Archive for August, 2016

One Thing I Do

I have a “to do” list that keeps me focused upon tasks that have the most urgent pull upon my life. My wife and children, home, job and responsibility to pay my debts, all have entries on this list. Even when they do not speak up or ask for my attention, these voices in my life are given positional value upon “my list”. I do the stuff on the list for various reasons… some because I love the people, some because I fear the consequences, some I recognize simply because of the benefit of maintaining an orderly life. But all of these things on my “to do” list are subject to the One Thing I Do above all others… the Will of My Father in Heaven.

Jesus said, “…whoever does the will of My Father in Heaven is My brother and sister and mother” (Mt 12:50).

The Apostle Paul said, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended (I do not have it all together yet) but One Thing I Do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13-14).

I also press toward that very same goal, that I might come to know Him more fully and accomplish His purposes in my life. My seeking and my highest aim is the alignment of my heart with His. I desire to live in sync with His plan and acknowledging His voice above all others. This is what brings connection and fulfillment to my living.

I am His Son, accepted and received as an adopted heir of promise. The Father only does what is to my best interest and beneath the veneer of a sometimes mysterious path is the most wonderful and enjoyable life. Its Eternal Life full and abundant.

My daily plans and “to do” list are both servants to the Will of God… because I am a servant of God, motivated by a passionate pursuit of His Presence.

I love what Moses said as he pondered his future obligations, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” (Ex 33:15).

The Warrior’s Focus

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” (Eph. 6:10-16)

3 Directions of the Warrior’s Focus in Spiritual WarfareFocus is Identity!
* 1st) Focus upon God’s Mighty Power!
* 2nd) Focus upon God’s Mighty Armor!
* 3rd) Focus upon God’s Supreme Authority!

The way you see spiritual warfare matters. I pray that you experience a boost in your faith today, as you meditate on these principles from God’s Word. Your focus will be the determining factor in your outcome… it will define how you fight, how you identify yourself in the midst of spiritual struggles and how you stand!

1. The Enemy Flees Away from You – You are designed to occupy and rule spiritual territory!

  • ‘Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.’ (Lev 26:8)

This is the Biblical direction of spiritual warfare: the enemy is at a disadvantage! He is fleeing before you… so where is your focus? We see it in the Old Testament, when God’s people were walking in obedience to Him, no enemy could stand before them.

  • ‘The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.’ (Deut 28:7)

This is the outcome of the blessed life and the warrior’s focus: as you resist, your enemies will flee. We must recognize our authority over the demonic realm.

  • ‘When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases’ (Luke 9:1)

Jesus has give you power and authority in His Name, over all the power of the enemy. Jesus’ disciples were able to cast out demons because they understood the focus of spiritual warfare and the goal as established in the Words of Jesus. And that was, that the enemy had to flee at their word! Notice this was not limited to the 12 Apostles… it was the unnamed seventy who returned rejoicing from a ministry trip saying amazing things… carrying testimonies of victory!

  • “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” (Luke 10:17)

2. Spiritual Warfare Comes Against You – It gets personal!

  • ‘For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.’ (Eph 6:12)

Don’t be surprised at the feelings you get when attacked. Satan wants to intimidate you and to overwhelm you physically, emotionally and spiritually. It is going to get personal and we must recognize that the battle is the Lord’s, not ours. The Greek word translated “wrestle” contains the imagery of a contest between two warriors where each is trying to throw the other and it is won when the victor is able to hold his opponent down with his hand upon his neck. Ouch, that sounds brutal – and it is! Many times, spiritual warfare gets up close and personal. You may relate to this as you experience a spiritual wrestling match right now… for your life, family, job, ministry or destiny. We must endure hardship as soldiers, warriors and leaders in fellowship with the King of Glory! The Bible does not promise that you will never experience demonic attack, pressure or spiritual warfare. However, Scripture does make clear that you have the ability to resist. In fact, we are commanded by God to oppose the enemy’s attacks.

  • ‘Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…’ (1 Peter 5:8-9a)
  • ‘Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’ (James 4:7)

At times, the direction of spiritual warfare will be towards us, in our face and beyond our control; however, this reality is temporary! When the enemy comes against us, we can submit to God, resist the devil… and he must flee! What does it mean to ‘resist’? The Bible gives some clear instructions. Your action can result in a change of direction, for what the enemy means for evil God wants to release His “good” in it. The enemy who comes against you will find himself fleeing from you in seven directions.

  1. Be alert and recognize spiritual warfare when it arises (1 Peter 5:8)
  2. Submit to God (step into intimacy—listen and obey) (James 4:7)
  3. Don’t put up with spiritual warfare, step into an opposing position (James 4:7)
  4. Resisting means speaking—use Jesus’ Name (Luke 10:17)
  5. Have confidence in your authority, knowing that the enemy must flee as you continue to resist (1 Peter 5:8-9, James 4:7)

3. You Are the Victorious One: The Devil is Underneath Your Feet!

The ultimate end of spiritual warfare is for the enemy to be under your feet. The enemy being ‘under your feet’ speaks of defeat and subjugation (Joshua 10:24-25).

  • ‘The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.’ (Rom 16:20)

No matter what happens, there is hope! The promise of God is that ultimately every work of the enemy will fail (2 Tim 4:18). However, the enemy being ‘under our feet’ (in submission to, and defeated by us) is not something we have to wait for eternity to experience. Jesus said to His disciples: ‘I have given you authority’!

  • ‘I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.’ (Luke 10:19, also Psalm 91:13)

The Psalms of David can be your own Heavenly songs of rejoicing!

  • ‘I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet.’ (Psalm 18:37-38)

Still Going Deeper

“And he (an Angel) showed me (John) a pure river of (the) water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1).

“Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar” (Ezek. 47:1).

There is a River that flows freely from the throne of God!

This supernatural resource of the Holy Spirit, which runs through the Temple in Jerusalem, also flows through us (1 Cor. 3:16). In the same way that Solomon’s Temple was “filled with the glory of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:10-13), you and I can be filled to overflow with the same manifestation of His Presence in our lives. The Prophet Haggai prophesied about a greater glory coming to the Temple (Hag. 2:1). God intends for that increasing glory to flow through us.

Living in the River:

As believers we are in the River, but we must ask ourselves – how deep are we willing to go? How far will we allow the Holy Spirit to flood our lives? Are we merely standing at a safe depth to accomplish our agendas?

Have you noticed that children love splashing and playing in wading pools where the water is only ankle deep? Our early salvation experience is often like that, we got in up to our ankles and splashed around, suddenly exposed to the amazing things God can do. But are we still in that place, satisfied with surface things when God is calling us to maturity and a deeper commitment? Can we risk losing control or look foolish at His command? Are we willing to go deeper; to move in signs and wonders, believe in miracles, healings or deliverance? Have we ever thought that God would use us to touch people where they are?

Going Deeper:

As we begin to seek God and pray, letting go of agendas in exchange for His purposes in our lives… we go deeper. We ready ourselves to stretch beyond our comfort zones, trusting that He knows what He’s doing in us. And while this is a very good thing, it tests our character and our faith. As the water reaches our waistlines we find that movement is far more difficult. The Holy Spirit wants to change us, exposing pride, selfishness or unforgiveness.

Neck deep in the River, shakes our confidence and calls us to completely identify with Christ (Gal. 2:20). It is at this level that many Christians turn back, because moving is hindered by the deep water. It is at this place where the Holy Spirit begins to ask for more sacrifice and we begin to surrender our future to a higher call. In trusting God’s purposes and risking our own lives, we come to know the abundant resource that flows from His Throne (Heb 4:16). And while it feels as if you can’t go any deeper, I promise you my friend there is much more!

In Over Our Head:

As we go deeper still we must let go of the firm footing beneath our feet, learning that we must swim in order to stay alive. In the River of God we must let go of our security and allow the Spirit to take us where He wants us to go. And while we all like to feel as if we’re in control, its here that we begin to experience the true freedom of the Spirit. Ultimately it is the Holy Spirit who has control and once we know and trust God, we can abandon ourselves to His tender care and mercy. It feels very risky, but it is actually the safest place for the believer to abide.

Its Up To Us:

Where are you in the River of God today? Ankle-deep? Knee-deep? Waist-deep? Neck-deep? Or way over your head? Ezekiel tells us of this river experience, but it’s up to us to determine where we will live. Still going deeper brings healing and joy; but most of all it will release us into the increased Glory of God!

Leaning Forward

"Can I shake your hand?"

Top of Mt Elgon, Kenya

Be careful not to dismiss your dream too quickly… it may be a vision of your future. God has dropped His plans into the hearts of many “chosen” individuals who missed their calling simply because they treated the plans like “wishful-thinking” or “fantasy”. We must consider the possibility that God may be trying to break into our lives with revelation and purpose.

You are God’s Favorite Child!

As a Child of God; you have incredible potential, that when it begins to be unlocked carries supernatural power. The real key is “belief” …can you believe the impossible is truly possible in Christ? If so then anything can happen… its for those who believe.

Keep Leaning Forward:

Hesitation is fine for a moment, especially if you are taking an inventory of your skills and growth process; but it can become a subtle form of rebellion. You may feel uncomfortable stepping out in faith or you may feel a sense of fear at the possible risks involved; but God is the God of the breakthrough. Breakthroughs come one step at a time. If you continue to lean into His love and embrace, you will realize God knows your heart better than you do. He knows how to accomplish the biggest tasks even when we feel like a fool attempting them.

“…many are called, but few are chosen” (Mt 22:14)

Jesus makes this comment  to say, “don’t miss your chosen-ness”! There will always be a cynical crowd; who having seen the opportunity, drew-up short because of unbelief. They never affirmed the calling nor took to heart the inner prompting of the Holy Spirit; therefore, they speak as those who missed their engagement with heaven. Don’t let that be you.

The writer of Hebrews said, “We are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” (Heb 10:39)

You will fail, but your destiny is not perdition or doom, judgement or condemnation. We are called to live our lives leaning into the abundant life of Christ, free and confident. Just to answer the question “what if I fail?” Let me tell you from experience - you will fail! While you begin to see His plans emerge from within your “dream”, you will have doubts and frustrations.

But… God is faithful!

Maybe I should repeat that phrase… God is faithful! The plan was never to bring glory to your name, but to fulfill His wonderful purpose on planet Earth. His love for you and His power inside gives you the courage to allow the Holy Spirit to wear you like a glove. You have the heart within, dig for it. Lean forward and God will allow all that you were made for to be seen in the trail that you blaze.

Fueled by Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom 15:13)

OK, Spirit Filled Believer - the time to evaluate your trust level is now! Joy and peace are the evidence of a healthy faith in God. Its time to get honest and recognize the difference between busy energy and the power of the Holy Spirit. One gives temporary relief, while the other fuels us with the supernatural power of hope. The God of hope wants to fill you up so completely that you overflow with hope!

A Fueling Station:

This is the stuff we talk about endlessly in our Christian huddles, but cannot find when the going gets tough. Remind yourself today that this kind of fruitful lifestyle gets into our lives by pulling upon the power of the Holy Spirit. God has given us a fueling station to plug our hearts into. You cannot work it up or prop it up with flattering words… its only gonna come from soaking in the Presence of the Holy Spirit. You will need some time with God.

Soaking in His Presence:

Emerse yourself in His love and awaken your perception to the flow of mercy and grace from the spiritual realm. Praise God for His kindness to forgive you of your sin and let go of all your concerns about measuring up to some arbitrary standard. Just let it go for a moment and see how different it feels to be accepted without performance… without trying, doing or being anything but yourself. Let God have you, not your sacrifice, service or plans.

God Loves… You!

You are who God loves, completely and unconditionally. Take that in for a moment and let it settle on the busy-ness of your mind. Wait… just wait for a moment until that thought of “God loving you”, gets past your mind and settles your heart. Can you sense God’s heart toward you? You see our greatest challenge is not that we cannot receive the Lord’s discipline, its that we so easily forget how deeply He loves and accepts us as His Child (Heb 12:3-8). That is where the hope is.

Our Father:

The hope is in the fact that He is on our side and will deliver us from all harm. He covers and comforts, watches and waits on us; He listens and comes closer than the breath that we breathe… because He truly is the God of Hope. He is our Father, the defender of the weak and the healer of the broken and His delight is to fuel our lives with hope.

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