Posts Tagged ‘spiritual lives’

Pulling On God’s Heart

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among My people… If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.” (2 Chron 7:13-15).

Ministry Breakthrough:

Our Lord Jesus said fasting would be necessary for His disciples when He was no longer with them in person. “The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast” (Mt 9:15). Notice Jesus is giving the impression that the disciples would need to fast in order to pull information out of the spiritual realm after He was gone.

The early disciples remembered the words of Jesus and made fasting a vital part of their spiritual lives, especially when breakthrough was needed. The outstanding work God accomplished through them speaks for itself. They could easily hear God speak to them through prayer and fasting and so their activities in ministry were more effective.

Just imagine the scene as those disciples were worshiping and fasting. The Holy Spirit spoke with amazing clarity. “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them“. So after they fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them into ministry (Acts 13:2-3).

Personal Breakthrough:

We must recognize the value of fasting and prayer, as we consider our own heart toward God. Many times in my life, I have seen wilderness experiences turned into opportunities for promotion, simply because of fasting. Turning sorrows into joy and mourning into dancing, must not be left to chance or opportune times. We must move into our responsibility as stewards of our spiritual destinies, because we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Prayer and fasting will separate us from spiritual laziness, where we stop expecting God to bring success and lay it at our feet. Jesus told His disciples that when they prayed and fasted, God would reward them publicly… openly (Mt 6:18). I have watched God move with Kingdom resources when I gave myself to fasting.

“Even now, declares the Lord, return to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love and He relents from sending calamity” (Joel 2:12-13).

Call Me!

“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

One of the greatest invitations ever given to anyone, was spoken to Jeremiah when he was in prison for preaching the truth. God said: “Call Me and I will answer, because I have some  amazing things to show you… things you don’t know, haven’t seen and could not even imagine!” Wow… now that is an invitation with some power behind it! C’mon now – would you actually stay in fear, confusion and despair… when God invites you to call Him!

God’s Invitation:

God speaks to Jeremiah in the midst of his distress with the heart of mercy. His invitation comes to Jeremiah’s ears first as a command – CALL ME!, second as a promise – I WILL ANSWER!, and third as an opportunity – I HAVE SOMETHING FOR YOU! Nothing else could be said at that point… except – Yes Lord! It is God who takes the initiative: “Call Me”. It is God who sees beyond the circumstances that we face… and it is always God who knows the end from the beginning.

  • Jesus said, “Men ought always to pray, and not give up!” (Lk. 18:1)
  • Paul said, “Pray without ceasing!” (1 Thes. 5:17)
  • James said, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray!” (Jms. 5:13)

Have you ever had an important person give you a card with their unlisted number on it and say, “Call me”? If someone important gives you a private number, that’s a great privilege… and I guarantee that the next time you find yourself in a bind, I could guess who you would call. The Almighty God comes to Jeremiah and did just that! Notice how important God is in terms of helping when your back is against the wall!

“Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. You show loving-kindness to thousands, and repay the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them—the Great, the Mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts. You are great in counsel and mighty in work, for Your eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jer. 32:17-19)

  1. God is Great in Power – There is Nothing too Hard for Him!
  2. God is Loving and Kind – As a Shelter in Difficult Circumstances!
  3. God is Really Smart and Never Surprised – Invested in Our Success!

And like Jeremiah – We have His Personal Number!

He gave us His card, saying, “Ask and you will receive, that your joy might be full” (Jn. 16:24). There’s not one of us who cannot contact heaven. Never say in a situation, “There’s nothing I can do.” You can call and ask… you can pray. Every failure in our lives, when properly analyzed, is a prayer failure… “you have not, because you ask not!” (Jms. 4:2) There’s not a single sin in our lives that proper prayer would not have avoided, not a need prayer cannot meet (Phil. 4:19). It’s our greatest source of untapped power! Our spiritual lives will never rise above our prayer lives! We must learn to pray. When we don’t pray, we deny ourselves an incredible privilege… and miss out on the “something amazing He has for us!”

Get out of your comfort zone and call heaven… its free of charge! Heaven is online 24/7! Rise up and call out to God… He is always gonna answer your call! (Acts 2:21)(Rom. 10:13)

The Nazarite

The Law of the Nazarites:  “Now this [is] the law of the Nazarite: When the days of his separation are fulfilled, he shall be brought to the door of the tabernacle of meeting.” (Num. 6:13)

Among God’s people of ancient Israel there have been various revival movements which were God’s remedy against apostasy and His call for return. God raised up such movements like the Priesthood, the Levites and the Nazarites for the task of reviving a culture that had lost its way into the Glory of God.

The Nazarite’s 3-fold Vow of Separation:

  • He was to separate himself from wine and strong drink and drink no vinegar or juice of the grape. (Num. 6:3)
  • All the days of his separation, no razor was to be used on his head. (Num. 6:5)
  • All the days that he separated himself to the Lord, he was not to go near a dead body. (Num. 6:6)

Separation and Consecration:

When it says that the Nazarite took a vow to separate himself unto God, it became his consecrated response to an invitation from God. He was saying, “I am not going to allow any influence, but that of God upon my life”. He was not to drink wine, cut his hair nor touch dead things throughout the time of his consecration. Even if a family member died he was not to go or he would become unclean. What an amazing sacrifice, what a commitment unto God.

God was saying… “avoid anything that will pollute”.

We, as the Church are not to touch things that bring death to our walk with God. Things of this world have the potential to pollute our soul, crush our prayer life and destroy our testimony (1 Jn 2:15-17). The Apostle John warns us of the danger of loving the world and allowing its influence to draw us into its clutches. Things which you watch, speak and hear, have an influence upon our spiritual lives. The Old Testament Nazarite would say, ”I shall not touch any dead thing”. Notice the reason for this commitment was that by separation there would be access to the tent of meeting.

Standing at the Door:

There is something about this “tabernacle of meeting” that we must come to understand. You see, the offer is being given to the consecrated heart. This was no ordinary meeting place… this was the place where God by His Glory would tabernacle or meet with man. Were we to read on in this passage we would see a process of sacrifices that would be given by the Nazarite dealing with issues of sin, peace and restoration. And with each sacrifice, burdens would be lifted and revival would come to the heart of God’s servant. In the end of the meeting would come “The Blessing”. God gives Moses the pattern for how this Blessing would be spoken over the person standing inside the door of the tabernacle… and it sounded like this:

“The Lord bless you and keep you!
The Lord make His face shine upon you
And be gracious to you!
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you
And give you peace!”
 

With the Blessing came the Name… “So they (Aaron and his sons) shall put My Name on the children of Israel and I will bless them.” (Num. 6:27)

I Will Bless Them!

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). On the day of Pentecost, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and some of the people began to mock the disciples saying they were filled with new wine (Acts 2:13). In other words, they were under a strong influence of God’s Blessing - the Holy Spirit! Yet this incredible experience came following many days of prayer and waiting in an upper room, in unity and in one place… a “tabernacle of meeting”.

We often want the Blessing, without the meeting! Can a Christian really call himself a follower without a consecrated life? Really?

Jesus said “many will call Me Lord, Lord… and say did we not prophesy, drive out demons and do miracles in Your Name?… Then I will tell them plainly - I never knew you.” (Mt. 7:21-23)   

Is He Knowing Us?

It is not my goal to promote a “works based” pathway to salvation, but I am concerned about our consecration. We are called to walk in the light of God’s Kingdom influence. Jesus has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us, or moved us into the Kingdom of the Son of His love. Our destiny is to live inside the doorway of the “tabernacle of meeting”, enjoying the River of Spiritual Life flowing from within… by the Holy Spirit. Yet it is by our consecration, that a lifestyle gives access and opens for us the wells of salvation (Isa. 12:2). It makes us deeply sensitive to the flow of heaven’s resources.

Governed by Consecration:

These principles governed the life of the Nazarite. Why did people take such a vow? To be governed by what it released inside of them! We are told that it was unto the Lord (Num. 6:1) not to a man or a religious form. It was an invitation to those hungering for God, those who desired His Manifest Presence and desperate for fellowship, communion and revival. And can I add… they received God’s Name and His Blessing!

Nazarites serve as a picture of recovery, restoration and revival to all of God’s people. Could it be that our time has come? And what would it cost us?

The Shield of Favor

Have you ever thought about favor as a shield of defense in our spiritual lives? Jesus knew how to unleash the force of favor. Notice from Luke 2:52 that Jesus has a summary statement made about the first thirty years of His life… “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”

Jesus increased in wisdom, stature and favor. 

One definition of favor is ‘to receive preferential treatment’. I really must admit that I enjoy receiving preferential treatment; especially if it is increasing. When kindness and special treatment is shared between people, they tend to believe they are appreciated and valued. In fact favor is a mark of acceptance and Paul stated (Eph. 1:6) that we are accepted in the Beloved (Jesus).

 If Jesus could grow in favor – so should we.

 How does it work? (Ps. 5:12) the Psalmist said “For surely, Oh Lord You bless the righteous; You surround them with Your favor as with a shield”. So favor is like a shield to a warrior that surrounds him for protection. What we must recognize; is that all good warriors are trained in the use of their shield, just like the use of their sword.  Handling a shield is all about learning to “absorb a blow”.

 Your shield, “favor” is a vital weapon of defense that keeps enemy blows from penetrating your heart if you can learn to carry it well.

 When we become aware of the blessing of God upon our life and identify with that blessing, we become almost immune to offences. A Christian that is un-offendable is a treasure to God’s Kingdom and will grow in their favor with God and man.

Kingdom Agents must avoid being easily offended.

 So use this shield of favor to absorb the shock of harsh words, evil deeds and ruthless deceptions from Satan. Satanic assaults and lies are meant to destroy; but God’s favor in the hand of a ready warrior will give him the benefit of a supernatural shield of defense.

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