Posts Tagged ‘fears’

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)

Believing Church

“For indeed the Gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” (Heb. 4:2)

God won’t move in unbelief! Therefore, we must activate faith in His Word, faith in His activity and faith in His prophetic purpose.

Don’t wait… Activate!

Jesus appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart (Mk. 16:14). He did this because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. Unbelief and hardness of heart are at the center of ineffective ministry and powerless Christianity.

Without Belief there is no Faith! (Mk. 6:3-6)

According to God’s Word without faith, the Gospel will not profit you. After seeing His ministry in action; hearing His prophetic voice and experiencing three years of signs, wonders and miracles, the eleven apostles sat in unbelief and hardness of heart. Why? Because they found nothing inside of them to energize their vision! All they could see was their plight.

Activating Faith is a Choice to Believe Something!

The idea of belief must be taken seriously, because it is what engages our hearts to move in faith (Heb. 11:1). Though their Friend and Master had died, He had spoken of a plan in the midst of this moment (Jn. 14:3). Fear had them paralyzed! They were wanted by the authorities and scared for their lives; yet, they should have been able to step into the promises Jesus had left with them (Jn. 14:29). They needed to bring to their memory the words that encouraged them so many times before. But once again, we see them huddled around the table discussing their plight.

Hardness of Heart:

Suddenly Jesus appeared and rebuked them for their hardness of heart. And why? Because they needed to make a choice… they could have engaged their faith by believing what Jesus had said and seen God’s prophetic purpose. Hardness of heart is the inability to move on what you know!

Did you catch that… “Hardness of heart is the paralysis of analysis!”

The Capacity to See:

Believing awakens our capacity to see what Jesus sees. Instead of lecturing His disciples and beating them over the head with Scripture, Jesus calls them up higher. Its as if Jesus was telling them to just take the leap and obey… make the choice! His purpose of reaching the nations was about to become their lifelong quest (Mk. 16:15-16) and He needed them to break free from distractions. He needed them to awaken their capacity to see, and embrace what He could see. What could we see - if we were truly free from distractions?

If we would just lay aside our fears, our agendas and our desire to please one another, the world would feel the impact of an energized vision and Jesus would soon return for a glorious Believing Church.

Receive Your Inheritance

“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” (Eph. 1:11)

Many Christians have bought into the idea that the blessings of God – our inheritance – will not be given to us until we get to heaven. Do we really have to wait that long?

Well  – Here is the Good News…

It’s NOW! Your blessing, your inheritance is wrapped up in your relationship with Jesus Christ. Let me show you how you can receive it today. If you are facing challenges, lack in any area, addictions, fears, sickness, low finances, broken relationships, then hang on. Christ has brought you into the “Blessed Place” and made you a co-heir with Him (Rom. 8:17)… protection, deliverance, restoration, and provision. You got a taste of it when you were born again and received the Holy Spirit, but the more the eyes of your heart are enlightened, the more you begin to understand all that God has for you. We’re talking about all of the blessings you are entitled to simply because you have relationship with Christ and an inheritance in God!

Taste and See:

When you begin to walk with Christ, your belief grows and you start tasting more and more of the goodness of God and the richness of His blessings (Ps. 23:6 & 34:8). The error some make is in thinking that the more you walk with God, the more you experience the blessings He has for you. But that is the myth of religion, not the reality in Christ (Eph. 1:3-10). You have become complete in Him, from the moment you trusted Him with your future. The more you believe the blessings are yours through Christ, the more you will experience them. It’s like “believing” is the way to get your blessings out of storage. Belief or “faith” is the “key to the storehouse” (Heb. 11:1 & 11:6). Praise God!

Galatians 3:9 says, “So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.”

And what kind of blessing did Abraham receive? For starters, he was fruitful. Not just with children but with livestock, cattle, money, and land. Everywhere he went he prospered. Read the book of Genesis for yourself and you’ll see. If you have the same faith as Abraham, the blessings of Abraham will start working their way into your life. I encourage you to quit thinking you will not receive it until you get to heaven.

Its So Simple?

An inheritance is released when a person dies… Jesus died. He came to die, so that we could live in the abundant provision of His life (Jn. 10:10). That’s when you were given access to your inheritance… when you embraced His will for your life. The only reason you don’t walk in it fully is because you haven’t fully believed that it’s yours – right now for you to receive. But, you don’t have to wait till you get to heaven to possess it!

Pray this prayer based on Ephesians 1:17-20:

“Father, I am asking that You give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that I can know You better. I pray also that I will have greater understanding and belief in my heart. This belief will help me to know the hope that is mine in receiving the blessings that You have for me right now. Show me the inheritance that is wait for me to possess. Please, open my eyes and my heart so I can fully comprehend how rich and amazing the blessings are that You have purchased for me. Things You have promised, but I have yet to receive; simply because I haven’t believed. I declare right now that I choose to believe and receive the inheritance that You have for me. In Jesus Name.”

Now, receive your inheritance!

Empowered By Leaders

“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established - that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” (Rom. 1:11-12)

This is a wonderful expression of the Apostle Paul’s desire to empower the believers in Rome. In my own life I have been blessed by the example of many great mentors and friends. People who seemed like heroes of the faith or people who have set the standard of ministry by their skills and devotion to Christ.

Yet, I can count on one hand, the number of leaders who inspired me by their story and gave me the tools to achieve what seemed beyond my reach. At times, observing successful leaders has left me more discouraged than encouraged, more intimidated than empowered. Their impact or success seemed so impressive that it left me feeling it was unattainable.

Perhaps you too have felt this way after leaving conferences, listening to podcasts or reading great books. Why, and how can it be avoided?

I believe it is a heart problem which manifests as “inspiration without impact”. Getting the most out of any leadership requires us to be empowered not simply impressed. I believe it comes down to a balance of two character traits, confidence and humility… “teachability”.

  • Teachability happens when we can hear and communicate with integrity and empower those who listen.

1. Confidence

Part of the problem is me. I want to be inspired and sometimes inspiration is blinding. My initial adrenaline rush feels good after hearing a great teaching or going to a wonderful conference, but it is followed by the inevitable sobering look in the mirror. Rather than empowered, I measure myself by what I see – not what God sees. When the skill level of a leader feels more like a “super-star” to me than authentic, then it has not really changed how I see. “Hype” will cause us to miss the point of a leader’s influence. When in situations where I don’t compare to others, I just try to admit it! I am not them, but this should not lead me to discouragement or disqualification. In fact, that may be why God has this person’s voice in my ear… to shift my thinking, so that I see myself the way God sees me. We must recognize that God has made each person unique and special, and we must tune our ears to hear at the heart level, every time.

Likewise, leaders and communicators also need to be secure. Few things will destroy you faster than insecurity. Leaders or those with a larger platform should exude confidence. I once heard a well known preacher say that he used to vomit every time before he got on stage, because he was so nervous. One key to his overcoming this was recognizing that it wasn’t about him, but about God. To help shift his mentality and his fears, he would take a step forward before getting on the stage and consciously think about stepping into Christ and His strength (Gal. 2:20).

  • Here is the Truth: When any person finds their confidence in themselves rather than in Christ, it leads to confusion rather than empowerment. (Jn. 8:31-36) Truth is reality from God’s perspective!

2. Humility

As a disciple or ”learner” it’s easy to feel the delight of being inspired and impressed by powerful leaders. Yet, its honesty and authenticity that empowers us to achieve the goals of God’s Kingdom on Earth. I try to listen with a personal need to gain instruction, rather than feel like I’m getting material to teach to others. Humility is what causes teaching to become training, information to become revelation and testimony to become empowerment. I cannot just “listen” – I must “hear” with spiritual ears what a leader is communicating. My life is my testimony, not just my words.

The great temptation for leaders and followers alike is to avoid talking about weaknesses and flaws. But every strength is susceptible to be a weakness when it is not tempered by humility. There is a subtle fear in all of us that if we let others see who we really are that we will loose credibility and shrink our influence. But leadership is only influential when it is honest and humble. We have all seen what hype can do! There is nothing wrong with “putting your best food forward”, but don’t present an illusion of reality. Walk in integrity and present the real you.

Here is the Truth: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble”  (Jms. 4:6). When you feel God’s resistence, there is a reason. Stop and address it and God will give you ears to hear and a heart of understanding (Prov. 3:34).

Christ, Real Confidence & Humility:

Christ modeled this so beautifully. Unlike you and I, He actually had it all together. He was flawless and perfect. God - in skin and dwelling among us. Yet, “He humbled himself, taking on the very form of a servant and coming in the likeness of men”  (Phil 2:5-8). While on earth, He obeyed the words of His parents and in His ministry He listened to the voice of His Father in Heaven (Jn. 5:19). He modeled the confidence and humility that empowered His disciples and now by the Holy Spirit, He empowers us to have the same mind and the same character.

Be Yourself:

You don’t have to be in the spotlight or emphasize your achievements, to have influence and empower others. My advice: do your best and be secure with your calling in Christ. More opportunities will come as you do your best in your current position. Don’t allow shame or pride to poison your heart from receiving from those who are ahead of you or achieving what seems impossible.

Its Christ in you that is the hope of Glory! He is the One we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we might present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. (Col. 1:27-28) Hallelujah!

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.

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