Back to the Basics

Sometimes we have to go back to basics, or  “back to the very beginning” (as Julie Andrews sang in The Sound of Music), and do a quick review of how we are actually “getting along” in living this life of faith, and in the effectiveness of our prayer life.

For several weeks I have personally been in that “mode”, as I have spent much time meditating and reflecting upon the “prayer-conversation” of Jesus and the Father as recorded in John 17, and other passages.

I would like to share some insights that have formed over the last few days. I am only sharing what I have personally had revealed to me and what I am purposing to walk out as I am surrendered to and empowered by the Spirit of God.

Crazy as it may seem to many, I am motivated by extreme desire to be effective in prayer and victorious in my mind and emotions.  I strongly desire to not be a believer whose joy and victory is dependent upon circumstances.  I strongly desire that my circumstances always bow to the TRUTH of God’s Word and that no matter what I will genuinely rejoice in God and in truth – regardless.

(It is my understanding that the early Christian martyrs, who were tortured or burned at the stake did so not with complaint or accusations against God but with praise on their lips.  To me, that is the “gold standard”.)

Here are a few simple keys I want to pass on today.

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#1  We must always look with spirit eyes into the unseen realm, in order to maintain the kind of victory that is based upon truth, not upon circumstances.  We must always keep our eyes upon God who CANNOT lie and who KNOWS HOW to work out the details of our journey in this life.

Of course this can be a major challenge to our mind…especially when we are certain we have ‘heard from God’…. as to what His will for us is.

#2  We must expend effort and invest time into increasing our deep trust in His word.  His Word must be the SOLID ROCK inside us, when the storms hit.  Our trust must never be in people.

It may sound easy enough to embrace this, but be assured it isn’t  because we are all basically “people pleasers” or “people reactors” at our core.

(We must know and personally believe that Jesus was not moved by external “evidence”, but by eternal evidence.  He was not moved by opinions of man. He needed no human attention, acceptance, approval, or applause. See John 5:41, 44 and John 2:25)

#3 The biggest battle we all must win is the battle in our mind.  So we must face it head on,  in order to win.

I will now share something very simple that can help anyone make progress in this arena.

Begin immediately to make the changes you want.

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Start here.   The scriptures declares that:

1. “NO weapon formed against you shall prosper….” Isaiah 54:17 (It would be good to read the entire verse)

2.  “You are more than a conqueror…(through Christ)  ” Romans 8:37

3.   “You have the mind of Christ…” 1 Corinthians 2:16

What was revealed to me was that most of our mind battles consist of facing one or all three of the following:

Fear   –  of the FUTURE:    of the unknown, failure, or exposure of our real self

Regret —  from the PAST:  of mistakes, or wrong choices

Emptiness – in the PRESENT:  no sense of a reason to exist, purpose, love, or joy

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The battle(s) can be won by first honestly “owning up” to what is bothering you.  Then realize that it is possible to exchange truth for the lies that are going round and round inside your mind.

In fact the cross of Jesus is all about the place where the “great exchange” took place -He gave His life, His emotions, His mind for mine, if I will but take what is offered.(Positive thinking and positive confessions can never match the power of the life giving word of God)

Take one scripture, all or add additional ones to the ones above.  Use  the scripture as your sword against the lies that come against your mind until the “skirmish” is completely over!

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Be aware that there will be new battles, but you will always win the same way….by starting off with “It is written…..”

Do it out loud. (You do not have to feel like it.)   The word is living and active and it works if you will work it.

Darkness in thoughts and distress in emotions will go.  Peace and joy will come.

And please remember, it does not glorify God to live in regret or fear or emptiness.  Jesus came to give us abundant life.

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A Very Short Dream; Big Implications

On February 20, 2016 I had a dream just before waking.  The dream was short and troubling.

I was seated in a “pub” between a high ranking government official and a church leader.  I was trying to speak to the government official, but all he wanted to do was blame others for the condition of our land.  I tried to say “why don’t you just take some responsibility?”  He pulled away in anger. Then I turned toward the church leader on my right.  I noticed a “beer can”.  On the can was the word ‘intoxication’.

When I awakened I was very troubled.  I asked the Lord what it meant and I sensed what I believe to be His revelation – that we as a nation and as “church” in our nation, by in large, are lacking in proper leadership and that there is a propensity within church leadership to be intoxicated with the music/worship, teaching/preaching, anointing, signs/wonders, ministry and gifts more than with THE giver of it all.

My prayer for myself and for the church at large is that we return to our first love, and put the “mechanics” of doing church on the back burner, or at least in the proper place.

Christ alone.  Christ to have preeminence. First Place. Even above our prayer burdens.

And my prayer for government leaders is to own up to, take responsibility for, actions and the impact of all the wrong decisions.  I pray for leaders to chart a new course and quit blaming everyone and everything.

For meditation and prayer:

Isaiah 56:10-12  “His watchmen are blind,They are all ignorant;They are all dumb dogs,They cannot bark; Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.11Yes, they are greedy dogs Which never have enough. And they are shepherds Who cannot understand; They all look to their own way, Every one for his own gain, From his own territory.12“Come,” one says, “I will bring wine, And we will fill ourselves with intoxicating drink;Tomorrow will be as today, And much more abundant.”

“In returning and and rest you shall be saved. In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15

 

Are You Developing?

Are you developing? Are you more like Jesus today than you were last month or last year?  Or are you just an older version of what you have always been? How would you answer these questions?

As I see it, the bible is clear that the Father is looking for full grown sons. (Ephesians 4:13; Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:28; Hebrews 2:10 etc.)

Our model, our pattern and empowerment,  is found particularly in the gospels, but also throughout the scriptures.

Let me quickly run through a few verses.  Please examine these prayerfully on your own.

He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.                   1 John 2:23

How did He walk after the Holy Spirit came upon Him?  (Matthew 3:16)

In Acts 10:38 we see a concise summary of how He walked:  “…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil for God was with Him.”

That verse contains the answer.

He also proclaimed His mission “to preach the gospel to the poor; heal the broken hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord (or the year of the Lord’s favor) Luke 4:18-19

This is the commission, the mandate, the assignment day in day out – 24/7.

How do we get there?

We do whatever it takes to shift our mind from things of this world to things eternal.   Jesus’ disciples asked Him once “What shall we do, that we may do the works of God?”  Jesus answered them…. “This is the work of God, that you BELIEVE IN HIM whom He sent.”   John 6:28-29

Our mind has to be renewed to think His thoughts, have His purposes always central and let go of things that hinder.

Think about it.

Prayer Strategies That Go Beyond…

From the earliest days of my renewed relationship with the Lord in 1980 I wanted to know how to pray to see results.  I began reading books and listening to great teachers, and studying the scriptures regarding prayer.

To me the greatest example of an “apostle of prayer”, other than the Lord Jesus, is Paul who thankfully recorded many of his own prayers.   He lived a life of praise and prayer regardless of the circumstances in which he found himself. He didn’t just pray when nothing else seemed to work, he lived out his life as a prayer.  What a model.

Paul expressed a heart attitude that has inspired me since my earliest days and it is this:  “my circumstances are turning out for the furtherance of the gospel” Philippians  1:12.  He expounds upon this view even further in 2 Corinthians 1:6 when he states that whether he is AFFLICTED or COMFORTED it is for the consolation and salvation of others.

If the people of God could simply embrace this view regarding this very temporary life on this earth (again as he states in Philippians 1:12) I believe it could change everything!   Embracing this “philosophy” would enable us to shed our “rejection complex”,  our fears, our jealousies and fleshly strivings for acceptance and prominence.

There is so much to be learned and experienced in prayer by studying and applying what and how Apostle Paul prayed.  He never prayed from a standpoint of fear or uncertainty.  He knew in whom he believed and was confident that God was truly able to do exceedingly MORE THAN what he could even ask or think.

His prayer pattern was always one of thanksgiving toward God and for the people in his sphere of influence.  His heart was humble and filled with love and faith in all his prayers.  I highly recommend studying the prayers for yourself as recorded in the epistles.

Now, I want to share what I have been meditating on this week.  I still look for models and patterns in scripture that I can apply in my life.

This is what stood out to me this week.  It seems that right  now whenever I hear or read  something outside of the bible, the highlighted phrase is from the Lord’s prayer.“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

YES!  I wholeheartedly agree and often pray it,  AND take time to actually reflect on what that means.  It is so important to realize what is and is not in heaven and what we are truly asking to  manifest on the earth – particularly in our assigned realm, or sphere of influence.  (Often we forget that in order to fulfill that prayer there is a process that will also manifest to move us and circumstances toward the desired outcome. Process is not always a “picnic”. We tend to not like that part.)

As I meditated this week upon that passage called the Lord’s prayer, I realized that the prayer primarily does two things.  First, it clearly honors the person of our Heavenly Father and His power, rule and Kingdom Dominion.

Secondly, it is basically a pattern of prayer for MY individual daily needs….including provision, protection and pathway.

Well, we must all develop a deeper prayer life than just praying for our own “survival” and blessings.

So, I then spent time in meditation on the prayer of Jesus that is recorded in John 17. Jesus is our high priest and lives to make intercession for us. Did you know that in this prayer record there is no request made by Jesus specifically for the “lost”?  Rather the requests that He makes to the Father are for His disciples and those who will later believe through their life and testimony.

(I am not suggesting that we not pray for the lost, unbelieving or backslidden individuals, or nations or governments.  Certainly we are instructed to pray for EVERYONE and for those who are in authority so that we can live quiet, peaceable, godly and reverent lives. 1 Timothy 2:1-2)

I am suggesting that there is a prayer pattern revealed in John 17, given by our Lord, that we can implement to deepen our prayer life for those that God has given to us.  Those He has given to us may include our family, our friends our co-workers, or individuals we have frequent ministry interaction with.

Ten things in this prayer stand out to me which I will list, but not discuss right now.  Holy Sprit may ignite something in your heart to study this passage to see what He will reveal to you.

Remember, Jesus prayed to the Father for those that He, the Father, had given to Him, Jesus.

Here are the things which Jesus prayed that were highlighted to me:

  1. That the Father would keep them.
  2. That they would be one.
  3. That they would have the joy of Jesus in them.
  4. That they would be kept from the evil one.
  5. That they would be sanctified.
  6. That they would be sent into the world as He (Jesus) was.
  7. That they would be where He is.
  8. That they would behold His glory.
  9. That those who would believe through the words of the disciples would also be one.
  10. That these all would experience and know that the Father loves them even with the same love that He loves Jesus****                                                                ******This last one is deep, profound, and deserving of much reflection, meditation and prayer.

May God Bless you as you reflect and delve deeper into a lifestyle of prayer

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Risk, Courage, and Victory

I was impressed this morning to read Judges 4 and 5.  There are some valuable lessons to be gleaned from these chapters for personal encouragement, exhortation and for intercession.

I will share some to my insights. You may want to read these two chapters and see what the Holy Spirit will reveal to you.  Begin your reading by asking Him to give you a spirit of revelation and understanding.

There were numerous judges noted in this book of the bible which is an account of the days after Joshua had died.  Some judges served the Lord.  Many did not.  In  chapter 5 we learn that a certain righteous judge named Ehud (or deliverer, as they were also called) died and the people of God again cast off restraint and did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.

Because of this, the Lord allowed, permitted, DID NOT CAUSE, severe assault through their enemies.  (This is simply part of the law of sowing and reaping.  There are consequences, fruit if you will, from not following the Lord’s instructions nor honoring Him.)

This caused the people of God to once again cry out to God. (It amazes  me that human nature is the same no matter what generation it is…when things are bad, people tend to cry out to a “higher power” for help. (Sometimes they even cry out to Jesus.) When things are good, people tend to forget Him and His laws).  The scriptures say that for twenty years the oppression continued. (Judges 4:3)

Deborah, was the ruling judge at the time.  She tried to mobilize the forces and to set Barak in as the troop commander.  We all know he was reluctant to lead.  She prophesies to him that he can go with her, however the glory of victory will go to a woman.

They do have victory. In chapter 5 Deborah sings the victory song.  Here are some points from her song.  You may want to read the whole chapter.

v.8 Tells us that there was WAR because the people had chosen new gods. And among 40,000 in Israel there was not a shield or a sword.

This says to me that the people had forgotten how to engage in warfare.  They had no defensive or offensive weapons.  Hmmmm.  (In my experience with the Lord, I have found that most “Christians” do not even know where to locate our supernatural weapons, much less how to use them.  And certainly do not know how to use them in the course of everyday life.  Because of this, battles are fought flesh to flesh, and the results are devastating in the body of Christ and before the world in general.)

In v.9  Deborah says that her heart was with those LEADERS who offered themselves willingly to the Lord. Incidentally, I personally love this line from v. 2 When leaders lead, when people willingly offer themselves, Bless the Lord! (That is a great time to bless the Lord.)  She is also blessing the Lord for going out into the battle with them.  “The earth trembled, the clouds poured”. v. 13b “The Lord came down for me against the mighty.”

In v. 15 she acknowledges the GREAT RESOLVE with in the tribe of Issachar.  What is great resolve? A firm decision to not turn back or turn away from battle or from the Lord.  In addition it says that the tribe of Zebulun and Naphtali also jeopardized their lives to the point of death.  (See Rev. 12:11)

Oh that this mindset would return to the body of Christ.  Jesus said “greater love has no man than this but that he would lay his life down…” John 15:13

Now the last thing I want to share is from v. 24 & v. 26  A woman named Jael was bold and was used by God to strike the fatal blow into the temple of the enemy commander.  She received the public acknowledgement for this great act of courage. She split his head open with a t  (I am sure that public recognition was NOT her motivation, however.)

Her name when traced to the original word(s) means same as a “wild goat”, in that it can climb high.  Her name also means:

  • To ascend
  • To be valuable
  • To be useful
  • To do good
  • To be profitable

See: Strongs Concordance # 3278; 3277; 3276

VICTORY NEVER COMES WITHOUT A RISK.

 

 

A Call to Soldiers of the Cross

I do not know how accurate this is, but I recently read a report that said approximately 95% of people who say they believe in Jesus do not seek His guidance in their daily lives through the scriptures, prayer or godly counsel. The report also indicated that those same individuals do not even attempt to honor God by faithfully observing His instructions for life, and give no thought to the life that follows this temporary earth life.

Whether or not this is a reliable report or not, it should at least give us pause for reflection upon our own commitment to the Lordship of Jesus, especially as we are now ending one calendar year and preparing to enter a new one.  Are we falling in step with His plans and purposes or are we doing our own thing?

I am hearing by the Spirit that God is raising up a remnant of OVERCOMERS who will  in fact follow the Captain of the Lords Army into the various battle arenas that He designates, and drive out darkness with light.  Are you one?  Are you one in training?

OVERCOMERS are defined in Revelation 12:11  – And they overcame him (the accuser, liar, destroyer) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and THEY DID NOT LOVE THEIR LIVES UNTO DEATH.

A GOOD SOLDIER, defined as: You therefore must ENDURE HARDSHIP as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier (2 Timothy 2:3 – 2:4)

Are you a good soldier? Or are you one who wants to be a good soldier?  Consider enlisting in  Endtime Warrior Bootcamp.  Bootcamp will NOT be teaching that takes you nowhere, and leaves you just the same as you started.   Bootcamp will provide opportunities for active PARTICIPATION. Bootcamp will provide opportunities for development of your giftings and development of strategies for your unique assignments.

The “Kick-Off Event” is January 22-23, 2016 at New Beginnings in Richland, Ms.

Insight & Inspiration – #11

God intensely desires to heal and restore His creation.  All of creation is groaning for this to be.  One day there will be a restoration of all things (Acts 3:21) And it is in that day that the Kingdom becomes completely visible.

Currently, restoration happens first on the inside of individuals, and then on the outside. And then as people cooperate with God restoration can be released into realms beyond – like family, business and governmental realms etc.  Restoration can be seen and known.

As AMBASSADORS of the Kingdom we can and should be ready to minister freedom and the hope of restoration, whenever and wherever we find opportunity and quickening.

We proclaim in prayer and in personal encounters:

1. FREEDOM FROM DEMONIC POWER, CONTROL AND INFLUENCE: Study Ephesians 2:2; Colossians 2:15; 1 John 3:18)  Demonic influence and manipulation is the force behind ALL lawlessness.

2. FREEDOM FROM SIN’S POWER AND CONSEQUENCES                  These consequence are death, punishment, and eternal separation from God.(See: Romans 3:23-25; Ephesians 2:4-9; Colossians 2:13-14; 1 John 1:7-9)

3. FREEDOM FROM CONDEMNATION, GUILT AND SHAME:             Study: Romans 8:1; John 3:17-18; John 8:11)

Since Jesus is the Word made flesh, the Word comes to heal and deliver. Look at Ps 107:20  He sent forth His Word and healed them, and delivered them from all their destructions

It is not our word or words that bring the healing and deliverance, rather His word.  We must stick with His words.

In Exodus 15:26 these words are recorded:  I am the Lord that heals thee.  Since, God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18) and since He never changes (Hebrews 13:8) we can rest assured that when His word meets faith it WILL accomplish what He said it would.

As we encourage others to receive and implant the word in the heart, we can assure them that they will they receive healing and freedom, and will progressively become more whole.

We must always stress the necessity of renewing the mind and heart, so that transformation can come.

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Insights & Inspiration – #10

According to 2 Corinthians 5:18, 20 as NEW CREATIONS, we have been given an assignment, AMBASSADORSHIP, from the King of Glory and for the Kingdom of God.

“Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and GAVE US the ministry of reconciliation, Therefore, we are AMBASSADORS for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

I have noticed over the years that when someone first enters new life in Christ there is a zeal that is unmatched. It is as if you cannot stop them from bubbling over  and sharing the truth and freedom they have encountered.  They don’t even have to be told that they have an assignment.

But, over the years LIFE HAPPENS, and as trials come and go, enthusiasm for the things of God often begins to wane.  Weeds of worries begin choke out the assignment of ambassadorship.

Life can easily become routine,  drudgery, a struggle for survival in the race (the rat race) of earthly life.  If we pray, we mostly pray survival prayers instead of revival prayers.

There is great need for the honor of the ministry that the The King of Kings has given us to be recaptured, so joy  can be rekindled. WE are the carriers of the message and the power of salvation, deliverance and healing.  We have received His ministry.  We have received the favor and approval  of the King. We do not need the affirmation, or validation,  from men to obey the instructions of the King.

Just as Jesus came to preach, proclaim and announce deliverance and favor (Luke 4:18-19) we are to do the same.  Jesus was about His Father’s business.  And we must be also.

We have “truth-treasures” that others have great need of….FREEDOM, VICTORY, FORGIVENESS, RELEASE FROM PAIN, purpose and a future.

Today and everyday ask God for at least one person in whom to plant a seed of truth.

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Insights & Inspiration – #9

Deliverance is initiated by God, not us. It is NOT our responsibility to run around trying to get everyone delivered.  It is our responsibility to discern what God wants to do and when. Not everyone has reached the point of willingness, readiness, or faith.  That is what is needed by every person.  God is always ready, but people are not. Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit not the needs.  He did what the Father told Him or showed Him. See John 5:19 And He was always looking for faith, not problems.

Here is an important passage from Psalm 107:10-14

“There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in misery and chains; because they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High.  Therefore,He humbled their hearts with labor; they stumbled and there was none to help.

Then they cried out tot he Lord in their trouble; He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death and broke the bands apart.”

Describe the scene:

1. Discuss why the people were in those conditions:

2. Discuss what God did, or allowed and why:

3. Describe the results:

This passage demonstrates how God uses circumstance to bring people to the point of deliverance.  Remember there has to be deliverance before restoration. And there has to be a strong cry of faith to touch God for help.

No other scenario will provide the atmosphere to release the delivering, healing and restorative power of God into an individual or family.

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