Posts Tagged ‘spiritual realities’

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.

I Am Strong

Biblical Truths often seem backward and contrary to common sense… even crazy. Sometimes this is because they are stated in paradoxical ways, like the parables Jesus taught. Even when these Truths are stated in a straightforward way; they still strike us as odd, because they do not conform to worldly thought patterns we have to negotiate.

Perhaps our greatest challenge as Christians is to understand the Biblical principle of strength being released through weakness… notice the following verses.

“Consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that he might nullify the things that are, that no one should boast before God.” (1 Cor 1:26-29)

“(God) has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:9-10)

Worldly wisdom says that power is rooted in natural resources like money, good looks and intellegence. Since these resources are limited, true power is always limited to just the few individuals with access and favor.

God’s wisdom says that true power comes from the Holy Spirit and has no correlation with prestige or riches, that are hinged to natural resources. A persons influence in this world is not some kind of license to heavenly influence. True power; as it relates to the Kingdom of God, is accessible to anyone who depends on God. Jesus was the personification of this principle… anointed as the “Christ” or “Messiah”. He was the Prince of Peace; even without religious ordination or title, yet His power was directly connected to His anointing from heaven. His perfect obedience to the Heavenly Father released His influence in the Earth.

The early Church had great power, not because they had access to money or political influences; but because they were filled with the Holy Spirit! It is dependence on God; through faith, that lays hold of real power. We must believe and place our trust in the Holy Spirit to release power into our lives.

God longs for people He can wear like a glove!

Living His life through us, is how the power of heaven comes into the natural realities we so much want to see change. By the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, He demonstrates His power, He transforms culture and makes His Kingdom visible in the Earth.

It might just sound a bit strange to boast in weakness, until you begin to participate in the transformation first hand. Then you begin to see how something as simple as prayer, praise or thankfulness, can tear down walls and crush strongholds of fear. Only when we begin to understand spiritual realities; though unseen, are more powerful than the natural, will we become convinced that… ”when I am weak, then I am strong”.

Prophetic Preaching

Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent Me.” (John 7:16)

Jesus consistently preached under the anointing of God, as we see in the above verse. Yet the key to being prophetic is that Jesus’ message carried the weight of supernatural creativity, breakthrough and fulfillment.  A prophetic preacher may use the gifts of teaching, exhortation and prophecy in a variety of ways; but the power of the message itself, will shift the atmosphere (Rom. 1:16-17). That is what makes it prophetic!

“And take the … sword of the Spirit, which is the word [rhema] of God” (Eph 6:17)

Prophetic Preaching contains a ‘Now’ Word:

The prophetic gift is employed to make known the thoughts, purpose and intent of God. Prophetic preaching has a sense of immediacy. In the New Testament, the Greek word ‘rhema’ primarily refers to the spoken word that carries power in its ‘utterance’, whereas ‘logos’ primarily refers to the written word, the logic of God or His thought process. Prophetic teaching and preaching releases the rhema of God’s “Spirit-breathed”, current Word. It is designed to reveal the Father’s “Now Word”, making known something that if believed would come forth. It answers the question, ‘What is God’s Word to us in this season?’

Example: The Apostle Paul said, “the word is near you even in your mouth and in your heart, that is the word of faith that we preach” (Rom. 10:8). He goes on to say that if you act on it by confessing and believing, you will be saved… You will be transformed!

What happens in prophetic preaching is that we are drawn into an experience by the conviction of the Holy Spirit as well as the will to believe and step into its power. It sets a Kairos moment… the opportune time for change and transformation. Prophetic preaching opens doorways into heavenly blessing, revelation and assignments.

“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.” (1 Cor 2:13)

Based on Spiritual Revelation:

Prophetic preaching is inspired by the Holy Spirit through the means of revelation. The word ‘revelation’ in the New Testament Greek, apokalupsis, means an ‘uncovering’ or ‘disclosure’. In other words, God is revealing something by His Spirit that is not known by natural means… its a mystery. There is often a call to action or a need to respond and activate the Word received by the hearer. This is why we place a high priority on seasons of prayer or altar times, to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts when the atmosphere has been shifted in a room or auditorium. This may be to align one’s heart or actions, to pay attention to a timely warning or submit to guidance. When we do not position ourselves for God’s present or future plans, we often miss our opportunity. The consistent results of the prophetic instructions of God are for transformation and breakthrough.

Notice these two examples:

  1. “The children of Issachar, who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel should do… and all their brethren were at their command” (1 Chron. 12:32)
  2. “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at His teaching, because He taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” (Mt. 7:28-29)

Prophetic Preaching Carries Authority:

This authority is not based upon the preacher’s gift, but on the basis of being entrusted with a message from God Himself. Throughout Scripture, the instruction given through a prophet brought breakthrough for God’s people. This included strategic guidance in a time of warfare (2 Chron. 20:14-17), a word of action in crisis (Gen 41:25-46) or a specific declaration of breakthrough (2 Kings 7:1-2). Prophetic preaching is of great value when a shift is needed to bring the Kingdom of God and push back against the darkness that floods our vision.

Empowering the Church:

“Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers.”  (Acts 15:32)

The outcome of prophetic preaching, just as with all prophetic ministry, is that the Church and its leadership is built up, strengthened and empowered. (1 Cor 14:3-4)

The Reality of War

Christians need to recognize the reality of spiritual conflict and warfare. We are born into conflict — against the world, against our carnal desires, and against the devil. If you do not know the nature of your enemy; if you do not know who your foes are, you cannot fight… much less walk in victory. It’s only when you realize what you’re up against that you can be victorious.

Christian Soldiers are Called to War:

The Bible says we must stand against our spiritual enemies as Christian soldiers (2 Tim. 2:4). When God calls you to Kingdom responsibility, you become part of the army of God. You can truthfully sing, “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war”, because you are at war and you have a target on your back. You need to remember that if you’re living for Jesus Christ, the powers of darkness are aligned against you. You are on Satan’s hit list!

Get Equipped:

Becoming equipped is more than gaining knowledge or taking a stance. It requires a transformed mind and a well developed character. You must become a person of faith and valor… a person who is equipped in the realities of war! Jesus, Himself said that the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force (Mt. 11:12). I want to offer four principles to help you be victorious in spiritual warfare as a Christian Soldier.

1st) Learn to Endure Hardship.

“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Tim. 2:3)

If you want to be a soldier, you need to get in shape. You can’t go out and fight hand-to-hand combat when you are little more than a fat little baby in Christ. While you’re sitting around in your diapers, the enemy is going to have you for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You need to strengthen your spiritual muscles and gear up for spiritual realities. You need to be able to respond. If you can’t respond in physical combat, you die. It’s as simple as that. Likewise, you must learn to respond in spiritual ways, or you will become spiritually wounded.

A key to strengthening spiritual muscles and enduring hardship is finding strength in the Word of God. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). Never forget this: ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of the Lord Jesus Christ. And ignorance of Christ is ignorance of your own defenses. You can’t defend yourself unless you are walking in the Light of God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit.

2nd) Be Self-Controlled and Alert.

You must learn to “be self-controlled and alert” for “your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).

He is looking for you! There’s no such thing as a sleepy, successful soldier. Sleepy soldiers — soldiers who are not alert — have one thing in common. They’re all dead! God says if you want to succeed in spiritual war, you must be self-controlled and alert. Being self-controlled is a fruit of the Spirit and it offers you the means to know what to do and the strength to do it. Only then will you be able to spiritually discern and resist the enemy’s subtle attacks.

3rd) Build Your Faith in Christ.

“For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 Jn. 5:4-5).

Faith is your victory! Its absolutely critical in spiritual conflict that you walk by faith, because it is an unseen war. Our faith is in the Ultimate Conqueror – Jesus Christ – who admonishes His followers: “Take heart! I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). Christ imparts the capacity to conquer every single day and all we have to do is believe in Him. You need to get up in the morning and say, “Lord Jesus, I believe You have conquered the world! Conquer today through me! I believe in you! Give me the capacity to see as You see. I am a person of faith and valor… remove my doubts and fill me with the boldness of faith that is necessary for victory today.”

4th) Put On Spiritual Armor.

“Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Eph. 6:11)

Are you catching this? You can stand against Satan’s schemes and attacks. You can be victorious! Ephesians 6:10-20 speaks of the various pieces of spiritual armor God has provided. Nobody goes out to war in their pajamas; no, you go out with 30 or 40 pounds of equipment. Yet, I see so many immature Christians running around in their spiritual underwear, trying to do warfare against a powerful enemy. And they don’t understand why the flaming arrows of the wicked one are sticking out of their spiritual derrieres.

You must put on the whole armor of God… the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the readiness to preach the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. And Pray… with all kinds of prayers! These are God’s tools for taking spiritual dominion and reigning in all that He has promised.

Note that every piece of armor in Ephesians 6 is for the front of the body. There isn’t a single piece for your backside. Do you know why? Because soldiers do not turn around in the middle of combat, they move forward. The reason many believers are weak and ineffective is that in the midst of battle, they fail to rely upon the armor God has made available in Christ. Fearing the enemy’s threats; they back away from their convictions, because they lack the faith and valor of Spiritual Soldiers.

Take this to heart, my friend… Jesus Christ is the Exalted One! Its His Name that is above every name and His authority that is established as supreme over all. He is Our King… listen to Him, listen to the Holy Spirit and walk in the love of the Father. You will be strong and do great exploits by His power at work in you! (Dan. 11:32)

A Quickening

Jesus tells us, “It is the Spirit which quickens, the flesh profits nothing: the words which I have spoken unto you are spirit and are life.” (Jn 6:63)

The Spirit Quickens:

Feeling the quickening of the Holy Spirit is a powerful faith activity, a strong sense of “NOW” or being present in a Divine Opportunity. Its the heart’s response to supernatural life becoming activated by a Word from the Mouth of God. We can become engaged in God’s timing, simply by believing; not tomorrow, not when we have time available, but right now. We are called to live in the moment, to move with that unction of Holy Spirit activity. In God’s timing success and impossible breakthroughs are gained, we simply set our hearts on spiritual realities and focus our faith on the Words of His Mouth. His Words are spirit and life!

Quickening comes from three levels of awareness:

  1. Our Identity: The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are a Child of God (Rom 8:16). Jesus modeled this for us, to value and respond from the identity of a Son or Daughter makes us more sensitive to the heart of God. Jesus said “The Son only does what He sees the Father doing” (Jn 5:19).
  2. Our Compassion: The Holy Spirit’s love compels us to move according to the will of God with great urgency (Mt 9:36). The Apostle Paul spoke of being “bound in the spirit” to go to Jerusalem, even though the Holy Spirit had told him he would find tribulations there (Acts 20:22-23). Yet, Paul felt compelled on the inside toward others.
  3. Our Convictions: The belief that God would desire all men to be saved, births an urgency in the person who aims to please God (1 Tim 2:4). To know that Jesus said that we will do even greater works that these, stirs the believer to go after signs and wonders (Jn 14:12). To trust in the power of prayer creates an urgent response when somone we love is struggling (Jms 5:16). When we know and abide in the Truth, the Truth will set you free (Jn 8:32)… free to walk the walk with urgency.
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