Steady Diet

October 30th, 2014

A steady diet (regular pace, consistent thread, prescribed course) taking in the Word of God disciplines our lives. The Word settles in the heart and is stored there, ready to be served up by the Holy Spirit when spirit-led responses are needed.

Discipline for our lives in this way means we conform to God’s plan rather than another system or source; and whatever the need, an outcome consistent with our Bible-covenant with God, revealed in God’s written Word, is our expectation.

We must have this discipline; otherwise, personal faith is anemic, lacking in true spiritual strength, and able to offer little Bible-sized results. Worldview followers of every imaginable persuasion give one hundred per cent commitment to their cause but, as followers of Christ, our leaders ask very little that is meaningful of us.

Instead of a lifestyle of excellence as agents of divine help for the world around us, the impression we often give is comme ci, comme ca . . . lukewarm. Only time, study, and purposeful research in God’s Word can build and mature faith.

For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the [a]breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (AMP)

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17, NKJV

Amen.

Prophetic Voice

October 29th, 2014

In our walk with the Lord we mature through study and glean from teaching to gain knowledge and understanding. We grow from faith to faith, increasing from one level of faith to the next. The faith level principle applies to the subject of prophecy: Nationally and internationally, the Lord speaks prophetically through those who speak prophetically to those spheres. Another prophetic sphere is the home, the basic cell unit of the Church, where parents speak with prophetic authority according to their faith level for their home—for that sphere.

Prophetic teaching isn’t the norm for every congregation or group and without consistent Bible teaching on a subject, the way we understand Bible truth about it differ for each person. Basically, we “prophesy” according to our faith. Said another way, the amount of faith we have for any matter comes from God’s Word and study in His Word. Faith approaches the impossible with an expectation of possibility; faith sees that which is not yet visible. Prophecy speaks what is in the process of being revealed so that understanding can follow.

Prophecy involves faith, knowledge and understanding. Think of a circle that begins with prophecy, an expression of our faith, with confidence based in something the Lord has revealed to us in His Word. Confidence increases as we understand more. We begin to see spiritually what our faith describes.
So, prophecy begins with prophetic declaration and is carried by faith and added to by knowledge and understanding. Ultimately – and this may take minutes, or years – we gain full, or at least greater understanding of the prophetic declaration we began with, words we spoke “by faith”.

Without faith it is impossible to please God; without faith that corresponds to words I prophesy, what I speak is only gathered words that have only natural meaning and little eternal value. Scripture teaches we prophesy 1) by faith—according to a level of knowing based upon God’s Word rather than intellect; and 2) by what we believe—are assured of and have confidence concerning.

Amen.

Romans 12:6, Amos 3:8, Romans 1:17, Romans 10:17, Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17-18, Ezekiel 37:4, 9, 1Corinthians 13:9, Hebrews 11:6, Matthew 10:41, Verses @ Once

Your Laid Down Life

October 28th, 2014

Humanly speaking, we have a certain capacity to prefer other’s needs over our own and when we do, it brings out the best in us – humility, nobility, dedication, selfless discipline. Some people do seem to have more capacity for this than others, and some, seemingly, have none at all.

As Christians interacting with those around us, empowerment by the Holy Spirit adds a supernatural aspect. We can live and treat others supernaturally because we have the Holy Spirit; the Spirit offers us the same leading Jesus had when He lived on earth.

Jesus is our example. He choose the Spirit’s leading and therefore, ultimately, the Father’s will. He came to do the Father’s will, “laying down His life” for all of mankind so they could choose the same Spirit and leading and the same supernatural way of life He demonstrated.

Every day, you and I lay down our lives in service to others, preferring their needs over our own personal preferences or convenience, happy to do so and hopeful we have made their day better, their load lighter.

Many times it’s more than a load being lifted; many times our presence (literally) changes everything. For those surrounded by enemy activity that’s just “too strong” for them, we lay down our lives to change theirs, helping and ministering to them.

Then the channels of the sea were seen,
The foundations of the world were uncovered
At Your rebuke, O Lord,
At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.
He sent from above, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
From those who hated me,
For they were too strong for me.
(Ps 118:15-17)

Like the parting of the water that allowed Israel to cross safely to the other side, your kindness to another person is a sovereign, supernatural rescue. Never stop laying down your life this way. You lay down it down and the Lord raises you up again.

Whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap.

Amen.

Psalm 118:15-17, Galatians 6:7-8

Disciples Are Change Agents for the Nation

October 27th, 2014

Pay attention to trending in the life of nations. Compare positive and negatives, the cause and effect in national life and we see that a biblical principle is obvious: Righteousness exalts nations with soundness, wholeness, and inspiration to be a righteous neighbor; but corruption, created by national sin brings down governments, leaving the people of that nation to bear impossible burdens.

We know spiritual life is impacted by the personal lives of leaders. Their influence is cosmic . . . nations, and ultimately their people, are affected by spiritual forces, good and bad. Look at the patterns in your nation. Compare them to your life and those of your family and of others governed by the nation’s authority. Note the striking resemblance between ills expressed in the national discourse and problems in the home. Note the biblical principles involved and visible results.

For example, citizens living in a debtor nation – a nation whose debt results from a compromise in values that moves both nation and its people away from the Lord – also have high debt rates, usually for the same reasons. The people mirror influences that characterize their leaders’ tendency to lead the nation into more debt. Ultimately, the peoples’ lives reflect the trend—good or bad.

Since the beginning of time good and positive influences for a nation or individual have originated with God – an expression of His love for mankind. Since the positive influence for a nation or individual is the love of God, when we ask for change He responds with divine government to uncover hidden darkness and offer rescue. Nations and people groups are loved by the Father, their Creator, and He calls each one, all nations and people groups, to be His “change agents” of redemption . . . assigned to this time.

Disciples are change agents. The Lord has it!

Amen.

Acts 17:26 | Proverbs 14:34 | Acts 7:19-21 | Isaiah 9:7 | Verses@Once 

Stewardship

October 24th, 2014

Stewardship of anything – life, money, possessions, home or community – reflects an understanding of personal responsibility to cooperate with the Lord’s plan and specifically, with His lordship. We see the way some people steward what they have and wonder how they get away with it. And, to be honest, since all we are and have is given by God to complete our calling and mission assignment, we should also admit that observers of our own stewardship of the endowment could question how we justify what clearly is the squandering of our gift(s).

The physical body, for example, is a gift from God. Anyone refusing to make healthy food choices or reduce portion size, or refuses to feed oxygen and nutrients to the body through the discipline of exercise obviously believes negligence is okay. So, again, if we’re honest, from a stewardship perspective, it’s easy to see that people most often are in the condition they’re in because it’s what they’ve chosen. The human body can only take so much abuse. God is not the cause of resulting crises; failed stewardship is.

Recently I read again the story of Harriett Tubman, a female slave responsible for starting the Underground Railroad in America in 1849. In captivity, Harriett experienced unimaginable suffering, her physical scarring from abuse literally changing the skin texture on her body. A Christian, Harriett often retreated to nearby wooded areas to pray, asking God’s help to endure her experience. Eventually she married a free man but Harriet was not free and remained a “carrier” of slavery, doomed to pass slavery on to her children. This crossroads of her struggle drove her to the secret wooded area in prayer, pleading with God for her freedom, Harriett heard the Lord’s voice answer: “Free yourself.” Harriett understood. It was up to her now. The Lord had released her. So Harriett ran. She ran and did not stop. The former slave who came to be called ‘Moses’ and lived to be 92, reached a free state. The rest, as they say, is history.

Free yourself. That’s powerful. The Lord “fearfully and wonderfully” made you. What you do with His creation (you), is your stewardship response to His greatness that is inside you. An slave woman understood freedom’s price and risked everything to be free, not for her only but for all who would follow.

You are able to free yourself. Steward the gift. Obey the Lord. Whatever He tells you . . . do it.

Amen.

Psalm 100:2-3; Psalm 139:13-15

Making Disciples

October 23rd, 2014

We understand the importance of making disciples. Spiritual fathers teach us—mentor us—in this truth, a vital link to personal power, an extension of power to the whole congregation. The believer’s assignment is to “make disciples” and, because believers are prophetic, discipleship builds mature congregations of individuals trained to do according to their gifts and call. Every one—not one or two or some—all!

Each person is uniquely gifted by God—to create both personal benefit and also build the Kingdom of God here, on earth as it is in heaven! The resulting possibility is unique: Philosophies, religions and belief systems abound but none compare to the Christian’s individual worth: Christ in you the hope of glory.

In fact, Gospel opponents struggle with the notion that even they possess a supernatural, divinely gifted, platform for greatness — for them, it can only be about something for which they take full credit rather than about the the Lord’s love gift ready and waiting for them to receive.

Every person is gifted by God; not just some and not just the educated or affluent or positioned ones. God-inspired, wonderfully made, and filled with redemptive potential, every human being is prophetically qualified and destined for excellence according to personal, unique gifts from the Creator God.

“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:9-14

Amen—that’s so good!

Matthew 28:18-20, Colossians 1:27, Verses @ Once

Spiritual Fathers, Prophetic Nature

October 22nd, 2014

Spiritual strength to accomplish the things we know to do is an endowment – a gift that’s multi-faceted and full of God’s Spirit. For disciples, this strength-gift produces leadership as we put on the Lord’s prophetic nature. It’s why many disciples are prophets to those around them. Theirs are voices of the Kingdom, its power and glory. Their spiritual leadership is for such a time as this!

With strength for daily bread and having received this prophetic inclination (an inspiration, a knowing) spiritual fathers are vital. We’ve learned to value those who watch for us, who shepherd and counsel us. They have spiritual depth that we glean from, right down to the smallest detail of what they carry. We are privileged to have these sent ones speak into our lives—fathers, mentors, nurturers in the faith.

Amen.

1 Corinthians 4:15; Galatians 4:1-2, Verses @ Once 

1 Samuel 17

October 21st, 2014

David, the boy shepherd who would one day be king, out-maneuvered opponents, facing down a lion and bear alone with his staff and sling. By the time giant Goliath stood before him, David’s confidence was legend and the appearance of a boy concealed the heart of a man and the wisdom of a king.

Israel’s future was secure in this soon-to-be-king. Faced with threats, he was calculating; in contests, confident. Intimation did not bend him, his style seldom the conventional wisdom. And so it was that Saul’s offer of armor to confront Goliath was wasted on the boy warrior; and judging from Saul’s leadership record, it wasn’t doing Saul much good either.

The hard call was made and for David it would be natural, this battle over before it began when David’s words prophesied – commanded – the outcome. Authority spoke and destiny slipped into gear as God’s man David advanced. His life on the line and isolated in the struggle, David reached deeply within for proven strength stored in earlier days of preparation to gain another victory as protector of his charge.

Human passion cannot explain David’s win that day though the script reads like a thriller. Rather, it was the Lord who battled and won when his man David delivered the blow. Without the One, would we even know the other?

Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.’ (1 Samuel 17:45)

Amen.

1 Samuel 17 

Spirit Life

October 20th, 2014

Children are a great example of sensitivity to spiritual truth. Their hearts soften to receive from God more than we realize. Young hearts are accepting, their innocence a protection from prejudice. In other words, children respond simply to life in the spirit; they respond “as a little child.”

Children are naturally open to the Holy Spirit because design-wise, creation’s “fearfully and wonderfully made” feature includes capacity to believe and receive divine truth and supernatural expressions from God. Tap into what they hear from the Lord and you’ll be amazed.

The Lord reveals truth through the agent of the Holy Spirit and we receive that revelation in the human spirit. That’s how spirit life works. In the same way, revelation can also be quenched—refused. Sadly, such refusal to yield to the Spirit insulates us from the supernatural.

For example, for many Christians the main reach for – yielding to, and open to receive from – heaven’s supernatural provision comes in a time of crisis. In a crisis, panicked prayers reveal a low estimation of heaven’s supernatural power, expectation is desperate and the habit is to think that way when really, we should know better.

God has more for His disciples than unsure pleading. He gives them life in the Spirit . . . a relationship born and sustained by His deep commitment to bless and our commitment to communicate and receive from him as sons. Christianity is not a cosmic experiment.

In our ministry at SWM, discipleship includes the spirit life. I encourage everyone to teach the Word and then require something of the teaching – expect results. Pray in the Spirit and encourage those you disciple to do the same. Those you disciple are blessed to be taught the spirit life, to receive nourishment for the human spirit to mature spiritually.

I believe, for Christians, the spirit life produces spiritual maturity that is confident regarding matters of the spirit and the supernatural. I also see many counterfeits and substitutes, making our spiritual discernment critical to steady the ship of truth in every home.

“These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1Corinthians 2:13-14).

Amen!

1 Corinthians 2:13-14

And So, We Lead

October 19th, 2014

God’s people, through the Holy Spirit, represent the Lord’s divine strength on earth. They are empowered by the Spirit to establish His Kingdom in places of human authority. The combination – human authority and God’s authority – brings heaven to earth and gives to men the enviable position of living life on earth as heirs of that eternal Kingdom.

And so, we lead. We set the pace. We challenge. Hopeanchors the soul and the Lord’s joy is our strength.

The Lord who began a work will complete it; with Him, we are more than conquerors and no weapon that is formed against us can ever prosper. We are created in His image to do like works as He and we overcome enemies today by the blood of the Lamb and our spoken testimony. Our portion is not limited but vast, and by His hand we are delivered from darkness into marvelouslight.

We are inheriting an everlasting Kingdom; and so, we lead.

Amen.