By Bishop Clifton Jones
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We sing the song, Jesus is mine! Mine is a possessive pronoun showing ownership. I want everyone to be sure and understand, that to me it is wonderful to know that Jesus is mine. Personal ownership. He is mine. Now if that doesn’t turn us on, just think about who He is and what He can do, and then remind ourselves that He is mine. Every time we go over the list of what He can do then say, He is mine! Hallelujah!
I am thoroughly convinced that Jesus wants us to take that attitude concerning the Scripture, that all of those promises in the book are mine. He wants us to stop claiming sickness and disease, along with every other negative thing is mine. We wouldn’t like to be like the woman I heard about that died of malnutrition and when her body was picked up, they found that she had $65,000 dollars in cash. She died of malnutrition because she wouldn’t buy enough decent food to live on although she had $65,000 cash dollars!
The Lord wants us to pick up the Bible and lay claim on the promises I le left on record. He doesn’t mind if we put our own name there. Since He is mine, He’s present. His question to Abraham, “Is anything too hard for God?” When we read that Scripture and say the God, whom nothing is too hard for is mine. The God, who heals all manner of diseases is mine. The God of all comfort is mine. Hallelujah! 0, God, You are mine! He is mine; to me it is so wonderful, just to know He is mine.
Don’t get me wrong brothers and sisters, you know I preach and teach, I moan and I groan, but I don’t believe that ought to make us any happier than when we read the promises, and sign our name to them. If we can’t write, make an X, because God can understand an X. We just want him to know that we believe it because He said it is ours and we are claiming what is ours. He is mine.
I wanted to save this point for the end, but I am a poor one for keeping things, especially when they are hot and I think they are good for others. The Lord, said to me, “If someone that you felt close to would stop speaking to you, how would you feel? You see the Lord yet talks. Now we all know that if someone we have been close to over the years and fellowship with that we counted to be a bosom friend, would all of a sudden stop speaking, it would bother us. No wonder the Lord asked Israel in Jeremiah chapter 2, “What Have I done? What have I done?”
I can see where the Lord is coming from. “Did you have to go a whoring after those funny gods? Did I neglect my duty toward you? Why did you have to have Dagon and Asteroth? Why did you need them; haven’t I been faithful?”
Whether you know it or not, the more we do for people, the more a part of that person we feel. Can you see what I’m saying? Maybe that’s the reason we should do all we can for each other. Then we will feel close to each other. So when you hurt, I’ll hurt too. Maybe that’s what we need to do.
“We need to stop putting the Lord so far up in heaven that as though He doesn’t know what’s going on on earth.”
I reason in my mind, that if someone you used to have sweet fellowship with, all of a sudden they just stopped talking, wouldn’t it bother you? Quite naturally, I couldn’t lie, I just said yes, Lord! Just think brothers and sisters, we need to stop putting the Lord so far up in heaven that He doesn’t know what’s going on on earth.
We know how we would feel if our close buddy just stopped talking to us. It would bother us. We would start examining ourselves. What have I done. It would really bother us. Don’t tell me that you are so strong-hearted that if someone close to you stop speaking, it would not bother you. Yes it would bother you!
Someone may say, It wouldn’t bother me, I don’t care. I really don’t care. It would bother you unless there is something seriously wrong that you don’t know about. Now the Lord each day is providing for us. Giving us sense enough to go where we need to go; do what we need to do and come returning home without drifting off somewhere. With all of this good treatment, we stop speaking to him. Are you following my thought? Just stop speaking to him.
“We get up in the morning, get dressed, go to work, & won’t even speak to the Lord; come back in the evening, eat, go to bed without even speaking.”
Don’t you think that would hurt His feelings? As much as He has done and is doing so that we can function. I want you to think about that.
The Lord doesn’t seek to be deep in the sense that He will lose us, leaving us unable to follow where He is coming from. Rather He is simply using things that we can easily understand. Now, I have no problem understanding Him talking to my mind about how would I feel. If I had a friend who stop talking to me I don’t have to go back to school to see if I could get some more training, so that I could comprehend what he is talking about right away. I know His point is how do you think I feel? I’m the one supplying your strength, I’m the one supplying your energy, I’m the one supplying you with all of the things you need and you mean you cannot speak to me? You mean to tell me that you are so obligated and so self involved that you need another extra hour to sleep?
Knowing that it will cut short the time We use to spend together or cut out the time you and I could have together? And you are going to work for yourself, and you won’t even speak to me? I have been in homes where the first order of the day is to turn on the television early in the morning and let it run all day long. Selfish entertainment. Far too often the Lord is unable to give us the help we need, because of our failure to do what we should to receive the help we need when we are faced with a real issue; for instance, if we are one of those who have been getting up in the morning with no time to pray? Do you know how we can get healed from that? We must first confess that is what we are doing wrong. We must acknowledge our transgressions. If we would just read some of the prayers in the Bible, we would see that the people confess their sins as they cried unto the Lord.
“No one should come into the Lord’s presence as if they haven’t done anything wrong. We should humbly approach His presence.”
When God allows His glorious light to shine into our hearts, causing us to recognize the things we have done, and are doing are the very things that are hindering us from free access into God’s presence. We need to quickly confess those things as sin, then the Lord can help us from the inside. And give us what we need to go on.
Anyone who thinks the Lord is blind to the things that are going on in our lives, is deceiving themselves.
“If we think that we can automatically push a button & tune into His glory, we are wasting our time.”
The leaders in the Bible who had not sinned on the same level as the followers, when they sought an audience with the Lord, did not hesitate to identify with the sins of the people. This example is seen in the books of Nehemiah and Daniel.
- Nehemiah 1:6 “Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against Thee both I and my father’s house have sinned.”
Now this is a praying man, but I want us to notice the scope of this man’s prayer. Let’s go on back to verse four:
- “And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven, And said, I beseech thee, 0 Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments,”
Look how he identifies the God he is talking to, that lets us know that he is not talking to one of those stump gods, or a god made of rock. Confess the sins, “We have sinned against thee.” Did you get that? Don’t get in your mind that Nehemiah was a bigot or a whoremonger, or a drunk.
“Any measure of falling short of what God orders is enough to constitute sin.”
I don’t remember the exact number of terms in the Bible that are translated for sin, but the one that stands out in my mind at this moment is the one when the bowman is shooting the arrow at the bulls eye, and the arrow drops below the bulls eye, this illustration comes from a Greek word Kiaphaso, which means “the missing of the mark.” The desired mark was the bulls-eye but the arrow hit just underneath the bulls eye. So, when you and I with all our trying to do all that we know is right and because of our inability to do things perfectly, we often miss the mark.
So when we pray before our God, there is not a thing wrong with confessing our sins. So don’t just think because we haven’t committed adultery, drank some whiskey, gambled or smoked we haven’t sinned. After sitting under God’s Word, and failing to do what we have been taught, is also sinning.
Many things, even if they are not sin, we should leave alone especially if they are too close to the borderline. If the matter at hand raises any questions, we should leave it alone.
Now Nehemiah said, we have sinned, both I and my fathers, all of us have sinned. Now it wasn’t so much of what he had done, he wanted to make sure that God heard his prayer. He wanted God to know that the things he didn’t do that he should have done, he was confessing for it.
I have missed the mark, I want you to put some more grace to cover me, more of mercy, that will hold back judgment. The idea is, we still have to have God to make up the difference for us in our shortcomings. Just like the little child in the store making a purchase, and when it is time to pay, he still has to ask his father for the extra that he needs to make up the deficit. So it is with all of our trying, we need God’s grace and mercy to make up the deficit, because we fall short every
None of us are saved by our own works. All of our labor, all of our striving, if He doesn’t count it we still come up short.
“We are saved by faith through grace. All of grace, none of us! And any time we try to make it on our own, we end up in disgrace.”
Every day we have to look up and say, “God give me some more grace and mercy.” Yes you tried the best you could, yes you shot your best shot, but we still have to go back to daddy and ask for some more grace. “Daddy, could you add a little more to what you have already given me.”
Both I and my father’s house have sinned, we have dealt very corruptly against thee and have not kept the commandments. Nehemiah is openly pointing out the reason we are in trouble. It is because we haven’t been obeying.
DISCIPLINE OF LIFE
If a majority of us would come clean we would have to admit the reason we are having this devilish trouble that we are having. I’m not talking about those that are going through a testing of faith. I’m talking about those who are going through a discipline of life.
Someone might question what is the difference between a discipline of life and a testing of faith? Testing of faith is God’s way of allowing a person to go through, while being safeguarded so that he can detect the ability of God that is working in him.
A discipline of life is always God’s rod of correction. Since He doesn’t want to kill us, He has to correct us and beat out of us what needs to come out, so that He can move in us. Now if you are going through a testing of your faith, just say, “Thank you Jesus.” But if you are going through a discipline of life, say, “Lord, I am so sorry, I am so sorry 0 Lord, for I have been so wrong. I’ve been so corrupt.”
Some one no doubt will say, I’m afraid that sister or brother Greenapple next to me will hear me and say, “0 Lord, I wonder who did he commit adultery with? I wonder who, this time!”
When one is praying out a sincere heart, they don’t want anything to hide in them that will cause them to miss the mark.
- Psalm 66:18 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
- In Psalm 19:12 “Who can understand his error. Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”
“We are going to be held responsible for the truth we have been taught.”
We are not to keep it to our selves. We should use it to go from door to door, to the jail, the hospitals, nursing homes, house to house, street to street. We should not just be happy keeping it to ourselves. When we do that, we have broken His commandment, because He told us to go into the high way and hedges.
In his summary in chapter 25 of Matthew He said, “When I was hungry you would not feed me, when I was naked you would not clothe me, when I was in prison you would not come to visit me.”
“Lord when were you a jail bird?” The ministry of God is not just for us and to us. The children of light are supposed to take light to the world of darkness. The salt needs go where there is a threat of corruption.
Now salt will not work in the salt shaker. There is no benefit in putting the salt on the table and the egg in the skillet and saying, I’m so glad I’ve got salt over there in my salt shaker. Put it on the egg!
Twenty plus years ago I bowed on my knees and asked God, to give me a simple ministry, I never asked him to make me deep. Back then most of the ministers that were getting called to the ministry seemed to want to be deep. In this day, if one goes too deep, they will loose the majority.
We will now continue with verse seven, “We have dealt very corruptly against thee. We have not kept the commandments nor statues, nor the judgments which thou commanded thy servant Moses. “Lord we have many books, and many verses, and laws that you have given and we have not kept. We’ve done what pleased us.” We need to ask God to be alive and alert inside of us. When we are God minded inside, it will make a world of difference. I know what it will do. I am a witness what prayer will do.
“Prayer will make you God minded inside.”
When we become God minded inside, our chances of sinning are cut to minimal. When we are not ‘God minded’ we can excuse away anything we do that’s wrong, and live with ourselves. But when we are God minded inside, we can’t live with ourselves doing things wrong, and continue to professing holiness. God’s mind inside of us makes us consciously aware of anything inside of us that interferes with the mind of God that is on the inside.
When we bow down before God and begin to pray, the God mind inside us allows our spirit to associate, fellowship, intermingle, cherish, delight, respect, honor, and worship the divine Spirit. As a result, it leaves us blessed.
God has no problem getting people that delight in Him to draw near to Him. While those with ‘hang ups’ will maintain a distance from the Lord. Why are we afraid to go into that neighbors house?
“Well that neighbor has a daughter who has the whooping cough, and I don’t want to get it.” “Oh! I heard that such and such a person has aids.” Then I am going to say Praise the Lord, but I am going to keep my distance. God does not want us to let anything, prevent us from coming into his presence.
- Daniel 9:3 “And I set my face unto the Lord God to seek by prayer, supplication with fasting and sack-cloth and ashes and I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession and said Oh, Lord, the great and dreadful God keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments: we have sinned and committed iniquity, and have done wickedly and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments.”
“Unbelief & rebellion both say the same thing. I have ample information, but I refuse to act on it.”
Notice in Hebrews 3:12, He warns us, “lest any of us be over taken by an evil heart of unbelief.”
Jesus said in the 4 chapter of St. Luke verse 25, “I tell you of a truth there were many widows in Israel in the days of the great famine . . . But to none of them was Elias sent, not a one of them . . .”
Do you know why? They had enough information. They knew God opened up the Red Sea, they knew He lead them 40 years through the wilderness, they knew of the miracles, but yet they refused to act on the information they had received. They were rebellious and unbelieving.
The scripture says, “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.” Which one are you going to be, the unbeliever, or the hoodoo man? In the end, they will both be in the same place.
Now the average person who has a spiritual battle going on will describe it like this, “Well, I’m trying to overcome, whatever it is! They won’t say, “Well I have been rebelling in this particular area of my life. I’m no better than a hoodoo man.” We detest the idea of anyone thinking less of us. We want everyone to think well of us. We want others to think that we are the epitome of what God wants. And sometimes God’s stomach is sick over the condition we have allowed ourselves to get in. What hurts him so deeply is that He is standing with both hands outstretched to help us.
“We try too hard to convince those around us that we are right.”
One of the main things that is wrong with us is that we try too hard to convince those around us that we are right. The Lord doesn’t mind going to the junk sight and making it right. But after He makes it right, He is not looking for it to go back to the waste heap again.
There will always be 3 persons present that will know the sin that you’ve committed.
- Number 1 – You will be there.
- Number 2 – Satan and his operation will be there.
- Number 3 – The one who gives us the strength and energy will always be there.
Now what have we benefited? We looked four ways and nobody saw us, but the sad part we were there. What are we going to tell our conscience when we get alone? When we lay our head on the pillow and our mind starts reviewing the days activities, what are we going to say to ourselves? Alright we know that Jesus was there. Normally we would be praying to Him. Since both of us was there, what are we going to tell Him?
We should keep in mind that Jesus yet honors repentance. But let me remind us all that the Lord does not want us to be forced into repentance. He want us to voluntarily repent. What is voluntary repentance? It is the kind that comes out of us because of the deed done, rather than sorrow for getting caught.
A lot of times our pride says, don’t reveal it, let it alone, because others will think less of us!
“Pride will rob us of our fear of God & fill us with self protection.”
It will open the door for unconfessed sin to run rampant in our lives. Those unconfessed sin will grow more and more vines until we are all wrapped up in sin.
Brothers and sisters, we are not contrary to scripture when we acknowledge that we have a problem; that there is something in us that caused us to miss the target. Rebellion causes us to become so spiritually dull we miss what God tells us to do. There are some of us that if God did not use a thunder bolt or lightening flash we would miss him all together.
THE INNER VOICE
I want it to go on record that we are also responsible for the inner voice that teaches our spirits. That inner voice will not be easily detected unless we cultivate it through prayer. So that takes us right back to where we failed in the first place. We are sinning. Even though we call it something else. We call it, you know, I don’t pray like I used to.
“We actually sin when we don’t pray.”
The reason I say we do, because we are opening the door for the enemy to work rather than God. All that God says to us is not written in the Bible, but the pattern is written.
I do not believe that Paul went to the book of Isaiah and read come over into Macedonia and help us! I believe that was spoken in his spirit.
“Every one is responsible before God, not only for what is written, but for what He speaks in our spirits.”
Well then, how can I determine when something is spoken in my inner man? Whether it is God or not? No problem. We can use the process of elimination. We can start by getting rid of the part that we know is not God. If that which is spoken harmonizes with that which we have been reading in the Bible, we know it’s not the devil. Now if we can’t find a scripture pattern then we ask ourselves this question, “Who will be glorified by this? Whose cause will be promoted by this? Whose mind does this reflect the most?”
The Bible tells us in first John the 4th chapter,
“Beloved, believe not every spirit. But try the spirit & see whether it be of God or not.”
Now when I first came into the church, we were saying “try the spirit by the spirit,” but I have not found that written. The best way to try the spirit is by the word. I found out that the spirit is so neutral that whatever is the strongest, it will take off after it.
Let me ask you a question. Which is strongest in the average person, their emotions or their will? Think about it before you answer. The answer is: their emotions. That will tell you why so many people know what to do and won’t do it. That will help you begin to see why people have a bucket full of information, and a thimble full of actions.
There are times when we can bow down on our knees to pray and soon as our knees hit the floor the Lord overshadows us. God just zero’s in on us and envelopes us. At other times we get on our knees and it seems like God took a one way ticket, and went to the place called unmarked land. Because of our knowledge of His Word, we know He hasn’t gone anyplace. Our emotions are trying to override our will. If we pay any attention to our emotions, we will get up from our knees and go away in defeat. We’ll get the attitude, “I’ll pray when I feel more like it.”
We have so many people who are not serious about prayer, they pray when they feel like it. Have you noticed how most of us attend prayer. We come according to the seasons. We hear one of those hot soul jerking messages on praying, and we attend the prayer meetings for the next three or four days. The next thing we know, our emotions tell our flesh, I don’t feel like going today. As a result we drop out. Our will can take God’s Word and get us past our present emotional state. But it takes patience and faith to do that. We say we are waiting on the Lord, but we find out the Lord is waiting on us. At this point we need to offer this prayer,
Let’s give him thanks for the answer. Hallelujah! I have said this before, but I really want this to get into our spirits, so it would be good for us to take note of it; a good relationship with the Lord is our best defense against evil. For the closer we are in relationship with Him, the more sensitive we are toward Him, and the lest likely we are to hurt Him. We hear people down begging the Lord; Lord, I don’t want to backslide. No problem, just keep sliding forward. Lord I don’t want to go back; No problem, go ahead. Lord, I don’t want the Devil to get me, then let the Lord get you.
Just think of the sensitivity in the sense that I was talking about as being God minded on the inside and how that being God minded on the inside help us to desire what He desires. The God minded on the inside help us to do what He wants done. When God’s mind is on the inside, it helps us to feel what He wants us to feel.
One man prayed, “Oh, God, let my heart be broken with the things that break your heart.” And God did it! He shouldn’t have presented it, if he did not want it broke. If we do not want God to put us to work, we shouldn’t pray that kind of prayer. For as soon as we do, hurt people will come to us and we will go out of our way to relieve and help those who cross our path. That is the very reason my phone hasn’t stop ringing over the years. I made a similar request desiring to be a blessing to the people of God. I read it and it sounded good, so I started praying to that affect. It’s been years since I read it and started praying along those lines.
If you are concerned about wearing out in body, don’t pray that prayer. For if you get an answer, it will really put some taxation on your body. Speaking for myself, I feel more normal tired than I do rested. If I can just get to the pulpit I can get enough strength and energy to do what I have to do. If I start saying I don’t feel like preaching, I believe I’ll start going down hill and my phone will stop ringing. Someone will no doubt start praying that prayer, “Lord, let my heart be broken with the things that break your heart.” You might get so busy you’ll come back and say, “Lord You can let up now.”
The above article, “Approaching His Presence the Right Way” is written by Clifton Jones. The article was excerpted from the sixth chapter of Jones’ book Intimacy With God.
The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
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