Posts Tagged ‘secrets’

Change is Coming

Scripture: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

Thought for Today: “Welcoming the Crucible”

God knows the secrets of the heart (Ps 44:21). In fact, He knows us better than we know ourselves. Yet we still feel a bit vulnerable yielding our lives to change. We ask God to use us and we know changes are coming, but being in the crucible of spiritual discipline can feel uncomfortable even to the most mature Christian.

Our Resistance:

When God tests and tries our heart, there are always things that firmly resist, because they have become our safety net. We have relied upon ourselves and trusted in own strength at times when we could not see clearly. The Apostle Paul tells us that many have exchanged the Truth of God for lies by serving and the worship of things that offer no real peace (Rom 1:25). He reminds us that we have all gone astray and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). These issues represent the baggage of idolatry and must be rooted out for us to enjoy the freedom found in Christ.

Real Transformation:

As much as we would like to believe we can change, transformation is not really something we can do for ourselves. It takes the power of the One who knows us best. We can change habits and shift our focus, but it is God who changes the human heart. When we step into the crucible of prayer and fasting, we make the most important move toward God’s best for our lives. The refining process frees us from sinful behavior, renews our thinking and enables us to discern the will of God more clearly (Rom 12:1-2).

God Loves and Receives Us:

Transformation happens in the safe place of His Presence, where the Holy Spirit gains access to those things that hinder our progress. God knows what is best for us and He always acts in our best interest by treating us as sons and daughters (Heb 12:4-11). We are reminded that when we are chastened by God, it is because He loves us and receives us as a father cherishes and loves his child. Remind yourself today that God loves and receives you as His very own son or daughter.

“Why do you spend money on what is not bread and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me and eat what is good and let your soul delight itself in abundance.” (Isa 55:2)

Serious Alignment

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might!” (Ephesians 6:10)

Thought for Today: “Becoming Armed and Dangerous”

The Apostle Paul makes it clear that we have been given supernatural tools for warring against spiritual forces (Eph. 6:13-18). He first says, “put on the whole armor of God so that you can stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph 6:11). We find ourselves wrestling with principalities and powers, rulers of darkness and spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places. I believe we can be armed and dangerous. We can be equipped, shod and gird about with the most impressive sounding weapons God has in His arsenal, but it all works through prayer and fasting. Praying, watching and persevering with all kinds of prayers.

Not by Human Might:

We are ambassadors of Christ with amazing potential to do exploits and achieve the impossible things Jesus did, but it only happens with the help of the Holy Spirit (Zech 4:6). You see, we are battling invisible forces. Spiritual enemies that cannot be seen with our natural eyes. We can see the effects, but never get to the source of the real battle unless we are trained through prayer and fasting.

The Apostle’s Boldness:

Notice how the Apostle Paul writes these words to the Church in Ephesus while he was in prison, saying “I am an ambassador in chains”. He is making the point that his warfare is not fought in the flesh, but in the spiritual realm (Eph 3:10). His boldness was based upon an awareness that God’s grace was flowing through his life (Eph 3:8). Being armed does not necessarily make us dangerous to the devil, unless we are trained in the use of the weapons of our warfare… trained in prayer and sharpened by fasting.

Delegated Authority:

Its all about knowing who you represent! God has chosen you, called you by name and He will work in and through you… but your standard of training is up to you. Jesus was always calling His disciples up higher! He lived with them and taught as one holding the authority, but in a new season, new skills are needed. In John 15 a new season was about to begin. They would no longer be called “servants”. They would begin to discover what their Master was doing (Jn 15:15). As servants, they followed according to commands, but as “friends” they would follow the “heart” of their Master. Jesus was now shifting the relationship, deepening the responsibility and trusting that they would begin to live from what they understood – heart to heart. Friends discover the secrets that give them an advantage in how they walk together. Jesus wanted His disciples to achieve victory in every area of their spiritual journey. Knowing the heart of God is a key to real spiritual trained and impact in the spiritual battles we face. When we know the heart of our friend Jesus, we are able to carry our delegated authority into any challenge. One of the greatest spiritual truths is that your authority gets established through your intimacy with God.

Representing Heaven on Earth:

Becoming a dangerous threat to the devil means you will need some serious alignment with heaven. You are an ambassador for the Kingdom of God… you must represent heaven on earth in a way that makes the devil nervous and demons flee. That is what prayer and fasting will produce in you… the capacity to be armed and dangerous.

Submit to God (through prayer), resist the devil (through fasting) and he will flee from you (Jms 4:7).

New Things

“Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isa 43:19)

The things of God seem to start in small ways; and even though they might spring forth, we must recognize “spring forth” can mean less than what we typically expect. God is careful with the new thing. He causes it to emerge slowly and suggests that we seek it out… make ourselves aware of it. When Jesus speaks of new things becoming manifest, our ears must prepare for change. He desires to keep His secrets within the context of relationship (Jn 15:15). Recognizing the “road in the wilderness” and the “rivers in the desert” always requires more than just simple observation.

Example:

At Bethsaida the people brought a blind man to Jesus for healing. He took him by the hand, led him out of the town and when He had spit on his eyes, He put His hands upon him, He asked the man if he saw anything. The man, looking up and said, “I see men as trees walking”. The second time Jesus put His hands upon his eyes and told him to look. This time the man’s sight was completely restored. He could see clearly! Notice how Jesus speaks to the formerly blind man. Jesus sends him home saying, “Don’t go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town” (Mark 8:26).

Preserving the New Thing:

New things emerge in a variety of ways, but they must connect to the heart in order for the impact to last. God’s goal is to get us to create testimony so that life is seen in the context of His involvement with us… in relationship. Sometimes when we try to tell others about the new thing God is doing, the devil will use doubts in our mind or cynicism in those we tell, to undermine our testimony. There are times when Jesus has forbidden me to bear witness of a healing or miracle in my body, until my faith is strong enough to stand the testing of thoughts and words that mock my experience. God knows the enemy will try anything to steal our peace, rob us of our joy and discredit the new thing that is emerging in our lives.

Holy Spirit is Speaking:

“Shall you not know it?”

The Holy Spirit speaks to our spirit, to our spiritual perception. ”It’s already here” He says, “but its small right now, really just a seed. Don’t try to interpret it, don’t try to make it more than it is, don’t blow the trumpets. Just consider it. Allow Me to introduce you to it. Allow Me to explain it. Allow Me to reveal what its all about and where embracing it will take you. It’s going to require a shift in your seeing. Are you ready to leave what you know and launch out into the deeper waters of what you don’t know? I’m offering you some mystery… My secrets. I’m offering you, a road in your wilderness and rivers in your desert.”

Discover New Things:

If you are desiring to discover the new thing that God is doing, (in your life, your ministry, in the Church, nation, world etc.) determine to become a seeker, begin to search out the small. Quiet your heart to hear the faint whisperings of the Holy Spirit. Become still and wait for the gentle breeze of God to blow upon your face and then look to where God is directing your gaze. Above all get ready to leave the comfort zone of what you know and allow God to carry you into secret places… places where friends go.

Glory and Hidden Treasure

“In [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col. 2:3)

HIDDEN IN CHRIST: Its not that we have no access to wisdom and knowledge, but God’s spiritual treasures are hidden on purpose (Prov. 25:2)(1 Cor. 2:7-10). So that in our search and discovery we begin to value the eternal significance, experience carries with it an eternal weight of Glory. An intellectual gospel is always inferior, and in danger of limiting “God” so that He looks or acts like us. If our search leads us to believe in a god that is our size and our strength, then we need a new focus. Our diligent search is a royal privilege, a kingly duty that unlocks keys and mysteries of Kingdom reality. Amazingly, God has given us His only begotten Son to offer access to every revelation of the Father’s heart.

Real Answers:

Problems need more than natural answers. Barriers in life need the voice of the Creator of Life. Our story is to be written by a Spiritual Author not lived at the whim of a worldly system. Think about how you pray… do you ask for wisdom and knowledge or do you ask for Christ in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge? Christ is our access, our Advocate with the Father, our intercessor who continually intercedes for us… before the Father. He will get those treasures into your hands, heart and mind if we will dig for them as for gold or silver.

The Logos:

Jesus walked the Earth and lived with humanity as the “logos” or logic of the Father (Jn. 1:1-13). Jesus was the sum total of the collective thoughts of His Father funneled down into human flesh and blood. He really was Immanuel – God with us! We are not on an adventure to gain all the information about religion, Christianity or even the patterns of spiritual living! We are on a quest to gain Christ – to be found in Him.

My belief is that we must become more invested in our personal knowledge of Christ, than in the traditional doctrines of the Church.

This faith journey requires that we become acquainted with the voice of God as experienced in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. The things we so often call treasure are not of value in the Kingdom of God. God’s spiritual activities are found working in the invisible dimension that goes beyond our understanding. They come as spiritually revealed truths and relationally experienced manifestations. Our fellowship in Christ through worship, prayer and meditating upon the Word of God, unlocks the prophetic flow of hidden reality… its life in the spirit.

Experiencing Glory in Spiritual Fellowship:

Notice the Apostle Peter remembering the experience of Jesus being transfigured on the mountain top (2 Pet. 1:17-21). “We heard the voice that came to Jesus, while we were on the mountain - God, as Father spoke from out of the Glory”. As much as that voice was a powerful experience… it was only given, because of the fellowship in Christ. What Peter wants us to know is not the tone of the voice, but the testimony of a fellowship. The treasure of wisdom and knowledge became available in the Glory of God.

Remember the time when Jesus began to set His eyes toward the cross and He says “Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again” (Jn. 12:27-30). Amazingly we see that those who stood by and heard the voice, perceived it as a natural sound… thunder. Others heard it as an angel, but not directed toward them. Jesus speaks up and said, “This voice did not come because of Me – but for your sake.” Jesus was telling them that a door was open for a moment if they desired to step through and know the secrets that would follow.

The experiences by themselves really do not matter, as much as the position those experiences put us in. They give us incredible opportunity to understand God’s Glory Realm.

  • “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col 1:27)

God has placed the treasures of wisdom and knowledge within Christ and reveals Christ to us through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Scripture. Remember that Christ is the very Glory of the Father (Heb. 1:3). God will not reveal anything apart from the revelation of Jesus Christ. Peter says to us, “We saw Christ in a way that we never had before! We will never be the same, because we now have an expanded wisdom and knowledge base to draw from!”

Apprehending Christ:

To possess the Son is to possess all that pertains to the Son, for the Scriptures declare, “He that has the Son has life, but He that does not have the Son of God, has not life” (1 Jn. 5:12). It is not that God desires to stay hidden, His goal is to give us the full revelation of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Yet by apprehending Him, we will subsequently gain insight into everything pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3-4).

Christ is the Door:

Christ is our door of revelation (Jn. 14:6). We can have the mind of Christ through the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:16). To seek revelation into the mysteries of God apart from the revelation of Christ Himself, fails to give Christ the pre-eminence. We dare not circumvent the Kingdom’s doorway in the pursuit of the Kingdom’s treasure.

Spiritual treasure is hidden in Christ! When we gain Christ – we gain it all! (Phil 3:7-8)

Training Leaders

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2 Tim. 2:2)

Scripture provides numerous examples of discipleship, because every generation thinks and responds differently to the information handed to them. Yet the key is to entrust God’s truth to reliable men and women who will show themselves to be faithful. Just think for a moment about the process involved in teaching some of God’s most notable leaders how to walk in wisdom and integrity.

  • Adam and Eve walking with God in the Garden of Eden, 
  • Abraham and Lot recovering from Sodom and Gamorah,
  • Jethro and  Moses administrating in the wilderness,
  • Samuel and David processing a leadership shift, 
  • Peter and James receiving the outpouring of the Holy Spirit,
  • Paul and Timothy planting churches across a new frontier.

We find ourselves in good company, pulled in by our convictions about God and our call to the Great Commission. The Bible; however, does not direct us to any certain program of how leaders are to be developed. The reason for this is that the Holy Spirit is more concerned about the process than the structure of our training - as long as it does not violate Scripture. Ministries have the freedom to design a training program that is “most effective” for its leaders. The structure may be different, but training takes place when hearts are united with God’s vision for spiritual growth.

4 Key Leadership Components:

  1. character …who a leader is. 
  2. knowledge …what a leader knows.
  3. skill …what a leader does.
  4. emotion …how a leader responds.

While good leaders are strong in these four areas, all leaders need to grow and develop. The mark of good leadership is a teachable heart, but the challenge is always our ability to measure maturity. If we can break down our experience by these 4 components, we will begin to see where our hearts really are developing and where we are stuck in leadership ruts.

  • 1st Character:

Christ-likeness and integrity of heart best describe what we mean by character. It reflects the heart and soul of the leader and answers the question we all have asked: “Who must leaders be?” In order to lead effectively, God expects us to reflect His heart and mind in all that is done and taught. We need to expose poor character and build quality into our leaders so they reflect the excellence expected from men and women of God. 

I often tell leaders; that although their gifts will make room for them and offer them the opportunity to lead, it is their character that will maintain their platform and give them a people who follow their leadership. I have watched many gifted people come and go, leaving their ministries in frustration over the process of character development. Its important for leaders to face the facts… it is the process that shapes our character – No Pain, No Gain! Here are some good Scripture guidelines that offer general character requirements for leadership.

  1. The Elder - equivalent to today’s 5-fold ministry leaders (Eph. 4:11);(1 Tim. 3:1-7), (Titus 1:6-9), (1 Pet. 5:2).
  2. The Deacon – those who serve tables; (1 Tim. 3:8-13)(Acts 6:1-6).
  3. The Apostle Paul offers the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). 
  4.  The Apostle Peter lists qualities for all Christians (2 Pet. 1:3-9).
  5. Other necessary character qualities are competence, trustworthiness, and teachability (2 Tim. 2:2).
  • 2nd Knowledge:

Leaders know something that not everyone understands. Leaders have “secrets” that open doors and create opportunity for others, as well as themselves. What they know sets them apart as uniquely qualified to instruct and teach. Leaders offer us the ability to see things through new lenses and enjoy the adventure of accomplishing something.

  • 3rd Skill:

Obviously, a leaders’ skills depend a little bit upon the ministry he or she is engaged in, but there are some common realities that help all leaders stay sharp and effective. Vision, decision making, communication and problem solving, are just four of the many common qualities of a leader that every team must see growing in the person they follow. A leader needs to inspire and motivate others so they believe they can achieve their goals.  Support may be as simple as words of encouragement or a specific tool needed to perform a task. Strong listening skills provide a leader with key information that can help break barriers and give appropriate spiritual counsel.

  • 4th Emotion:

Problems come in all shapes and sizes, from those related to the people in your care, to those of a more strategic nature.  A good leader will not be afraid of problems and will carry the emotional stability that earns the trust and respect of their followers. We must not be afraid to discuss problems or potential problems. My father used to always say, “Son, with a positive attitude, problems can become opportunities for promotion”. As with anything in life, things do not always go according to plan and leadership is no exception. The direction a leader takes in order to realize God’s vision is likely to change. Strong leaders embrace change and can adapt quickly and efficiently to new situations since they learn to balance opportunity and risk while being aware of their strengths and weaknesses… as well as that of the team they lead.

Better Caught than Taught!

My final word is simple… the best leaders are those who have served under great leaders, because they have been watching and catching more that they were ever taught through books. Jesus enlisted twelve disciples to walk along side of Him for 3 years - Modeling Ministry and Imparting Leadership!

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