Posts Tagged ‘Sunday School’

Go After Joy

“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Psalm 16:11)

“Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones; And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.” (Psalm 32:11)

“You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows.” (Psalm 45:7)

We speak of the joy of the Lord quite often as a strength in trouble or a fruit of the Spirit… but I truly believe it is a great weapon for spiritual breakthrough and freedom.

God is completely faithful, He is generous as our Provider and sensitive as our Healer. When we are in need, He wants us to recognize His love and allow joy to lead us to our breakthrough. The psalms remind us that God’s loving kindness is new every morning (Ps. 30:5). His mercies are like the rains that fall upon the fertile soil of the heart to bring forth the seeds of spiritual strength (Lam. 3:22-24). No question, God is the instigator of our breakthroughs; yet we are all called to walk in step with Him for the achieving of spiritual victory.

We are co-laborers in the Kingdom of Heaven for our breaking forth.

As Kingdom Agents, we can and must see the joy of the Lord as a spiritually anointed tool that releases us from the chains of oppression. Joy is a great weapon against fear and depression.

I still remember…

In Sunday School years ago, we used to sing about the power joy had to bring great freedom in the Spirit. We would sing “if you want joy you must laugh for it” and off we’d go with, “ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha”. Pretty soon we would all experience laughter that would cause us to see differently the rest of the day. Those little songs were a point of release, setting the atmosphere of joy that influenced our dispositions and changed our heart attitudes. In one sense we were taking our thoughts captive without even realizing we were having moments of breakthrough.

I truly believe that the supernatural life of the Spirit is more natural than we think… try it – laugh a little and see if it doesn’t lighten the load. The Joy of the Lord can be your strength for breakthrough! (Neh 8:10)

Seeds Invite Conflict

Seedlings
Seedlings

“The Sower sows the Word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the Word is sown. And when they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the Word that was sown in their hearts.” (Mark 4:14-15)

 In the Parable of the Sower we see one of the most overlooked secrets of the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God comes to us under enormous conflict. What might seem like a normal little teaching from our Sunday School years; takes on a more serious tone when we realize that our enemy, the devil is watching us and waiting to pounce.

Kingdom Reality Uncovered: 

Jesus reveals three things about Satan in this Parable. First, he comes “immediately” as though he were coming with fierce passion. Second, he comes for the “Word” that was sown in the human heart. And finally, we see that his ultimate destination is the heart. He is after the Word with a fierceness that most Christians do not recognize; yet because of the cunning nature in which he comes, we often miss the process altogether.

A Battle Ground:

The human heart is a battle ground over the influence of the Kingdom. The Apostle Peter said that we must become vigilant or awake and alert, because our adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet 5:8). We are under surveillance and Satan pays close attention to what happens at the “gates” of our hearts. This reality of a devouring lion coming to snatch away the Word makes us realize that the Seed sown in our hearts carries more potential than we often understand. Otherwise, why would Satan be so attentive to the heart.

The Word has Seed Potential:

Jesus says the sower goes out and sows the Word into the soil of the human heart. That is how the Kingdom arrives in the human heart. The Word of God is sown by means of power-packed seeds planted through preaching, teaching, reading or studying the supernatural flow of God’s Word. Its not static or just a written set of doctrines in a book called the Holy Bible. The Word is “seed” dropped into hearts like seeds are dropped into soil, with germinating potential. This amazing potential is the life-giving element which can change the whole dynamic of what takes place in the heart. The Word brings the potential for something carrying God’s thought process; that is, God’s DNA to be released inside of us. When the Word is received and believed, it brings life to the soil.

It is a threat!

It sets off an alarm in the spiritual realm, because it threatens all other kingdoms that carry dominion in the heart. Therefore, the moment the Sower sows the Word, there is an immediate reaction from Satan and his cohorts. It is the opportune time for all authority to be shifted and yet it is also a season of conflict.

The Issue is the Soil: 

Our application of these words of Jesus is vital! This Parable has been taught incompletely by well-meaning ministers for years. The point of the story is about the influence of the Kingdom of God in and through the heart of humanity. Although Jesus speaks about four types of soil or heart conditions, He is mostly focused upon our adversary rather than our heart. This tells me that He is wanting us to catch a vital principle of warfare rather than a purity lesson. Does purity matter? Absolutely; but in battle, purity often just makes us a bigger target. To just purify the heart does nothing to resist the devil’s schemes. We must step up into our authority as believers and embrace the potential in the Word sown into our hearts.

The Key is the Word Itself: 

Notice its the Word that Satan is alarmed about, in fact your heart is no threat whatsoever without the life-giving Word sown into it. Obviously the key to overcoming the conflict when the heart is under attack… is the Word! When the Word comes it invites conflict to crack it open (think about seed) so that it can release its power, release it hidden resource, release its influence within the heart. Don’t miss the hidden potential by becoming focused upon the conflict, the trial of faith or the experiences of testing, hurt or persecution; God is calling us to undergo transformation within ourselves for greater impact in the world around us.

The Prince of Peace

We know the story, or so we think, because we heard about this stuff in Sunday School. It’s the story of Palm Sunday, Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The Book of Luke tells it best as Luke transports us back in time to the last week in the earthly ministry of Jesus (Lk 19:28-48).

 Wow, what a week it was! With His instructions to the disciples to go and find the colt in the village, Jesus seems to be doing exactly what His disciples expect Him to do; take charge, make a bold statement, enter Jerusalem as the Messiah that He is.

 The crowds in the city have swelled to several hundred thousand, filling the streets of Jerusalem as pilgrims and residents of the city prepare for the Feast of Passover, the most memorable feast in the history of the Jewish people.

It is this Passover feast that celebrates and recognizes God’s deliverance of the nation of Israel from the slavery of Egypt. The Seder meal of lamb and bitter herbs and other symbolic foods will be eaten this week, reminding the first century Jews that God freed their ancestors from the oppression of Egypt.

Jesus however, is not traveling this road as a revolutionary, He is traveling the road as the Prince of Peace.

This was an occasion which called for praise… yet the Saviour is met with anger and assaulted with demands from the Pharisees. “Teacher rebuke your disciples,” they shout; because the disturbance has become intolerable. And here comes the comment of the event, the comment that would focus their reality…

Jesus answers, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

 Stones crying out? Now there is an odd concept. What our Lord is saying here is that there are times and seasons that God’s children are suppose to define and proclaim to the world, because they are the ones best fitted to do it. They experience the mighty works of God. They know Who it is who is behind these things. They are the ones who should understand the meaning of “triumph”; after all Jesus has become known for His ability to overcome all broken-ness and crush all darkness. The disciples are the ones set apart by God to proclaim the greatest Truths and to help the world experience God’s heart. But what if they won’t do it? “Well then,” says Jesus, “the stones will cry out.” That is, that which is not designed for this purpose, which is not particularly prepared for it, will begin to define the Truths for a stiff necked people.

I believe that in a very real way we either listen to the kind message of grace that comes from the Prince of Peace or on some level we are introduced to the voice of judgement. We can give our ear to our Heavenly Father’s invitation and remedy the ache of our troubled souls or the violent stirring of disaster looms heavy at our back door. There are praises which God desires to be uttered, if for no other reason than to sharpen the clarity of a national hunger for Peace… within.

Were this Prince of Peace not to be received then we all would miss the day of our visitation (Lk 19:41-44).

We will not be saying “oops, sorry I missed your call,” but finding no stone upon another, our enemies will bring forth our destruction. Hear the praises and visitation is a sure thing, but silence the human voices and the stones’ volume will become deafening.

You see what makes for peace is not a lack of strife, but the recognizable Presence of the Prince… He is our Prince of Peace!

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