“Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].” (Romans 12:1-2 AMP)
The Scripture above is well known among those who have entered into a Blood Covenant level relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob… the Creator, Owner and Sustainer of all… the One who gave Yeshua, His one and only Son, to redeem us from the deadly grip of Sin and Death… the One who calls us to Himself by the power of His Holy Spirit and then becomes our very life and sufficiency from the moment we say “Yes!” when hearing Him say to us… “Follow Me!”
Once our hearts become wholly His, our journey of faith begins in earnest. We enter the ‘Boot Camp’ or ‘weaning pen’ specially and specifically designed by our Creator to strip away from us all the fleshly and worldly beliefs, patterns and practices that we’ve picked up along the way. Since those things are in opposition to His Ways, they must be exposed and removed in order for us to move from the state of spiritual ignorance in which we begin this journey.
And so the spiritual growth that follows is dependent upon our willingness to submit to our God totally and completely, applying the truths He imparts and relying on His indwelling Presence to bring to its ultimate fulfillment every one of His promises, plans and purposes for us. We must remember that we are each unique… fearfully and wonderfully made… and so the way in which He teaches us, what He teaches us and what He prioritizes in that training will be unique to us as well. Thus it is our mandate and privilege to operate within that understanding. In context with this uniqueness perspective, I often picture us like different facets of the same brilliant diamond, each reflecting His light a little differently. And this understanding of our unique make up and calling confirms to us that any attempts to compare ourselves with one another is futile, even foolish, as described in 2 Corinthians 10:12b:
When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”
Our job as part of the Last Days Disciple Force is to be, not “do” but BE, a reflection of who our El Gibbor (Mighty Champion) really is… and what He has DONE, finished, completed and purchased on our behalf. And because I write this in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic that recently hit planet Earth with swift and deadly force, it is timely that we remember that role of ours and how we can minister in that role to those around us, especially those who do not yet have the same sure foundation of solid, Biblical Truth upon which we stand.
It is not our role to judge, diagnose, discern exactly – or correct – where others are in their faith journey. It is enough to know that our God loves each and every one of His beloved humans. We see and respect that in His Lovingkindness and through His everlasting love, He is wooing each one out of the darkness and into His marvelous Light and Life. Dallas Jenkins, the Writer and Director of the Biblically based internet series “The Chosen” puts it this way… “It’s not our job to feed the 5,000; it’s our job to bring the loaves and fishes to Him.”
In other words, all we need is to live 24/7 in communion with our indwelling God and focus on Him at all times. Our focus is never to be toward created things, only on the Creator Himself, the One who is, and always will be, all that we will ever need. If that concept seems familiar, it’s because it is familiar… look again at our FMM Marching Orders below. After each, I’ve included a sample self-talk opportunity to give our hearts a tune up, if needed.
Here are the FMM Marching Orders – In The Last Days:
- Take My people further in their understanding of what it is to be a temple of My Presence… So they’ll have the strength they need to remain connected to Me when I lead them through “The Valley of the Shadow of Death.”
Do I truly understand that I am a temple of His Presence? Do I know what that means and how it affects all I do?
- Teach them to think along with Me, in all things… So that they can be led by the Holy Spirit at all times, even amid desperate emergencies.
Am I in the habit of consulting and communing with the Holy Spirit in all things? Do I know, really know, that I am one with Him and that He is more than enough for anything with which I must deal or face or respond to?
- Teach them to listen to Me at all times, even as they are thinking… So that I can guide them safely through opposition and persecution.
Do I know His still, small voice and do I truly listen for it at all times? Is my inner ‘radar’ focused on Him and what He is saying, even in the most difficult of times and situations?
- Develop a great tenderness and sensitivity for My Presence within them. Teach them to worship Me in the depths of their spirits and innermost minds, in all things… So that when I return, I won’t have to say to them, “I never knew you!”
Can I sense His Presence? Is worship a normal part of my everyday focus and practice? Do I have eyes to see all that draws and brings forth worship? If not, Lord, please show me what I’ve allowed to get in the way that I might repent and give to you the glory due Your Name.
- Teach them to understand clearly and thoroughly what it means to be faithful to seek, in all things, My viewpoint and the purpose of My Kingdom, Kingship and Righteousness. If they do that, I, for My part, will add all other things for them… For I AM the Blessing Father gave to them from the very beginning… and because the Serpent never stops trying to destroy God’s beloved humans… they must cling to Me as they resist demonic attacks in the final days.
Am I in the habitual state of seeking Him, viewing what I encounter in everyday life from His Kingdom perspective? Do I act and respond in ways that honor and reflect Kingdom Truth and Righteousness? Do I know that His Kingdom is where I live and move and have my being? Do I remember that I am His ambassador to the kingdoms of this earthly realm?
- Take them further in their ability to understand the depths of the New Covenant relationship they have with Me. Teach them what their part is to be… So that I can continually impart My Covenant blessings and protection to them. Teach them to abide beneath the shadow of My wings even as thousands perish around them.
Am I convinced that the New Covenant relationship between my God and myself means that I am one with Him? Do I know beyond any doubt that because of the Eternal Blood Covenant in which we have become one, nothing can ever separate me from Him, and that through His indwelling Presence, I am always more than a conqueror at all times? Have I exchanged Me/I identity thoughts with We (I in Him and He in me) at all times and in every circumstance?
- Teach them how to respond to Me in even the tiniest matters… So that they can remain connected to Me regardless of what is going on around them.
Do I recognize His sovereignty in ALL things, big and small? Or do I exempt certain things, seeing them as insignificant or not worthy of His consideration? If so, I need to repent of ‘playing god’ and resolve to exalt and submit to Him at all times and in all things.
- I am with them in all things and in all ways. I want them to be with Me in the same manner… So I can continue to be everything they need, no matter how desperate the world situations become all around them.
Lord, I choose You. I bow down before You and You alone. I proclaim that You are my God and I will have no other. I rest in Your finished work and count it an honor to bear Your Name. I am Yours. You are my King, Lord, Savior and Redeemer. You are my very life and sufficiency.
The spirit and attitude required to follow the above Marching Orders are beautifully expressed by God’s written Word in Deuteronomy. As we continue developing the habitual practice of renewing our minds in His eternal Truth, this is the kind of interaction we are developing with our indwelling Lord and Master:
“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Emphasis added.)
This text is indeed the ‘job description’ of the true New Covenant disciples of God’s resurrected Living Word. Note how complete and comprehensive it is. But please understand this: It is imperative that we never assume that these orders were given to us directly, or to anyone else among us. Instead, it is as if we are being allowed to overhear our Heavenly Father giving these orders to His Holy Spirit who dwells within our heart of hearts. According to God’s New Covenant promises, He is the one who has the Power and the commission to fulfill these orders from within us. Thus it is incumbent upon us to remain yielded to Him at all times and in all things.
“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and CAUSE you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” (Ezekiel 36:25-26 Emphasis added.)
These directives are telling us what God intends to do to us, in us and through us, as we learn to allow the Holy Spirit to apply them in our everyday lives, relationships and circles of influence. And the unshakeable foundation, the Rock upon which we stand as we proclaim the wonders contained in Almighty God’s Perfect, Finished Work, is this: That Finished Work is already the inheritance that God has waiting for us in His eternal Heavenly Kingdom. Look again at Genesis 2:1-2, paying close attention to the verb tenses:
“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from His work which God had created and made.”
Can you see the application to all disciples of the Living God, regardless of the times or ages in which we lived or are living now? Is it not clear that the Marching Orders and Scriptures above articulate the Fullness that our Master intends to teach to us and develop within us? And can we see now a deeper importance to our assignment to renew our minds found in Romans 12:2… “so that we may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect?”
That action which God has promised to perform within us requires us to learn to align our minds and hearts and wills accordingly. Then we will be able to interact with our risen Master, as He abides and works from within us, and fulfills all that is revealed of Him in His written Word. All of this will be, and must be, done by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. It must never be tainted or distorted or diluted by any decaying ‘grave clothes’ found in unrepentant parts of our flesh that we are not willing to submit to crucifixion.
New Covenant disciples must no longer allow themselves to ignore or forget about our risen Lord for long periods of time. He is our very Life and Source for everything that is real, true and good. HE IS OUR DAILY BREAD! And this is why we must depend upon Him, interact with Him continuously, and receive everything that will be necessary to be His disciples from His indwelling Holy Spirit, moment by moment… day by day… in ever increasing depth and application. Our task is to abide. And it is the Holy Spirit’s task to make Yeshua, God’s Living Word, real and alive and fruitfully active within us. Thus God’s Living Word can become flesh once again… in us, and through us. That is because God’s Living Word is to our spirits what oxygen is to our lungs… and much, much more!
We must never allow anyone or anything that is created by God’s Word to get between us and our Lord and Master, the Word of God Himself! Can you see it, Beloved? We cannot give what we have not first received from Him. So it is imperative that we take very seriously the boot camp training into which we have been called. That calling is an ‘all in’ calling – nothing held back, no substitutes, no compromise, and no competing pursuits or loyalties.
So as we contemplate renewing our minds on the Truth relative to the God we love and serve, especially at this particular time when people and nations have been shaken to the very core… let’s be aware of the calling and equipping that makes our ministry needful and relevant even in this most difficult of times. Remember Mordecai’s counsel to Esther? “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) We Last Days Disciples were born for ‘such a time as this’ also. As we abide in Him and He abides in us, we are the salt and light that others so desperately need.
Think about it… we are here on planet Earth during a time when the whole world has found all that it once knew and depended upon has become unsure and unsettled. The foundations of peoples’ health, lives, occupations, relationships and pursuits are all very different and much more difficult than they’ve known before. And in the midst of all the pain and loss and confusion… in His infinite wisdom, our faithful God has placed His disciples (us!) throughout all walks of life and equipped us to be His very image and likeness, anytime and anywhere the Holy Spirit leads us.
“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3)
“So then, my dear ones, just as you have always obeyed [my instructions with enthusiasm], not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ]. For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.
Do everything without murmuring or questioning [the providence of God],so that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish in the midst of a [morally] crooked and [spiritually] perverted generation, among whom you are seen as bright lights [beacons shining out clearly] in the world [of darkness], holding out and offering to everyone the word of life…” (Philippians 2:12-16a AMP, Emphasis added)
The best way in which we can be those ‘bright lights’ is by continually renewing our minds by saturating ourselves in the absolute, unwavering and unchanging Truth about who God is and what He requires. Just like in farming, we must plant those seeds of Truth deeply within ourselves before we will have a ‘crop’ to share with others.
So, Beloved ones, let’s continually gather the kinds of seed in our hearts, minds and souls that will produce an abounding crop of praise and adoration to the One we love. Can you see yourself joining the throng before the Throne?
“After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice; ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.
All the angels were standing around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, saying: ‘Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!’” (Revelation 7:9-12)
But How Do I Renew My Mind? How Does It Work?
What follows are some things that have helped me along my journey. I’m including them as some options to consider and use only if you find them helpful. But remember, the Holy Spirit to whom I’m submitted is the same Holy Spirit to whom you are… and He may have a totally different ‘curriculum’ for you to follow.
When we proactively and purposefully renew our minds, we consider and meditate on the Word of God – found directly in the Bible itself… and/or in the Biblical lyrics of hymns or contemporary praise and worship songs… and/or in the content of Biblically inspired books, sermons, or conversations with other disciples. In other words, we develop the practice of habitually ‘mining’ for Truth and telling ourselves the Truth in our inner thoughts and self talk. As we do this, we must carefully consider what pictures that words bring to mind. We want those mental pictures to focus our attention on God Himself and (this is important!) on the Eternal Blood Covenant relationship into which He has invited us to join Him. These word pictures should never envision a separation between us and our God; instead they should confirm and celebrate the oneness in which that Covenant Relationship has joined us to our Beloved Bridegroom.
Knowing that everyone who may receive this article may or may not have easy access to a Bible or the internet, I’ve included below some Scripture seeds for your consideration. They’re lightly categorized into three sections – 1) DECLARATIONS/AFFIRMATIONS which confirm the unshakeable Truth about His Word and why we can maintain an absolute, airtight confidence in Him because we see our inheritance built upon this sure foundation; 2) I AM verses, God’s self revelation of His heart and character; and 3) some IF/THEN or SO THAT verses. These may clearly contain an if/then content, or they may be more subtle, but the bottom line is that they show what our God expects from us and what the outcome will be if we conform to His Word. These are only a small compilation, enough to get you started as you continue to build your own arsenal of Truth deep in the very core of your heart and soul.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33) Note that the Holy Spirit repeated this statement more than once. Does that not reveal to us how absolutely FIRM and SURE the foundation of His Word truly is? Can we understand that it is everlasting throughout all eternity? And does that understanding not give us a confidence that we can trust this God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength?
“As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” (Psalm 18:30-32)
“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” (Psalm 19:7-9)
“As for me, this is my covenant with them, says the Lord. My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time and on forever, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 59:21)
“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him…” (Nahum 1:7a)
“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
“Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign Lord.’” (Ezekiel 12:28)
“For as many as are the promises of God, in Christ they are [all answered] “Yes!” So through Him we say our “Amen” to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:20 AMP)
“I AM” VERSES – Samples of our God’s self revelation
“I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.” (Exodus 6:7)
“Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.’” (Exodus 31:13)
“… I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations.’” (Leviticus 20:24b)
“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13)
“I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.” (Isaiah 43:11)
“I am the Lord, your Holy One, Israel’s Creator, your King.” (Isaiah 43:15)
“This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself…” (Isaiah 44:24)
“I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” (Isaiah43:3b)
“I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me…” (Isaiah45:5)
“… so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.” (Isaiah 45:6)
“‘… but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:24)
“I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” (Jeremiah 24:7)
“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27)
“So I will establish my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 16:62)
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘On the day I chose Israel, I swore with uplifted hand to the descendants of Jacob and revealed myself to them in Egypt. With uplifted hand I said to them, I am the Lord your God.’” (Ezekiel 20:5)
“The trees will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them.” (Ezekiel 34:27)
“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.’” (John 6:35)
“While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” (John 9:5)
“So Jesus said to them again, ‘Truly, truly I say to you I am the door of the sheep’” (John 10:7)
“So Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me will live even if he dies.’” (John 11:25)
“You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.” (John 13:13)
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’” (John 14:6)
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” (John 15:1
“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’” (Revelation 1:8)
IF/THEN or SO THAT VERSES
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.” (Deuteronomy 28:1)
“Observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.” (1 Kings 2:3)
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8)
“I am the Lord your God; follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Keep my Sabbaths holy, that they may be a sign between us. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.” (Ezekiel 19-20)
“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine.” (Exodus 19:5)
“If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26)
“But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” (James 1:25)
“‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 1:3b)
“Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many.” (Proverbs 4:10)
“Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29)
“Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time.” (Deuteronomy 4:40)
“If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.” (Leviticus 26:3-4)
“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:10-11)
“He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.” (2 Chronicles 26:5)
And there are many additional tools we can use to build upon that Scriptural base of assurance in our God such as:
- Meditate on the Names of God… for example, Adonai, Elohim, El Elyon (Most High God), Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, and so many others
- Make and maintain a Thankfulness List… look for what you can thank God for each and every day. Some people set a goal of 3, 5, 7 things each day
- Purpose for yourself each and every day to develop your awareness of His Presence and influence in everyday encounters. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you ‘eyes to see’ and ‘ears to hear’ others around you… and be available when His indwelling Life prompts you to reach out to someone who needs a touch from Him
- As you study the “I AM” verses in Scripture, meditate on them and what they indicate in and through the circumstances and situations you encounter
- As you read and study your Bible, cultivate an awareness regarding the verb tense used. You’ll find that this habit will help you see that absolute, airtight Reality that we live in His Finished Work.
For example, “Since then, you have been (past tense) raised with Christ, set (present tense) your hearts on things above, where Christ is (present tense) seated at the right hand of God. Set (present tense) your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died (past tense), and your life is now (present tense) hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is (present tense) your life appears (present and future tense), then you also will appear (future tense) with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)
In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus tells the parable of a widow’s repeated appeals to an unjust judge. It ends with this haunting question – “…when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
O, beloved ones, will we be ones in whom He finds that particular type of persevering and unwavering faith cultivated in and through consistent prayer and enduring loyalty to our God? I exhort you to cultivate your faith journey in such a way that we will be like the wise virgins who keep a continuous supply of oil in our lamps as we wait patiently for the return of our Beloved Bridegroom.
“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. (Revelation 22:20-21)