Posts Tagged ‘God’s heart’

The Inner Man

“Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” (Heb. 12:12-15)

There is strength available from God in and through your inner man! Go after it with all of your might… you need it, the world around you needs it and God wants you to receive it. Not only is it the command of God, but it is vital to all that effects you as a believer, who finds your identity “in Christ”. Ephesians 3:16 says that you can be, “…strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man”. The Phillip’s translation says, “…He will enable you to know the strength of the Spirit’s inner reinforcement…” He will enable you… like striking a match lights a fire. This is the believer’s source of power that sustains life when all else fails. We can come to know and check our spiritual pulse often – the Holy Spirit’s strengthening our inner man.

The Power of God:

As you learn to yield to the Holy Spirit, you will find yourself being fortified and built up with inner strength and power. He has been sent to nurture you, to support you, and to hold you up in times of struggle. This is the meaning behind “fullness”… filled with power! God has given us delegated authority to walk in the power He is making available to us (Lk. 11:19). Notice that the writer of the book of Hebrews speaks of our mobility as followers, as servants and warriors. His concern is the strength of our “hands” and “feeble knees” and the straight paths for our feet. Its not enough just to believe for the fullness of God, we need to have forward momentum and power rushing through our bones. We must put our faith into action and advance the Kingdom of God as leaders… violent against the enemies of our soul (Mt. 11:12). You have been anointed for this purpose… to be the scepter in the hand of the Savior – “til I (Father) make Your (Beloved Son/Jesus) enemies Your footstool!” (Psa. 110:1-4). Yeah!

Many in the Church today are trying to live the life of an over-comer without learning how to rely on the Holy Spirit’s inner strength. They are living frustrated and confused lives as they struggle to understand grace in the midst of spiritual challenges. They deal with life’s daunting problems on their own level… but there is a better way. A way where we will not fall short of the grace of God!

Be Clothed in Glory: (Lk. 24:49)

Becoming clothed in power from the Holy Spirit, allows us to accomplish spiritual tasks and find the pulse of God within. Yielding to the Spirit’s inner strength will break the frustration and anxiety of doing it on our own, and lead to peace of mind and an effectiveness that cannot be explained naturally.

“…but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the Will of God.” (Rom. 8:26-27)

These groanings can only be perceived by our learning to lean upon the Spirit’s inner pulse. The Holy Spirit is able to search our hearts and to know the innermost needs of the moment. He also fully understands God’s perfect will for our life and He comprehends secret things that are hidden beyond our finite, earthly knowledge. The Holy Spirit is able to blend all of this together and articulate the most perfect petition to God, praying on a level that we could never achieve on our own.

Knowing the Pulse of the Inner Man:

When we train ourselves to rely on the Spirit’s inner pulse and allow Him to pray through us with supernatural groaning and articulations, we will find that all things, whether good or bad, will be turned to our good as the Spirit has His way in our lives. This “praying in the Spirit” is an essential key to knowing the resources of God’s heart powerfully beating inside us… it “tunes us in” to the Will of God.

“We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.” (Rom. 8:28 Amp.)

Knowing to Pray

A little Elijah

A Little Elijah

Elijah is a powerful example of a man who knew… “Its time to pray”. I want to suggest that the reason he got answers to his prayers was not because of his eloquence, but his awareness. Elijah knew that prayer comes before the Highest Court of the Universe… God’s Heart. The prayers of a righteous man are effective prayers. This means they are heard and answered by God, because they pull upon His “fathering” nature. In fact, James tells us that Elijah was an average kind of guy, with similar passions to any of us.

“Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed and the heavens gave rain and the earth produced its crops.” (James 5:17-18)

Knowing is a Vital Key:

Do we know that we must pray to God in order to get the will of God activated in our lives? Knowing is not head knowledge, its experience in the doing of something. Knowing is the motivating factor that gets us invested, we know in order to stay in sync with reality… physical or spiritual. Elijah was a man full of conviction. His thought was not “if” prayer works, but when prayer works, get ready. How quickly do you run so you won’t get wet.

Talk with God:

Its that simple… just talk with God. The people who had lived through the drought at the Prophet’s request were unconvinced that Yahweh was indeed the only God who answers prayer; but when they saw fire fall from Heaven, there was little question who brought the goods. It was the one who prayed to the right God. These folks were out of touch with God, because they were not praying to God.

Prayer is Connection:

Prayer is as individual as we are, but it offers the connections we need to engage in relationship to the Living and Speaking God (Heb 1:1-4). We will be heard loud and clear, if we will just show up and participate. If we draw near to God in prayer, He will draw near to us with answers (James 4:8).

Look & Believe

“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” (2 Cor 4:3-4)

“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor 4:6)

Just keep looking into the face of Jesus Christ!

At the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, Jesus stood up and cried out with a loud voice, “Is anyone thirsty? Let him come to Me and drink, because believing will release in you rivers of living water!” (Jn 7:37-39) Not reasoning, doctrinal traditions or church programs… believing will do this. Yet its not just any believing it is believing that is moved by the Spirit as we look into the face of Jesus Christ.

Looking into things:

When we look into things, they reveal their glory. They reveal the nature of their design and their purpose. As a youth I can recall buying Hot Wheel toy cars and spending hours just looking at their unique style, color and cool features. Some were very tough looking and I could imagine driving wilderness roads and crashing through any obstacles in my path. As I played, my mother would often shout from the other room, “It sounds like an amazing adventure in there!” Whereby I would feel embarrassed by my intensity as the discoverer of the “glory” of my new car.

God’s Amazing Adventure:

When God created Adam, He made a powerful decision. He asks Adam to name the animals. In doing this He was teaching Adam a basic principle about glory. He was teaching Adam that when you look into the nature of something it will eventually reveal its character and purpose. When these things are discovered, “naming” it becomes simple. But it also creates a platform for relationship with the animal being named. Adam would need to discover how a porcupine was unique to the elephant, lion or bear.

The Point:

In this process God was making Himself vulnerable to the desire of Adam, because the training would serve to help him value the Glory of God. Adam would sin and fall short of the Glory of God (Rom 3:23) and all would be lost except the memory of God’s heart toward Adam. As God returns to the Garden of Eden to find the man hiding himself, it was not man who could not find God… it was God who could not find man. Oh, God knew where he was, but his sin now created separation because of the Glory that stood as a barrier between the perfect and the fallen. God calls man to Himself and clothes the man with the garment of a lamb, shedding blood and forever revealing the pattern of recovering a lost Glory.

The Nature of Our Father:

This is what a Father does, he creates avenues back into relational Glory. He restores, redeems and invites the son or daughter back into relationship even when the requirements for reconciliation have changed forever. And change they did! There would never again be access to the Garden on the same level of relationship. Adam and Eve would need to set their eyes upon a new Tree of Life… the Cross!

2000 Years Later:

The Lamb of God would come and take away the sin of the world and the same God who commanded light to shine in the darkness would shine in the hearts of those who believe. The light would reveal a knowledge like no other, it was the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Note: the knowledge of the Glory is not the Glory, but the Glory itself is found in His face. Look into the face of Jesus Christ and believe that what you behold is your destiny… and you will see what nothing on this Earth can offer – abundant life.

Just keep looking into His beautiful face… and see the Glory of God!

Stirred Up

“So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God…” (Haggai 1:14)

The phrase “stirred up” in this verse carries the meaning: “to rouse, awaken, excite, raise up; to incite; to arouse to action; to open one’s eyes.” This same Hebrew word is used 81 times in the Old Testament. It is used to describe how an eagle stirs up its nest (Deut. 32:11) and also how a musical instrument is awakened or warmed up before it is played (Ps. 108:2). It’s used twice as the Lord awakens the prophet each morning… He awakens his ear to hear God’s message (Isa. 50:4).

Stirring in the Spirit:

The Lord is arousing many in the Body of Christ these days! I hear it all around me, that “God is up to something”… He is moving in power and stirring the hearts of His people. I believe He is specifically calling out to His Sons and Daughters.

The greatest gift the Father wants to give us is a responsive relationship with Him. Yet this requires spiritual communication and hearing His voice. Remember, as believers, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. Scripture tells us that the Spirit searches all things (1 Cor. 2:9-16), even the deep things of God… He searches in order to awaken the “mind of Christ” inside our spirit. Consequently, because of the Holy Spirit in me, anywhere I am, at any moment, I have access to the thoughts and the stirrings of God’s heart and emotions. I can access the deep things of God through the spirit in me receiving revelation… its the bubbling up of the Holy Spirit searching out all things.

These inner stirrings are wonderful expressions of the Father’s heart toward His children. They represent love, faithfulness and protection in the midst of any storm or battle. They represent more than feelings… and more than pleasure. They are often compelling motivation for obedience, intercession or ministry. In the above verse we see clearly that the stirring of the spirit can motivate the servant of God to co-labor in the building of something that God has on His heart… to work on the House of the Lord.

Stop for a moment and ask yourself… “Are you becoming more sensitive to the stirrings in your spirit?”

The Prophetic Priority

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy.” (Acts 2:17-18)

God was speaking! New Testament Prophetic Ministry shaped the environment and relational culture of the Church. God is passionate about communicating… and we must make a priority for prophetic gifts in our local churches. The Church’s foundation was laid in the midst of an outpouring that would bear the evidence of a prophetic awakening. He wants us to hear His Voice! No question about it… when you look closely at the Early Church; you see the finger print of the Holy Spirit and the leaders leaning intently upon every word that proceeded from the mouth of God. Should it really be any different today?

Every congregation’s experience was a little different. There was a uniqueness in expression seen among the churches of the New Testament. Consider the different applications of prophecy and prophetic ministry in the following list:

  • The Jerusalem Church had a company of prophets, some of whom traveled, ministering prophetically. (Acts 11:27, Acts 15:32, Acts 21:10) The Prophet Agabus was one of this company. (Acts 11:27-28)
  • In Acts 9, God gives Ananias, who is from the Church in Damascus, prophetic insight into the calling on Saul (later Paul). Its interesting to note that Ananias is not a Prophet, simply a ‘disciple’.
  • In Acts 4, the Jerusalem Church gathers to pray. They are united, praying the purposes of God and boldness against threats that were emerging… a prophetic prayer that God answers.
  • The Church in Philippi was birthed through prophetic guidance. God gave the Apostle Paul a prophetic dream concerning his team’s immediate call to Macedonia. (Acts 16:9)
  • Prophetic guidance was used of God in evangelism, missionary endeavors and the establishment of new churches. (Acts 8:26, 10:9-23, 13:1-3, 16:9-10)
  • Prophets were included in the leadership team of the Church in Antioch. (Acts 13:1) They received revelation from the Holy Spirit when it was time to release Paul and Barnabas into their apostolic calling. This prophetic guidance launched Paul’s Apostolic church-planting ministry.
  • When the Apostle Paul visited the Church at Ephesus, the believers received the Holy Spirit. Each one of them prophesied as they were filled. (Acts 19:6)
  • In the Church in Thessalonica the Apostle Paul exhorted the believers not to quench the Spirit, and not to despise prophecy. (1 Thess. 5:19-20)
  • In the Church in Colossae the Apostle Paul encouraged believers to include prophetic or spiritual songs in their gatherings… there was a value placed upon songs directly given by the Holy Spirit! (Col. 3:16)
  • Among the Roman Christians the Apostle Paul called believers to embrace and use the gifts given by God to serve the body, including the gift of prophecy. (Rom. 12:5-8)
  • In the Church in Corinth the Apostle Paul instructs in the use of spiritual gifts in their gatherings, with particular emphasis on the gift of prophecy. He encourages every member to eagerly seek the gift of prophecy. (1 Cor. 14:1)
  • The Apostle Paul reminds his “son”, Timothy of personal prophecies received during his commissioning from the church elders. (1 Tim. 4:14) This may have been at his sending Church in Lystra. (Acts 16:1-2)

No “One Size Fits All” Approach:

Some churches sent itinerant prophetic ministers; others received them. Some churches, such as in Corinth; placed a high value upon prophetic gifts and ministry. However, there does not seem to be a standard or uniform approach to prophetic ministry in the early church. Leaders were open to prophetic revelation, but did not rely on it all the time. It was initiated by God and resulted from their relationship with the Holy Spirit.

So what does this mean for us today?

For those of us who are gifted in prophecy, it means not placing expectations on our local church leaders on what particular expressions of prophetic ministry should be operating in our church or meetings. Being prophetic is not about performance, but following the Holy Spirit’s unique direction for our church. For those who lead ministries and churches, it encourages us to have the freedom to explore our own unique expression of prophetic ministry. And most of all – to appreciate and rejoice in the fresh flow of creative expression, as God’s heart is revealed to the Body of Christ.

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