Posts Tagged ‘Hatred’

Knowing God’s Favor

The Bible tells us that Abraham was known by God. Abraham saw the Lord and His angels. Once the Lord sent three of His angels to communicate His plans and share His purposes with Abraham (Gen. 18:1-3). When Abraham saw the angels he ran to meet them, bowed down and greeted them with these words,

  • “My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant.”

Abraham knew that the presence of angels meant access to God’s favor and the fulfilment of His Promise. God was bringing increase into his house, giving him a promised son and making him a blessing to the generations that would follow his example of faith.

Blessing and Favor:

There are some things that money cannot buy… one of them is favor. When God’s favor is on your life, wonderful things will happen to you and for you. Favor will take you where nothing else can take you. Favor can open doors and prevent calamity. Favor can help you do more with less. Favor can make a way where there is no way! The good news is that every Child of God who walks by faith is given access to favor. Favor is what makes the impact of a promise carry blessing for generations. God watches over His Word to perform it (Jer. 1:12)… because He watches over you.

Watching is Favoring:

God was watching over Abraham based upon the Promise He had made to bless Abraham and his descendants through Isaac (Gen. 17:19). Not only to Abraham; but God also spoke to Isaac personally to confirm this amazing favor. God promised Isaac that He would favor him in the same way that He had favored his father Abraham (Gen. 26:2-6). Blessing comes to Abraham and Isaac as an empowerment to prosper, because of God’s watchfulness and supernatural hand upon the Promises made. Blessing always goes hand in hand with favor. In order to be blessed by someone, you must first be favored by them.

And who better to be favored by… than God?!

Recognizing Favor:

You can recognize the favor by the blessing! Abraham was known as the wealthiest man in all the land. He exibited favor as a man of faith! As a spiritual descendant of Abraham and a Child of God, God has promised to favor you and bless you. When you embrace God’s Word; His principles and His wisdom, you will automatically find His favor as well. When you seek His mercy, kindness, and truth and reject and shut out all hatred, selfishness, deliberate hypocrisy, and falsehood, then you will not only find favor, but also good understanding and high esteem in the sight of God and man as well!

“When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Prov. 16:7)

God’s favor on your life translates into favor with man as well. Doors will open and opportunities will come. Blessings will run after you! Even sinners will say “yes” to you when they would have said “no” to everyone else. God will send His Spirit and His angels to cause favor to shine on you… from every direction and in all your ways.

Expect God’s favor to be on your life even as it followed Abraham… because faith in Christ activates the Promise! (Rom. 4:13-25)

Seeking & Saving

Seeking the Lost in Kenya“Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” (Lk. 19:9-10)

Zacchaeus was a creative thinker… you might call him a “person of initiative”. He wanted to see Jesus; so going up the road a bit ahead of where Jesus would pass, he climbs up into a common sycamore tree and waits. I wonder if Zacchaeus lived his life this way? In order to compensate for people’s hatred, would he anticipate the places where they would need him or his money? Perhaps money was the only thing in his life that people even saw of value to him… or about him. As a rich tax collector, he had no shortage of enemies. Some would find his creative leanings more manipulation than honest interest. But somehow this seemed different. Perhaps his need for love was getting the best of him? We do not know, but I wonder…

So Jesus sees this little man in the tree. Instead of passing him by, ignoring him, turning a cold shoulder or just laughing at him, Jesus stops and calls him by name – a name which means “pure”. Jesus says, “Get down from that ridiculous perch, and take Me home with you. I would like to go to your house today for supper!”

Keys to Seeking & Saving the Lost:

  1. Seeing Brokenness as an Open Door
  2. The Anointing of the Holy Spirit
  3. The Will to Eat Together

Brokenness is not always easy to focus upon. Yet, its hard to miss in this story of Jesus going to the home of Zacchaeus… his deepest issue is “brokenness”. Brokenness takes many forms, but it is the most visible effect of being a “sinner”. It can look like anger and rage, or bad attitudes that protect our emotions or it can look like endless searching, longing for love and embrace. But no matter what form brokenness takes it is always an open door to the hungry heart.

The Holy Spirit had anointed Jesus with a message and ministry that would “heal the brokenhearted” and bring “deliverance to the captive” (Lk. 4:18). His ability to walk into people’s lives was undeniable! He was anointed for this, and whenever Jesus spoke into the broken heart with His love; “lost-ness” was dissolved. Yet, Jesus still needed to be willing… willing to go where He might find others accusing Him of association with the sinner. He knew that beyond the point of association was connection and the common meal. Jesus said, “I must go to your house for supper”.

Reaching the Lost:

The lifestyle that reaches the lost around us requires intentional discipline. We must notice other people’s pain and brokenness, because it is an open door to their heart. We must rest on our anointing; as Jesus did, and trust God for words and power that will turn opportunities into testimonies. The Holy Spirit has always surprised me in these moments, when I find myself sharing with someone who is in a season of transition or struggle. I rarely have thought out how the words should flow ahead of time, but the Holy Spirit gives generously when we ask for wisdom.

Lastly, we must be willing to “eat with sinners” as Jesus was accused of doing when He went to several tax collector’s homes. Remember His disciple Matthew was one of those “sinners” that Jesus found through eating with him. Meals are amazing moments, because they bring us together in ways that nourish more than our bodies. Time spent around a meal turns conversation into fellowship and becomes a fire that melts away the impure motives or the apprehensions of the broken heart.

What Jesus models for us with Zacchaeus, needs to become our daily experience in the marketplace… and throughout the nations.

Capturing A Heart

I am Your Chosen Child

Jesus is the Master… “At Capturing A Heart”

It was what a friend of mine calls “a life intervention”, between Saul of Tarsus and the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet it becomes the life changing event where Saul becames Paul and a destiny is transformed. It was somewhere along the Damascus Road that a light from Heaven peered directly into a very dark place… Saul’s heart.

A Stubborn Heart:

His was no ordinary heart, it was thirsting for blood and zealous for a law without mercy. The determination and hatred seemed to overflow in his quest for letters of approval from the governing leaders of Jerusalem. It made him a persecuter of the Church and pursuer of Christians. “Still breathing out threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord”, this ruthless man seemed convinced that the followers of “The Way” needed “to be bound and brought to Jerusalem”.

Divine Encounter:

What could have been an end, becomes a transformation. A light from Heaven, the voice of Jesus and three days without physical sight made all that seemed so desperate, pale in its urgency. Saul was now waiting for a visitor in a place he had never been, from someone he had never met, with a message he would never have imagined.

What could this mean?

While at the house of a man named Judas, on Straight Street, Saul was left to consider the vision of the Risen Lord Jesus for three long days. Would this end in death? Would it be quick or was God’s Son so angry that He would torture the persecuter? Saul would have no sight, just an echo in his heart of an encounter that struck him to the ground. ”Could it really be true that this Jesus had risen from the dead?” This would re-focus anyone’s life, but what could Jesus mean by “you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9:6).

Receiving Sight!

Ananias enters the house; and laying his hands on Saul he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:17). Jesus was saying, “I have chosen you as My vessel to bear My name before Gentiles, Kings and the Children of Israel” (Acts 9:14), but more than that, He was capturing the heart by an encounter with the Holy Spirit. Filled with the Holy Spirit, he would never be the same again! Scales fell away and a new determination was birthed within his heart. Saul would be wrecked forever, because his heart had been captured by Love, Himself… not the emotion, the Holy Spirit.

Filled with the Holy Spirit!

The Lord Jesus captured the heart of the persecuter; Saul, by filling him with the Holy Spirit. There is no doubt for anyone to become completely captured, they must be completely filled with the Holy Spirit. I have heard it said that in order to remove a passion from a heart, like fear or hate; it must be conquered by a greater passion, like chosenness and love. My only comment is that when the Holy Spirit fills a person, He captures the seat of all passion.

“I count all things loss…that I may gain Christ.” (Phil 3:8)

We read in the Apostle Paul’s words, an expression of the captured  heart. He holds forth a compelling satisfaction in knowing Christ Jesus as Lord and a desire to see the salvation of his fellow countrymen. This formerly driven persecuter was now focused on preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom to all people, Jews and Gentiles alike (Rom 10:1-4). His greatest desire and prayer to God for all of them was that they might be saved. His longing was that they turn to the Lord Jesus Christ for the capturing of their own hearts.

Eating With Zacchaeus

“Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” (Lk. 19:9-10)

Zacchaeus was a creative person. He wanted to see Jesus; so going up the road a bit ahead of Him, he climbs up into a common sycamore tree and waits for Jesus to come to him. I wonder if Zacchaeus lived his life this way. In order to compensate for people’s hatred, would he anticipate the places where they would need him or his money? Perhaps money was the only thing in his life that people even saw of value to him… or about him. As a rich tax collector, he had no shortage of enemies. Some would find his creative leanings more manipulation than honest interest. But somehow this seemed different. Perhaps his need for love was getting the best of him? We do not know, but I wonder…

So Jesus sees this little man in the tree. Instead of passing him by, ignoring him, turning a cold shoulder or just laughing at him, Jesus stops and calls him by name – a name which means “pure”. Jesus says, “Get down from that ridiculous perch, and take Me home with you. I would like to go to your house today for supper!”

Keys to Seeking & Saving the Lost:

  1. Seeing Brokenness as an Open Door
  2. The Anointing of the Holy Spirit
  3. The Will to Eat Together

What we should never miss in the story of Jesus going to the home of Zacchaeus is the issue of “brokenness”. Brokenness takes many forms, it can look like anger and rage, attitudes that protect our emotions or it can look like endless searching, longing for love and embrace. But no matter what form brokenness takes it is always an open door to a hungry heart.

The Holy Spirit had anointed Jesus with a message and ministry that would “heal the brokenhearted” and bring “deliverance to the captive” (Lk. 4:18). His ability to walk into people’s lives was undeniable… He was anointed for this and whenever Jesus spoke into the broken heart with His love, lost-ness was dissolved. Yet, Jesus still needed to be willing… willing to go where He might find others accusing Him of association with the sinner. He knew that beyond the point of association was connection and the common meal. Jesus said, “I must go to your house for supper”.

Reaching the Lost:

The lifestyle that reaches the lost around us requires intentional effort. We must notice other’s pain and brokenness, because it is an open door to their heart. We must rest on our anointing; as Jesus did, and trust God for words and power that will turn opportunities into testimonies. The Holy Spirit has always surprised me in these moments, when I find myself sharing with someone who is in a season of transition or struggle. I rarely have thought out how the words should flow ahead of time, but the Holy Spirit gives generously when we ask for wisdom.

Lastly, we must be willing to “eat with sinners” as Jesus was accused of doing when He went to several tax collector’s homes. Remember His disciple Matthew was one of those “sinners” that Jesus found through eating with him. Meals are amazing moments, because they bring us together in ways that nourish more than our bodies. Time spent around a meal turns conversation into fellowship and becomes a fire that melts away the impure motives or the apprehensions of the broken heart.

What Jesus models for us with Zacchaeus, needs to become our daily experience in the marketplace… and throughout the nations.

Controlling Patterns

In regards to spiritual warfare, we are admonished by the Apostle Paul to be wise in who we find ourselves wrestling against. He flat out tells us that we must not wrestle with flesh and blood (Eph 6:12), that our battle is not with people or even ourselves, but with principalities and powers in heavenly places. We wrestle against demonic forces that use our thoughts and control our actions by way of deception and fear. We must come to grips with this if we want to win our battles in the spirit.

Evil Forces:

The forces of evil defy the Truths of God by subliminal and subversive tactics that have their influence in our brokenness. Admittedly we have sinful residue still hanging around in our lives. Although our sin is forgiven and this residue does not make us evil, it does still leave us susceptible to deception. Evil is a perversion of reality that is orchestrated and controlled by Satan, himself. His aim is to construct networks of shame and guilt within our lives based on f-e-a-r… “false evidence appearing real”. When evil forces, like hatred or lust are visible in the human heart it is not by way of personal choices; well thought out and reasonable, but entanglements in our emotions and feelings. Feelings of fear are often more real than feelings of peace, because we are “tuned-in” to them through natural perception, by way of our five senses. These senses rule us and rob us of our ability to see spiritually, when they are controlled by wicked authorities in heavenly places. I am reminded often by the Holy Spirit, that there are forces I cannot see, standing behind what I cannot seem to break through. Our real enemies are not in the natural realm.

Example:

  • Something calls up fears of distrust in us and we protect ourselves from being hurt or embarrassed… this is pride at work, inside.
  • Someone gets a promotion that we believe we were more qualified for and we feel anger or resentment… this is jealousy at work.

We are not evil when we have such emotional triggers inside, but Satan targets our sinful desires by watching our behavior, setting traps and establishing strongholds of emotional bondage. His goal is to lead us astray, into darkness and captivity. Jesus called him a “thief”, whose only goal is to steal, kill and destroy (Jn 10:10).

Evil Works:

These types of works are of the devil and are what Jesus came into the world to destroy through His cross and resurrection (1 Jn 3:8). The Apostle John makes it clear that to practice sin is to be a slave to sin, but that Christ offered us real hope to break controlling patterns of evil.

A Clean Slate:

Our freedom from the sinful residue of brokenness comes through knowing God’s forgiveness. Forgiveness wipes the slate clean. Living continually with a clean heart allows us to stop wrestling to achieve acceptance with God, but freely practice righteousness (1 Jn 3:4-9). God has accepted us through the blood of Christ and our life is now hidden in Him who has made us acceptable.

Grace is Supernatural: 

Its amazing to come into the knowledge of God’s freedom, because we get the power to succeed by faith in His supernatural grace. This grace is the work of God that transforms our carnal perceptions of reality and allows the Holy Spirit to govern our understanding. The Holy Spirit guides us into all Truth (Jn 16:13), beyond the wrestling and into the peace of God (Phil 4:7).

Living Sacrifices:

Knowing these demonic controlling patterns that war against our thoughts can help us become more aware of how our lives can be governed by the Holy Spirit. When we see evil desires coming up inside us, we can shift our focus by allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal the Father’s heart to us. We are to become living sacrifices, surrendered to the tranforming power that comes as we offer our whole being to God (Rom 12:2). The Holy Spirit wants to lead us. He wants to help us live according to God’s original design, rather than our fears. Renewing our thoughts is the primary way God breaks us free from the strongholds that once governed our behavior. That is why the Apostle Paul said, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor 3:17).

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