Posts Tagged ‘offended’

Getting out of Midian

This is not our destiny!

Midian is not our destiny!

There is a powerful story in Scripture about Moses running to the land of Midian. It happens after he kills an Egyptian who had abused one of his Hebrew brethren (Ex. 2:11-15). In this circumstance Moses expresses a common feeling… what most of us feel in the midst of injustice.

In verse 12 it states the problem… “He looked this way and then that; when he realized there was no one in sight, he killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand”. The spirit of strife arose inside of Moses to such a degree that it blinded his heart… forsaking the command of God in regards to murder.

Choices are the fruit of a heart’s focus!

Raised an Egyptian and coming to grips with the Hebrew heartbeat was like standing in an intersection and not knowing which way to turn. Moses’ wrong choice released the confusion that resided in his heart and created an enormous backlash among his brethren. The next day he went out to find two Hebrew men fighting. He spoke to the man who started it: “Why are you hitting your neighbor?” The man shot back: “Who do you think you are, telling us what to do? Are you going to kill me the way you killed that Egyptian?” Then Moses panics… “oh no, word’s gotten out; people know about this”. Secrets are often difficult to shake free from. Pharaoh hears about it and tries to kill Moses, but Moses gets away to the land of Midian. He sits down by a well with his confusion and there receives the call to be the “hand” of deliverance for God’s people (Ex. 3:1-4).

Midian is not the place Moses chose to go…

But God would meet Him there. Interestingly the word Midian means “striving” or “habit” and the Midianites were the descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s son from another season of bad choices. Oddly enough its very rare that one generation’s poor choices do not become a crucible for our life later, but that is another blog topic. Yet now, in order to escape punishment for killing the Egyptian, Moses runs away to Midian, a place of habitual strife. He finds himself face-to-face with… “himself”.

Sounds like God’s intervention…

Running away takes Moses to a burning bush… with a broken heart.  Moses became a stranger in a strange land, separated from his home and family… and he needed a new identity. It took many years after this incident for Moses to be ready to serve God. The good news is that Moses did trust God (Heb. 11:27) and leave Midian. Moses found the God who transforms our identity!

We must recognize the God who transforms us as quickly as possible and allow His priorities to shape our life choices. If not, we may find ourselves visiting the land of strife. Leaving Midian can only happen when we have felt the crushing reality of God’s intervention in our character. Yet it must happen if we expect God to use us, bless us, or prosper us.

Character transformation is the defining reality of what makes a leader attractive to those who follow.

When I find myself on edge, offended or bitter toward others, there is a good chance that I am hanging out in “Midian, the land of strife”. There are spiritual realities that effect my thought life, choices and behavior patterns. God takes us into places that test us and show us what resides within our hearts. He does this for our good, as His way of chastening His children.

God chastens those whom He loves and accepts! (Heb 12:4-11)

The Christian attitude toward anger and strife should be consistent with God’s heart. There is just no room for angry outbursts or strife ridden behavior in the processing of Christian relationships. We should call it sin and repent of it or we give place to confusion. Like Moses, we could wind up in the land of Midian until it gets burned out of us.

Here is what the Bible says: (Ps. 37:8)(Prov. 19:19)(Prov. 27:4)(Eccl. 7:9)(Gal. 5:19-20)(Eph. 4:31).

Living in Midian is like living next door to a volcano that only explodes once every couple of months. I believe many folks live in Midian, a land cursed by a spirit of strife and although the erruptions only occur every few months; life is lived in confusion and fear, waiting for when and how destructive the next outburst will be. This must not be our legacy, because it is most certainly not our destiny.

Getting out of Midian is as easy as recognizing the sinful behavior and repenting of it. Ask the Holy Spirit to deliver, then begin to rest upon the Truth that God is faithful to meet you in Midian with the power to transform your heart.

An Outpouring

“Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (Mt. 11:3-6)

Offended?  No… transformed! As far as I’m concerned… we need not look any further! What we have seen and heard has changed our view of everything. Our journey has been blessed by an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and we feel a responsibility to release the treasure that we carry. The well has been deepened; we still long for more… but only in terms of more of His Glory. His love has wrecked us and sharpened our gaze.

We believe we have been created to drink deeply at the streams of revival and to awaken a hunger for the heart of our Heavenly Father. This generation must be allowed the opportunity to burn with a passion for the things of His Kingdom. Its a discovery of their own place in the Father’s Heart. Jesus said that the “Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” and that if we ask for it, we could have it; “…on Earth as it is in Heaven” (Mt 4:17 & Lk 12:32). This is the beat of our heart; to advance the Kingdom whenever and wherever, for His Glory.

See that Open Door

“These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens:”

“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My Word, and have not denied My name.” (Rev. 3:7-8)

This is the reality of what Jesus Christ has done for each of us. Before us, He has set an open door. To each of us is given that ultimate opportunity – a choice, if you will. When there has been placed this kind of open door before us, we must choose to run through it! It is our hope of increased strength. It is our hope of greater impact and reaching our highest goal… a destiny of Kingdom significance. And no one can close the door that God has opened for us. No one except ourselves… when we choose not to see it.

Stating the Obvious:

We must see the opportunity. It is there, before our very eyes more often than we acknowledge. And if we put that “little strength” we have into action… there is no telling what God will do. If we use our strength to live for Him, to keep His Word and refuse to deny Him; no matter how much the world obstructs our view, we will see breakthrough! We can go through it to a brighter future.

Do Not Stand in Unbelief!

Nazareth embraced a spiritual blindness that caused them to become offended when they saw the open door. Do you doubt that Jesus has set before you the open door? If so, then read Luke 4:16-22 very carefully. What do you hear inside your heart when you read this? It reveals what you can see!

“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 preach deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Then He closed the book and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. So all bore witness of Him and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?”

No – this is our Open Door!

Context for Gifts

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Eph. 2:19-22)

So here we are as the Church being described as the dwelling place of God in the Spirit! How? 1st “fitted together”, 2nd “growing into a holy temple in the Lord” and 3rd “being built together”… all of which must be actively in progress if the Holy Spirit is to feel welcome.

I don’t want to sound critical, but there is no guarantee that those fellowships we visit on Sunday morning are a dwelling place of God by His Spirit. And as such, they often do not qualify as a context for spiritual gifts to move in their purist form. Remember that we are told that the gifts should be used for the profit of all (1 Cor. 12:7). Our current model tends to only look for spiritual gifts to move from the pulpit. If the Spirit is not welcome to freely move in our fellowships, why should we expect spiritual gifts at all? And how do we contend for gifts to influence secular society, where real needs are most obvious? What I would like to suggest is that the context for spiritual gifts is the bond of peace.

The Prince of Peace is our Chief Cornerstone:

We must endeavor “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3), why? Because Jesus “gave gifts unto men … for the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”  (Eph. 4:8 & 12-14). 

Spiritual Gifts have a Context:

Like bookends there is a context for spiritual gifts; that without them, gifts are nothing more than games Christians play. Notice the above underlined phrases seem to offer keys to how we keep gifts in balance. First we endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit, so that we come to the unity of the faith. The unity of faith often becomes our standard in Christian circles, because we have forsaken our commitment to the unity of the Spirit… the bond of peace. 

The Right Goal: Is the “bond of peace”? 

The right goal is peace with God andpeace within our hearts toward others. When the Body of Christ walks in love they are reflecting the bond of peace. This bond of peace is the key element that releases the “Christ” anointing. Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6 & Eph. 2:14) and has declared that the peace makers will be called the “sons of God” (Mt. 5:9). 

As Jesus stood up to read in His childhood home tabernacle, something amazing was taking place in the minds of the people. They said, “is this not the carpenter’s son?” and they found themselves having to embrace what they had never witnessed before… the Holy Spirit was about to be released in their midst. And it would come through a man they had watched grow up as a familiar member of the community. Could they hold on to their peace or would they become offended?

Jesus made the public declaration, “God has anointed Me with the Holy Spirit and I am now going to preach good news to the poor, heal the broken hearted, preach deliverance to the captive, andrecovery of sight to the blind. God has sent Me to set at liberty those who are oppressed and proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk. 4:18-19).

Indeed, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil, because God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). He was living as a dwelling place for God by His Spirit. And just as we would expect; hundreds of peoples lives were changed, while the leadership was offended and tried immediately to kill the Anointed One (Lk. 4:28-29).

Peace & Anointing:

This anointing was an experience that Jesus pointed to as the moment that shifted His life into ministry. His ministry was evidence that He was the Prince of Peace! He could maintain the anointing only as He maintained His peace – remember Jesus was known by John the Baptist as the Messiah by the Spirit coming like a dove and staying to rest upon Him. This gift of the Holy Spirit would release spiritual manifestations and ”gifting” only as Jesus responded according to the will of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 5:19). He had done no miracle until this experience, but everything was about to change. The Kingdom was at hand (Mt. 4:17-25) and many would see what ministry could become. He would later tell His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they also would get this same anointing from above (Lk. 24:49). He had promised them that they would do even greater works than He had done (Jn. 14:12).

The Spiritual House:

Jesus was the Cornerstone of real ministry, but also ”a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” according to the Apostle Peter (1 Pet. 2:8). Jesus, the Chief Cornerstone has been chosen by God and precious to the foundation of the Spiritual House. We are that House! We are living stones made of the same substance as the Cornerstone. We are the peace making, sons of God who should walk with spiritual manifestations of gifts from Jesus. We are made to drink of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13), to manifest power and glory as Kingdom people (1 Cor. 4:20), be moved along by the Holy Spirit and produce fruit that ignites the generations that follow. We are also called to be chiselled off pebbles of the Chief Cornerstone, able to reflect His nature and character of peace. When this happens there is a context for spiritual gifts… that edify the Body and equip them for the work of the ministry. So that in turn, we will come to the unity of the faith and to the measure of the fullness of the stature of Christ – our Anointed One.

We are to be living stones… members of the House of God. This “chosen generation, royal priesthood, holy nation; called as His special people” kind of Church, are to reflect the Prince of Peace, so “that we might proclaim the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light!” (1 Pet. 2:9)