Posts Tagged ‘lifestyle’

Anointing and Increase

“Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’” (Luke 4:14-19)

“…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38)

Jesus was anointed by God… indeed “God was with Him” in increasing measures by a lifestyle of prayer and fasting. His example is designed to be our model of spiritual discipline. It was Jesus’ experience even as a youth to increase in His favor with God and man (Lk 2:52). Yet even in the transition of Jesus into His Earthly ministry, we can see a direct connection between a lifestyle of prayer and fasting and His increasing anointing (Lk 5:12-13)(Lk 6:12)(Mk 9:29). This reality is both inspiring and instructional.

Notice how God moves Jesus into His public ministry:

  • He is baptized in the river Jordan, where He is filled with the Holy Spirit and hears the voice of His Father from heaven (Lk 3:21-22).
  • Immediately (it would appear to me) Jesus establishes a posture of prayer and fasting as He is led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil (Mt 4:1-2).
  • While in the wilderness, Jesus feels the challenges of the Devil, the hunger in His body and the threat of wild beasts. He becomes aware of the ministry of angels as well as the strength given by the Words that proceeded from the mouth of God (Mk 1:12-13).
  • He experiences increase in the anointing and breaks through the challenge victorious, because the Devil left Him until a more opportune time (Lk 4:13).
  • Jesus would return to Galilee in the increased anointing and power of the Holy Spirit bearing evidence with signs following, because people give Him glory and praise for His teaching ministry (Lk 4:14-15).
  • Now that the temptation was over His ministry would begin with a journey to Nazareth and an announcement of how He was anointed by the Holy Spirit to preach, heal, bring deliverance and freedom to the captive heart (Lk 4:16-19).

Defining the Anointing:

The anointing is God being “with us” or God’s Glory manifest upon our lives. Glory is defined best as God’s “Weighty” Presence or abiding spiritual power made known through our fellowship with the Holy Spirit. I have often said the anointing is God’s hand of favor upon our lives for the advancing of His activity in the world around us. We see this in how Jesus carried the anointing. He went about the Judean countryside advancing the Kingdom of God, because the anointing was on His life. God was with Him, empowering and leading Him, breaking the grip of the Devil and advancing the activity of His Father’s heart.

Why Prayer and Fasting:

Prayer and fasting increases our ability to know and sense the supernatural Presence of God, by awakening our spiritual senses and diminishing our emphasis on flesh desires. His power and His Glory begin to increase as we meet with God and experience fellowship in an unhindered way. God’s will and His ways become more recognizable when we are sensitive to His heart. I would describe the anointing as an actual physical experience whereby we feel the internal warmth of His Presence upon our body. That is why it increases as we pray and fast. By yielding our hearts in greater measure to the Holy Spirit’s activity we can welcome and value the anointing and make room for increase in our lives. It is like a signal that God sends to us saying that He is with us. He is showing Himself to us and approves of what we are saying or doing (Jn 14:21)(2 Cor 1:21).

There is nothing so important to our Christian walk than our faith in God (Heb 11:6)! It pleases Him when we step out in ways that give Him greater opportunity to reach the world through us. It is my desire to encourage prayer and fasting so that we may increase in the anointing of God and be more effective as Kingdom Agents in the world around us.

We are ambassadors for Christ {The Anointed One} as though God were pleading through us… Be reconciled to God! (2 Cor 5:18-21).

Gratitude

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thes. 5:16-18)

Do you want to know the will of God for your life? Here it is… Without question, this is the most direct statement from the Bible concerning God’s intent for you!

  1. Rejoice!
  2. Pray!
  3. Give Thanks!

The Discipline of Gratitude:

Its a lifestyle of gratitude that God is looking for in His Child! It is a discipline, a witness and a sphere of authority… to live in such a way that others see you as a positive influence in a very negative world. Gratitude is one of the greatest Keys of the Kingdom! It positions the believer to see, hear and respond to things under unique environmental laws – laws governed by the Holy Spirit. Gratitude is a postured heart that moves “you”, your mind, will and emotional “you”… from limitation and fear to optimism and love. The Discipline of Gratitude means we are practicing and producing an attitude of being thankful, even when the future is cloudy ahead of you. This is a real test to our worship as lovers of God, as Christians; we are to be found expressing to the Lord our appreciation and reverence for how He has and still is releasing grace into our lives.

God offers us the Wow Factor!

We are grateful because His blood has redeemed us. As a discipline, this means we are to realize our indebtedness to God and “practice” our faith, in awesome wonder of what He has done for us. It has a relational application in that it helps us deal with others with support and appreciation for how they have benefited our lives. This Discipline of Gratitude enables us to know Him and His will more and more… as we keep our focus on God’s promises and not our circumstances. His provision and care are amazing! They are an expression of His mercy… not merely our experiences. Christianity is not for our personal benefit… it is for His glory. Seeing life from the perspective of what “I can get” or what I feel “I deserve”; rather than what I have already been given, creates “self” problems. We must discipline ourselves to see God as the Father of every good and perfect gift (Jms. 1:17)… and then live out loud (Heb. 13:15), expressing the wonder of His favor toward us. Remind yourself… He is looking for worshipers! (Jn. 4:23-24)

See God as the Father of every good and perfect gift… and then live out loud!

What Worship Is

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.” (Psalm 95:1-7)

If you ask people what “worship” is, you would probably receive many answers related to music, church services, and singing. While worship certainly includes the songs we sing and the services we attend; this common definition limits worship to a time frame or specific activity. Instead, I believe the Bible teaches that worship is a lifestyle… an ongoing response to God in every circumstance and every moment.

Jesus made this statement to the woman at the well outside of Sychar: “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth”. (Jn 4:24)

The Worship Paradigm:

I have come to understand that worship takes on many forms and expressions, but it always communicates from the heart. Worship comes out of the human spirit as a declaration of truth… to say, “I value God!” Loving Him for who He is and for how He has changed your life. It becomes the compelling desire of “lovers”… to worship God from the heart. The passionate lover of God becomes undivided in their allegience… like a reservoir of love and appreciation for the King.

No Sacrifice is too Much!

While I often bring a sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise for entry into His Presence… when I get there I become the sacrifice poured out for His purpose. To set my life upon the altar is no loss; but a yielded embrace to His voice, that encourages true usefulness.

Like the Prophet Isaiah, my heart is captured and I am undone. I welcome the call to go wherever He leads me.

…I heard the voice of the Lord saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”

Then I said, “Here am I! Lord, send me.” (Isa 6:8)

Trained by Chastening

“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)

As you grow in your walk with God, you will discover that one of the strongest forces you will ever face is to rule your own flesh! But that is exactly what “chastening” is… ruling and reigning over your flesh! Your flesh will try to oppose you, stand against you and resist you on all sides. You find that the flesh has a memory and a mind of its own. It will distract you and try to lure you into believing that you can do a little, but still get a lot. It will whine like a baby and cry about the “unfair treatment” you are challenging it with… even before anything has been done. Yet your goal must be relentless… as believers we are commanded to crucify the flesh! (Rom. 12:1-2)

The Serious Nature of Chastening:

The Apostle Paul said, “No, I strike a blow to my body and make it (the flesh) my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Cor. 9:27). He saw something deeply rooted inside that needed to be dealt with or it would be his greatest disappointment… he would look like a hypocrite to those that he was preaching to. Also he felt the weight of being disqualified for the prize… the highest honor of pleasing God with his assignment.

If you’re going to be mightily used by God, your flesh must be disciplined so it can become an instrument through which the Holy Spirit can flow. You have to pay the price of crucifying the flesh in order to have the resurrection power of Jesus Christ expressed through your life.

The Unruly Child:

If you look at a child with no parental guidance or discipline, you’ll see exactly what the flesh does when it has its own way. The child will probably lie around, watch television, and eat junk food from morning till evening. And any person who lets his flesh do what it wants will most likely adopt the same lifestyle! That’s why dealing with the flesh is almost like chastening a child. The flesh must be controlled, corrected and made to obey even if it wants to do otherwise. The process is painful, but the rewards are eternal!

To be treated like Sons and Daughters of God!

Here is the often forgotten exhortation: chastening is part of the family dynamic… God chastens the ones He loves and receives! Don’t let your flesh rob you of the joy of the Father’s heart revealing itself in intimacy and embrace. He is treating us like His sons and daughters… rather than slaves.

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.” (Heb. 12:5-8)

The Peaceable Fruit of Righteousness:

1st) You are Legitimate Sons: You are not slaves – you are Sons. Let that sink into your mind and meditate on it whenever you feel the burn of the flesh. Remind your flesh once more that the benefits far outweigh the pain or discomfort. Sons walk in favor, receiving all the privileges and resources of the family. Sons do not fight for their rights or “earn” their keep… they are legitimate and carry their training as a badge of honor. The look in their faces and the confidence in their behavior shows that the were shaped in the Father’s household.

2nd) You are Partakers of Kingdom Discipline: You are looking better every day… and in every way! Chastening reveals the gold… the treasure that is inside comes to the surface (2 Cor 4:7). This divine fruit of righteousness means that Christ Himself is being formed in you, reflecting through you and working itself out beyond you… to others. Love, joy, peace, patience and kindness, self-control and faithfulness are beginning to bubble up to the surface and there is a revelation of God’s voice in every step you take.

A Depth of Knowledge

Jesus said, “But when you fast…” (Mt 6:17).

The lifestyle of prayer and fasting was and still remains part of traditional Jewish faith. For example, Yom Kippur is another name for the Day of Atonement and part of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. As one of the most important days of the Jewish year, prayer and fasting is practiced as a means of repentance. What this tells us is that prayer and fasting was as important to the spirituality of the Jew as any other discipline. It was used to challenge the depth of a person’s spiritual strength and evaluate where they found their treasure. That is why Jesus would say, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt 6:21).

Its how Jesus would have defined maturity. We see the Son of God grow in strength and favor with God and man as He maintained a sensitivity to the voice of God and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We must adopt the same disciplines if we want to deepen our spirit and impact our world.

A lifestyle of Prayer and Fasting does 3 things well…

  1. Deepens our roots in the discipline of faith (Acts 10:30)
  2. Deepens our strength in the battles we endure (2 Cor 10:3-6)
  3. Deepens our discernment in the spiritual realm (Acts 13:2)

Deep People:

Let’s take this thought one step further. A church’s greatest treasure is its deep people. I know recent church growth manuals emphasize seekers, young people and programs, but more than any other issue… depth matters! A healthy church is a growing church, yet if there is no core of deep people, its in trouble no matter how big it becomes.

Nurturing Depth:

Deep people do not just happen; they are cultivated and nurtured by a lifestyle of commitment to maturity. Spiritual depth is nurtured with the oversight of the Holy Spirit… from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:17-18). Maturity must be understood much like a farmer would understand his crop. Unless the seeds of faith are planted deeply, fertilized and nurtured, those seeds will not produce the type of harvest desired. Good farmers define their harvest by its fruitful plants not by its beautiful field. A strong harvest relies upon deep roots and strong plants.

Prayer and Fasting deepens the believing heart for larger people and larger Kingdom impact. Its time that we lift up out eyes and begin to see the harvest (Jn 4:35).

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