Friday, November 16, 2018

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In this blog, I provide encouragement and biblical teaching on seeking the Lord with all your heart, loving Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and living a life of holiness, righteousness, and truth.

As the Scripture says:

'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jer 29:13)

And "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Mat 7:13-14)

Some of the topics covered include seeking the Lord, prayer, worship, tithing, inquiring of the Lord, hearing His voice, obedience, grace, godly attire and adornment, sanctification, consecration, backsliding, repentance, brokenness, suffering, humility, the fear of the Lord, the role of the commandments for the disciple of Christ, and the conditions of the New Covenant.  I hope this will be an edifying and encouraging experience for you that will help you to grow in your walk with the Lord.

Seeking the Lord Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God Holy Fire Baptism
Lifting Your Face in Prayer Lifting Hands in Prayer Crying Out to God Loudly
Pressing on Toward the Goal Taking Heaven by Force God Exalts the Humble and Brings Down the Proud
Whom Are You Seeking? Should you fear the Lord? Is a Woman's Hair Her Head Covering?
Aim for Perfection Obedience by the Spirit Is Obedience Optional?
Salvation with Fear and Trembling Holy Living in a Perverted World Drifting Away
The Cost of Discipleship Deleted Scriptures in the Bible? Is Tithing Required?
Where Should You Give Your Tithe? Walking in the Perfect Will of God Avoid Becoming a Corrupted Christian
The Obedience of Faith Did Jesus Nail the Law to the Cross? Law of Love in the New Testament
The New Covenant Law of Love in the New Testament The Law Fulfilled in Us
The Law Established Through Faith Costly Grace The Law of Christ
The Eyes of the Lord Garments of Godliness The Three Elijahs
The Burning Ones The End Has Come Now, But Not Yet
The Happy Hunters on Fire You're Better Off Following Jesus God Chooses the Weak Things 
The Beauty of Brokenness Seeing Jesus, Loving Him, Character and Glory Hearing the Lord's Voice
Hearing the Lord's Voice Inquiring of the Lord Praise the Lord!
The Loving God Who Bids Us to Come One thing Righteousness, Peace, and Joy
Is the the Self-Help and Actualization Movement a Sham? From Self-confidence to Confidence in the Lord The Self-Help Gospel
Checklist for Revival God Has Not Rejected His Jewish People, Has He? The Fiery Sufferings of the Believer
The Flaming Sword Clean Hands and a Pure Heart The Spirit of the Law
Keeping Your Body Pure and Holy An Open Mind that Loves the Truth Carrying Your Cross or Cross Dressing?
Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth? The Apostasy Parables

The Top Ten Things Jesus Taught
The Disciples’ Prayer Is Tolerance a Virtue? Righteousness by Faith not Law
Life is Short. Eternity is Not. Noah's Ark a Type of Christ Grace, Mercy, and Peace
Ultimate Accountability Separation from the World The Knowledge of the Holy
The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness Ask for the Ancient Paths Sins That Will Keep You From Heaven
The Straight and Narrow Path Unhealthy Competition A Peculiar People
Listen to Jesus, Who Upholds Moses and the Prophets Hope for You

Beware of Philosophy and Empty Deception
The Love of Jesus The Difference Between a Disciple and a Believer Having a Servant's Heart
Avoiding Worldly Worship Purge the Evil from Among You Who is God?
Living a Life Worthy of the Lord Praying for the Lord Jesus Who is God? - Part II
The Way, Will, and Word of God Overcomers in This Life The Afflictions of the Righteous
Saints Alive in Jesus Bowing Low in Worship Repentance That Leads to Life
Keeping a Good Conscience Remember Lot’s Wife Called to be Blameless
If -- A Picture Paints a Thousand Words The Lord Will Rejoice Over You The Nature of Persecution
The Wardrobe of the Saints Filled Up to All the Fullness of God Loving Deeply
Seeking Glory from God Amazing Grace God's Sovereign Plans and Purposes
Abominations in the Sight of God Identification with Christ Alabaster Jar
Running from God Forgetting the Past Was Jesus Seeker Friendly?
God's View of Public Bathing Is Secular Music for Christians? Ignorance is Not Bliss
In the Yolk of Christianity Songs of the Holy Fire Known by God
Modern Day Idols Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Walking in Truth, Righteousness, and Holiness
Escaping from Dead Religion Living Sacrifices in Consuming Fire God's Amazing Plan for Your Life
Your Identity in Christ Having the Love of God in Your Heart Knowing the Lord
Following in His Steps Our God is an Awesome God! Hide and Seek with God
Belonging to the Lord No Turning Back David, A Man After God's Own Heart
Living on Earth as They Do in Heaven Chosen for Obedience The Ironies Between Jesus and Barabbas
Dedication to God Keep Your Lamp Burning The Holy Fire Series

Our gift of these articles by Len Lacroix is made possible in part by your gracious support of the ministry. Partner with us online.  You may also access my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. "Seek My Face" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist. 

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

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Our gift of these articles by Len Lacroix is made possible in part by your gracious support of the ministry.

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___________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org. Partner with us online by giving to DMI.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Holy Fire Series

Over the years, I have written several articles about the holy fire of God. In this post, I would like to provide links to this series of articles, so that you have them all in one place. I recommend reading one of them per day over a period of twelve days. The final post has a link to a five-book series called Baptized by Blazing Fire, by a pastor named Yong Doo Kim. Since it will take you more than a day to read through those five books, I have saved it as the best for last; I trust you will be edified by it, and you won't regret having read it.

Where there is no fire there is no light. Therefore, as the apostle Paul said, "Don’t put out the Spirit’s fire!" (1 Thes 5:19). Now here are the links to the posts in my Holy Fire Series:

Holy Fire Baptism
Songs of the Holy Fire
Living Sacrifices in Consuming Fire
The Three Elijahs
The Fiery Sufferings of the Believer
The Refiner's Fire
The Burning Ones
The Happy Hunters on Fire
Keeping Your Lamp Burning
Covenant Prayer
The Holy Fires of Hell
Baptized by Blazing Fire -- a Korean church's testimony

Attribution notice: Scripture taken from the Holy Bible New International Version, copyright Zondervan, used by permission. Image may be subject to copyright, used per Fair Use Act for commentary and educational purposes only.
 
Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, I also recommend reading my article Baptized with the Spirit. You may access the Main Directory for this Seeking the Lord blog for more articles like this, as well as my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Keeping Your Lamp Burning

In the Law, the Lord gave Moses a specific command for the high priest Aaron that is still applicable to us today.

"The Lord said to Moses, 'Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light, so that the lamps may be kept burning continually. Outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, Aaron is to tend the lamps before the Lord from evening till morning, continually. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. The lamps on the pure gold lampstand before the Lord must be tended continually.'" (Lev 24:1-4, NIV).

The lamps were fueled with clear olive oil, which the Israelites were commanded to bring. Aaron their high priest was then required to tend the lamps on the pure gold lampstand before the Lord continually night and day. This is a lasting ordinance for all generations.

In the gospels, Jesus told the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. He said:

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour." (Mt 25:1-13, NIV).

The difference between the five wise virgins and the five foolish virgins was that the wise ones brought extra flasks full of oil, so that if the bridegroom was a long time in coming, their lamps would not go out. The foolish ones, however, did not prepare ahead so that they could be ready in case the bridegroom was a long time in coming. This one thing made a crucial difference in their lives. When the midnight cry rang out to notify the virgins that the bridegroom was coming, the foolish ones did not have enough oil to keep their lamps burning bright for him. When they asked the wise virgins for some of their oil, the wise ones told them that if they did so, there would not be enough oil for all of them, and they instructed the foolish ones to go to the merchants as they had done and buy some oil for themselves.

The wise ones were able to trim their lamps and keep them lit when the bridegroom came to meet them, and they were welcomed into the wedding with him. But then the door was shut, and when the foolish ones returned with their oil, they cried out to the Lord to open the door and let them in, but they were shut out of his presence, and he declared that he never knew them.

In this parable, the bridegroom represents our Lord Jesus and the virgins represent those who are waiting for His return. In other words, all the virgins are believers. The light of the lamps represents the light of Christ in the lives of every disciple, which is fueled by the Holy Spirit, Who is represented by the oil. The extra flasks full of oil represent being filled with the Holy Spirit. The act of buying that extra oil in advance represents readiness for Christ's return. This advance preparation requires a continual watching and waiting on the Lord, asking the Holy Spirit to fill you from head to toe and keep your lamp burning for Jesus, no matter what the cost. This is the anointing that each disciple must have, and we cannot give our anointing to someone else. Each one must seek the Lord for himself or herself to receive directly from the Holy Spirit.

What He taught us in this passage is that we must always keep watch and be ready for His soon return, because it could happen at any moment (1 Thes 5:2-4; 2 Pe 3:1-12; Rev 16:15; 22:12-20). We must be like the five wise virgins, and seek the Lord now before the Lord returns (Is 55:6-7), asking for the Holy Spirit to completely fill us and engulf us (Lk 11:13). Offer the Lord your extra flask and continually ask Him to fill it up (Eph 5:18), so that you may always keep your lamp burning bright for Him until He comes (Lk 12:35). Just as the Israelites had to bring the olive oil, we all must participate in obtaining the oil of the Spirit from the Lord. Just as Aaron as a priest had to tend the lamps on the pure gold lampstand before the Lord continually night and day, so too must we as priests of God tend to our own lamps continually to ensure they remain burning bright for Jesus (Lk 12:35). The many signs of the times point to the fact that Jesus is coming back right away, and no man knows the day or the hour (Mt 24:36; 25:13), so time is of the essence to act upon this word and to be sure you are ready.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB copyright the Lockman Foundation, used by permission. Other Scriptures where noted as NIV, taken from the Holy Bible New International Version, copyright Zondervan, used by permission. Image may be subject to copyright, used per Fair Use Act for commentary and educational purposes only.
 
Author's note: You are invited to read Baptized with the Spirit, Holy Fire Baptism, The Refiner's Fire, Songs of the Holy Fire, Living Sacrifices in Consuming FireHoly Living in a Perverted World, Separation from the World, Aim for Perfection, The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, and Called to be Blameless. You may access the Main Directory for this Seeking the Lord blog for more articles like this, as well as my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Dedication to God

People are often dedicated to something, such as their job, their children, their wives, their husbands, their public service, or even to sports. Soldiers are dedicated to their profession. They give themselves wholly or chiefly to these objects of their devotion. But the Scriptures teach us to be dedicated to the Lord.

The Firstborn Belongs to the Lord
The Scriptures say that the firstborn belongs to the Lord, including both the firstborn child as well as the firstborn animals.

"The Lord said to Moses, 'Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal.'” (Ex 13:1-2, NIV).

Since the first fruits of every womb belong to the Lord, He requires that they be dedicated to Him.

Why should the firstborn belong to the Lord?

The Lord Always Gets the First Fruits
First of all, the firstborn belong to the Lord, because the Lord always gets the first fruits of everything. Just as tithing is required on our financial income, our crops, our livestock, and all our increase, and just as we give God the first day of each week and keep it holy to honor Him, we also give him the first fruits of the womb.

God Deserves Our Very Best
Secondly, the firstborn belong to the Lord, because God deserves our very best.

The apostle Paul wrote of Christ, "And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy." (Col 1:18). Another version says, "...that in everything He might have first place."

Matthew Henry states: "God, who is the first and best, should have the first and best, and to him we should resign that which is most dear to us, and most valuable. The firstborn were the joy and hope of their families. Therefore they shall be mine, says God. By this it will appear that we love God best (as we ought) if we are willing to part with that to him which we love best in this world."

Since the firstborn child is the very best, the Lord requires that we dedicate it to Him.

Dedicate That Which God Has Spared
Another reason behind dedicating the firstborn child to the Lord is that we should dedicate that which God has spared. Remember how in the Lord's judgment on Egypt, He had sent the death angel to kill the firstborn of every household in Egypt (Ex 11), but because of the blood of the lamb on the homes of the Israelites during Passover (Ex 12), He spared the firstborn children of every Israelite household. Likewise, when God has spared, rescued, or saved someone, it is fitting to dedicate that person to Him. Matthew Henry states: "That which is by special distinguishing mercy spared to us should be in a peculiar manner dedicated to God's honour."

Children Dedicated to the Lord Obligated to Serve Him
One example from Scripture of someone dedicating their child to the Lord is Hannah, who dedicated her son Samuel to the Lord while she was barren, before he was conceived.

"She made a vow and said, 'O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.'" (1Sa 1:11)

Later after the boy was born and weaned, she said, "For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD." (1Sa 1:27-28)

"Then Elkanah went to his home at Ramah. But the boy ministered to the LORD before Eli the priest." (1Sa 2:11)

My wife and I dedicated every one of our five children to the Lord when they were babies. They belonged to God in the first place, and we were simply giving them back to Him. In doing so, we were committing our children to Him. Matthew Henry states: "Parents have a right to dedicate their children to God, as living sacrifices and spiritual priests; and an obligation is thereby laid upon them to serve God faithfully all the days of their life." Whenever someone dedicates a child to the Lord, it should not be taken lightly, because God takes us at our word and expects us to follow through on what we have solemnly promised Him in His presence.

The Apostles Were Dedicated to the Lord's Service
In the gospels we discover that the apostles left everything and dedicated themselves to the Lord's service.

"And [Jesus] said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.' Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him." (Mat 4:19-22)

Later on, He promised them great reward for leaving everything and dedicating their lives to Him.

"Peter began to say to Him, 'Behold, we have left everything and followed You.' Jesus said, 'Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.'" (Mar 10:28-30)

cf., Mat 19:27-29; Luke 18 28-30

The apostles remained steadfast in their dedication to the Lord, even after His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into heaven. Their devotion became apparent when it was challenged by the need to deliver food to the widows in the community. Scripture says, "So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, 'It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables....But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.'" (Act 6:2,4). Being devoted in this way to prayer and the ministry of the Word is a great picture of dedication to God.

All Disciples of Christ Are Consecrated to the Lord
However, dedication is not just something we should do with our firstborn children, because all disciples of Christ are actually consecrated to the Lord.

All Those in Christ are Considered Firstborn
Since Christ is the firstborn and His disciples are in Him, then in essence all those in Christ are considered firstborn. Matthew Henry puts it this way: "It is the church of the firstborn that is sanctified to God, Heb 12:23. Christ is the firstborn among many brethren (Rom 8:29), and, by virtue of their union with him, all that are born again, and born from above, are accounted as firstborn. There is an excellency of dignity and power belonging to them; and, if children, then heirs."

We are Called to Holiness and Separated unto God 
Indeed dedication is not only for certain followers of Christ, but we are all called to holiness and separation unto God. For Paul wrote, "For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life." (1 Thes 4:7, NIV). Since we are called to live a holy life, and holiness is being set apart for God or consecrated to Him, then we are all called to a life of devotion to Him. Peter wrote, "But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;" (1 Pet 1:15, NIV)

We Are to Live for the Lord, Not Ourselves
Moreover, we are all supposed to live for the Lord, not ourselves. Paul wrote, "And He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf." (2Co 5:15)

You Are Not Your Own
Scripture teaches that your life is not your own. Paul said, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." (1Co 6:19-20)

Offer Your Body as a Living Sacrifice to God
We as followers of Christ are supposed to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God. Paul said, "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship." (Rom 12:1). As we know, any sacrifice that was laid upon the altar under the Law was left there until it was fully consumed. A sacrifice was not taken back by the one offering it, so when we offer our bodies to God as living sacrifices, they are dedicated to Him.

Putting it All Together
As we have seen from the Word of God dedication -- also known as devotion or consecration -- is an important aspect of our worship of God and service to Him. The first fruits of the womb belong to the Lord, so He expects us to dedicate the firstborn to Him, and that is what we should do. For He deserves our very best. Parents also have the right to dedicate not only their firstborn, but all of their children to the Lord, if they wish, which in turn obligates those children to faithfully serve the Lord.

The devotion of the apostles to the Word of God and prayer demonstrated their devotion to the Lord, which is an example for all of us who are called to be ministers of the New Covenant. Then we in turn become examples for every disciple of Christ we touch to also live a life of sincere and pure devotion to the Lord. For we are all called to live a holy life that is separated to God. Since we are all in Christ the firstborn, we are all coheirs with Him, sharing in all the rights and privileges that this affords, as if we, too, were the firstborn. But with that status comes the responsibility to live a life of holiness and separation to God, to live our lives for the Lord and not for ourselves, and to offer our bodies to God as living sacrifices, since our lives are not our own. Let it be a reminder to us all of the life of dedication to God, to which we have been called.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB copyright the Lockman Foundation, used by permission. Other Scriptures where noted as NIV, taken from the Holy Bible New International Version, copyright Zondervan, used by permission. Dedication to God image by Charity V. Lacroix, from A Brush with Life.
 
Author's note: You are invited to read Holy Living in a Perverted World, Separation from the World, The Straight and Narrow Path, Whatever You Do, Do All Like This, Walking in the Perfect Will of God, Aim for PerfectionGodly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Carrying Your Cross or Cross Dressing?, Tattoos and Body Piercing, Keeping Your Body Pure and HolyAlcohol and Cigarettes -- Ten Divine Revelations, Rock, Rap, and Reggae Music -- Three Divine Revelations, The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, and Called to be Blameless. You may access the Main Directory for this Seeking the Lord blog for more articles like this, as well as my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.