Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Contending for Promise

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (2 Cor. 1:20)

“Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In Him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident.” (2 Cor. 1:20 MSG)

The Church that we see spoken of consistently in Scripture is a people of promise. Jesus said the very gates of hell will not prevail against her (Mt. 16:18). She is a people of promise (Lk. 24:49), called out of darkness and established upon a platform of Holy Spirit activity (Acts 2:4) and supernatural love (Col. 1:13-14). She has stood in the midst of persecution and multiplied in the midst of division. Her character has been challenged from every angle and she has advanced in every culture. Yet, she fights her greatest battles from within, from the very people who carry her promise. She will prevail, but not without a people who know how to maintain their sense of promise.

Agreement with God’s Promises: (2 Peter 1:2-4)

  • Brings Miracles: (Acts 3:1-9) In this story, Peter and John were going into the temple together to pray when they met a lame man at the gate. Peter told him to rise up and walk in the name of Jesus Christ and immediately he received his strength and was healed. Your prayers of agreement can bring miracles into your lives also, just as they did for Peter and John.
  • Brings Great Power: (Acts 4:31-33) Here is an account of the Apostles praying together for boldness. After their prayers, the place was shaken and filled with the Holy Spirit. They were of one heart and one soul.
  • Brings Abundance: (Acts 4:34-37) After the Apostles prayed for boldness, and gave witness to the resurrection of Jesus, land and house owners sold their possessions and brought the proceeds to the Apostles and they then distributed to everyone who had need.
  • Brings Freedom: (Acts 12:5-11) These verses tell of Peter when he was in prison. The church prayed to God for him constantly. Peter was bound by chains with guards and soldiers next to him. One night an angel of the Lord came and he released the chains from Peters hands and set him free. These prayers of agreement gave Peter his freedom.
  • Brings Deliverance: (Acts 16:25-26) Here Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. Suddenly a great earthquake shook the prison and all the doors opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. (Rom. 15:30-31) Here Paul is asking for prayers that he may be delivered from those in Judea. (2 Cor. 1:8-11) Here is another account of Paul in Asia where the help of others praying together delivered him from a sentence of death.

Silence and Double-mindedness:

Offers Nothing:  Remind yourself that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6).  The Apostle James emphasizes this point by telling us of the foolishness of doubting, saying that it makes us double-minded and unstable in all of our ways(Jms. 1:5-8).  He also contends that we have lack and confusion, because we are not even asking or we ask amiss, that we can spend it on our own pleasures(Jms. 4:2).

Contending:

When the Church does not contend for the promises of God they are stolen by deception, intimidation or religion. The Christian lifestyle was never meant to be a stroll in the park… we were made for dominion and occupation of the Earth!

We are at war! And we are advancing for both, the very victory won by Christ and the promises acquired through crushing the enemies hold on society (Col. 1:9-13). The very purpose for Christ’s coming in the flesh was to destroy the works of the devil and render him powerless over the people of promise (1 Jn. 3:8). Every time we stand on a promise of God, hold our peace in the midst of the storm or trust God in the midnight hour… all of heaven leans in to offer its resources. Our “Amen” reverberates in the atmosphere and the devil does not doubt the character of our resolve! For Christ Himself is our Advocate with the Father, making sure that the promise is fulfilled and His people are established in truth.

“And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.” (Rom. 16:20)

Waiting in Silence

“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Ps. 46:10).

As individuals, families and nations – this Word applies to all Christians standing before God. As leaders, this applies to elders and spiritual mentors… but also to parents. Sometimes deliverance, healing and growth require silence. Let us become Believers that wait in silence for God to reveal His heart. We must give in… when it is needed. For who can truly honor God without knowledge of His exalted state, His enthronement or His authority among us?

Silence does not mean sitting to gaze at our circumstances. Silence means putting a muzzle on our voice in order to listen to God, as well as the voice of our culture. Silence means refocusing priorities. Setting the heart to receive what the mind of Christ would conceive. Such a refocus will effect our action and reaction… often stirring new action. Time and reflection is required for the fruits of repentance to emerge. But out of the soil of hearts that are waiting comes a fresh sprout of faith… and revelation!

Break Free in Your Waiting:

One practical outworking of this is to turn off the TV, cell phone and social media streams. It’s the source of so much noise and clutter, compromised values and politics. Many prefer the noise because they’re secretly afraid of sitting silently and hearing the plain truth of God’s Voice. They know what changes it will require when they understand it, and they don’t want to change. The noise is a distraction and a justification for remaining in a life of compromise and sin. If we seek a biblical worldview, we have to tear away from this world’s distractions and seek solitude in God’s Word, no matter how uncomfortable the challenges may seem.

The Discipline of Patience: (Jms. 1:2-4)

The discipline of this kind of silence is the fruit of patience, and patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, we are called to watch, listen and abide quietly in the Glory of God. This Christian walk is not a sprint. Raising children is not a sprint. Building godly families, churches and societies is the work of perseverance. Its difficult work and it takes time. Just the preliminary steps of repentance and refocusing our hearts may take half a generation in itself. This means patience on the part of those who believe in a revival that is within reach.

While the rest of the world busies themselves in darkness, we who have felt the value of waiting in silence, will rejoice at the exaltation of the Living God!

A Sense of Promise

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (2 Cor. 1:20 NIV)

“Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In Him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident.” (2 Cor. 1:20 MSG)

The Church that we see spoken of consistently in Scripture is a people of promise. Jesus said the very gates of hell will not prevail against her (Mt. 16:18). She is a people of promise (Lk. 24:49), called out of darkness and established upon a platform of Holy Spirit activity (Acts 2:4) and supernatural love (Col. 1:13-14). She has stood in the midst of persecution and multiplied in the midst of division. Her character has been challenged from every angle and she has advanced in every culture. Yet, she fights her greatest battles from within, from the very people who carry her promise. She will prevail, but not without a people who know how to maintain their sense of promise.

Agreement with God’s Promises: (2 Peter 1:2-4)

  • Brings Miracles: (Acts 3:1-9) In this story, Peter and John were going into the temple together to pray when they met a lame man at the gate. Peter told him to rise up and walk in the name of Jesus Christ and immediately he received his strength and was healed. Your prayers of agreement can bring miracles into your lives also, just as they did for Peter and John.
  • Brings Great Power: (Acts 4:31-33) Here is an account of the Apostles praying together for boldness. After their prayers, the place was shaken and filled with the Holy Spirit. They were of one heart and one soul.
  • Brings Abundance: (Acts 4:34-37) After the Apostles prayed for boldness, and gave witness to the resurrection of Jesus, land and house owners sold their possessions and brought the proceeds to the Apostles and they then distributed to everyone who had need.
  • Brings Freedom: (Acts 12:5-11) These verses tell of Peter when he was in prison. The church prayed to God for him constantly. Peter was bound by chains with guards and soldiers next to him. One night an angel of the Lord came and he released the chains from Peters hands and set him free. These prayers of agreement gave Peter his freedom.
  • Brings Deliverance: (Acts 16:25-26) Here Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. Suddenly a great earthquake shook the prison and all the doors opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. (Rom. 15:30-31) Here Paul is asking for prayers that he may be delivered from those in Judea. (2 Cor. 1:8-11) Here is another account of Paul in Asia where the help of others praying together delivered him from a sentence of death.

Silence and Double-mindedness:

  • Offers Nothing: (Heb. 11:6) Remind yourself that without faith it is impossible to please God. (Jms. 1:5-8) The Apostle James emphasizes this point by telling us of the foolishness of doubting, saying that it makes us double-minded and unstable in all of our ways. (Jms. 4:2) He also contends that we have lack and confusion, because we are not even asking or we ask amiss, that we can spend it on our own pleasures.

Contending for the Promises:

When the Church does not contend for the promises of God they are stolen by deception, intimidation or religion. The Christian lifestyle was never meant to be a stroll in the park… We are at war! And we are advancing both the very victory won by Christ and the promises acquired through crushing the enemies hold on society (Col. 1:9-13). The very purpose for Christ’s coming in the flesh was to destroy the works of the devil and render him powerless over the people of promise (1 Jn. 3:8). Every time we stand on a promise of God, hold our peace in the midst of the storm or trust God in the midnight hour… all of heaven leans in to offer its resources. Our “Amen” reverberates in the atmosphere and the devil does not doubt the character of our resolve! For Christ Himself is our Advocate with the Father, making sure that the promise is fulfilled and His people are established in truth.

Anticipation

“And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.” (Exod. 12:11-12)

A few years ago, my ministry trips outside of the United States were becoming more frequent. In order to save time, I purchased duplicates of items that I use every day in other nations and now keep them packed in a suitcase ready to go. That suitcase, kept in our spare closet; is there in anticipation of any upcoming trips.

What is Anticipation?

In our culture today, the word “anticipation” has been reduced to mean a feeling of expectation. However, the original meaning of the term, had to do more with action and preparation. To anticipate is “to foresee and act in advance of something”. The old English word comes from Latin (‘anticipare’), which meant to “take care of something ahead of time” or literally “taking into possession beforehand”. It is this original meaning that I believe the Holy Spirit is bringing to my attention. To anticipate something means that we intentionally see and act, based on an invisible reality… like hope or belief.

Anticipation is a Powerful Biblical Principle!

In Exodus 12, Moses instructs the Israelites to get ready for their immediate exodus from Egypt. They were to eat the Passover lamb in anticipation of something big. They were to get prepared, by clothing themselves and having a staff in their hand, so they would be ready to go on their journey. Everything was about to change. Sometimes I hear God saying, “Get ready! It is time to move!” That’s when I must know how to properly “anticipate” my next steps. I love the fact that God promises to order the steps of the righteous man! I believe God wants to encourage us to stir up anticipation for what He is going to do on a spiritual level, on a practical level and on a ministry level.

4 Powerful Principles of Anticipation:

  • 1st. Anticipation Is An Expression Of Faith!

Anticipation is about preparing and making room for what you know is yours by faith. It is getting ready for what God has told you is coming. Noah began building the ark—a large boat—in anticipation of a flood. Hebrews tells us, ‘By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.’ (Heb 11:7) We know that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). Anticipation is an expression of faith. Anticipation comes with evidence. It may be invisible in the natural, but it is visible on the inside… and it is powerful!

Ten people gather to pray for rain in a time of drought. One person brings an umbrella… that’s anticipation!

  • 2. Anticipation Will Attract Opposition:

Anticipation is so powerful that the enemy will try and prevent it. Anticipation attracts resistance. Nehemiah discovered this when their enemies schemed to stop him from rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem’s city. They tried to distract Nehemiah from his work by calling a meeting with him and secretly planning to harm him. However, Nehemiah simply sent a message, “I am carrying on a great project… Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” (Neh. 6:3). Remind yourself that anticipation must be bold and audacious at times. At other times, anticipation will consist of just taking the next small step by faith. At times its an act of warfare, in the midst of trial or at a season of extreme darkness… but it is often going to be resisted. When the going gets tough, you may feel like giving up. Step up and face your oppressor! You are in the process of moving toward your destiny or dream… and you need to persevere!

Power is released when you continue anticipating during difficult times!

  • 3. Anticipation Is Key To Restoration:

When something or someone has been lost, God’s plan is to restore all that the enemy has stolen… all that is broken or in shambles. Judah’s leaders had ceased anticipating the completion of the second temple in Jerusalem. For 17 years, the temple foundations lay in neglect. But then came the prophetic word, to remind them of God’s original instruction and exhort them to begin the building project once more. What was stirred by the prophetic word – anticipation and faith! Do not give up! Allow the Holy Spirit to restore your capacity to dream… anticipation will offer strength in the fulfillment of God’s promises and the destiny He has placed in your heart.

~It might be time to go back to the original promise and instruction that God gave to you.

~It might be time to go to Scripture for the truth about who God is, and who He says you are.

~It might be time to receive a fresh word from the Holy Spirit that will stir you on, to continue acting in faith.

Anticipation is a mighty force in reaching your destiny, your family purpose or your ministry vision.

  • 4. Anticipation… Is Your Breakthrough:

To anticipate is to position for God’s purpose… the rest is up to Him! Anticipation is about alignment. It is more than expectation… it is expect-action. It is faith in motion. Anticipation is David running towards Goliath, a slingshot in one hand and 5 smooth stones in the other hand. Anticipation is Elijah sending his servant to look for a cloud in the sky, when he had just prayed for rain. Anticipation is a powerful spiritual principle, because it is practical. Anticipation means taking steps forward in spite of natural sight.

It has been said, ‘The journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step’. Ask yourself – what was the moment of your breakthrough… and you will recall that it was the moment that you first began to anticipate something new! Therefore you should do something every day towards your dream and your goals! Your anticipation and your acts of obedience, empowered by the Holy Spirit, will bring evidence that your breakthrough has arrived.

This is how you take possession of God’s promises by faith… believe, anticipate and lean in toward God’s desired purposes.

You will find that your anticipation will break into Kingdom momentum!

Seeing Harvest

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled”  (Mt 5:6)

Some things are only discovered by the truly desperate. Those who hunger and thirst, who display their need and recognize there is just no substitute for a right relationship with God… those are the people that find God’s fullness. They become satisfied spiritually; in the inner parts of their being, because God responds to their seeking heart.

Seeing vulnerability:

Coming from a perspective that sees vulnerability as a Kingdom value; I have found the experience of getting to know my friends from Central and East Africa, a pure delight. One reason is, that they never seem to hide their hunger for relationship. They desire to be fathered and love to feel the encouragement of somebody they believe will release blessing over them.

There are so many tribes across East Africa and so much diversity, yet the hunger and thirst of this region compels me to draw closer to its culture, its people and its heartbeat. I enjoy the opportunity to look into their eyes.  They seem to want what I have to sow into their hearts. They want to feel the nurturing Presence of God, transforming their lives into fruitful harvest fields.

Jesus said, “…lift up your eyes and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (Jn 4:35)

Seeing harvest is more about the way the field draws our attention than our great farming skill. Did you catch what Jesus said, “…they are white already to harvest.” When a field is white and ready to harvest, it is so incredibly attractive to God. Jesus tells us to lift up our eyes and see what God sees and to see how God sees. We are supposed to feel God’s invitation to partner in the harvest. It is part of the DNA of Kingdom People, who share the same heartbeat of the Father.

Seeing what He sees:

From day one, this has been an easy task for me. Having an orphan beginning helps me relate to one of their greatest struggles. They are today feeling the overwhelming burden of a culture that has been touched deeply by HIV Aids. Orphans are part of the landscape.

Pastors have made several comments about the need for me to visit his orphan care facilities and his ministry in the slums. These are leaders who have been listening to the cry of the hungry and thirsty people around them. It is my joy to partner with them to share some of their burden for a short time.

Thank You, Father – I wouldn’t want to have missed this sight.

“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27)

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