Not long ago the only member of the five-fold ministry and lone individual allowed to lead the church was the pastor… and even the pastor, it was believed, must be male. A woman’s leadership in the Church was rare with the possible exception of the pastor’s wife or daughter or family member, his male oversight considered proper restraint for the female’s natural inclination to foolishness.
Another misconception, a superstition really, derived from the biblical story of Queen Jezebel, a woman who in a power position as queen, manipulated others in authority and ruled everyone including her husband with an iron hand. This Jezebel, it was believed, is reincarnated in most women, especially women leaders.
This error meant the church in general, and male leaders in particular, labeled women daring to venture into governmental roles, spiritual or otherwise, “a Jezebel.’ Unfortunately, the same leaders looked the other way when men in leadership behaved like the power-obsessed character Jezebel, destructively dominating and controlling everything and everyone. Male misbehavior received a pass, their power and leadership positions protected from scrutiny.
Obviously, and you don’t have to be a deep-thinker to discern it, resistance to authority was never a female-only issue, therefore gender specific traditions that sideline women cannot inoculate the Church from Jezebel’s influence. In pivotal and historic times of the Holy Spirit’s moving, male leaders have resisted the Holy Spirit in worship, prayer, and matters of spiritual authority so excluding women from five-fold ministry and leadership and is not the answer to preserving a pure model nor is it a biblical model.
God-given authority misused by any individual, male or female, has power to dominate inappropriately; however, every individual, male or female, can instead choose true humility and a right balance of authority and position for skillful, decisive leadership by the man or woman God chooses.
Religious mindsets are changing. Thank God.
Galatians 3:27-29 | Ephesians 1:22-23 | 1 Corinthians 12:7 | Verses@Once
For Christians life in God’s Kingdom includes a responsibility to pray and contend for righteous leadership on every level, especially those who lead and govern nationally. Righteous leadership determines Kingdom expression in any nation, and in our day the stakes could not be higher!
The Lord anoints those who govern with divine authority to rule. Others recognize the presence of authority on their lives and pray for those tapped by the Lord to govern righteously.
As lively expressions of the Lord’s Kingdom and because of our covenant with Him, we envision blessing, benefit, and promotion for our leaders . . . because of covenant we pray: Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
“Blow the ram’s horn trumpet in Zion!
Declare a day of repentance, a holy fast day.
Call a public meeting.
Get everyone there. Consecrate the congregation.
Make sure the elders come,
but bring in the children, too, even the nursing babies,
Even men and women on their honeymoon—
interrupt them and get them there.
Between Sanctuary entrance and altar,
let the priests, God’s servants, weep tears of repentance.
Let them intercede: “Have mercy, God, on your people!
Don’t abandon your heritage to contempt.
Don’t let the pagans take over and rule them
and sneer, ‘And so where is this God of theirs?’ “
Joel 2:15-17, The Message
“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established.” Romans 1:11
The English word longing means strong desire, especially for something beyond reach. It implies that in my longing my focus is something that cannot possibly happen now, or in the near future. Still I continue longing, reaching for it despite negative odds.
Applied to people and real-life situations, longing is like the Apostle Paul’s strong desire expressed in his letter to Christians in Rome. Paul said he longed to come to them. His wording suggests his intention was not casual but rather very intentional, moved by purpose, beyond the norm of hope or expectation.
Reading Paul’s words, we visualize this religious legalist turned apostle-and-spiritual-father of early Christianity, rehearsing in his mind details of the trip to Rome, making considerable effort to guard his purpose in going, which was, as he said, to impart spiritually to Roman believers critical spiritual truths able to establish them in the faith.
The wording describes Paul’s passion for fellow believers: to impart is to give, share, distribute or grant, including liberality or generosity; to establish means to make stable, to place firmly, to set, fix, strengthen, make firm, to confirm, applies to one’s mind, to render constant.
Paul’s impartation was like spiritual treasure stored in his heart for people he did not yet even know—for this purpose he was determined to reach them. I believe the same is true of prophetic messengers the Lord sends to us. They impart truth that strengthens and establishes our faith. In the process our part is to receive a prophet as a prophet, receiving in return the prophet’s reward.
Pray today for the prophetic gifts God has sent. Pray they will be honored. Pray their words are received with the same longing for revelation of the Lord’s desires as that demonstrated by those carrying His message. Prophetic messengers are a gift from God.
Matthew 10:41 | Jeremiah 20:9 | Romans 1:12 | Luke 14:28 | 1 Thessalonians 2:7-9
The month of April is a prophetic time for believers. Celebrating our Lord’s Resurrection and commemoration of the Jewish Passover thrust us into experiencing the Lord in special ways. Stay close to him. Listen well. Rehearse your vision aloud. Declare the word of the Lord—charge the atmosphere with it, align your home and workplace with it.
Remember, an enemy uses our vulnerable side. Give him no place. Your weapons aren’t carnal but mighty thru God, so go ahead, pull down every stronghold of unbelief. Declare the Lord is on your side. His Presence is everything! Our lives are triune—spirit, soul and body—so remember that regular times of refreshing protect the body and soul today to posture your tomorrow. Rest.
“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,” Let Israel now say—“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, When men rose up against us, Then they would have swallowed us alive, When their wrath was kindled against us; Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, The stream would have gone over our soul; Then the swollen waters Would have gone over our soul.” Blessed be the Lord, Who has not given us as prey to their teeth. Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; The snare is broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 124:1-8)
“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16)
Every created thing began with God and continues under His specific design. Our Lord who is perfectly good builds this goodness into all of Creation. And Christian believers, His representatives, enforce His goodness and lead governmentally for the good of men everywhere.
The influence of mankind, for good or bad, is critical since all created things exist under authority of some kind. That authority determines what the government over them is like—expressions of goodness or evil—and their governance and government are affected by choices men in authority make.
Transformation is this regard is already underway. Agents of God’s authority thru His government and power have their orders, agents of evil in Satan’s realm have theirs. The contest is obvious: Elohim the Creator governs as it was in the beginning, His government of Light swallowing up darkness!
All who are aligned with Him lead boldly and are ones who determine the conclusion of the matter.
Colossians 2:12-16 | Genesis 1:1 | Verses@Once
Keep this in mind. Oppression is the result of tumult from the dark side. It’s one side of the big picture—the inferior side. The other side is the Lord’s, and He has a prophet of His in every house. His Word is demonstrated in lives of those who are His people—those on the side of righteousness.
- Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
- John 12:37 Who Has Believed Our Report? ] But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him,
- John 12:38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: “ Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?”
- Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?”
Oppression seeks to build a case, accusing the Lord has not performed His Word. Yet those who take their stand on the Lord’s side continue to trust in His Word. Having done everything necessary to stand thus far, they boldly continue to stand, no matter what!
Ultimately, oppression is silenced by the voice of the Lord and His Divine rule. The voice of the Lord is forever—never ending, never less, announcing even more loudly today promises believed yesterday, the day before, and the day before that. Romans 5:17-21
We remain confident in the promise.
“For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.” (Luke 21:15, NKJV)
“For I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you!” (Luke 21:15, NLT)
We need wisdom. First, we need spiritual wisdom, communicated directly from the Holy Spirit. We also need human wisdom, gleaned from those around us, respected for their exemplary lives.
For leaders especially, at every level, in any and every setting, the greatest need is for divine wisdom, to know how to lead since often decisions are made at the expense of godly wisdom, sacrificed in the race to “get there.”
Discipline your thoughts and lifestyle. Keep the Lord at the center. Ask Him first. When He is central to our best efforts and strategically involved in all we put our hand to, many are drawn to the result, a divine flow. His wisdom, pure and without mixture.
Luke 21:15, NKJV | Luke 21:15, NLT | Proverbs 8:1-7 | Proverbs 30:5 | Psalm 119:9 | Psalm 19:8 | 1 John 3:2-3 | Verse@Once
“I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15)
People choose how to invest their lives and for a disciple of the Lord the focus is first of all Kingdom-centered, our lives a demonstration of outward excellence because inwardly there is order. We are passionate in prayer and our conversations carry godly wisdom weighted with truth.
Disciples of Jesus Christ live what they believe and are faithful to do according to the Word of the Lord. Disciples are disciplined, do not procrastinate or make excuses and know how critical it is to keep their word—integrity makes all the difference. ”To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity.”
The church is strong when disciples are strong. The church goes forth into all the world as individual disciples form a congregational lifestyle that demonstrates truth, making the Church both graceful and powerful . . . the pillar and stay, the prop and support of the Truth (Amplified Bible) . . . the foundation of the truth (King James Version) . . . the bastion of truth (The Message Bible) . . . the pillar and support of the truth (New American Standard).
Go into the world and make disciples!
1Timothy 3:14-16 | James 1:22 | 1Timothy 4:1-16 | 2 Samuel 22:26, NLT | Psalm 18:25 | Verses@Once
“And the LORD said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up. But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.” (Exodus 3:7-8, 19-22)
The Lord extends His hand and anything can happen! Any Bible reference to the hand of the Lord points to a release of His power with two results:
God’s people are blessed; their enemies are destroyed—eradicated, not just contained
Concerning anything taken and withheld from you, the time is now for the hand of the Lord to come, to completely eradicate the spiritual source responsible. For your part, declare the Hand of the Lord to take back and restore, multiplied.
Prayerfully gather your sons and daughters and grandchildren and symbolically, with your right hand, touch each one and declare, “Father, release the power of your hand against the enemy in their lives. Restore. Take back. Deliver.”
Exodus 3:7-8, 19-22
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