Archive for August, 2015

Roads of Awakening

I love the story of the two disciples on the Emmaus Road (Lk 24:13-35). I could read it again and again, because it’s the story of two people who are introduced to the reality of confusion and pain. They had come so close to seeing what the whole world longs for – “real hope”… only to find their expectations shattered and their hearts yearning for a place to hide. Yet the same roads that call us to believe in God’s Promise… will challenge our courage and awaken real faith.

Roads like the Emmaus Road are where Jesus meets our human frailty with resurrection power and surprises us by the joy it releases.

From Broken Hearts to Burning Hearts:

At the start of the story they are two men defeated and discouraged. They thought they had something precious, but it was gone as quickly as it started. All they experienced with Jesus changed how they perceived their world. Now, taken away by the brutal forces of religion and government, their friend was branded a blasphemer and an enemy of the state. They could feel their hopes displayed upon that cross and placed into that tomb.

Yet, by the end of this story we find these same men joyfully testifying of the “stranger” they had shared their troubles with along the way. The guest at their table was Jesus Himself… raised from the dead and alive forevermore! They recognized Him in the breaking of the bread. As the crumbs fell to the table, they could hardly believe their eyes… He was risen from the dead, actively sharing with them and causing their hearts to burn with delight.

Roads Like Emmaus:

These roads are not unfamiliar journeys for the average believer. I would guess, we all have traveled the path away from pain, away from shattered dreams, away from our destiny. We have done this for many reasons, but perhaps the most compelling is defeat. When we feel defeated, emotions surprise us, confuse us and even lead us in the opposite direction to where we could find Truth emerging.

When defeated…  emotions surprise, confuse and even lead in the opposite direction to where Truth emerges!

The Good News:

Roads like Emmaus are diversions not disaster… because Jesus is Alive!!! He comes alongside of these two men, much like He comes alongside of us, to reveal Himself as the Victor over all that can defeat us. When we feel these realities we might find ourselves going the wrong direction, but God is not blind to our limited perception. He meets us in the hour of deepest despair and calls us back to “Jerusalem”!

What’s The Key? – The Breaking of Bread!

He was known to them in the breaking of bread (Lk 24:35). There, in a moment of surprise, a moment at a common table… comes a powerful realization. This “stranger” is the Savior! They saw it in the blessing. They saw it as He sat at the table with them and remembered how they had received from Him. It awakened their heart… this breaking of the bread. They saw it in the giving, in the sharing together and in the moment of abiding grace… their eyes were opened.

So they arose that very hour, like a person does when they come to their senses… and they returned to Jerusalem – The City of Peace. Roads like Emmaus are round trip journeys back into faith. They test the nature of our hope and reveal the power of resurrected love. They are roads of awakening!

“Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. They said to each other, did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” (Lk 24:31-32)

A Depth of Knowledge

Jesus said, “But when you fast…” (Mt 6:17).

The lifestyle of prayer and fasting was and still remains part of traditional Jewish faith. For example, Yom Kippur is another name for the Day of Atonement and part of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. As one of the most important days of the Jewish year, prayer and fasting is practiced as a means of repentance. What this tells us is that prayer and fasting was as important to the spirituality of the Jew as any other discipline. It was used to challenge the depth of a person’s spiritual strength and evaluate where they found their treasure. That is why Jesus would say, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt 6:21).

Its how Jesus would have defined maturity. We see the Son of God grow in strength and favor with God and man as He maintained a sensitivity to the voice of God and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We must adopt the same disciplines if we want to deepen our spirit and impact our world.

A lifestyle of Prayer and Fasting does 3 things well…

  1. Deepens our roots in the discipline of faith (Acts 10:30)
  2. Deepens our strength in the battles we endure (2 Cor 10:3-6)
  3. Deepens our discernment in the spiritual realm (Acts 13:2)

Deep People:

Let’s take this thought one step further. A church’s greatest treasure is its deep people. I know recent church growth manuals emphasize seekers, young people and programs, but more than any other issue… depth matters! A healthy church is a growing church, yet if there is no core of deep people, its in trouble no matter how big it becomes.

Nurturing Depth:

Deep people do not just happen; they are cultivated and nurtured by a lifestyle of commitment to maturity. Spiritual depth is nurtured with the oversight of the Holy Spirit… from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:17-18). Maturity must be understood much like a farmer would understand his crop. Unless the seeds of faith are planted deeply, fertilized and nurtured, those seeds will not produce the type of harvest desired. Good farmers define their harvest by its fruitful plants not by its beautiful field. A strong harvest relies upon deep roots and strong plants.

Prayer and Fasting deepens the believing heart for larger people and larger Kingdom impact. Its time that we lift up out eyes and begin to see the harvest (Jn 4:35).

Living & Active

“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 fulfillment. 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 fulfillment 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); interceding 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 fulfill. Every Word of God carries within it the power and authority intended for its fulfillment, 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 fulfillment.

Manifestations

“But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” (1 Cor. 2:10-12)

When you and I release the Holy Spirit to brood over our lives… something is bound to happen! The Bible calls these spiritual activities… miracles or signs & wonders. They are “manifestations of God by the Spirit”. God wants to offer His Children revelation knowledge… Truth that will release freedom in the unseen realms. This insight and foresight gives the ability to discern the heart of God and make effective decisions and advance the Kingdom of God into Earthly circumstances.

Defining Manifestations:

A “manifestation” is not the creation of anything, it is simply the moving of spiritual substance – “grace”/divine favor – from one dimension to another (vision, healing, salvation… etc.). When we are given a spiritual revelation from the Holy Spirit, it is not the creation of something new, but the awareness of something unseen with natural perception. It is the light bulb in the room from the Holy Spirit, and when turned on; it reveals everything that was in the room… that in “darkness” we could not see or understand.

Effective Fervent Prayer: (James 5:16-18)

We need to be confident in living by spiritual revelation and manifestations, because they are the foundation to an effective prayer life. Prayer is not twisting God’s arm to our agenda, it is the twisting of our mind to His (1 Cor. 2:16). Thinking as God and seeing what He sees, means we need to change the way we see and hear natural realities. Jesus said that nothing would be impossible to those who believe… that they would experience His Glory and shift reality to conform to His purpose and “will”. When we properly understand and operate in prayer, God brings revelation to us of everything He has finished in the spiritual dimension. A manifestation translates or moves spiritual things into the “earth realm”… as it is in the “heavenly realm” (Mt. 6:10). God didn’t call you the day of your salvation, for He had already chosen you from before the foundation of creation. You realized your purpose and calling as revelation came into your heart and mind… Holy Spirit just turned on the light! His work was complete… but He simply lifted the veil for you to see what was already there from before the foundation of the world… hidden for you to find. All you need to do is – love Him!

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor. 2:9)

Invasions of Heaven

The most incredible ministry moments for me are those that come as a surprise. Its not so much that I find myself unprepared, as much as, some moments just sneak up on us as new information. A child is born blind… what will God do? A family is left homeless and struggling for shelter… how will God provide? A father is without a job… where will God lead? Amazingly… Heaven has an answer for every difficult situation! But they require us to take some risks and move in faith!

When Heaven Touches Earth:

I like the Bible story about the man who comes to Jesus for the healing of his son. Heaven comes to the rescue! This son had dealt with an issue of epilepsy for many years and it had often caused enormous trauma to the whole family. The boy had fallen into the fire and there was no relief in sight… until Jesus released an invasion of Heaven!

As the father was trying to get answers from the ministry of some “faithless” disciples… all seemed to be at a stand still. Jesus was up on the “mountain of transfiguration” with Peter, James and John (Mk. 9:2-13). As the mountain top experience comes to an end; the three disciples and Jesus come down the mountain to find an argument over the healing of the boy. Those remaining 9 disciples had accomplished nothing. They found a much more comfortable setting in an argument about theology with some local scribes.

Isn’t that just like church folk… so many of our services seem more interested in sermons, than demonstration! We should be prepared to meet with God and all we find is empty words and powerless religion. Jesus made the most accurate statement, “Oh faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” The question must be answered…

…how long shall we allow ourselves to talk about miracles, rather than host an invasion of power into our impossible situations?

Jesus now has the father in front of Him with a question… a question that I believe was an honest cry of human frailty. He asks Jesus, “If You can do anything – have compassion on us and help us?” Without hesitation Jesus addresses the impossible situation with the touch of Heaven and the boy is made whole. Nothing is impossible if you believe!

But there is a surprise for all who peer into this story from the outside… “are we ready to take some risks?”

Some things can only be accomplished through prayer and fasting (Mk 9:29).

  • First we all need a fresh revelation that helps us see! Notice this was an “unclean spirit” and Jesus called it “a deaf and dumb spirit” as He rebuked it and cast it out (Mk 9:25). The revelation leads to the correct response. We know that revelation is given as we tune into Heaven… thus the need for prayer and fasting.
  • Secondly… We are disciples, called to advance the Kingdom of God! We must rise to the occasion and believe for the impossible. Although we may have a lot of knowledge about how it works, God is looking for those who have some faith. People of God are carriers of power and authority… and called to the impossible.

A Faithless Generation:

A faithless generation has no clue about advancing the Kingdom of God… they do not understand the words of Jesus when He taught us to pray, “on Earth as it is in Heaven” (Mt. 6:10). To rid ourselves of the harsh label as the “faithless generation” requires that we become a people who recognize and release what we carry. New information offers us an invitation to host Heaven’s influence. God wants to bring freedom to the captives among us, but has given authority and power to us… for the purpose of treading upon serpents and scorpions and overwhelming all the power of the enemy (Lk. 10:19). We must carry and release the power of God and host invasions of Heaven… on Earth. Shake off the label, we are not a faithless generation.

Although being faithful means taking a few risks… but Heaven itself is waiting!

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