Posts Tagged ‘counsel’

Sudden Breakthrough

Scripture: “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Mt 11:28-30)

Thought for Today: “Releasing Suddenlies”

Every person I know needs a breakthrough in some area of their life. I am no exception. I need breakthroughs all the time. I find myself stuck or tempted, confused or confined and in need of wisdom and revelation. The challenge for most of us is that getting a breakthrough means changing how we see. I often hear people say, ”You might have to get serious about spiritual disciplines if you want to see any impact in your life”. What I would like to propose is that the key to getting your breakthrough is more about striving for rest, than fighting for your life (Heb 4:9). Jesus said, “Come to Me… and I will give you rest. Take My yoke… learn from Me… and you will find rest for your souls.” The key is to stop relying on your own understanding (Prov. 3:5-10)

Trust God!

What I have seen repeatedly through the years in Scripture, personal experience and the testimony of others, is that prayer and fasting produces great spiritual results. Yet those results were tied to trusting God. When we give ourselves to intense seasons of seeking, we must lean on Jesus, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the counsel of God’s Word. God is always up to something and your breakthrough is on His mind… in fact, He wants it more than you do!

Enter In:

I want to encourage you to stop leaning on your own understanding. You might never discover how problems or difficulties will be resolved in your life. Try to enter a season of rest. Go to the Throne of Grace and let God love you. Let His mercy pour out upon your heart and just soak it in… stay there and begin to enjoy His Presence. Let Him wash away your worry, cleanse you of all fear and wrestling. Now simply direct your trust toward Him… speak it out. Tell Him that you love the way He meets your needs and praise Him in this moment in the midst of all that is going on around you.

Suddenlies will Begin:

Then… what was offering no impact, suddenly does. What was making no difference, suddenly will. That unwanted situation or mountain that stood in the way, suddenly is removed. The relationship that was broken, suddenly gets restored. The pain in your body, suddenly is healed. The job that hadn’t come through, suddenly opens up. Suddenlies are God’s specialty!

The Reward of Seeking: Believe that God is the “Rewarder” of those who diligently seek Him. (Heb. 11:6)

Its the anointing that breaks the yoke (Isa 10:27), but it must settle in on us. Its God’s power that releases the suddenlies in our lives (Acts 2:2). Those miracles, the breakthroughs and the revelation of purpose, did not show up simply because we got the words right in our prayers last night. It was because God moved on our behalf. We sought Him in a season of prayer and fasting – yes, but it was God who showed up, brought the breakthrough and the suddenly you needed.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4:16)

Leadership Capacity

I am learning a lot about leadership in this season.

I understand more clearly now that with authority comes much responsibility. The more influence I have in the world, the more wisdom I need to navigate life redemptively so that the purposes of God are fulfilled in my time. Favor amplifies the influence of my life, but favor alone doesn’t help me make good decisions. I have to seek God for His perspectives, and connect with wise people for their insights and counsel. It’s in the abundance of counselors that there is victory.

CAPACITY AND TALENT

When I hire people or ask them to join my team, I look for people with capacity, not just talent. I have hired many very kind, gifted and talented people over the last 30 years, who have no capacity…they can’t carry pressure. The weight of responsibility crushes them.

5 SOURCES OF CAPACITY

Capacity has at least 5 sources:

1. Personality – in other words, some people are just born with more capacity than others. We often use phrases like “Joe has thick skin.” We’re saying that Joe can carry a lot of pressure, or take a lot of criticism without crumbling.

2. Experience – capacity tends to grow with experience. For example, the mother who has her first child tends to worry about everything that happens to him or her. But by the time she gets to child number three, they are playing in the rain with a cold.

3. Influences – great leaders choose who influences them. They surround themselves with people who increase their capacity by giving them great counsel, and at times help carry the load with them.

4. The God factor – people who have a great relationship with God inherently have more capacity. They lean on their their relationship with Him and He helps them through their hard days. He keeps them in perfect peace when they keep their mind on Him.

5. Identity – people who know who they are can weather storms more easily than those who have no confidence in themselves. Tough times only reinforce noble peoples’ identity. Trials forge our character and reveal our godly nature, or they point out cracks in our personhood.

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Followers of God

“Therefore be followers of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” (Eph. 5:2)

To become a follower of God – we must love! The first dimension of understanding love is to become aware that you cannot give what you do not have. God’s love is from God not from ourselves… therefore it must be received to be given (1 Cor. 13). We do this as we walk in faith and see spiritually, finding ways to embrace God’s love for ourselves. We love because He first loved us (Rom. 5:8).

God’s Love Overcomes Fear:

Fear drives our need for self-preservation, our need to prove and to promote ourselves. We are trying to preserve our own life. A true vision of God’s love will overcome our fears. The “fear of the Lord” is the beginning of wisdom and understanding. God’s love overcomes the need to be In control! The need to prove, promote, and preserve our own life is a poverty spirit that destroys our sense of safety and security in all of our relationships. Fear is a spirit (2 Tim. 1:7) that has not come from God. It aims to intimidate and terrorize so we live producing its fruit… selfishness, anger, pride and lust. We become like Lucifer; wanting to exalt ourselves to the position of god, when we allow fears to rule our lives. Wanting to be “in control” can become like a drug. We learn subtle ways of getting what we want. We slip into counterfeit spiritual authority and manipulation, which the Bible calls witchcraft. God’s love overcomes the fruit of fear, by first transforming the heart so that it has the potential to see spiritually. Seeing and embracing a revelation of the love of God will break the power of fear.

5 Truths about God’s Love:

  1. God’s love preserves life. We are kept by the very power of God, a power generated by His love.
  2. God’s love overcomes rejection, the wounds and corruption of sin.
  3. God’s love is the provision and the promise of abundant blessing.
  4. God’s love sustains life by the supply of the Holy Spirit.
  5. God’s love removes all that would separate us from Him, because fellowship is love’s objective.

God is Good and His love is fresh and embracing every time I meditate upon it. Because He is the Lord Most High; He is above only and below no one, His love causes me to sense His triumph in everything I do. He is transcendent and radiant in His Glory. He speaks and acts in order to release His good pleasure. He gives, invites, cares and celebrates our delight in His love. He carries our burdens and establishes His Promises. He has not left me as an orphan or fatherless in any way. He is My Comfort and My Stronghold in the storms that come. He infuses my path with light, strengthens my soul with His counsel, and refreshes my heart with His abiding Presence. This is the life of love and I am captured at the thought of Him… My King – Jesus!

Let Me Tell of His Love…

His love energizes, motivates action and releases the true life of God. His love sets us free. It heals, because He is healing. It binds up wounds, because He has been wounded. It renews our thinking, because His thoughts toward us are all good. Love covers our sin, because mercy is clothing us with the rich robe of Christ’s righteousness. It restores a right heart within us, because God creates in us a brand new heart. His love is pure, peaceable, powerful, more powerful than death itself. He has reached out to connect with us in words, with eyes, with touch and the fragrance of grace. His love is the energy of communion. It is completely sufficient, holy and clean. It is selfless, given by sacrifice and poured out like a waterfall. It has been shed abroad to reach the least or the greatest of humanity. It transforms us. It conforms us into the image of true Son-ship. It enables us to take on, not only the Name, but the nature of Jesus Christ.

God’s Love is Visible!

The love of God embraced, is like the ocean that overwhelms or the river that reaches to the lowest place. And when released into our world, it becomes a tangible anointing. God loves us tangibly and so it becomes our beauty when it is seen on us. Therefore, the anointing which you have received of God abides in you and it instructs (1 Jn. 2:27). It abides in us- as we abide in Him. Love enables us to behold Him and become what we have been embraced by. God has lavished His love upon us and enabled us to be called the sons of God (1 Jn. 3:1). God’s love causes us to live. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love! We are enabled to love our brothers as He has loved us (1 Jn. 3:10-14). We esteem others as greater than ourselves and forgive our enemies as God has forgiven us. These are the marks that prove His love abides in us, that we love in word and deed and that we see as the Heavenly Father sees… in giving ourselves away.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn. 3:16)

Put God First!

“But seek first (strive and pursue) the Kingdom of God (His ruling Dominion) and His righteousness (right standing, purity and holiness), and all these things (necessities of life) shall be added to you.” (Mt. 6:33)

I have learned that spending time with God is a vital necessity in my life. Something amazing is adjusted in my mind and ministered to my heart when I make God my first and highest pursuit. In fact, I cannot do what I am called to do if I don’t seek the Presence of God every day… early and passionately! I need that supernatural peace and sense of anointing that I feel in His Presence! If I don’t make time for God first, then everything else seems to become more difficult… at times even falling apart or hitting the inevitable “wall of resistance”.

Selfish Ambition is Subtle!

Selfish ambition often masquerades as important priorities in our daily routine. Yet when we hit the wall of resistance, it is because God is speaking… calling us to His side for fellowship. You see, God apposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Jms 4:6). Its my own pride and selfish ambition that stand as barriers to living the life that Christ has promised… the abundant and overflowing life (Jn. 10:10). The abundant life is the Holy Spirit directed life. What I am continually reminded of is that God is waiting for me to begin the conversation and He will spend as much time with me as I will give Him… as much time as it takes for grace to begin to flow.

Quality, not Quantity:

If you measure your seeking by the amount of time, and set a timer for 30 minutes or 3 hours; you might find you feel nothing and believe there is no value in putting God first. But we must realize, time in God’s Presence is measured by quality, not quantity. He is waiting for the shifts in your mind and heart!

“Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.” (Isa. 30:18)

Jesus tells us to repent, or change the way we think and see… for the Kingdom of God is at hand (Mt. 4:17). Indeed, the Kingdom of God is within reach and we can experience its influence when we set our minds and hearts for encounter. This shift of setting our “inner pursuit” is the connection He looks for… its our ability to enter into His fellowship, find His counsel and pursue His priorities. This is what honors Him most and releases His grace like showers of blessing in our lives. The best part is that by pursuing what pleases God… empowers us to accomplish more and experience peace that goes beyond our understanding.

Putting God first every day, allows every thing in life… to find its proper place!

Thoughts of Isaac

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (Gen. 22:6-7)

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. (Gen. 22:9-10)

If you aren’t familiar with this story, it is powerful and I recommend reading it in context in Genesis 22. The short version is that after decades of working in his life, God asks Abraham to take his son Isaac; whom he loved, who was a promise and a miraculous answer to prayer, and sacrifice him with his own hands. At the last possible minute, with the knife in his hand, ready to kill his boy, an angel of the Lord stops Abraham. Whew… not a moment too soon. Isaac is saved… through God’s provision of a substitute for his life. A Ram would take his place on the altar.  

What do we make of a God who asks the unthinkable?

Over the years, I’ve heard many varied explanations about what God was trying to accomplish in Abraham’s life. What I find myself wrestling with most, is a part of the story I’ve heard almost no one explore. I want to know how Isaac felt. Not a neat, sterile theological explanation… but a real sound thought.

Being the Sacrifice:

What did it feel like to be sacrificed, by someone you love and trust. To have someone else’s mission valued above your own life. Military kids often know. Missionary and ministry kids often feel the tension. Many are very effected by the experience… both positively and negatively!

Abraham and Isaac, both experience this “mountaintop moment”, but in very different ways. While Isaac also experienced God’s deliverance, he first experienced being kept deliberately in the dark about what was about to happen, being bound by his father, put on the altar and watching his dad raise the knife to slay him. Just consider for a moment the testing of each heart in God’s pattern of sacrifice. His dad was willing to kill him in order to obey God. I can only imagine the issues this stirred in both of their hearts. God-induced terror, God-testing through a sacrifice. Seems to me like a lot of information about Isaac is missing from the story.

Listen to Isaac’s words again… “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering.”

How Do Logic & Faith Intersect?

Did Isaac spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder for the next time God would set him up? Did he wrestle with questions of his faith and self-worth as a result of being placed on the altar by both God and his dad? Did he have serious trust issues with everyone else he met? Any fear issues?

No, because God was faithful to His Promise!

Abraham’s counsel to his son Isaac… “God would provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering!” These are words of a father who knew God.

My Take:

Sacrifice is a necessary part of faith in God (Rom. 12:1-2). Without it none of us would learn to rely upon God to direct our paths (Prov. 3:5-6). And even worse we would find ourselves leaning upon our limited understanding of how the world works and doing only those things that are within our natural affections and imaginations (Eph. 3:20).

But, sacrifice has its draw back… it kills what is placed upon the altar! The goal is to stop the flow of life and energy that is hidden in the flesh and mind, so that a new source of life can be unlocked and nurtured from the spirit. Wow, amazing thoughts for anyone to ponder. The Apostle Paul tells us that we are to be living sacrifices; daily on the altar, looking for the energy that is revealed in the renewed mind, the spiritual mind that responds to the Word of God. All I know is that there are real truths that can only be released by my willingness to be sacrificed and feel the painful struggle of risking my perceptions, desires, passions, my will and even my life.

The Tension of Sacrifice is Letting Go:

Like Isaac I must come to a place where I understand that I will need to live with some tension in my perceptions. I must live with mysteries unfolding before my eyes. Isaac did it and it shaped his life as a son, a promised son to Abraham. Rather than fear his father, he chose to honor his father’s desire. Rather than dispise faith in God, he chose to serve God and walk in the blessings of Abraham’s example of trust. Rather than walk away in offense, he chose to become one of our well known Patriarchs of Biblical character. The choice; to not be offended, is the choice of letting go and allowing God to provide Himself a sacrifice… the Ram in the thicket in your place!

And why?… because sacrifice shapes the way we see everything!

Jesus said, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” (Mt. 4:17)

 

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