Posts Tagged ‘barriers’

The Stubborn Heart

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” (Mk. 9:23-25)

It has been my experience, that literally thousands of people struggle with unbelief. Real barriers stand between their desire and the reality of God’s Will! Like this father they hear the words that Jesus would love to heal, deliver or bring hope; but they are stuck. They know the truth that if they could just believe, nothing would be impossible… but there is no believing, no receiving and no “heart” at all. There is just the nagging reality of hopeless effort, tears and shameful discouragement. And worse yet for many, they construct a new theological platform of resolve… “I will choose to not believe any longer, because it just leaves me hopeless!”

The Spirit of Unbelief:

The inability to obey the instructions of Jesus and trust in the Promises of God, often leads to this frustration. We want to please the Lord and experience all that God has said, but something in us resists faith. We find we “cannot” believe even when we want to. This can be due to a “spirit of unbelief”. Lies, deception, fears or offenses can find their dwelling in the heart and be controlled by a demonic spirit that paralyzes the heart in unbelief. This spirit is real and dangerous, it is pervasive and advancing across the landscape of Christianity and it lives in the midst of the “Church culture”… where all is not fine in paradise!

Authenticity:

I receive many emails and calls about this issue and I find it a bit shocking that the problem is so wide spread and growing. Yet in my opinion there is a root cause that we must uncover and shine the light of truth upon… people are living superficial lifestyles. They rarely stop and contemplate the meaning of their existence. To ask the simple question, “WHY!” is not blasphemy, nor is it going to lead us into deception. Perhaps it would even offer a lot more authenticity to our journey!

Jesus said in Matthew 7:7… “Ask, seek and knock… and the door will be opened!”

Authentic communication with God – opens the door of relational truth. Things that are difficult for us to understand, come into the light of His wisdom and love. God is a “father”, He knows how to take care of His children and He is faithful. He is anticipating our needs to be vocalized and to come streaming into His Presence (Heb. 4:16). The Apostle Peter, who seemed a lot like us; said you and I need to be “casting all our care upon Him, because He cares for us” (1 Pet. 5:7). He cares for us… and He knows all about our issues of faith. This idea that we can avoid our problems and they will just go away… well – that is the greatest deception of all! They do not go away, in fact they produce the fruit of disappointment, which I spoke of earlier. We tend to create and believe a false perception of God’s heart toward our reality.

So – here’s the point…

  • Stop living without meaningful communication with God!

Spend time telling God of the frailty of your faith, the brokenness of your heart and the weakness in your perceptions… ask Him “why?!” and then wait… wait… wait… for the doors to open! They will, my friend they will… they will open wide and the King of Glory will come in. Who is this King of Glory… He is the Lord Strong and Mighty! (Psa. 24:7-10)

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!

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.     

Spirit of Unbelief

Crushing the Spirit of Unbelief

Many followers of Christ have a limited “believer”. I know that sounds like a strange statement, but sometimes unseen barriers, like brick walls hold us back. I am convinced that there are irrational issues inside of us; demonic in nature, that limit our ability to engage faith. 

Faith & Spiritual Life:

Its similar to the ignition of a car. We might turn the key and get some sound, but if the engine has no spark it will never start and never move us down the road. Ignition is simply the spark that starts an engine. Faith is the spark inside that ignites the heart to trust God, to love God and believe in His promises for our lives. 

The Stubborn Heart:

The inability to obey the instructions of Jesus and trust in the Promises of God, often leads to frustration. We want to please the Lord and experience all that God has said, but something in us resists faith. We find we “cannot” believe even when we want to. This can be due to a spirit of unbelief. Lies, deception, fears or offences can find their dwelling in the heart and be controlled by a demonic spirit that paralizes the heart in unbelief.

The Frustration:

My ”old man” was unbelieving to the bitter end, but I remember receiving Christ and being confident that all things would become new (2 Cor 5:17). The carnal part of me was now fully engaged in a battle with God’s truth, and I recall feeling that I could not submit to God’s ways (Rom 8:7). I couldn’t please God, because I had no faith in His purpose for me (Heb 11:6). The spirit of unbelief made me feel like I was living in a fog.

Deliverance from Unbelief: 

Praise God, there is deliverance from the spirit of unbelief, but it doesn’t come without a fight. Those controlling spirits get into our ”believer” and go unchallenged until we learn to break covenant with their activities. While Satan will do all in his power to resist the Word of God and get us to accept mediocrity, God has a destiny of freedom in store for us. Our history does not have to be our destiny.

My Personal Testimony: 

I remember feeling tormented in my soul as I struggled with my own unbelief in relation to the Word of God. I would listen to lots of great teaching and study the Bible with other strong believers. Yet the truth would make little impact upon me. Every revelation was encountering resistence in my mind and heart. I noticed it most when I chose to make spiritual commitments to obey God. There was no power within my life to release faith.

Break Covenant:

It wasn’t until I made a decision from the heart to love God and fight for His Fatherhood in my life, that I really came to understand the problem. Even though this was only the first step to victory, it was a powerful step. I broke the covenant I had made in my heart to trust Satanic lies. I needed to become violent in order to break the demonic control and sever the spiritual captivity in my heart. What I could renounce and break free from just kept giving me more freedom. Soon I found a boldness to believe God and trust His promises that I had never experienced before.

Release the Spirit of Faith: 

Overcoming unbelief came as I gained the ability to release the Spirit of Faith. I could rest in the power of the Holy Spirit and experience Him as the Spirit of Faith spoken of in Scripture. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit, as well as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It was released more and more as I allowed the Spirit of God to penetrate my thoughts and permeate my prayer life. It was an amazing process that required a few seasons of fasting, but awakened my heart to enormous breakthrough. It literally crushed the spirit of unbelief.

Be Happy

Fellow Citizens and Saints
Fellow Citizens and Saints
 
“Now, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the houshold of God.” (Eph 2:19)

Becoming comfortable in our new citizenship is the defining reality of how happy, joyful or effective we are as people of God. Notice how the Apostle Paul uses several identifiable relationships to help us connect to his point. Being a stranger means, I’m completely outside of my comfort zone. Much like a foreign person might speak a different language, so a spiritual stranger would find it very difficult to understand or relate to happiness inside of the Kingdom Culture. So the answer is to become a citizen, a member of the “family culture” and come under its influence.

 The household of God is not just an embracing culture; but a Holy Spirit habitation, built on values that bridge all limitations and barriers. You learn the values of happiness and joy within the Kingdom Culture by experiencing the Holy Spirit’s activity in your heart and life (Rom 14:17). Those who belong are saints and members of a family, with a common Father. Jesus said it like this, “…don’t rejoice that the demons are subject to you, but that your names are written down in Heaven” (Lk 10:20). Be happy; find your greatest joy, in the fact that you are a member of the household of God and a blessed saint in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Learning to Be Happy

Happiness for our current American Culture seems to mean, no risk and no inconvenience. We like our TV remotes and our McDonalds, fast food culture. But we are paying a price. Those who settle for the easy way eventually find themselves with little excitement, limited adventure and becoming numb to the thrill of success. It dismantles our ability to process joy, when we have no contrasting stress or discomfort. The Bible says to rejoice when you face various trials of faith, because it produces things in your life (Jms 1:2-4). Laziness not only kills the joy level, but limits the production of those character traits that are found in the Father’s house.

What I want to propose to you, is that the most important reason to pray or serve God is for the joy of experiencing a Kingdom Culture, based upon the high value of bearing spiritual fruit. Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him (Heb 12:1-2) and we are to set our eyes on Him. Excitement is the joy that comes in seeing the purposes of God arise out of inconvenient, sacrificial circumstances. Jesus said to pray so that your joy would be full, because you will receive answers from your Father and experience the family culture (Jn 16:24).

Jesus also said that the Father gets joyful pleasure from our fruitfulness (Jn 15:8). We know that the Father’s joy is the overshadowing atmosphere of the household. Seeing the outcome of the Holy Spirit at work in your life is what connects you to the family culture, His habitation in the Spirit (Eph 2:22). It gives us some history in the household with God and makes it the Blessed Place where happiness and joy abound.

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