(Source of material: Rev. B.R.Hicks)
Please read Mark 12:29-31. Love means to give oneself and to bring near to oneself. If we give our self to God then He will be brought near to us. Likewise, if we give our self to our neighbor, then we are able to love our neighbor by bringing him near to us. We have nothing to give to God except our body of sin. It causes us to distance ourself from God. Being distant from God causes Him to be distant from us, therefore, we are not "loving thyself". Giving our sin to the LORD is an act of love, which will cause Him to draw near to us. If we want to "love thyself" then we are eager to repent and give our sin to the LORD. By giving we bring Him near---this is loving thyself. Exposure of sin by the Holy Ghost and the LORD is to give us an opportunity to draw near to God by giving it to Him. If we blame people, places, and things for the ungodly behavior we sometimes exhibit, we have forfeited the chance to draw near to God. If we hold on to unforgiveness, anger, or attitudes, we have also missed the purpose for why it was exposed: to bring self near to God and bring near His Holy Presence. Also, we are not loving our self. It is through the act of giving that we love: ourself and God. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He GAVE". He demonstrated this principle through the giving of His Son so we, through Him, could draw near to God. He gave us the tabernacle of Moses so we could climb His Stature and get closer to the Father.
Please read Genesis 16:1-9. This is the story of the relationship between Sarai and Hagar. Hagar conceived and refused to humiliate herself before Sarai. In verse 9 she is told to return to her mistress and submit herself. By submitting she was loving herself. By coming under the authority of Sarai she was committing an act of love. Submissiveness is loving ones self.
The LORD has a Purposive Will and a Master Plan, and many times these are executed through family, the boss, and personal events. Exposure of sin is the objective---to give us an opportunity to love self and bring God near. Painful things (sin) are for the purpose of exposing what we have and what we don't have in God. If the till comes up short, if we have a deficit of love for self and God, then it is time to give and bring near. Giving sin to the LORD is an act of loving thyself because you bring His lovely presence near. Who doesn't want Jesus near? Who doesn't want to smell His sweet fragrance? If He is near, then you become what you look upon. Feeling lonely, distant, detached? Feel like nobody loves you? Give your self to God and He will draw near to you. Feel like you're the same old person and you'll never change? By having Him near you can gaze into His lovely face and become more like Him. Having Him near causes His holy attributes to overpower sin as we take on His loving and kind nature.
A simple decision is part of the warfare!
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
Please read Ephesians 1:19-23. The LORD is far above all creation, presiding over the administration of every principality, dominion, name, might, and power. By being above all creation, He has established Himself as the Head of that same creation.
Please read Ephesians 6:10-12. In verse 12 we read of "rulers of the darkness of this world". Darkness comes on slowly, deceitfully. When day is turning to night, there is a transition period called twilight. During twilight, darkness creeps upon the earth in an imperceptible manner. Night does not appear all at once in a sudden, massive shift from light to dark. It does not come in a frontal attack, so to speak. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and his wife had "just a conversation" with the serpent---darkness closed in on them silently and deceitfully. They didn't have to wrestle with any rulers, yet, they didn't perceive the warfare. It is the same with us. We engage in a conversation with the enemy, sometimes oblivious to the warfare that we are in. We say, "it's just a small thing, how can this matter?". Darkness comes deceitfully, imperceptibly, not in a frontal attack.
Iniquity causes a bend or crook in the truth. It means: wiles, deceit, crook, bend. A small (seemingly) crook, many times, seems like no big deal. We are still wrestling with the powers of darkness whose "job" is to creep upon us with silent darkness. Iniquity causes us to change the end. Truth is a straight line where the end is clearly visible in the distance. We can easily see the end of an act, the conclusion, when truth is in our eyesight. A bend or a crook (iniquity) causes the end to be obscure, uncertain, invisible. With the end not visible, we walk into darkness. Through iniquity, we make a choice to step outside of God's Headship.
When Mary approached Elizabeth, John leaped in the womb of his mother at the sound of Mary's voice (Luke 1:41-45). Elizabeth, in verse 44, proclaims that John leaped for joy! He had an experience with the Holy Ghost when his mother was filled and overcome with the Spirit. John, in no uncertain terms, from the womb, knew who the Messiah was! The LORD gave John the ministry of being the forerunner of Jesus Christ. In fulfilling that ministry, he was to introduce the Son of God to those he had prepared through repentance and baptism. John's ministry was to end when the Christ, the Son of God, was fully revealed to Israel. He told his own diciples to follow Jesus, but he failed to follow himself---he chose to continue his ministry (iniquity) outside of the Headship of the LORD. He chose to crook the truth. He offended Herod to point where he threw him in prison. Why did John feel compelled to reveal the sin of a ruler, publicly? He wanted his ministry to continue. Who told him to publicly humiliate Herod and expose his sin? Was it his own headship or the Headship of God? In Matthew 11:1-3, we read that while John was in prison, he sent two of his diciples to Jesus with a question: "art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?". That question was asked by the devil when Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness: "if thou be the Son of God..." (Matthew 4:3). John, because he crooked the truth and did not follow Jesus (putting an end to his own ministry), he doubted and began to question whether or not Jesus was Who He was. John said, "Behold the Lamb of God, Who taketh away the sin of the world". After we make a choice to step outside of God's Headship (crooking the truth), our own headship will cause us to question the credentials and identity of the Son of God. John reaped what he sowed. He eventually lost his own head because he had rejected the Authority and Headship of the LORD. Going under our own headship starts with a simple decision but, in reality, we are being led from light to twilight and eventually into darkness. A simple decision is part of the warfare. What would John have accomplished had he accepted God's Headship, concluded his ministry, and supported the Son of God in His? Would he have shamefully lost his natural head, or would it be recorded that he loved and adored Jesus and helped Him with His message of the Gospel to Israel?
Establish His supremacy in the "above"
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
The Father dwells in divine space, a formless area called the "above". He bent in humility to form creation called heaven, earth, and death and hell. The Father has no form and can wish anything to be the way He wants it to be. We, as His creation, dwell in a world of form that frequently distracts us from recognizing the LORD Who is above all things. He is from "above" (no form) and we are from "beneath" (form). Please read the following scriptures to better familiarize yourself with this concept: Psalm 8:1, John 8:23, and John 3:31.
Please read Phillipians 2:9-10. In verse 9, the Name of Jesus is established as being the Name that is above every Name. In verse 10, we receive a blueprint of how that Name is to be reverenced. Heaven, earth, and things under the earth (death and hell) are first to bow to the Name and secondly, confess the supremacy of this divine Name. His formless Name dwells above all things (creation) and it is the responsibility of the creation to bow to and confess the position of His great Name. The preponderance of recognizing His Name first is upon creation. Every situation we are a part of, every event that involves us as individuals, is an opportunity to bow to and confess His Great Name to establish His position of supremacy in the "above".
At one point in Israel's journey to Canaan's Land, Moses grew very angry with the congregation when they demanded water. He interpreted the situation as a personal attack on him. He reacted out of personal offense, thinking that they wanted him to make water appear. The LORD told Moses to speak to the Rock and it would slake the thirst of the people. Moses, in his anger, didn't recognize that it was the ROCK that would produce water, not him. He furiously smote the Rock because of his offended feelings. He, like us, reacted in anger to a situation, forgetting that he was to bow to the Name and confess the Name first. His anger disallowed him to make the Name holy by establishing its supremacy above the creation. Notice the order: bow first and then confess. We cannot confess His Great Name unless we have first bowed to it. Humble deference to the Name allows us to confess the holiness of that Name. In every situation we are to sanctify His Name by confessing that it is above the situation. The water will flow as a result. Creation (people, places, things, events) is a great distraction to us as Christians. It has a tendency to keep our attention "beneath". We react in anger when we are personally offended, thinking that it is the cause of our discomfort and displeasure. By doing so, we reverse the order; exalting the creation above the Name. As a result, we miss the opportunity to sanctify the LORD's Name and also miss whatever change He wanted to make in us. Remember the order: bow first and then confess. The establishment of His Name above all things will open the floodgates of heaven and produce personal change.
Iniquity skews and blurs the eyesight
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
Please read Genesis 1:2-3. The earth was in a state of no form. It was void and muddled, confusing chaos reigned. The LORD allowed the light to shine upon this swirling situation and things began to change. We can say in our personal situations, "LORD, let their be light"! In Genesis 1:6-8, after the light shone, He made a firmament or a separation. Before the light, the "above" water and the "beneath" water were mingled together, but things got much clearer when the firmament (separation) divided the waters and they retreated to their appointed place "above" and "beneath". The waters knew where to go. They knew which water they were (above or beneath). Clarity came to the situation when all the above water went above and all the beneath water went beneath. Light ruled in the firmament after confusion retreated to their respectful places. After judgment and chaos, the waters were most willing to obey. After judgment and chaos, we find ourselves to be the same way! After we have made our separtion, our willingness to obey is increased.
Please read Colossians 3:2. We have a problem: we need to see what is above and what is beneath. We have a tendency to not see things in their assigned position. After we have made our separtion (from world, flesh, and carnal reasoning) then we have a clearer vision. After our eyesight is cleared, we are to set our affections (desires) on what is above.
Please read Revelation 12:7-12. There was war in heaven. Those on earth overcame the dragon (serpent) by: 1. the blood of the Lamb, 2. by the word of their testimony, 3. loving not their lives unto death. Notice these scriptures don't record how Michael and his angel overcame in heaven. Please read Psalm 104:4. We see that they overcame by the flaming fire of the Torah. In other words, Michael overcame with the fire of the truth.
In any situation, there is a beginning and an end. With the fire of the truth, we can clearly see the end and the resulting conclusion. The serpent invades our situations with iniquity that bends and crooks our vision. With skewed eyesight, we can proceed through the situation for only so long until we reach the crook. His gameplan is to hide the end by subtily causing our vision to look at error rather than truth. We need a separation (see #112) to divide error (iniquity) and truth. We can scream, "Let there be light"! As the "firmament" (separation) appears, confusion ceases and truth is divided from error. We can overcome the intrusions of the serpent just like Michael and his angels did: with the Torah fire of truth that allows us to see the end and its consequences. The fire of truth will separate what is from above (truth) and what is from below (error). Overcome means to cast down, salvation. We can experience salvation by proclaiming the Torah fire of truth in our personal events where the serpent has hidden iniquity. Exclaim His Headship, speak the truth and establish His lofty position and the serpent will be overcome!
Mourning produces comfort
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
Please read Matthew 5:4. From this scripture we can rightly deduct that mourning produces comfort. Mourning is defined as grief, sorrow, lamentation. As Christians we have the opportunity to not only mourn for our own sins, but also for others. We can be grieved for an individual, a city, a nation, or the sinful world in general. We can minister for someone, in their behalf, before the LORD and appease His anger. As we mourn and repent over sin for ourselves or others, God is appeased and will send comfort.
Please read Luke 16:19-25. This is the story of the rich man and Lazarus. In verse 24 the rich man addressed Abraham as "Father". Abraham responded by calling him "Son" (verse 25). These two clues allow us to see that the rich man was a believer. Abraham continues and explains that Lazarus is being comforted and the rich man is being tormented. While alive, the rich man had no need to grieve and lament for Lazarus. He was married to his own pleasure and saw no need to mourn over his condiion. He did not repent and appease the LORD for him. The rich man also refused to repent over his own spiritual pride that caused him to scorn and detest Lazarus. If you sow comfort to God you will reap comfort personally. The rich man, not reaping any comfort, was tormented in the flame. Mourning produces appeasement of God and, in turn, comfort. The rich man did not mourn, therefore, did not reap comfort. What a wonderful opportunity we have to mourn, grieve, and lament over our own sin, the sin of others and our nation. The LORD will comfort us in return.