Archive for April, 2010

Garden Time

lucious garden lettuce

lucious garden lettuce

My parents have always had a wonderful garden each year. They plant rows of tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and cucumbers. Each spring they work hard to prepare the ground, plant the seeds and fertilize. The results of their hard work begin coming in early summer and supply them with bounty all summer long.

When I go home, I try to load up on all of the fresh produce… I am a sucker for my father’s corn. There’s just something about knowing who grew the produce, that makes it taste better. You know the loving care that went into nurturing the crops until they were ready to harvest.

 God challenges all of us in the Bible to “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you” (Hosea 10:12).

 When we sow into our relationship with the Lord, we reap all of His goodness, mercy and grace. We reap an intimacy that comes only through the investment of time together.

Ask yourself what kind of relationship you want with the Father and then begin to sow into it… make it your garden. It is the only way to reap what you desire. We are told to not be deceived; “we reap what we sow” (Gal 6:7). Begin your garden today.

Supernatural Soldiers

Waiting for some signs of life? I am after the signs of life transformation! Kingdom stuff… you know the kind of power that is able to heal and deliver us into the greater glory of Christ Jesus.

 I want to see some hungry people, who truly apply the Word of God to their lives… not simply use the Bible as a justification for religious doctrine. There has got to be a release of something fresh and life-giving. I want to see people walking in love… to see people living righteously and know who they are in Christ so the devil can’t continually disgrace our faith. I want to see people experience the abundant life Jesus came to give.

We need to be preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom in power, laying hands on the sick, casting out demons and raising the dead. How is it that we so easily forget that the power of the Gospel is revealed through the foolishness of preaching! Its not just preaching our “good” stories, but releasing revelation that allows people to see God.

Our God; as revealed from the Word of God, has power and authority over all things… He has the ability to transform our puny little lives into “Supernatural Soldiers” of faith and victory.

 I want to encourage the Body of Christ in these days to evaluate everything you have believed and be sure it is pure. Go back and read the New Testament from cover to cover and ask the Holy Spirit to write upon your hearts the full counsel of God’s Word as revealed in the New Covenant. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into all Truth and to be sure your foundations are strong and solid. The Apostle Paul told Timothy to make himself a student of the Word of God (2 Tim 2:15).

It was Paul’s contention that his friend should present himself to God as a “workman who has no cause to be ashamed”. Timothy would be tested by fire… as we all are to some degree. Yet this is our cause through transformation… that we are made more pure and not consumed. As gold is tested by fire we are more able to reveal our inner substance. Lets pick up the cross and drop our excuses.

Obedient Believer

His name was Gideon and if you have read his story you would know that God does not need a large army to win a battle. He simply needs an obedient believer.

Perhaps you remember how God spoke to Gideon concerning the multitude out there in the valley (Judges 6 & 7)? God didn’t want him to have the advantage in regards to numbers or military might.

You see it has never been God’s will for us to wonder who should receive the glory (Judges 7:2).

 God kept whittling the army down until there were only three hundred men left. There’s the vast enemy army, and then there’s three hundred left with Gideon. Now, how did they get the victory? Was it through human intellect or strategy? Was it because of their great weapons? Were their swords sharper? No! It was because they were obedient to the Lord’s instructions! Oh yea, well they did each carry a pitcher, a torch, and a trumpet. When the time came, they were to break their pitchers, lifting their torches in their left hand, blow their trumpets and shout,

“the sword of the Lord and of Gideon!”

 When the enemy looked up, the story tells us; they were afraid… thinking they were surrounded by a great army! All at once, they all got up and ran. They ran in many directions as though they were fleeing from an enormous army. “The Lord set every man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp” (Judges 7:22). They left everything behind and just ran with the sound of a shout reverberating in their memory. “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!”

Who was running them out? God was! I want you to know, the King of Glory was there! You may not have seen Him that night, but He – Our Great Lord of Host was fully engaged in military might and drove the tormenting adversary out of the land.

Gideon’s few men did their best, but God defeated the enemy that day.

 What He did for Israel, He still does today. Don’t let those Godly dreams die in your heart, because you have some enemies in the way. There is no victory for the faint of heart! Recognize Who wins the battles for the “obedient” believer and mount up on wings of strength. Take courage in the face of adversity and shout into the raging torment… “The sword of the Lord and of… (insert your name)!” You become the Obedient Believer!

Spiritual Turbulance

Many Christians regard being in conflict as sin. It is not seen as a normal part of the Christian life. Yet Jesus has taught us, at some length, how to manage conflict and the book of Proverbs has whole sections on the topic.

Conflict is inevitable for three reasons:

  1. Because our knowledge is incomplete and imperfect. Every person, even in a perfect world will see the same situation differently… through their own knowledge and perspectives. 
  2. Satan engineers conflict whenever and wherever possible, especially among Christians. Satan sets us in conflict with ourselves, God and one another. 
  3. We initiate conflict with evil whenever we proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom, because it is in direct opposition to all other kingdoms of this world.

When we take a stand against sin in our society, teach against cults or testify to Christ in the midst of a world that does not want to change, then we are stirring up the spiritual atmosphere, where Satan has staked a claim.

No my friend, conflict is here to stay and we must learn to manage it in an authentic and “Kingdom” way.

 Until Christ returns, we will have trouble with those who oppose the Truth (Jn 16:33).

Something I try to do, in the midst of conflict, is to avoid angry and easily disturbed people. Believe me when I say- “moral character matters when people are involved in conflict.” We can only rely on honest and humble communication in the peacemaking process.

I have great respect for Solomon’s wisdom here… he said: “An angry man stirs up strife and a furious man abounds in transgressions” (Prov 29:22) & “A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays (reduces) contention” (Prov 15:18). We are often surprised by how anger and pain mask themselves in the midst of relationships… some folks are seathing just below the surface. While their face carries a smile, their hearts carry issues of unforgiveness, gossip and devisive behavior.

Prosperity follows those who trust in the Lord’s ability to handle strife and conflict. Remember – God gives wisdom liberally (lavishly & abundantly), when we ask Him (Jms 1:5).

The key to resolving strife and conflict is to wait upon the Lord.

 If we can humbly wait upon the Lord; in due season, He will lift us up. Until then we are called to come under… to submit one to another and forsake foolish arguments over things that will always hold a bit of mystery.

Praise Positions Us

Jesus has made the only perfect sacrifice for our freedom from sin’s residue. His blood, shed on the cross, has made us acceptable to God. Through faith in Him we are reconciled to our Heavenly Father and made heirs to all the promises and blessings found in our relationship with Him.

Praise is a powerful tool that helps us take pocession of that freedom.

“Therefore by Him, let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks unto His name” (Heb 13:15).

The Old Testament spoke of the “sacrifice of thanksgiving” (Lev 7:12). This was a form of peace offering. The peace offering brought an individual into a wonderful experience by ushering them into the Hebrew concept of “shalome”… wholeness and well-being. It was presented when someone was seeking blessing from the Lord or desired to give thanks for blessing received. It was bigger than just a religious ritual, because it renewed a fellowship with God and brought real joyful expression to the covenant made with Him. The Hebrew word for “thanksgiving” in Leviticus 7 is “towdah” and expresses adoration and commitment. Literally, it refers to the extension of the hand, as in fellowship or communicating an embrace.

The author of Hebrews picked up on this term when he referred to “the fruit of our lips giving thanks”. The Greek word for “giving thanks” is homologeo meaning to say the same word… it is commonly translated as “confess”.

This is how the New International Version says it, “the fruit of lips that confess His name”. To confess something is to acknowledge and get into agreement with it… to embrace it completely. With our sacrifice of praise, we are coming into transformation as we confess the name of the Lord. We are getting into agreement with, who God is and what He has done. Through this refocus we begin to understand our true identity and experience what we have in Him.

Praise brings agreement and stabilizes our hearts in God’s Will and purposes for life.

The author of Hebrews is actually saying that from our mouths, we can position ourselves in His strength… in His peace and in the Blessing. So lets Praise Him all the more!

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