Archive for April, 2013

Nurturing Promise

“I am watching over My Word to perform it” (Jer. 1:12). 

When God speaks a Word over your life, He watches over it until the time of its fulfilment. In this prophetic season many are nurturing promise given to them by God years ago. It is time to bring these out again and, together with the Holy Spirit, keep watch over them. That’s how we partner with the Holy Spirit in the fulfilment of God’s prophetic Word to us.

Prophetic Means Activated:

God’s Word is living and active (Heb. 4:12). It is a moving, living resource activated by the authority of God, because it is spoken by His living breath, the Spirit of God or Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul confirms this by saying, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (meaning it is God-breathed), and is profitable (beneficial) for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

The “Now” of God’s Word:

Notice he says “The Scripture is God-breathed”; not, “was God-breathed”. Its a current Word! God’s Word always is in the “Now”. It is being carried upon God’s breath. What He spoke in years gone by is still being spoken. Not a single Word is lost or forgotten.

Every Word has a Timing:

God says He is watching over the Word He has given you: “I am watching over it; like a hen broods over her eggs”. The Hebrew word is shaqad which means “to be alert, to be awake, to be on the lookout”. The purpose of the Word was to release destiny and increase favor. We must become alert and join the watch with Him (Ezek. 3:17-19); interceeding in prayer concerning the Word He has spoken over us. We watch with Him in faith, believing that what God has said He has power to fulfil. Every Word of God carries within it the power and authority intended for its fulfilment, because our God is watching to perform it at its appointed time. He will never let His Word fall to the ground.

Awaken the Promise:

God has not forgotten! Have you heard a Word from the Lord today, maybe recently, or perhaps in the midst of a season in the wilderness? God has not forgotten what He said to you. It is time to bring that Word before Him and hold onto it with complete confidence that what He has promised He will bring it to its ultimate fulfilment.

Men of Valor

And David said, “Oh, if only someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem. You know the one I’m talking about, the one by the gate!” (2 Sam. 23:15)

What does it mean to be a Mighty Man of Valor?

What does it take? In the Old Testament, God gives us a perfect example. A story comes to us from the glory days of King David. Here is how the story unfolds. A garrison of Philistines had invaded the Valley of Rephaim and had control of the City of Bethlehem. King David and his mighty men were held up in a stronghold called the Cave of Adullam. And apparently, there was a particular well in Bethlehem that had some very good tasting water. Water that would remind the King of the true value of His homeland, for there was no mistaking the reality - Bethlehem was the City of David. 

You’ll Notice: King David didn’t order anyone to get him a drink of water. He wasn’t even talking to anyone in particular. He was just thinking out loud. He was hot and thirsty and wanted something cool to drink… from His home.

Not Mere Men:

Josheb, Eleazar and Shammah were lounging close by, probably trying to stay safe and out of the sun. Yet hearing the desire of their King; they moved as warriors and servants, not as mere men. As they glance back and forth between each other, they knew what was required. They look around… apparently no one else was paying attention to what their king had said. And without a word, they each quietly get up. They stoop to retrieve their weapons from where they lay close at hand. Slowly they make their way through the crowd; till at last, clear from the throng surrounding the King, their paths join. As they disappear over the crest of the rise, their heads are close together, quietly planning. No one noticing their departure.

 Three – Out of A Million:

At this time there were over a million warriors who drew the sword in defense of Israel. From out of all these warriors, thirty-seven earned a special place of honor, being immortalized in God’s Word for their heroism. Of the thirty-seven, three earned a special distinction for a specific act of selfless service to their King. God honored these three above all the rest, and it seems fitting to recognize their sacrifice and call them Men of Valor.

The Bible says they, “broke through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David” (2 Sam. 23:16).

As these three valiant men, reach their destination, one lowers a vessel into the cool depths of the well. When he brings it up again into the fierce heat of battle, it is cold and wet. Its dripping as he clutches it against his chest, the coolness soaking through his tunic. Once again his hand is free and he is able to swing his sword effectively. No drawing back and no moment to waste, for this cause was as sweet as the drink itself. To bring pleasure to their King!

Overwhelmed by the Act of Valor – Devotion!

King David’s heart explodes with gratitude and humbled honor at the devotion of these warriors who faced certain death. As they stood before him with blood still dripping from their swords. He cried out, “There is no way, O Lord, that I could drink this! Is this not the blood of the men who laid down their lives for my cause? And for what! So that I could have a drink of water?” And he wouldn’t drink it. He poured it out on the ground as an offering before the Lord. The water soaked into the soil with the blood that still dripped from the warriors’ clothing. These are the things that are done by Men of Valor.

What is required to become a Man of Valor? I would like to propose that it takes more than gifting or mighty exploits, more than courage and determination… It requires Devotion!

  • It is the way a person hears the desire of his King!

How did Josheb pick up his spear and slay 800 Philistines? It was the way he heard! How did Eleazar find the courage to defy the Philistines and single handily wipe out an army? It was the way he heard! How did Shammah stand in the middle of a field of beans and fight Philistines all day so there was a great victory in Israel? The Word tells us it was God who brought forth the victory (2 Sam. 23:12)! Devotion gains the favor of God. How could these mere mortal men accomplish such supernatural things? It was because they considered their own lives already dead. They lived only to serve God’s anointed King of Israel.

Something To Live For:

They were self-less servants with an ear for the King. Their motivation was to live and die a thousand deaths for God’s Anointed. These three Mighty Men of Valor didn’t have a death wish. They had just found something to live for that was more important than their next breath. They discovered that nothing in their lives could compare to the honor of serving God’s anointed King. Nothing they could do on their own brought them the fulfillment they received in serving their King. In sacrifice they discovered the key to really living.

And live they would… an example for all generations!    (Rom. 12:1-2)

The High Ground

When we make the decision to follow Christ and put our faith in His power to lead us; we are immediately struck by the reality, that other things will challenge us for the position of first place or the “high ground”. As Spirit anointed Children of God, we must allow the Holy Spirit to train us in holding the ground He has given us to possess. We are designed to follow dominion principles over the things that God has given… its our inheritance in Christ and spiritual stewardship. It was one of the key principles of the Garden of Eden as God expected man to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle and over all the earth”  (Gen. 1:26-28).

First Place is the Highest Place!

Devotion and discipline are huge factors in our ability to maintain our dominion in high places. The two primary goals of honoring God with our lives and serving Him with our gifts; begin to come into focus when we do the first things well. Jesus made the promise to us that if we would seek first the Kingdom of God; all the important things we value most, would come into priority in our lives. It would come out of… and after, the obedient lifestyle (Mt 6:33). In other words, when you and I hold on to the high places a strategic and spiritual advantage is given to our stewardship in other arenas of life.

Living by Revelation:

Doing first things well opens our capacity to see and hear the secrets of heaven. Its what the Apostle Paul was getting at when he prayed that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ would give to us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. He was determined to get the eyes of our understanding enlightened, “to know the hope of His calling”, the “riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” and the “exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Eph. 1:17-19). The mysteries of the Kingdom of God are unfolding realities that are only discovered, revealed and lived out by active believing… seeking!

Seeking Transforms and Aligns our Desires with His Will!

Seeking after God is a must in order for us to hold on to the high ground. It is a sure thing that our commitment to Christ will be tested, but we can trust our Heavenly Father to deliver on the Promises of His Word. Seeking first the Kingdom of God actually releases the Holy Spirit’s Presence in our lives so that discernment and conviction come to the surface. These are the Spiritual Man’s greatest resources in walking in the dominion of Christ. As we process life on spiritual levels; our hearts are aligned and behaviors are adjusted and affirmed by a sense of the peace of God. The Peace of God rules our hearts.

Testimonies Encourage and Strengthen our Resolve!

Testimonies help us hold on to the high ground! We need not be anxious about our future, because God is with us! He has proven Himself in times of trials and our trust is set by our knowledge of His loving care for us. We can rejoice and be thankful through all things. There is an abiding peace which passes understanding guarding our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus and we are unmoved by storms or struggles (Phil 4:4-7). Nothing can stand against us!

Set Your Mind & Heart:

So keep holding on to the high ground and make it your aim to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. Your confidence will arise; even in the midst of the threats of the enemy or the confusion of the world. And you will not be ashamed! Live with the awareness that God will release wisdom and revelation for breakthrough in your life. Christ is in you, giving you power and dominion over all the things that concern you. Breakthrough happens right before your eyes, so that in your believing you are able to watch the Kingdom of God advancing in the Earth. You are the Child of the King!

Hear the Prophetic Command:
“Rada! Rule in the midst of your enemies!”

“The LORD (Jehovah/Father) said to my Lord (Jesus/The Son) sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool. The LORD (Jehovah/Father) shall send the rod (sceptor) of Your strength out of Zion (the Church)… Rule (Rada) in the midst of Your enemies!” (Ps. 110:1-2)

A Pure Mind

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 2:5)

The greatest area of sin in the believer’s life is not usually in the area of actions, but in the arena of the thoughts. Pride, for example, is a sin of the mind… and so is lust and suspicion and discouragement. These are all sins of the mind. But the good news is that we do not have to think on or dwell on every thought that comes to our minds. We can ignore them, refuse them access to our heart and even crush their influence by speaking the Truth of God’s Word over ourselves.

The Battle Within:

Because we all contend with the devil, we have trouble with undesirable thoughts popping into our heads. These thoughts can be suttle, confusing and sometimes even oppressive and difficult to battle. Most of us would not want our thoughts made public, because it would be embarrassing. But we must be aware that they are not really an accurate barometer of our spiritual condition.

Jesus dealt with the devil’s temptations with the words, “It is written” (Mt. 4:4) and that is exactly what we must do. It is not so much what a person thinks; but what he delights in, that tells more accurately what he is and where he stands spiritually. While we cannot completely get rid of this battle here on earth, we can keep it from controlling us.

Tending the Garden:

The mind is like a garden which can grow beauty or it can grow ugliness. It can produce flowers or it can bring forth weeds. It must be tended with care and diligence. It must be disciplined after the patterns of the Bible (2 Cor. 10:3-6). We must cultivate spiritual thinking and the Scriptures give a list of worthy objects that we ought to be thinking about.

Philippians 4:8

“Whatever things are true” – whatever is based on truth, earned or received by methods that are honest and not by cheating and falsehood. For most of us, it is not the big things that test our honesty. We will likely never embezzle ten thousand dollars from an employer, but we might need to be careful about dimes and quarters at the check-out isle. Every Christian needs to think in terms of the “golden rule”, treating others how they would like to be treated (Mt. 7:12).

“Whatever things are just” - things that are right and impartial. It is right to give a customer full measure when selling merchandise in business. It is right to play fair in all that we do. Parents must diligently to show no partiality with their children. We should never plan in our thoughts to manipulate or deceive.

“Whatever things are pure” – free from anything that is tainted. Purity speaks especially about chastity in the realm sexual relationships. Our society is full of sexual images and tries to overwhelm our minds with all kinds of distorted realities. Unclean thinking is stimulated by these images, obscene jokes and stories. For this reason, the follower of Christ must consider carefully the movies they attend, censors reading material and needs to avoid participating in activities that are not noble and pure.

“Whatever things are lovely” – things that are beautiful, innocent and pleasing. “Lovely things” are the opposite of the ugly and bizarre. The Christian should cultivate the traits of courtesy and pleasantness. We should avoid the sharp answer, harsh reply and sarcastic remarks. It is sad to see a husband who cannot answer his wife in gentle tones. Honor is a powerful character trait that is cultivated by a mind that dwells on things that are “lovely.”

“Whatever things are of good report” – things spoken in a gracious spirit; things spoken with good will toward others; things which are the opposite of gossip and the spreading of rumors. Courtesy to others, respect for parents, loyalty between husband and wife… these are always things “of good report.”

“Any virtue and anything praiseworthy” – meditate on these things!

The word “think” or “meditate” means “to dwell upon” or “to focus attention upon” - So think on things that are virtuous and worthy of praise!

Qualities such as kindness, loyalty and honor; are qualities we should think about and dwell upon daily. Spirit-controlled thinking can lift our thoughts and bless the lives of everyone we come into contact with. Scripture consistently suggests the way to conquer evil thinking is to submit to God, resist the devil and think upon good things (Jms. 4:7-10), because in so doing we will give no place to wickedness. The greatest way to keep evil thoughts at bay is to embrace the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). 

Spiritual thinking is a call to think upon good things and eat the fruit of a bountiful garden… a pure mind.

Eating With Zacchaeus

“Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” (Lk. 19:9-10)

Zacchaeus was a creative person. He wanted to see Jesus; so going up the road a bit ahead of Him, he climbs up into a common sycamore tree and waits for Jesus to come to him. I wonder if Zacchaeus lived his life this way. In order to compensate for people’s hatred, would he anticipate the places where they would need him or his money? Perhaps money was the only thing in his life that people even saw of value to him… or about him. As a rich tax collector, he had no shortage of enemies. Some would find his creative leanings more manipulation than honest interest. But somehow this seemed different. Perhaps his need for love was getting the best of him? We do not know, but I wonder…

So Jesus sees this little man in the tree. Instead of passing him by, ignoring him, turning a cold shoulder or just laughing at him, Jesus stops and calls him by name – a name which means “pure”. Jesus says, “Get down from that ridiculous perch, and take Me home with you. I would like to go to your house today for supper!”

Keys to Seeking & Saving the Lost:

  1. Seeing Brokenness as an Open Door
  2. The Anointing of the Holy Spirit
  3. The Will to Eat Together

What we should never miss in the story of Jesus going to the home of Zacchaeus is the issue of “brokenness”. Brokenness takes many forms, it can look like anger and rage, attitudes that protect our emotions or it can look like endless searching, longing for love and embrace. But no matter what form brokenness takes it is always an open door to a hungry heart.

The Holy Spirit had anointed Jesus with a message and ministry that would “heal the brokenhearted” and bring “deliverance to the captive” (Lk. 4:18). His ability to walk into people’s lives was undeniable… He was anointed for this and whenever Jesus spoke into the broken heart with His love, lost-ness was dissolved. Yet, Jesus still needed to be willing… willing to go where He might find others accusing Him of association with the sinner. He knew that beyond the point of association was connection and the common meal. Jesus said, “I must go to your house for supper”.

Reaching the Lost:

The lifestyle that reaches the lost around us requires intentional effort. We must notice other’s pain and brokenness, because it is an open door to their heart. We must rest on our anointing; as Jesus did, and trust God for words and power that will turn opportunities into testimonies. The Holy Spirit has always surprised me in these moments, when I find myself sharing with someone who is in a season of transition or struggle. I rarely have thought out how the words should flow ahead of time, but the Holy Spirit gives generously when we ask for wisdom.

Lastly, we must be willing to “eat with sinners” as Jesus was accused of doing when He went to several tax collector’s homes. Remember His disciple Matthew was one of those “sinners” that Jesus found through eating with him. Meals are amazing moments, because they bring us together in ways that nourish more than our bodies. Time spent around a meal turns conversation into fellowship and becomes a fire that melts away the impure motives or the apprehensions of the broken heart.

What Jesus models for us with Zacchaeus, needs to become our daily experience in the marketplace… and throughout the nations.