Posts Tagged ‘Lord of Hosts’

Valiant Laborers

“And the Word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region.” (Acts 13:49)

“Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth and a two-edged sword in their hand.” (Ps. 149:5-6)

We mount our assault on the portals of hell and against us they shall not stand! The valiant of heart are those whose laborers are noted by courage, passion and alignment to the Word of God. These marks are the standard where soldiers emerge and warriors take shape. Indeed, the character of heaven is revealed in no better way than when God’s Saints are clothed in the power of the Holy Spirit and accompanied by angels. The advancement of the Kingdom of God is a violent overthrow of the works of the devil! It requires God’s anointing and the character to follow His heart!

No matter how we define a move of God in our day or in the days of the Early Church… we must not miss the prophetic reality of following God’s heart. One of Luke’s purposes in writing the Book of Acts was to tell the real story of the remarkable growth of God’s Kingdom. Amazing things took place in the years that followed the birth of the Church. An outpouring of the Holy Spirit clothed the Apostles with power to become witnesses in the world (Acts 1:8). Although, persecution and struggle shaped their character, never do we hear the cry of retreat. This was the work of God! Humanity’s greatest discovery was how to be filled with the Holy Spirit… and walk as carriers of the Glory of God!

This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel (or any servant of God):
“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,”

Says the Lord of hosts. (Zech. 4:6)

A Valiant Vision:

To see entire regions waiting, cultures and people groups ready to be reached with the love and power of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Our call, requires a company of valiant laborers with fresh eyes… with a vision to disciple the nations (Mt. 28:18-20). We must be found teaching and building bridges of opportunity for generations to walk in God’s destiny for their lives. Should we not stand willing and ready to risk it all for the purposes of God’s heart? Yet in order to risk it all, it will require a vision of how God sees and what God wants to accomplish.

The Prophet Habakkuk said it this way: “For the Earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:14)

God is Speaking!

These are New Days in almost every culture of the world, and the sound of a spiritual trumpet has gone forth. Many with an ear to hear have already begun to assemble. To some its a whisper and to others a shout, yet there is no mistaking its purpose in this season. Its God’s invitation that is being proclaimed on the battle field and in the vineyard. Our Father has a voice that echoes on every high place… causing the nations to give birth. He is calling the weary, the lost and forsaken. His sound summons the alien to come sit at His Throne (Heb. 4:16). And from this motley, misguided lot; He will redeem and restore and revive. This is the day of the harvest, a season of in-gathering as in the time of first fruits. And the valiant rejoice in the pleasure of God. They celebrate with heaven in what is witnessed in their generation, because it was birthed in the Father’s heart long ago! (1 Pe 2:9-10)

Father, Your Valiant Laborers Stand Willing & Ready!

My Defender

“A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” (Ps 68:5-6)

How incredibly strong and wonderful is the Lord of Hosts… My Defender and Friend!

He alone is the Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. His canopy has been my Tower of defense against the onslaught of my enemies. His name shall always be upon my lips, “Jesus, the Christ; Son of the Living God”. As an eagle spreads forth its wings to cover and shade her young so has God lifted His strength to offer me protection. With a voice that shakes the heavens and stills the nations of the Earth; He speaks my name and calms my fears. By His own strong arm and His mighty hand kingdoms have been toppled and rulers dethroned- for there is no king like this King. Yet in His Majesty is the compassion and grace to father the fatherless and defend the widow. He sets the solitary in a family and brings out the bound into their freedom and prosperity.

What am I… and what have I to offer this King of Glory?

He has captured my heart with His favor and listened for my pleasures to arise. He has been good to me and shone me the paths of safety by going before me and mapping out my steps through the wilderness. I have been moved by His Manifest Presence along the way.

My Defender is the King of Glory… of whom then shall I fear; whom shall I fear?

Grace Platforms

The Ministry of Christ is a ministry of grace! His message was the Good News of a Kingdom of grace flowing from Heaven into Earth. It would bring forgiveness, peace and freedom from sin. Yet the deliverance and freedom experienced in the life of a disciple can only be attained and measured by the transformed mind. Real Kingdom mysteries require us to change the way we think about everything pertaining to God, Church and life on this planet (Mt. 4:17). Jesus has stepped into our natural reality and He brought His world with Him!

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His Kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isa. 9:6-7)

Ministry on Christ’s Shoulder:

The five-fold ministry gifts are examples of how “grace has been given” as Christ distributes (Eph. 4:7). All ministry is simply the manifestation of Christ expressed through the believer by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, as the “Christ” is our Apostle (Heb. 3:1), Prophet (Lk. 24:19), Evangelist (Mt. 9:35), Pastor (1 Pet. 5:2-4) and Teacher (Jn. 3:2). He emulated these offices and distributes the mantles for individuals to function in them, so that the Church carries His anointing for ministry (Jn. 14:12).

“…the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So…they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” (Acts 13:2-3)

Selected and Sent:

The five-fold leaders are not self-appointed, nor are they simply pastors of a local church. They are clearly defined ministries that have an impact on the Church as a whole and its witness in the world. By nature, their scope of ministry is wider than the local church. They are grace ministries of Christ to the Church at large. Whether its from inner city pulpits or in the bush lands of Africa, the heartbeat of 5-fold ministry is the discipling of the nations… its our Great Commission! (Mt. 28:18-20).

Two things are required for a five-fold ministry gift to come into its own: 1) Recognition by the wider Body of Christ and 2) Functional Ministry to the wider Body of Christ. Jesus said that the fruit of a person’s life is the best way to recognize their identity, character and anointing. Prior to these two conditions being met, someone may potentially have a five-fold ministry gift, but will not yet be moving in the scope and authority of that gift. Jesus gives the grace for each gift to be released into the Church.

“…God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the Chief Cornerstone” (Eph. 2:19-20).

Foundations:

The foundation of the Church is Jesus… the revelation of “Christ – the Son of the Living God” (Mt. 16:16). And yet there is this unique platform of the apostle and the prophet team (Eph. 3:4-5). This platform carries the role of unveiling the mysteries hidden down through the ages, yet revealed in Christ and by the Holy Spirit to the sons and daughters of men. I believe these two mantle gifts still serve that ministry role (Eph. 4:12-13), so it is vital for us to understand how this works in leading the Body of Christ. We must remember that proper buildings are held up by proper foundations. I would propose; that when grace flows into ministry and functions properly, under the headship of Christ and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, it will result in the growth and supernatural health of the Church worldwide. It is the will of God to set this in order and accomplish it through His apostle and prophet teams (Isa. 9:7)… by grace.

The Key of Humility:

The Apostle James and the Apostle Peter wrote specifically about how to receive grace (Jms. 4:6 & 1 Pet. 5:5-6). The humble person receives grace and more grace even as they maintain their humility in the midst of difficult circumstances. Jesus said “Blessed is the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt. 5:3). The humble person; who lives selflessly in ministry, will receive a flow of resource from heaven according to the gift Christ has given them. Their anointing will be in proportion to their faith, assignment and their need.

The Apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). The ministry teams made up of Apostle and Prophets like Paul, Barnabas, Silas and Timothy served to accomplish great things in advancing the Kingdom of God. They were set apart by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:2), helped in the midnight hour (Acts 16:25-26) and anointed to do incredible miraculous signs that accompanied the preaching of the Word of God (Acts 19:11-12).

Restoration is needed: In order for the Church to see what God is after today, our impact must set the captives free! We must rely upon the flow of ministry grace… like the dry ground soaks up the rain.

Consider Your Ways

“Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways! You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.” Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!” (Haggai 1:4-7)

This frustrating lifestyle is often felt among Christians who are in the midst of life’s greatest tests. You see, I believe in the God of supernatural provision… the God who calls Himself “Jehovah-Jireh!” (Gen. 22:14); which means “the-LORD-will-provide”. I have seen it in my life and have no doubt that God tests me often to make sure I focus on His provision rather than any human reasoning or manipulation.

Here we can clearly see the Jewish Prophet Haggai, challenging people to consider their ways and their harvest, in order to evaluate the issues they are puzzled about, when it comes to provision. Why were they consistently overwhelmed and living in lack? Well, its like the Apostle Paul tells us… “do not be deceived, what you sow, you shall also reap” (Gal. 6:7). When a professing believer never seems to have enough and his money bag seems filled with holes, it is time for him to consider his ways before the Lord, because something is not adding up!

After all, our God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and is well able to supply all our needs. In context, Haggai is rebuking the people of Judah for tending to their own welfare and neglecting the work of God. “Is it time for you, to dwell in your paneled houses, and this house [the unfinished temple in Jerusalem] to lie waste [broken down and forgotten]” (Hag. 1:4). It might be helpful to understand that the Temple was the place that housed the Glory of God. It was a special place designed by God to meet with His people and fellowship among them for their good.

The Eternal Principle:

We need to recognize the zeal of the Father’s heart is for fellowship… not just a get together; but a spiritual experience that leads to knowing His heart. Jesus said, “Your heavenly Father knows that you have need of things” like food and drink and clothing. But, He also calls us to “seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt. 6:32-33). In the midst of the directive is a promise! If these necessities of life are not being provided, we urgently need to consider our ways. Are God’s Kingdom and His righteousness really our first concern?

Accessing Promise:

We often quote the wonderful promise, “my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). But we must remember that this promise was given to a group of Macedonian Christians whose “deep poverty [was not a hindering mindset] abounded in the riches of their liberality” [their giving], because “they first gave themselves to the Lord” (2 Cor. 8:2-5). That is how the Glory Realm is accessed and our needs are met in Christ… surrender and obedience to the Father’s heart.

Carrying Glory

“And David became angry because of the Lord’s outbreak against Uzza; therefore that place is called Perez Uzza to this day. David was afraid of God that day, saying, “How can I bring the ark of God to me?” So David would not move the ark with him into the City of David, but took it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The ark of God remained with the family of Obed-Edom in his house three months. And the Lord blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that he had.” (1 Chro. 13:11-14)

It was quite a shock… as King David comes to recognize that the Glory of the Lord cannot be handled with a casual attitude. Everything seemed to be going great until the ox stumbles, causing it to shift on the new cart. That’s when a man named Uzzah reaches out to stabilize the ark. And as he touched it, God’s wrath pours from the ark killing Uzzah and ruining the day. The event was tragic… and the blood was on King David’s hands. This was his first official activity designed to celebrate God’s choice of him as king and his unique leadership over Jerusalem as well as the Nation of Israel. The people knew he was a great warrior, but leading a nation required additional skills… like humility and a sense of stewardship. This parade included thousands of soldiers, leaders from all parts of the country, and months of planning. When you realize what a public embarrassment and significant failure this event was, we understand why the Scripture says “David was angry”.

Yet, after three months of David’s discouragement, he learns about the blessing of God resting upon the house of Obed-Edom. This was where the ark was left when the journey was delayed. It was in these days that David began to truly grasp the value of the Glory of God. As a man after God’s heart, he made some foolish mistakes. His second attempt to bring the ark into Jerusalem reveals some important principles for carrying the Glory. Now, he would take a different approach to accomplish a task in which he felt a more humble sense of destiny and passion to complete.

1st. Obey God’s Word:

The first principle of carrying the Glory of God and overcoming failure is to submit to Scripture. After failing to bring the ark to Jerusalem, David researched the Scriptures to discover the specific instructions for transporting the ark (1 Chro. 15:1-2). This revelation has enormous application for New Testament believers. What does God require of the born again, Spirit-filled believer in order that there is a sense of humility and stewardship… that we obey God’s Word!

2nd. Be Sensitive to God’s Purpose:

At the first effort, David was dressed as a king, because he wanted to display his military exploits. By the time of the second attempt, David grew in his knowledge of the Glory, at the cost of one of his soldiers lives. God requires humility before He allows us to have access to His Glory. So the king of Israel refused to wear the royal garments. Instead he wore the same linen garment as a common priest. The second journey was all about God, and less about David!

Scholars believe Psalm 24 was sung as the ark was being brought into the city. It asks the question, “Who is the King of Glory?” The answer illustrates the effort to move all attention away from King David and give praise to Almighty God. “Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty. The Lord mighty in battle” (Ps. 24:8) and again “Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts. He is the King of Glory!” (Ps. 24:10). To carry the Glory of God, we must treat the sacred with reverent sensitivity and walk in an awareness of who the King of Glory really is.

3rd. Sanctify Your Heart:

Part of being sensitive to the heart of God is preparing yourself through the renewal of your mind (Rom. 12:1-2) or sanctification, which means to be made holy or set apart for divine purpose. The Bible describes David’s exhortation, and it was for the priests to “consecrate themselves” in preparation for carrying the ark of God (1 Chro. 15:12-15). As New Testament priests we must also allow God to cleanse us and sanctify ourselves daily, so that His Glory will manifest in our lives. The Bible says if we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1:9-10), so that we will have the hope of walking in His Glory (Rom. 5:1-2). The Apostle Paul exhorted Timothy to cleanse himself to be a vessel of honor, made holy, useful to the master and equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 2:21).

Powerful Words of Jesus:

“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble.” (Jn. 16:1)

Clearly, it was the desire of the Lord, Himself that we would not stumble in our effort to walk in the Glory of God. Yet Glory is not freely given… it must be stewarded and maintained as our life is being transformed. In other words, it will increase as we will grow in our ability to carry the “weight” of the Glory of God (2 Cor. 4:6 & 16-18). The more you behold His Glory, the more you will grow and be able to carry. We are told, “we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor 3:18). Scripture also explains that it is “Christ in you” that is “the hope of Glory” (Col. 1:27).

Today if we will hear His voice – He is calling us to carry the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord to the nations! (Hab. 2:14)

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