Raising the Standard

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The Bible tells us that when the enemy comes in as a flood God’s Holy Spirit will raise up a standard against him. Have you ever given much thought to exactly what this means? I decided to do a study on it and I will show you what I came up with.

“So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” Isaiah 59:19

The Hebrew word in the above scripture for flood, is “nahar” and means a stream or a river. What is missing in this verse is a comma, after enemy. Most of us are aware the Holy Spirit flows like a river at times but what I want to concentrate on is the “standard” part.

The word standard is a mistranslation in this verse as well because in this scripture the Hebrew word actually is nuwc which means to make flee. So, what this scripture is really saying is,“ “When the enemy shall come in, like a river the Spirit of God will make him flee.”

Well, what about raising a standard? How does this come in? Standard in Hebrew is nec which means “something lifted up, standard, signal, signal pole, ensign, banner, sign, sail, as rallying point, ensign.

The word standard as defined in Webster’s dictionary is – “any figure or object, flag or banner used as a symbol of a leader, people or military unit, a rule or basis for comparison for measurement or judgment,”

“Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard (nec) to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.”

So when God raises a standard, what he is doing is, proclaiming who he is and what he stands for and he does this many times through his church. The church proclaims their allegiance in this world to Jesus Christ and raises the banner of the Lord’s righteousness in the earth, that is the church says “we stand with our king in his army and our standards are his standards” In other words we fly the colors of Jesus Christ which are righteousness, holiness faithfulness, ect.

Raising the standard also concerns spiritual warfare. The church is a witness to the nations of God’s kingdom, and stands against evil in the land. This requires prayer as well as making noise; blowing the trumpet, raising our voices, standing against the enemies evil plans.

“Set ye up a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations against her, call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz; appoint a captain against her; cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillers.” Jeremiah 51:27

Raising the standard requires boldness and faith in the face of evil and opposition. “You have given a banner to those who fear you, that it may be displayed because of the truth.” Psalm 60:4

A standard also means moral excellence and a measurement of value, as well as a model of authority. The church is a sign to the world systems of God’s glory that is flown high like a flag with the emblem of Jehovah-Nissi – ( the Lord is my banner of victory. ) upon it.

Raising a standard also means to mobilize the army against the enemy. When the European royal kingdoms went to war they raised a standard which represented who they were and what they stood for. In battle there were those who went before the armies with their banner raised and when they had won the land they planted their flag in the area that was conquered.

In Exodus 17, Joshua led the men out to fight against Amalek while Moses stood on top of a hill with the rod of God in raised hands. Moses rod was a sign of authority, signifying a raised banner. When intercessors pray against the devil’s works they are also raising the standard, defying the devil’s rights to hold ground and proclaiming God’s victory through Jesus Christ. We remind Mr. Devil that he must get out because a greater one is here! The Lord our banner!

“Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:15

“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:10

Jesus Christ is our banner! His victory is our victory when we proclaim him as Savior and Lord in the earth and when we do that we are raising the standard!
“All inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth: When he lifts up a banner on the mountains, you see it; And when he blows a trumpet, you hear it. “ Isaiah 18:3

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JUSTIFIED IN CHRIST

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Saving faith is made evident by works but faith does not save where their is no evidence of works of the Holy Spirit. When one is truly born again they produce fruit unto God. They are holy because God is holy and God lives in his people to cause them to walk in his ways. However, if you are relying on works as a means of justification you are not saved and no matter how many good works you do they will never be good enough. Why? Because God’s law demands perfection and only a perfect person can keep the law. There is no one good but God. Only Jesus could keep the law and that is why he came: TO FULLFILL ALL THE RIGHTEOUS REQUIRMENTS OF THE LAW.

Now all who have saving faith and are born of the Holy Spirit are justified in Christ and are no longer under the wrath of God or the condemnation of the law! A good work is one done by one of God’s people, for God’s sake, and in God’s will. A “good work” is a “God work.”

Good Works are the fruit of a Spirit filled born again Christian but they do not constitute salvation. Good works do not earn us Kudos with God nor do they keep us in salvation.

Good works are a by product of ones faith and are initiated and embowered by the Holy Spirit. Works done for selfish ambition or the praises of men are self made works and will be burned up by the fire of God’s judgment. Only God works are acceptable to a holy God!

II Corinthians 11:12-15

” For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

(Notice that false Apostles do works of righteousness but they are not God’s righteousness)

Romans 10:2-4

For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Romans 9:30-33

“What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;

As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

Righteousness is only achieved through faith in Jesus Christ, and not by behavior of any kind BUT those who are really God’s children will bear fruit that reveals they are made righteous by grace.

https://thegospelofgraceministries.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/saving-faith-3/

Sticks and Stones

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Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. How true do you suppose this statement is?

According to a study by Martin Teicher at Harvard Medical School the human brain takes decades to develop. Apparently the personality, cognitive ability and skills develop differently in each person because each of us is guided by our experiences during childhood and adolescence. When the environment is hostile and abusive the development of the brain is affected. Human brain imaging studies have shown that with sexual or physical abuse, or even witnessing domestic violence, can cause abnormal physical changes in the developing brain of children which can cause eventual psychological disorders.

Martin Teicher’s new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, reveals that Young adults between the ages of 18-25, having no history of exposure to sexual abuse, domestic violence, or physical abuse BUT had received exposure as children to verbal abuse by either parents or peers were given a brain scan. The results showed that the adolescence had underdeveloped connections between the left and right sides of their brain through the bundles of connecting fibers, called the corpus callosum. When given psychological tests the study showed that the same adolescence had higher levels of drug abuse, depression, anxiety, anger, hostility, than others in the study.

In another study by Michael Miller reported in Neuropsychologia, he shows that moral reasoning depends upon and exchange of information between specific regions of the left and right brain. Each side of the brain controls certain abilities. For example, speech is controlled by the left side while attention takes place on the right side. Neuroimaging studies have shown that the moral beliefs of people is performed by a spot in the right brain called the right temporal parietal junction and with the disconnection of both sides of the brain moral reasoning was affected. The patients in case studies failed to detect common social blunders, etiquette, and societal norms.

Miller, M.B., et al., (2010) Abnormal moral reasoning in complete and partial colostomy patients. Neuropsychologia 48, 2215-2220.

Words do hurt. Verbal abuse from peers during the middle school years can be very damaging because the brain connections are developing. The social environment that children are raised in molds their mind. These studies show that childhood experience alters the physical structure of the brain. Childhood experience can either help develop a healthy functional brain or can stunt brain development causing possible psychological disorders or impairment in moral judgments.

Even as an adult, words can hurt and harm, reinforcing childhood traumas and triggering unhealthy emotions. Self awareness is bound up in words. We think words, speak words, and talk in words. If someone calls you a negative name the reactions may be internalized. You feel inferior because someone may have said something negative about you.

Words can follow us from childhood. If you were called stupid or lazy by an adult or peer you may have accepted this as true and so you begin to act stupid or lazy because you have accepted this as a truth. You can even sabotage yourself by speaking negative words that others have spoken to you,”Yes, I am stupid, I don’t get this.”

Psychologists call this a Self Fulfilling Prophecy which is a prediction that causes itself to come true because the prediction was made. This happens because our beliefs influence our actions.
The Bible says that, “for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7 and also “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

Learning to change our language is a challenge but well worth the effort. Learning to disregard the negative words of others is another challenge, but one that is essential for our psychological and emotional heath. Your belief can be in either the word of God or the word of men. You can believe what God has to say about you and your situation or the Nay Sayers.

While sticks and stones may very well break your bones, words will also hurt you so put up the shield of faith and bounce those negative words back where they came from…..Satan’s garbage heap!

More scriptures on words.

Matthew 15:18 – But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

Proverbs 12:18 – There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise [is] health.

Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Proverbs 16:24 – Pleasant words [are as] an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

Colossians 3:8 – But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Proverbs 13:3 – He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: [but] he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

Matthew 12:37 – For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

James 1:26 – If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion [is] vain.

Proverbs 15:1 – A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Proverbs 21:23 – Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

Psalms 19:14 – Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Proverbs 29:20 – Seest thou a man [that is] hasty in his words? [there is] more hope of a fool than of him.

Proverbs 15:4 – A wholesome tongue [is] a tree of life: but perverseness therein [is] a breach in the spirit.

Proverbs 17:28 – Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: [and] he that shutteth his lips [is esteemed] a man of understanding.

Proverbs 15:2 – The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.

Proverbs 25:11 – A word fitly spoken [is like] apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Proverbs 17:27 – He that hath knowledge spareth his words: [and] a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.

Luke 6:45 – A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

Proverbs 10:19 – In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips [is] wise.

Proverbs 18:20 – A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; [and] with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.

James 3:6 – And the tongue [is] a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

James 3:8 – But the tongue can no man tame; [it is] an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

Proverbs 12:25 – Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.

Righteousness is of Faith

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When Joshua asked the Israelites to choose if they would serve the Lord by obedience to his commands under the law(See Joshua 24) they responded by saying, “Yes, WE WILL serve the Lord.” But if you read this chapter further(and many take this scripture completely out of its context) you will find that Joshua said…”N0 YE CANNOT SERVE THE LORD!”

What Joshua said in fact was, because God is holy and just and punishes sin you will not be able to measure up.” Look at vrs. 19,20

The Israelites however, just ignored the facts and insisted that they could keep the law. But if you read the Bible in the continuation of the story of the Israelite’s history you will find that what Joshua said was true, they could not keep the law and in fact stumbled over and over again to the point of even being so stiff necked that they rejected the Messiah who came to bring the New Covenant of GRACE to them.

In Romans chapter 9 we find that the “children of the Promise” the Israelites, stumbled at the stumbling stone. What does this mean exactly? Well, if you go back to Joshua 24 you will find that Joshua said to the Israelites, “Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.”

Then the Israelites responded by saying in effect that WE WILL CHOOSE TO OBEY THE LAWS OF GOD. Now keep in mind that Joshua offered them the law to reveal their sin but he also said to them “offer your hearts to the Lord.”

If the heart is desperately wicked as the Bible says then the heart that is wicked is not able then to keep God’s law now is it? Scriptures say,”How can an Ethiopian change the color of his skin? How can you who are evil learn to do good”?

The heart which is desperately wicked can never choose to do good or to obey God’s commandments. Man’s heart must be made new in order to serve the Lord, and this comes by the born again experience and not by the will of the mind.

Putting away of our “gods” is the first step in coming to Christ. What are our gods? Anything that is self orientated, including our “I WILL CHOOSE TO OBEY THE LAW.”

This was the case of the Israelites who had a very self righteous attitude here and still continues to this day, preferring the law instead of GRACE.

“And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.”

Now, read on to find out what was the stumbling stone? Joshua 24:18-23

“And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey. So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. And Joshua wrote these words in the book of THE LAW OF GOD, and took A GREAT STONE, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold THIS STONE shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God. So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance.”

According to the New Testament the stone which the builders (under the law) rejected, (those building their own way to heaven) became the chief corner stone of the spiritual building of God’s church made without hands (no man works) but made by GOD ALONE. (Romans 9: 27)

“This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.” Acts 4:11

“The stone which the builders rejected has become the head stone of the corner.” Psalm 118:22

So if we continue to try to be justified and made righteous by the law we are not under grace because the scriptures say that those under law stumble at the stone…JESUS CHRIST…preferring their own righteousness under the law.

You cannot “choose” to serve God for in doing so you have put your own righteousness in the equation. Can you see that now? Vessels of mercy always receive Jesus Christ because they have been “called by Grace into this hope”. Romans 5:2

Romans 9 says that RIGHTEOUSNESS IS OF FAITH unto all who believe (Jew or Gentile) and that the law is a stumbling stone in receiving Jesus Christ. The law shows us that we are sinners and so we are either going to respond by humbly saying,”Be merciful to me a sinner” or “I WILL CHOOSE to serve you God, under the law.”

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified FREELY BY HIS GRACE through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Romans 3:19-28

In conclusion, salvation is by faith, our righteous comes by faith, and those who come to Jesus are as many as the lord our God shall call. Receiving Jesus Christ is a supernatural act of grace and not by the choice of one’s will for when we will to serve God we put ourselves under the law. Those in Christ are born again by grace through faith, not of themselves, NOT OF THE WILL OF MAN, but the will of God. Ephesians 2:8 Sola Scriptura!

By His Stripes

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There are many who take this scripture and interpret it to mean that because of the atonement they have the “right” to be healed. This is not true. First of all as Christians, we have no rights. “Rights” is a humanist concept based on “the rights of man” by Thomas Paine who was a mason theist but not a Christian.

Unfortunately, some Christians have embraced the ideology of Greek democracy and applied it to their Christianity but nowhere in the Bible are these concepts embraced as principles of the kingdom of God.

When we become born again we have no rights, nor in fact did we have any rights before we got saved. Prior to salvation we were slaves of Satan and after salvation we become slaves of righteousness, which means we are freed from the servitude of sin to serve in newness of spirit the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now let’s take a look at the scripture, Isaiah 53:4: “Surely he has borne our grief’s and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”

This scripture is a prophecy concerning Jesus who was to come. When Jesus came and prior to his crucifixion and resurrection, he fulfilled this scripture through his earthy ministry. ( Matthew 8:16-17) “When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”

So as you can see this scripture was not applied after the atonement but BEFORE the atonement . Also, we must realize that the word “healing” does not apply to just physical healing. Jesus came “to heal the brokenhearted” as stated in Luke 4:18 as well as bringing healing for salvation, to bring many to repentance and faith towards God. (Jn.12:40; Acts28:27)

Isaiah’s prophecy says “He was Pierced for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities” So we can see that the stripes are referring to the healing of the corrupt carnal nature of sin.

In Isaiah 53:5, Jesus Christ was crushed for our iniquities and he bore our sins. Christ’s death on the cross was for sin and not strictly for physical healing. When Isaiah 53:5 says we are healed, this is a spiritual healing, not physical.

In fact Paul says that our bodies will be healed at the resurrection of the body. If Paul was applying this to physical healing then he would have prayed for Timothy’s stomach problem but rather he encouraged him to take some wine which we know today aides in stomach digestion. Obviously Paul did not use prayer for healing in this case now did he? Also scriptures say, in Phil. 2:25-27, “Epaphroditus was sick almost to death” with no mention of a healing by laying on of hands or confessing the word.

who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness– by whose stripes you were healed. 1 Peter 2:24

So as you can see, the stripes are clearly for sin and not physical healing. God does heal and yes he uses the gifts of healing, (notice that they are plural but this is another subject), however, this healing is a gift of grace to whoever the Lord bestows it upon.

The Bible does not say that physical healing of the body is guaranteed to every believer as their “right” but rather healing is a gift from God when God wants to apply it and how God wants to apply it.

Not all sicknesses come from the devil (contrary to what some teach) and not all sickness is contrary to the will of God. Duet. 32:39 “Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal.”

In Psalm 119:67 David says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep they word.” Verse 75 says, “In your faithfulness you have afflicted me.”

God will use sickness to chastise his people and so if one is sick they might just want to check their heart and see if they are being disobedient in any way. Many times people eat junk food instead of proper nutrition and they get cancer or they have bitterness in their heart and get sick and then they expect God to heal them. We need to take care of our bodies and our heart attitudes so we can be healthy before we get sick.

Paul had his own sickness as stated in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 Paul requested healing from the Lord three times. And three times he got an answer back: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” In other words, God said no to Paul’s request for healing. He didn’t confess by his stripes I’m healed and continue in faith for it. Why? Because Paul accepted the answer God gave for the situation and so should we.

Believe it or not but God gets glorified in our weakness because then we are dependent on him. It is common for a person with many gifts and strengths to have an area of weakness so that they don’t get so puffed up and must also rely on the Lord for his help. (Paul’s case)

It is good and proper to pray for the sick BUT we are not God or even “little gods” and should always leave the results to him.