Posts Tagged ‘Sonship’

Wilderness Seasons

Throughout Biblical history, God has used the wilderness to test His servants in order to perfect His purposes within them. His goal is to speak to the independent heart that leans on its own understanding and call His Sons and Daughters into proper alignment with His Divine order (Hos 2:14).

The wilderness speaks of a barren and desolate area. It is a place where inner needs become intensified and there is no available resources to meet those needs. God seems to want to move us there at times to speak to us about the condition of our hearts.

Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?” (Song of Solomon 8:5)

There is a heart quality about this “one” who is coming up from the wilderness that attracts the writers special attention. She is “leaning” upon her Beloved. This position of leaning demonstrates the fact that she has become completely dependent upon Him. Something has changed during her time of being in the wilderness which has resulted in her becoming submissively dependent upon the Lord.

This is the quality of Sonship that God is after in us and we must become aware that its the wilderness that produces this in our heart. How often have we murmured or complained about the wilderness experience only to find that there was increased glory as we emerged from this season.

We entered the wilderness season leaning on our own understanding and emerged leaning on our Beloved.

Shake off the fear of abandonment and draw near to the Father who speaks lovingly to His children. He wants to become the Promised Resource for our abundant life.

Truth & Freedom

“As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The Kingdom of Heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” (Mt. 10:7-8)

This may go against some of our religious sensibilities, but Jesus told us to do more than just agree with the Gospel of the Kingdom. He declares the necessity of advancement… healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing the leper and driving out demons. Jesus was promoting a spiritual revolution! The Kingdom of Heaven was designed to be a movement with forward progress. It was to carry a spiritual authority that displaced the ruling dominion and release God’s reign of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit… for all who would receive it. If somebody was in need, Jesus had an answer that would shake the enemy’s hold… by confronting the dominion of darkness head on.

The Apostle Paul said, “…nor give place to the devil” (Eph. 4:27)

In essence the Apostle Paul is saying, “Don’t give an inch, or he will take it all!” We must learn to hold our ground. When a person is being harassed by the devil, I believe there is always a reason… its a dominion issue! Here is an insight I find helpful: the Greek word for ‘place’ – is a legal foothold; an opportunity; a legal right to enter and occupy. Demonic influence comes to occupy unguarded places in our heart and mind. By using spiritual “gateways”, or giving “place” to the devil; we are allowing darkness to have influence in our lives. When we allow darkness to have a voice, we are foolishly beginning to embrace twisted perceptions of reality. The devil’s strategy is simple… he wants to steal, kill and destroy (Jn. 10:9). Evil spirits look for ‘gateways’ to enter and begin to control parts of our life (Jn. 13:27). No matter how the access comes, the goal is to convince the person to walk in spiritual darkness, shame and isolation. The devil’s strategy is for the oppression or “works” to lead us into bondage and corruption. That is why Jesus was manifest on the Earth… to expose and destroy the works of the devil (1 Jn. 3:8).

Freedom:

Lasting freedom can only take place if the Kingdom of Heaven draws near and darkness is displaced. The gates must be identified and closed. It is the work of the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth, to identify and reveal personal issues that expose these gateways in our lives.

  • Jesus truly is the way, the truth and the life (Jn. 14:6)…
  • And when the Son sets free you are free indeed (Jn. 8:36)…

Its God’s Way, Truth and Spiritual Life that Frees the Oppressed:

What we fail to recognize sometimes is that the devil has blinded our eyes to the truth and clouded our judgment of reality (2 Cor. 4:4). To know Christ and abide in Truth… is to find the freedom of heaven’s “Family” order. Its a freedom that cannot be achieved any other way. The Holy Spirit brings us into sonship… its the Spirit of Adoption (Rom. 8:15) and it offers transformation by breaking the hold of Satan on the human mind and spirit. When we come to know who He is and who He has declared us to be… we are confronted by the Truth and those lies of our heart are made visible. You see, the Truth is reality from God’s perspective! Therefore, when we see Christ for who He is, a vale is lifted from our hearts and we are given the choice to embrace what is real, as apposed to lies (Rom. 1:24-27).

When the veil is lifted… truth & freedom are a wonderful bridge!

5-Fold Ministry

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers” (Eph. 4:7 & 11).

Christ has distributed ministry gifts, which enable the Church to function as His Body, in vision, anointing and effectiveness. These five gifts as we will see, have a special purpose:

  • the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry
  • the edifying of the body of Christ
  • the unifying, growing and measuring of our sonship 

Spiritual Fathering:

The 5-fold ministry gifts are not titles, but anointed mantles that function to empower  “fathering”  in the Church family. There is nothing “elevated” about them (1 Cor. 4:9-13) and we should not assume that they were only given to men. The emphasis must be placed on the special purpose of preparing God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up and function with the same anointing Jesus carried while He was on the earth. Jesus said, “I only do what I see My Father doing” (Jn. 5:19). This value of “sonship”, stands as our model for how the Church gets its authority and power to advance the Kingdom of God in the world. The 5-fold ministry is designed to position fathering leaders in the family of God, so that there is a natural multiplication of spiritual sons and daughters who are doing what Jesus did (Jn. 14:12).

People Doing What Jesus Did:

These five leadership gifts were not simply given to do the work of the ministry, but to train, nurture and enable God’s people to do the work of the ministry. They offer the framework for God’s people to grow in their own callings and gifting under the governing leadership of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:19-22).  

The Time-Frame: “…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

The five-fold ministry did not pass away at the end of the first century, but was given until the maturing of the Body in unity, knowledge and expression of Christ’s fullness.

It was Jesus’ contention that the very gates of hell would not prevail against the Church. Yet we see the frailty by which the Body of Christ moves and wonder how this could ever be acheived. I have come to believe that most of the problems in the Church today can be attributed to man’s desire to do what they want. To experience the fullness of God, means we must be organized and led in the way that God intends. We have either left or lost our way and need to return to being the Church, rather than doing church. That goes beyond how we worship and what we believe, to the very anointing we expect to see emerge in our lives. Our experience has a direct connection to how we are governed and led.

If we are to be prepared for the return of our Kingly Bridegroom, we must discover the priorities that will bring beauty and maturity to the Bride He longs to embrace. 

Coming Home

Play in the leaves...

As much as I love vacations and traveling abroad, I really like coming home. I think about the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 - the time away was never going to suffice as a place to call home. It may have been a season away from the routine, the responsibilities, the pressure and the stuff we call normal, but it was not home.

Home is where Father is:

What we all are learning is the tension between Father’s love and Father’s discipline (Heb 12:7-11). This place of relational development is the greatest place to discover Sonship and the grace that helps us recognize the value of  home. Grace is experienced while learning new things still living in an atmosphere permeated with discipline. 

Normal:

What the Bible calls ”normal” is getting lost in our day, because family structures are splintering and we have embraced so much of secular society’s values. I would propose that the most under appreciated thing we have available to us… is our family routine. According to the writer of Hebrews, it is the environment most conducive to produce “the peaceable fruit of righteousness”. Normal is anything but wasted time if it is lived in the Father’s heart. The Apostle Paul encourages us to redeem time by being lead by the Spirit. He reminds us that there are influences of evil that will steal our values if we choose to live like the Prodigal Son, in foolish endeavors like drunkenness (Eph 5:15-18). Breaking free from normal is living without the canopy of a Father’s discipline. Paul tells us to find out what pleases the Father.

Canopy of Grace:

Time with family, making a schedule, eating at a common table, trying things that allow failure and success; all of these things are designed to be done beneath a canopy of grace. These are things I enjoy coming home to. I believe these routines give us our stability, by training us and creating opportunities for growth in grace. There is grace in our home, because there is a wealth of relationship that nurtures our lives beyond the natural routine. 

Joshua’s Discovery:

The great leader of Israel – Joshua said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (Josh 24:15) This declaration was not just a line he had drawn in the sand, it was his passionate conviction that he had found a home in God’s grace. He had discovered that God had positioned him to stay beneath the canopy of grace… and it was settled in his heart while coming home.

The Will to Follow

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit… was led by the Spirit…” (Lk 4:1)

When you decide to disciple another person, you are basically saying, “Follow me as I follow the Spirit”. You are stepping forward to show other’s the way in which they should be led. So the question begs to be asked, “Who is leading you?” Who are you following? Are you demonstrating a willingness to follow the Holy Spirit. Jesus wisely said, “…if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

Led by the Spirit:

One of the marks of a person who is full of the Holy Spirit is that they are willing to be led by the Holy Spirit. They are involved in receiving the Holy Spirit’s correction, direction and instruction. This cannot be overstated. Being available to go wherever the Spirit leads and do whatever He asks is the model Jesus gave His disciples. Everything in their lives had that undeniable mark of Spirit inspired leadership upon it… this is the anointing.

The Mark of Leadership: 

God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him (Acts 10:38). He affirmed His Father’s priorities and did nothing except what His Father told Him to do. His life was the visible expression of the Father’s Will and the model for true Holy Spirit leadership!

Authentic and Visible: 

Being anointed meant Jesus was carrying an active, visible favor in His ministry that demonstrated His Father’s heart in full view of the disciples. Jesus did not fake it, make it up or ask for help from the crowds. He was the real, Good Shepherd. He knew how to live in the secret place of the Holy Spirit’s Presence and release a flowing expression of the Father’s heart. He had no need of a worship team, love offering or altar call to stir the faith of crowds or critics.

Why did so Many Follow? 

People wanted to follow Jesus, because He was the greatest example of sonship ever seen. The Apostle John says it best when he opens his letter to the churches. “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship (follower-ship) with us; and truly our fellowship (follower-ship) is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” (1 Jn 1:3-4)

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