public perception is what people see of you in the public arena.  Your private perception is the way you are perceived by your family and closest friends in closed context.  The personal perception is how you see yourself.  We live our entire life with these three, and yet if the three could be compared, there will be differences.  In fact, in some cases, they may not even resemble the same person.

While those three perceptions have differing degrees of importance, the one that really counts is God’s perception of who you are.  Look at Job.  His community and friends thought of him as someone who had achieved greatest success; very wealthy, a community leader, and highly regarded.  In private, he was a very concerned father, especially about his children’s spiritual condition.  Personally, he knew himself to be a man living in fear.  He had said himself, “The thing I feared the most has come upon me.”  Yet in the eyes of God, Job was a “perfect and upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil.  Four completely different perceptions of one man.

Of the four perceptions, the one which is most important is God’s perception, while it was Job’s personal perception that was shaping his day-to-day life.  God was asked two times about Job, and both times His response was, “Have you considered my servant Job?  There is none like him in all the earth; a perfect and upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil.”  Though God’s ways and thoughts are higher than our ways and thoughts, the way we perceive ourselves holds more weight in our outcome of life in the earth than even the will of God.  Yet in the Job scenario, God stood unchanging in His perception of Job, despite the devastation of Job’s personal perception.  When troubles came upon Job, public perception changed from a blessed and righteous man to one who had sinned against God.  Private perception changed from a man who loved God to a man whose wife told him to “curse God and die.”  Yet it was his own stubbornly fixed personal perception that governed the affairs of Job’s life until he was powerfully confronted, first, by a man of God, and then God Himself.

Today, take the time to determine what God’s perception of you is, and work with all diligence to live that perception.  Through faith in Jesus Christ and His Word, work to cause your public, private, and personal perceptions of who you are to align with God’s perception.  That’s where His blessings, power, and life are most richly revealed for you, in you, and to you.

Manna for Today – Romans 3:4; Hebrews 1:1-4

The Windows of Heaven

Are you ready to be opened up and poured out?  Get ready.

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Text for Today – Malachi 3:10 – Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

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Here is one of the most moving passages of Scripture, or at least it certainly has the potential of being so.  I would like you to be able to leave this devotional breakfast with a fresh excitement about tithing, and a renewed desire to be the blessing in the kingdom of God the Lord truly desires you to be.

I fully realize that the Lord has promised to bless us with blessings beyond our ability to contain them, but I believe this verse goes far beyond that.  Let’s examine it closely.  Look at the phrase, “If I will not open you the windows of heaven.”  It doesn’t simply say God will open the windows of heaven, but that God will open “YOU” up as a window of heaven that He might pour through you into this present world the blessings He desires.  In other words, God desires to make you a channel of His great blessing in this world.

But let’s look further.  Now look at the phrase, “and pour you out a blessing.”  Notice the Spirit did not say to just pour out a blessing, but to “pour YOU out a blessing.”  I believe that you should be at least part of that blessing that is poured out into this world.  God doesn’t just want you to bless others, He expects you to be a blessing.  God wants to pour YOU out as a blessing into your world. 

But that’s not the end of the story.  Now look at the last phrase of this verse: “that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”  Now once again, look closely, dear saint.  God desires blessings that area too great to be contained to flow from Him through YOU into your world.  Secondly, He desires you to be the blessing He pours out, a blessing so great that there is not room to contain YOU!  Now that is exciting!  I don’t know about you, but one of my heart’s desires is to be such a yielded vessel to the Lord through my faithful tithing, that God would open me up, and pour out through me blessings so great there is not room to contain them.  And further, that He would make me that blessing in this world that cannot be contained.  Then, when two or more of us get together, we will be living blessings being poured out at flood stage.

Manna for Today – Malachi 3:6-12

The Lord’s Prayer Outline – Part Eight

Outlines are like blueprints.  You can’t live in a blueprint.  You must build it.

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Text for Today – Matthew 6:9 – After this manner therefor pray ye . . .

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FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY FOR EVER” – Make your declaration of faith, speaking those things you desire based on what you have prayed according to the Word of God.  Exercise yourself in the spirit of faith that believes, and therefore speaks.  Imitate the Lord as you have been commanded, and begin to call things “that be not as though they are.”  Always remember that the Word of God is the source of, and the sustenance for your faith.

Realize that the kingdom of God, which is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, all belongs to the Lord, and that He has fully shared it with you as His joint-heir.  Think of that.  You are not merely an heir of God, but a joint-heir with Christ.  To receive any blessing directly from the hand of God is an awesome thing, but to know that you are a joint-heir with Christ Who has received from the Father God all that He has, and can do is absolutely awesome.  Being a joint-heir does not mean that you share in what the Father has given Jesus, but that whatever the Father has given to the Christ, He has given to you, too.

With these thoughts in mind, the final element of our current Second Miler study on prayer should be evident.  For all that the Lord has made available to us through this outline of prayer, one should surely conclude with the highest possible thanksgiving, praise, and worship of so grand and gracious a God as He is.  Therefore, let the close of this prayer study be a return to praise and worship of the God to Whom you have made petition, supplication, and intercessions.

So, model your prayer after, “Our Father which are in heaven, hollowed by Thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For Thine in the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.  Amen”

And don’t overlook the “AMEN.”  It doesn’t mean, “That’s all for now.”  Rather, it is a final and settling statement that one has prayed the will and purpose of God as it is declared, “SO BE IT!”

Manna for Today – Job 22-28; Romans 8:17; Philippians 4:6; Romans 10:17

The Lord’s Prayer Outline – Part Seven

Outlines are like blueprints.  You can’t live in a blueprint.  You must build it.

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Text for Today – Matthew 6:9 – After this manner therefor pray ye . . .

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AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL” – At least as important, if not the most important element of this segment of prayer is realizing your own role in deliverance.  The responsibility is yours to be sure you are wearing the “whole armor of God,” that you have your loins girded about with TRUTH, that you have on the BREASTPLATE of RIGHTEOUSNESS, that your feet are shod with the PREPARATION of the GOSPEL of PEACE, have on the HELMET of SALVATION, and above all the SHIELD of FAITH, and the SWORD of the SPIRIT which is the WORD of GOD.  Be sure that when you pray, you pray the Word of God, and in so doing, built up a hedge of protection about yourself, your family, your church, your profession, and those whom you serve.

And please make the determination to never again live the life of a defensive Christian.  It would seem that anyone living on the defensive is living in a perpetual state of expecting to be offended.  The Christian, on the other hand, should plan on taking the offensive.  I am not talking about offending brothers and sisters in the Lord through our words or actions, but rather about taking the offensive against the enemy of your soul.  It’s time for believers today to go on the offensive.  Pull down strongholds, cast down imaginations, cast down every high thing that tries to exalt itself above the authority of God’s Word, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of God’s Word. 

When you read 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, you will notice the work begins in faith.  Well, it ends in faith, too.  But one thing we often overlook is verse 6: “having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”  Being ready to revenge is being constantly ready to go on the offensive, as Abram did with his 318 armed servants to retake Lot, his family, and his possessions from captivity.  At the same time, don’t misunderstand or misread the words, “when your obedience is fulfilled.”  That means to walk in obedience to the Word of God, which more simply defined, is to walk in the love of God.  Whatever you do, never forget that the God kind of faith always works by the love of God.

Manna for Today – Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Psalm 91; 1 John 5:3

The Lord’s Prayer Outline – Part Six

Outlines are like blueprints.  You can’t live in a blueprint.  You must build it.

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Text for Today – Matthew 6:9 – After this manner therefor pray ye . . .

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AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS” – Oh, what a wonderful portion of revelation knowledge from the Word of God.  It is absolutely profound, and yet remarkably simple to understand.  Doing it, on the other hand, is a great work of faith.  How note the relationship of being forgiven to forgiving.  You will be forgiven as you forgive.  In fact, the whole ability of faith to work for you as it should is based on your ability and willingness to forgive. I don’t know anyone in the world who has never been wronged or offended.  All of us, at some time, have had someone mistreat us, lie to or about us, steal from us, or even try to physically harem us.  Regardless of the offense that is committed against a believer, the believer really has only one choice: forgive!  ;If you expect to be forgiven by the Lord for your own sins and failings in life, you must first forgive those who have sinned against you.  if you choose to NOT forgive, you had better pray that you never, ever, sin again.  If you choose to walk in unforgiveness, and you do sin, God will not hear you and Jesus won’t forgive you until you have forgiven those who have sinned against you.

These are hard statements, but they are nonetheless absolutely true.  This is exactly what the Bible teaches.  In short, my friend, you cannot afford to harbor any unforgiveness in your heart against anyone.  To harbor unforgiveness in one’s heart is to be entrapped in strife, and that is one of the most frightening places I can imagine.  In that place of unforgiveness, one is ensnared by Satan, and Satan can do with that person what he chooses, when he chooses, how he chooses, and where he chooses, and that person cannot stop the devil.  What’s even more dangerous is that strife effectively blocks God from working in one’s life.  So, let nothing stop you from forgiving anyone and everyone.  It makes no difference what a person has done to you, since forgiveness is NOT a matter of emotion, but rather a matter of faith.  True forgiveness requires the cooperation of the Lord with you in that work as you believe His Word and obey it.

Rely on Holy Spirit to show you anything in your life you need to release, or from which you personally need forgiveness.  Forgive and release others so that your prayers and faith life will not be hindered.  Make a willful determination to forgive those who sin against you.  Exercise your will and your faith powerfully in this area.  Success in this spiritual arena opens the door to so many other areas for powerful success in your life.

Manna for Today – Mark 11;22-26; Ephesians 4:32; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; John 16:13; Luke 17:1-5

The Lord’s Prayer Outline – Part Five

Outlines are like blueprints.  You can’t live in a blueprint.  You must build it.

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Text for Today – Matthew 6:9 – After this manner therefor pray ye . . .

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GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD” – Here in one petitioning statement is an extremely wide- ranging set of needs.  Knowing that God knows your heart, and that He knows what you need before you ask Him for it, it would seem that understanding the extreme broadness of this petition would be quite valuable to the petitioner.

First, notice that this is a daily petition.  Just like the children of Israel who had to gather manna daily (except for the Sabbath), or it would rot before the next day, here is the need of the believer to ask and receive on a daily basis for that which is needed daily (Today, ask for today’s supply).  And note, too, it’s not just for self. Once again, we see the word “OUR.”  This is not only a petition for your own need, but also the needs of others to whom you can minister.  But what is “BREAD?”  “BREAD” is . . .

. . . your daily food your physical body needs.  Here’s a thought.  If we only ate that for which we could believe God, I wonder how many believers would have weight problems?  Still, please note that this is a daily petition.

. . . your healing as it belongs to the child of God.  Jesus told the Syrophoenician woman that He should not give the children’s bread (healing) to the dogs (unbelievers).  You see, children eat at the table.

. . . your finance as it is known in the vernacular of our day.  Since God knows the “end from the beginning,” I am sure He knew in advance how our language would develop.  Believe me when I say that God understands your heart, regardless of the language you speak.

. . . revelation knowledge of the Word of God, the Bread of Life.  Jesus said He was the Bread of Life, and at that point He was not talking about biscuits and cornbread.  He was speaking very clearly about the living Word of God, the Bread of Life that proceeds from the mouth of the Father.

. . . the mind of God for you each day; what God wants you to do.  At the well of Samaria, Jesus said “His meat” was “to do the will of the Father.”  He was talking about spiritual food that sustains the whole being, and this is still the “Bread of Life.”

Manna for Today – Psalm 37:25; Mark 7:24-27; John 4:34; Matthew 6:24-34

The Lord’s Prayer Outline – Part Four

Outlines are like blueprints.  You can’t live in a blueprint.  You must build it.

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Text for Today – Matthew 6:9 – After this manner therefor pray ye . . .

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THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN” – Here is one of the most powerful and profoundly clear statements made in God’s Word for us concerning the will of God.  Jesus told us to pray for the will of God to be accomplished in the earth in the same manner and authority as it is accomplished in heaven.  I am sure that you understand that Jesus did not tell us to pray a certain way, and would then deny us the results of that prayer.  Let’s examine His prayer command.

Notice that it is God’s will that needs to be done, not our own.  But don’t fall prey to the fallacy that God’s will is always accomplished.  After all, the Scriptures teach plainly that it is never the will of God for anyone to be lost, but for everyone to be saved.  Yet we all know that does not happen.  While we must pray for His will to be done, we must also work toward that end to the degree that we play a role in His work.

One more point I should make here is this.  Praying for God’s will to be done in the earth as it is in heaven is NOT asking God what His will is.  We can, and should, go to His Word and discover what His will in in our daily lives, family, work, and ministry.  When we know what His will is, we still need to pray for it, and then, once again, fulfill our role in working towards that end in our obedience to and walk with Him.

Now, let me ask you two questions.  Is there any sickness, disease, deception, poverty, lack, demonic oppression, depression, or possession, or failure of Godly endeavors in heaven?  The answer is, of course, NO!  Well, that should settle the issue as to much of the will of God in the earth, especially as it relates to His people.  The other side of the coin is the question, how IS the will of God done in heaven?  Once again, the answer is really simple and already revealed in Word of God.  God’s will is accomplished in heaven the same way He accomplished His will “in the beginning.”  “And God said”…. “and God said”….”and God saw.” 

In Mark 11:22, Jesus said we were to have the “God kind of faith.”  What is the God kind of faith?  It is the kind of faith that believes, and then speaks what it believes, without doubting, and holds fast to its profession of faith.  Now you and I have been empowered to see the will of God accomplished in earth as it is in heaven.

Manna for Today – Mark 11:22-24; 2 Corinthians 4:13; Hebrews 10:23; Joshua 1:8; Zechariah 4:6; Hebrews 11:6

The Lord’s Prayer Outline – Part Three

Outlines are like blueprints.  You can’t live in a blueprint.  You must build it.

Text for Today – Matthew 6:9 – After this manner therefor pray ye . . .

THY KINGDOME COME” – What a powerful petition to bring before our Lord!  We’re not talking about a political party or governmental regime.  We’re not speaking of a man’s kingdom.  We ARE calling for the very Kingdom of God to come.  Romans records that the Kingdom of God is “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”  Let’s take a look at it.

RIGHTEOUSNESS – Righteousness is positional in that it means to be in right standing with God.  Keep in mind that if the “root is holy, so are the branches.”  Well, since Jesus is holy, or righteous, so are you.  Righteousness is also a very special identity.  Jesus is our righteousness, but before He became our righteousness, He was made to be sin for us so we could be made the righteousness of God in Him.  And one more thing I would like to interject here is this.  Righteousness speaks, and what it says is very special, and is found in Romans 10.  Read it often and saturate your spirit with it.

PEACE – I love this word, PEACE, or in the Hebrew, Shalom.  Simply defined, it means “nothing missing, nothing broken.”  Now that’s the way to live!  And He is our PEACE, having broken down the wall of partition that would have separated us form the Father God.  The PEACE passes understanding.  People who love His law have it, and cannot be offended.  It is this PEACE that Jesus gave to us, and it is this PEACE that Jesus always comes speaking in the time of storm and trouble.  And finally, those whose mind is stayed on Him are kept in this perfect PEACE.

JOY in the HOLY GHOST – This joy is not a matter of happiness.  Happiness is an emotion based on present circumstances.  Joy, on the other hand, is a part of the fruit of the spirit, and is based on relationship, not circumstances.  It is this joy in the Holy Ghost, or joy of the Lord, that is our strength at all times, and especially when there seems to be no other source for joy.

So, understand clearly, my friend, that His kingdom is not a natural thing, nor is it some state of mind.  Rather it is very real, very powerful, and supernatural through and through.  It is His will for it to be manifest in your life and in this earth, but there’s more to that than just praying about it.  If you pray for it, you must believe; and if you believe it, you must live it.  you can be assured of the fact that if you pray it, believe it, and live it, He will make it manifest in your life and in your world.

Manna for Today – Matthew 6:9-13; Mark 11:22-24; Luke 11:13

The Lord’s Prayer Outline – Part Two

Outlines are like blueprints.  You can’t live in a blueprint.  You must build it.

Text for Today – Matthew 6:9 – After this manner therefor pray ye . . .

Today we continue in our examination of the Lord’s Prayer outline.

HALLOWED BY THY NAME” – Oh, what an awesome thing, the Name of the Lord.  Whether we are speaking of the Father, Son, or Holy Ghost, His Name is truly awesome.  To begin our meditation today, let’s look at His redemptive Names.

Jehovah-Tsidkenu – the Lord our Righteousness

Jehovah-M’Kaddesh – the Lord Who Sacrifices

Jehovah-Shalom – the Lord our Peace

Jehovah-Shammah – the Lord is There

Jehovah-Rapha – the Lord our Healer

Jehovah-Jireh – the Lord our Provider

Jehovah-Nissi – the Lord our Banner and Captain

Jehovah-Ra’ah – the Lord our Shepherd

And if those are not enough, consider Who He is in His Word: Creator, Passover Lamb, Scapegoat, Rod of Aaron, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Bright and Morning Star, the Root of Jesse, Alpha & Omega, the Beginning & the End, the First & the Last, Plumbline, the Water of Life, the Bread of Life, the True Vine, the First Born of Many Brethren, and the First Begotten from the Dead.

Can there be any wonder why we consider His Name holy and worthy to be praised and honored?  Oh, how He loves us!  Consider His sacrifice and the price He paid to make us His own.  Truly He is our great Enabler, making it possible for us to do all things through Christ.  And surely, He is the great Supplier of all our need.

I encourage you to set aside some time today to consider Who He is; this Man from Galilee of Whom the Romans said, “Ecce Homo,,” or “Behold, the Man.”  Above His Name is no other name, and it is at the mention of His Name that every knee must bow, of beings in heaven, in earth, and beneath the earth.  Meditate upon His Name, and do it often.  Come to know Him better day-by-day.  He is Lord!  Worship Him!  Thank Him!  Praise Him!  Honor Him!  Speak His Name with reverence and awe!  And speak TO Him often!

Manna for Today – Matthew 6:9-13; Mark 11:22-24; Luke 11:13