Posts Tagged ‘acceptable year’

The Garment of Praise

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;  To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)

The answer against a “spirit of heaviness” is to put on the ”garment of praise.”

Satan hates praise:

Praise exalts Jesus no matter what the circumstances may look like. It engages our trust in God and activates our faith like nothing else can do. You see, praise introduces light and supernatural life into our circumstances. It is the ultimate release of spiritual freedom. Just listen to the following verses and let something click inside.

(2 Cor 3:17) “The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

(Gal 5:1) ” Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”

(Jn 8:36) ” Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

Praise is Agreement with God!

Praising the Lord and agreement with the truth of God’s Word, renews the mind and lifts the spirit of heaviness off your shoulders. Notice the Prophet Isaiah says that your life is designed to reflect your calling as “trees of righteousness”. Its your destiny to become the “planting of the Lord”. As you praise Him daily, you will release the stature of Christ within you… “that He may be glorified”, seen and celebrated as your Deliverer! Nothing so clearly displays the power of God like our freedom in the spirit.

The Effect of a Spirit of Heaviness:

It darkens our countenance. Our hearts are down cast. This spirit brings a “heaviness” over us and dims our vision, robs our hope and crushes our sense of purpose. There are testimonies I’ve heard from people who say “when this spirit comes it even makes the room feel darker”. It brings a heavy and oppressive atmosphere that restricts and quenches our perception. It may come like a cloud hanging over you or your location, but the most difficult part to deal with is that it causes isolation. The devil’s goal is to remove you from the atmosphere of love and approval. Think about it, if Satan can get you isolated, then he can break your spirit and remove your source of inspiration and hope.

Recognize it:

This is the first step. You are a Child of God! This is not God’s will for you!  “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31) Don’t believe the lies… Praise God instead! Accept no criticism and carry no extra baggage. You must learn the art of selective hearing, so that you choose the things you ignore and the things that come from the Throne of Heaven. We destroy arguments and pull down strongholds, so that every thought is made captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5). That means I am actively discerning where my thoughts are coming from and believe me… I can rule over them with praise!

Put on the Garment of Praise!

This literally means to be “wrapped up in praise”. God has given it to be worn and provide insulation. So put it on like a jacket every single day. Take a few moments each morning and every time there is a battle raging, to put it on like armor on a soldier. You will watch your enemy run for cover with his tail between his legs… like a whipped puppy. That’s right, praise is your most effective tool in magnifying God and shrinking the influence of the devil. Get loud, get aggressive and set your heart on spiritual freedom!

It is the anointing that breaks the yoke! (Isa 10:27)

God’s Chosen Path

Scripture: “Why have we fasted,” they say, “and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?”

“In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exploit all your laborers. Indeed you fast for strife and debate, and to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, to make your voice heard on high. Is it a fast that I have chosen, a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, and to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?” (Isaiah 58:3-9)

Thought for Today: “Authentic Revival”

The most significant reason for the Christian to develop a lifestyle of prayer and fasting is to be heard in heaven (Ezra 8:23) and begin to hear from heaven (2 Chr. 7:14). We desire a dialogue with God so that we see the way He sees and carry out the mandate He has on His heart. God has an agenda and our sense of destiny and spiritual peace will always be tied to it.

God’s Chosen Fast:

What we must recognize is that “why” and “how” we fast and pray is as important as “what” or “when”. God tells His people through the Prophet Isaiah that they cannot fast in the way they were in their day and expect to be heard in heaven (Isa 58:4). Clearly, there is a chosen fast that offers real impact on our lives and the world around us. There is a chosen path that advances the Kingdom of God. When the heavens feel like brass (Deut. 28:23) and our prayers go unanswered, then it is time to re-evaluate our responses to God (Ps 139:23-24). Notice how prayer and fasting shapes Jesus’ thoughts about His ministry to the world.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.” (Lk 4:18-20)

Clarifying the Vision:

Prayer and fasting clarified His vision for the task at hand. Jesus was not becoming more religious, but feeling the urgency of heaven’s revealed destiny. God’s agenda has always been about reclaiming His people and restoring their original place in His heart… this is the essence of authentic revival. This is why Jesus’ passion was focused on breaking the yokes of injustice and crushing the barriers that seemed to stand in the way of spiritual freedom. Authentic revival begins when we see what God sees and passionately live for His purpose! We must shift our focus and efforts toward God’s chosen path!

* Authentic revival begins when we see what God sees and passionately live for His purpose!

Getting God’s Ear:

I love what the Prophet Jeremiah said. “When you seek Me with all your heart, I will be found by you …and I will bring you back from your captivity” (Jer 29:13-14). When we are willing to set aside legitimate appetites of the flesh and concentrate on seeking God as He longs to be sought after, He promises to be found by us. God seeks worshipers, but because He is spirit, He longs to fellowship with those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth (Jn. 4:23-24).

Pressing In:

We must recognize the warfare, the wrestling and the prevailing over spiritual forces that it takes to effectively hear from heaven. We do not wrestle with flesh and blood (Eph 6:12), we do not fight as those beating the air (1 Cor 9:26), our warfare is not carnal (2 Cor 10:4), but we take our stand against spiritual authorities in heavenly places. The anointing of God is for breaking yokes and releasing authentic revival in the world around us (Isa 10:27)!

Sacrifice:

“What will it cost us? What price will we pay?” Perhaps these are the wrong questions… “What could be?” and “Why not breakthrough?” These are the quests that lead to authentic revival. Breakthrough matters… yokes being destroyed offer freedom; yet, when the eyes of the world are fixed upon us, as they were on Jesus; what will we be contending for? These are the reasons for a lifestyle of prayer and fasting…

  • to lift up your voice as a trumpet… telling people of their transgressions and how to get right with God.
  • to get through to a people who delight in their approach… when God is not pleased.
  • to loose the bonds of wickedness, undo the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free!
  • to share your bread with the hungry, embrace the poor, cover the naked and not hide yourself from the needs of others.

Yes there is a sacrifice, but the benefits are eternal!

The Brightness of God’s Glory

Jesus is the Brightness of God’s Glory.

“Who being the brightness of His Glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Heb 1:3)

Jesus Christ is the “radiance” of God’s Glory, because He is God. The “brightness of His glory” refers to the Shekinah Glory of God that would manifest in the Old Testament tabernacle and temple (Ex. 40:34-38; 1 Kings 8:10). The cloud, the fire and the powerful manifestations of God were more than just traditions. They were the platform of His relationship with humanity until God took on human flesh and dwelt among us. These amazing experiences with the Glory of God were vital to the healthy expressions of worship, because until the Day of Christ (Gal 4:4-7), sin still stood as a barrier between God and man. The Glory was in many ways a visible sign to God’s people that He was close and available! In fact, the Glory that would manifest upon the Ark of the Covenant was a demonstration of God’s heart desiring to meet with Moses and speak to the People of God (Ex 25:21-22).

In Jesus Christ - the Invisible becomes Visible!

Jesus Christ is the “exact representation” of God’s Glory – revealing His nature. All that God is, in His nature and being, is expressed and revealed perfectly in Christ. This is why Jesus is called Immanuel, God with us. Its because Jesus “is the image of the invisible God”. He has explained Him and shown the Glory to us, so we would be without excuse (Jn. 1:14-18)(Jn. 14:23)(Col. 2:9). If you want to know what God is like, take a long hard look at Him in His Son, Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6). When you see Christ - you see the Glory of God, bright, brilliant and wonderful… the Light of the World (Jn 8:12).

Revealing God’s Heart:

Jesus Christ is the revelation of God’s Glory; the radiance of God’s “spiritual substance” in the sense that God was manifest in the flesh. We get to enjoy the real heart of God as a Father, in Jesus Christ. It is impossible to separate the concept of Glory from the nature of Christ’s three and a half years of ministry among us. He came to take away the sin of the world, to destroy the works of the devil and He went about the Galilean countryside healing the sick and delivering the captives from demonic oppression. Without Jesus Christ we are in the dark, utterly in darkness concerning God. It is in Christ that God is revealed (Jn. 17:5). Our illumination is found in His brightness. He is the revelation of the Father’s heart toward our sin, sickness and deliverance. He has come to set the captives free and display the Father’s will.

Revealing Glory:

To the leper, in need of cleansing… Jesus said “I am willing” (Mk 1:41). To the woman with the flow of blood, reaching for the hem of His garment… Jesus said “Daughter your faith has made you well, go in peace and be healed of your affliction” (Mk 5:34). To the deaf man… Jesus looked into heaven and said “Be opened” (Mk 7:34). In all of these cases and more, we see the Glory manifest and revealed in Jesus. He said of Himself, ”The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk 4:18-19).

Jesus said to Martha at the death of her brother Lazarus, “Did I not say to you that if you believe you would see the Glory of God?” (Jn 11:40)

The Valiant Heart

“Now therefore, let your hands be strengthened, and be valiant for your master Saul is dead; and also the House of Judah has anointed me king over them.” (2 Sam. 2:7)

There comes a time when the former regime has fallen, old ways have come to an end and a new day appears over the horizon. When a new generation of kingly righteousness is authorized and new energy is released for good… something must be engaged. This was the case for King David, he stood at a crossroad that required followers of God (Israel) to take on a new posture. To see differently requires vision and anointing. It also requires a valiant heart!

Are we Valiant?

I am convinced that a Spiritual battle rages all around us (2 Tim. 2:3-4). This battle is of utmost importance as the souls of men, women and children are hanging in the balance against time. We are the Redeemed, called to be the Church of the Living God, Kingdom Agents with authority and power. Something has shifted and we must step up into this reality. Yet the question calls for an answer within… are we the valiant? If so, then it compels us to engage the enemies that oppose the Kingdom of Light! We must use every available means at our disposal to reach the lost with the hope of the Good News… that Jesus Christ has come to set the captives free! Jesus said of Himself, “the Spirit of the Lord has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, release the captives and break the bonds of sin… to bring recovery of sight to the blind and set at liberty the oppressed” (Lk. 4:18-19). This was the assignment of the most valiant of hearts. To “proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord”, was more than a message… it was a commission to go and engage the kingdoms of darkness.

This is our High Calling in Christ Jesus.. our mission on the Earth!

We need an army of mighty men of valor who understand the times, who will draw up in battle formation against wicked principalities and powers, knowing how to skillfully use their spiritual armor (1 Chr. 12)(Eph. 6:12-18). We need more men like Joshua and Caleb who take God at His Word, rely on Kingdom Authority, obey and fearlessly conquer the enemies that defy entry into the Promises of God. Such spiritual warriors will wholly follow the Lord (Josh. 14:9) and advance the Kingdom of God, which is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Josh. 1:3-9)(Rom 14:17)

We need more David’s who will take down the uncircumcised Philistines who mock the Living God, His Son, His Word and His armies (1 Sam 17:26). We need more spiritually balanced leaders like Ezra who experienced the good hand of God because he had set his heart to study the Word, to practice it, and to teach the principles, statutes and ordinances in Israel (Ezra 7:10). We need more strong spiritual women like Esther (Est. 4:14) and Deborah (Judg. 4:14) who seized their moment… who found grace “for such a time as this”. These who knew their God and submitted to what He was doing.

Kingdom Character:

The need today, is for all Christians to rise up out of the clutter of the world and walk in newness of life, knowing their position and opportunity in Christ. We are commissioned with delegated authority (Mt. 28:18-20) and seated in heavenly places with Christ… at the right hand of God (Eph. 2:6-7). Such nobility will not be self-exalting nor self-appointed; but surrendered to the Will of God, anointed by the Holy Spirit and practicing the holy and royal responsibilities (1 Pet. 2:5-9). The character of Christ is experienced and evidenced by those who have freely given themselves to His purposes. Its found in those seeking to know the power of Jesus’ resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, in order that they may attain the power of a resurrected life… overcoming and abundant in every way. (Phil. 3:10-11)(Jn 10:9-10)

6 Principles of The Valiant Heart:

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:7-10)

  1. Submit to God: Set your mind upon God’s Will and Purposes! (Rom. 16:19-20)(Col. 3:1-4)
  2. Resist the devil: He is your enemy. He will flee, because he is defeated! (Acts 10:38)(1 Jn. 3:8)
  3. Draw near to God: Relationship and intimacy establish your authority in Christ! (Jn. 15:14-16)
  4. Cleanse your hands: Renounce evil practices because they hold us in bondage! (Jn. 5:14)(1 Jn. 1:9-10)
  5. Purify your hearts: Confess evil imaginations and strongholds of the mind! (2 Cor. 10:3-6)(Ps. 139:23-24)
  6. Humble yourselves: Rely and lean upon God’s Fathering heart! (Prov. 3:5-8)

Authentic Revival

Today is day 6 of our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting

Scripture: Isaiah 58:3-9
Thought for Today: “Authentic Revival”

The most significant reason for the Christian to develop a lifestyle of prayer and fasting is to be heard in heaven (Ezra 8:23) and begin to hear from heaven (2 Chron 7:14). We desire a dialogue with God so that we see the way He sees and carry out the mandate He has on His heart. God has an agenda and our sense of destiny and spiritual peace will always be tied to it.

God’s Chosen Fast:

What we must recognize is that “why” we fast and pray is as important as “how” or “when”. God tells His people through the Prophet Isaiah that they cannot fast in the way they were in their day and expect to be heard in heaven (Isa 58:4). Clearly, there is a chosen fast that offers real impact on ourselves and the world around us. When the heavens feel like brass (Deut 28:23) and our prayers go unanswered, then it is time to re-evaluate our responses to God (Ps 139:23-24). Notice how prayer and fasting shapes Jesus’ thoughts about His ministry to the world.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.” (Lk 4:18-20)

Clarifying the Vision:

Prayer and fasting clarified His vision for the task at hand. Jesus was not becoming more religious, but feeling the urgency of heaven’s revealed destiny. God’s agenda has always been about reclaiming His people and restoring their original place in His heart. This is why Jesus’ passion was focused on breaking the yokes of injustice and crushing the barriers that seemed to stand in the way of spiritual freedom. Authentic revival begins when we see what God sees and passionately live for His purpose.

Getting God’s Ear:

I love what the Prophet Jeremiah said. “When you seek Me with all your heart, I will be found by you …and I will bring you back from your captivity” (Jer 29:13-14). When we are willing to set aside legitimate appetites of the flesh and concentrate on seeking God as He longs to be sought after, He promises to be found by us. God seeks worshippers, but because He is spirit He longs to fellowship with those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth (Jn 4:23-24).

Pressing In:

We must recognize the warfare, the wrestling and the prevailing over spiritual forces that it takes to effectively hear from heaven. We do not wrestle with flesh and blood (Eph 6:12), we do not fight as those beating the air (1 Cor 9:26), our warfare is not carnal (2 Cor 10:4), but we must take a stand against spiritual authorities in heavenly places. The anointing of God is for breaking yokes and releasing authentic revival in the world around us (Isa 10:27).

What will it require?

What will it cost us? What price will we pay? Perhaps these are the wrong questions… What could be? and Why not breakthrough? These are the quests that lead to authentic revival. Breakthrough matters, yokes being destroyed offer freedom; yet, when the eyes of the world are fixed upon us, as they were on Jesus… what will we be contending for? 

These are the reasons for a lifestyle of prayer and fasting.     

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