Miscellaneous

Special Forces in God’s Army

special forces--bw

We are all in the army of God with different positions. In the US military there are a group of positions called the Special Forces. These include the Delta Force, Rangers, Seal Team, etc. In God’s army some of the Christians are in the Special Forces division too. This blog is about those of you who are spiritual Special Forces.

The 1991 Gulf War was an example of how the kingdom of God grows on earth. The kingdom of God is expanded when God’s principles are lived out in all areas of our lives and society. It is the responsibility of Christians to carry these principles to all areas of society. He has limited His sovereignty to work through us.

In the Gulf War, U.S. Military Intelligence did reconnaissance (recon) work on strongholds before the main war started in Iraq to identify heavy concentration of troops, military bases, communication centers, key bridges and roads. After the recon work was done,  the Air Force was sent in to destroy or at least weaken these strongholds. Special Forces troops were sent in next to help “soften” up the enemy for the main army that would come in and occupy the land.

The recon personnel and Air Force are the first people in a territory but the first troops on the ground are the Special Forces. They could be Green Beret, Black Beret, Delta Force, Seals, Marines, or Rangers,  whoever is needed depending on the stronghold being attacked. After the Special Forces troops have carried out their missions it allows the rest of the Army to come behind them and “occupy” the entire land. The Special Forces troops are used to open or close “gateways” or “strongholds” so that the main army troops can move into the land.

Attacking the enemy this way minimized casualties in the war and shortened it’s duration. It also allowed separation of duties among troops according to how they were trained.

The goal of any war is for the main infantry troops to “occupy” the entire territory of the enemy. At this point the war is won. God wants us to “occupy” our entire territory—to spread His principles into every corner of society. When this is done the kingdom of God has fully come upon the earth.

It is the same way with spiritual war for a region. Special forces people and churches are not to just have great events. Their mandate is to free the people of the region from the territorial spirits that control people’s lives. Often these strongholds demonic spirits of control (especially through religion), lust, poverty, and apathy, etc. To change a region recon work has to be done to identify how these territorial demonic spirits have put people into bondage.

“Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world”, Eph. 4:3 (KJV)

Reconnaissance work identifys how the strongholds have affected the areas of communication, civil, legal, religious areas, and thought processes. They then ask God for strategies on how to free the people. Strategies are a necessary stop to dethrone.

Most of the recon work in the church is done by prophetic insights and wisdom. The earthly Air Force is equivalent to the church’s intercessors. Prophetic insights reveal the enemy’s strongholds and plans.  The intercessors then send in prayer and declarations that “soften” up the enemy. The Bible is full of stories where the enemy’s plans were revealed and the dreams of the kings were interpreted by the prophets to further God’s plans. Through the prophetic and intercession, wisdom and revelation are given to formulate a plan to take out the enemy.

Everyone in the Lord’s army has been trained for a specific job. When we realize our place it keeps us from striving and allows us to reach our full potential. God picks what gifts to hand out to individuals and to churches. Special Forces people go in ahead of the massive army that God is raising up to “occupy” the land and open up “gateways” and tear down “strongholds” that the army would have to encounter.

Special Forces through the prophetic and intercession identify enemy strongholds and “high places” that have to be dealt with in the power of God or the casualty count of the “occupying” army will be much higher than needed.

When we understand the recon work (prophetic), aerial bombardment (intercession), and Special Forces required at the beginning of a war, it helps us understand why your group or church is “different”. It is different because your mission is different. You are like recon and prep teams that are smaller in number, focused, and travel light.

The main army that comes in to occupy the entire land requires much in the way of support. There are medical teams with hospitals, extensive food supplies with kitchens and cooks, transport and fuel supplies. There are huge logistics with armies of people to just support the army.

If you understand this dynamic it will may help to explain your group or church. You may not have all the programs that other churches have. You are focused on only a few things. But those few things you execute very well. Special forces have be agile and flexible to hit strategic enemy positions quickly and in whatever manner that is necessary.

What you do is not better or worse than any other job. It is just your job. Many times people ask, “Why do you do what you do? Nobody else does that?”. Your answer is now simple, “Exactly”.

Special forces Christians are often asked, “things are going well, why are you constantly changing things?” This is a good question but it is the wrong question. The right questions are, “has the kingdom of God come into your region yet? Has God’s perfect will been accomplished? Has the people in this region experienced Jesus as the Bridegroom. Have they become free in their expressions to their God? Is the majority of people even saved?” You will constantly be changing in order to find the most effective strategy to take over our assigned territory.

That is why you are here with the assignment you have. We need more prophetic insight than we have now to identify gifts, strategies, and strongholds. We need more intercessors to declare freedom and “soften” up the enemy. We need more troops (group leaders, etc.) to “shock” the enemy and open up gateways for the main army to occupy. As you stay focused on your special forces call it is opening “gateways” for people to know God. The revival and invasion of God is coming! If you are in the Special Forces be encourage in your calling. It is a high calling indeed!

Miscellaneous

Supernatural Power Through Humility and Fasting

fasting - why should we--bw

Each of us has a mission. That mission is to multiply spiritually into others. Part of that process is to set people free from the bondages that they are in. In order to multiply in others and free them it will take supernatural power.

We do not naturally have supernatural power. Our only power is no more than flesh and blood.

But we need more than flesh and blood. We live in a natural world that is full of impossible situations. We are often in bondage to a sin, thought pattern, or addiction. Our relationships are many times dysfunctional. We find ourselves lacking the knowledge and wisdom to move beyond our current circumstances. Simply put, we have gone as far as we know to go and nothing is working.

What we need is a supernatural move of God. We need God to bring the supernatural into our natural world. We need the power of God, revelation knowledge, deliverance, hearts changed, and souls saved.

It should be obvious, but the natural cannot go into the supernatural without help from the supernatural. Supernatural beings can come downinto our world, but natural beings cannot go upinto theirs.

As Christians we are blessed to have the Holy Spirit as our intermediary. He bridges the gap between the two worlds.

There is a basic scriptural principle we need to know to walk with the Holy Spirit. That principle is found in James 4:10.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Humility is a basic principle needed to walk with God.  Without it there is no access to Him.

Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 18:4

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matt. 23:12

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Pet. 5:6

What does it mean to be humble?

A definition of humble in the dictionary shows two things:

1. not arrogant or prideful

2. deferential or submissive respect.

We have to Humble Ourselves

A major point from James 4:10  is that wehave to humble ourselves. The Holy Spirit doesn’t do it for us.

What good is humility if we don’t do it ourselves? If we are forced to be humble, then are we really humble? We cannot pray, “God make me humble.”

The same process that we came through to become a Christian is the same process that we need to continually live in.

Humility is saying that I am nothing without Jesus and everything with Him. When we voluntarily acknowledge this and walk in it we are humble. When we don’t we are arrogant and walk according to the natural.

Actions Alone Do Not Move God

Actions alone with out the right motives will not move God. The earth is full of people of various faiths performing ascetic and self-mutilating things with out moving God. Humility moves God. Humility is acknowledging that God is God and we are not! It is an internal attitude that will produce external actions eventually.

We have much movement in the Western church but no powerbecause we are not humble. We do external actions without the internal attitudes. We are arrogant and not submissive towards the Holy Spirit. Busyness does not necessarily mean godliness.  We put our confidence in our buildings, structure, education, and money.

How do we Humble Ourselves?

There are 4 major ways to humble ourselves:

1. Prayer

2. Worship

3. Living a Submitted Life

4. Fasting

The first 3 have been talked about a lot in the church – but not the 4th — fasting!

Fasting is always linked in Scripture with humility.

Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered, Psa. 35:13

It is a topic that is almost never talked about in the Western church. It is almost a foreign concept. Something that civilized nations don’t do. It is thought about as only something that desperate people do. But I submit to you that the Western church fulfills this verse:

having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 2 Tim. 3:5

This perfectly describes most of the church today. Why? Because we are not desperate. We think the formis Christianity and is enough. But it is full of movement and actions but God is not impressed with these things.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Rev. 3:15-19 

If we want the supernatural, we must humble ourselves. Fasting’s primary purpose is for self-humbling. To go where we want to go and see God move like we want Him to move we have to become humble people—we need to fast.

Fasting was practiced regularly by God’s people throughout the Scriptures. The essential nature of fasting is renouncing the natural to invoke the supernatural. The most natural thing for us to do is to eat. When we give up eating we are deliberating turning away from the natural and asking God for the supernatural.

No Formulas

Fasting in and of itself if done as a formula or ritual will notmove God. Fasting shows us our weaknesses. Fasting reveals our heart attitudes. As we take those weaknesses and heart attitudes to God for correction thenthis produces humility and the movement of God.

When we fast we are acknowledging that He has to move or we are doomed. There is no natural strength in us to make anything happen.

REPEAT — A Major Purpose of Fasting is self-humbling.

When we humble ourselves then God will promote what we are praying for.

NT Examples of God moving through Fasting

Jesus starting off his ministry with fasting. Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. Luke 4:1-2

Commissioning of 5-Fold Offices was done with fasting

In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen … and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. Acts 13:1-3

When there was fasting they got supernatural revelation

Raising up Elders/Leaders.

Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. Acts 14:23

Major decisions were accompanied by fasting! How often does this happen in the church today? These were regular occurrences in the early church.

3 Duties of the Christian

3 duties we find of the Christian are to give to the Needy, Pray, and Fast.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full….And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full…. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, Matt. 6:2, 5, 17

Notice in all 3 instances Jesus used the wordwhen. Do we doubt that we should pray or give to the needy? It is equally our obligation to fast. It is not just ifbut when.

The Hindrance to the Supernatural is our Flesh

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. Galatians 5:16-17

Our flesh is the hindrance to God.

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. Romans 8:6-8

It is an Issue of Showing Who is in Control

When you fast you quickly realize who is in control – your flesh or the Holy Spirit.

because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Rom. 8:14

It is a very humbling thing when you can’t fast food for any length of time. Many people can’t go without food for more than a couple of meals. This shows that in the end your stomach will rule you not the Holy Spirit. It reveals who our real master is.

Our flesh has to become subject to the Holy Spirit. The final goal is not to go without food but to be totally led and sensitive to the Holy Spirit. The “I want”, “I think”, and the “I feel” has to be replaced by what the Holy Spirit wants, thinks, and feels. Fasting very quickly shows us if this is a reality.

To do otherwise is saying that the body is actually our God because we are driven by it’s desires not God’s. Derek Prince says, “Your body makes a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.”

Fasting quickly shows us who is the Master. As we learn to make the Holy Spirit the master we start to enter the supernatural world!

Latter Rain– We are wanting the latter rain! This is an agricultural symbol of the best rain of the season. It was the rain that brought in the final and biggest harvest for the year. In the church we need a harvest of holiness, passion, and souls. It will take much rain for this to happen. It will take much supernatural!

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. 2 Chronicles 7:13-16

23Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. 24And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil…. 28And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. Joel 2:23-24, 28-29 (KJV)

When you need a supernatural breakthrough humble yourself and fast!

Miscellaneous

How to Run to Win! – Winners Compete With Themselves Not Others

How to Run to Win

Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win. 1 Corinthians 9:24 (NLT) 

Many Christians live their lives as if it’s a lottery system. They hope someday their lucky number will be called and they will win big. Unfortunately it is not true. To win you have to run the race of life according to God’s guidelines.

In God’s kingdom everybody has equal opportunity. We don’t all have the same gifts, education, or background, but with God it doesn’t matter. His equality of opportunity is He wants to work through you to make up the difference. God has given you everything you need if you’ll work and seek Him out..

Here is one trait about winners I want to share with you today:

Winners Compete With Themselves, They Don’t Compete With Others

Measure yourself against God’s will for your life and not how well you are doing against others. If you measure yourself against others you may beat them, but you will lose with God.

Instead ask what can I do to be a better husband, a better father, a better pastor, a better business person, what can I do to bring God more Glory, to get God’s word out there more, what can I do?  Constantly ask yourself, “What is God’s will for my life in these areas first and not what everybody else thinks.” At your judgment you will not be compared to others but the standard God has for you.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) 

Trust me, you will not care about anybody else at the Judgement. When you compete with others you are placing the control and destiny of your life into their hands, because where they go, you go instead of where God wants you to go.

To compete with others one of two things are going to happen. Your going to lose in comparison to them and your going to get envious and frustrated. If you do better than them, then your going to get prideful, there’s no two ways about it. So either one of them is wrong.

Do what God asks you to do to the best of your ability and that is all God asks you to do. Leave others and their will to God. Only look out for yourself and what you are doing. If you do this in the end you will win!

Go run your race and win!

Miscellaneous

Are You Feeling Misty Eyed?

Are You Feeling Misty?

I was reading in James 4 and verse 14 spoke to me and made me misty eyed.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14

It’s true. We are but a “mist”. In other words, life is short. We’re here and then we’re gone. I could see how, at first glance, this verse might be a bit depressing. But for me it’s motivating.

It’s a reminder not to waste the days we’ve been given because each one is a gift.

It’s a reminder to invest my life in the things that matter the most.

It’s a reminder to make this one and only life count.

Life is short. Time is precious.

Your life is but a mist.

It’s time to become misty eyed.

Miscellaneous

God, What Are You Trying to Teach Me?

God, What Are You Trying to Teach Me

Check out this passage of scripture. Jesus has just encountered a man with a demon:

Jesus cut him short. “Be silent! Come out of the man.” At that, the evil spirit screamed and threw the man into a convulsion, but then he left him. Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!” Mark 1:25-27 (NLT)

How many times have I asked the same question: What are you trying to teach me God? 

Many times he does not answer right away. But I have learned some principles of how he operates in us that helps:

First, if we are actively trying to hang around Jesus then something is going to happen.

Get ready for change. Changes are going to occur wherever Jesus shows up just like this demon being cast out.

Second, Jesus loves coming into the midst of my comfortable life and bringing new revelation and disrupting the old pattern.

I am trying to get used to it but it’s not always easy. No matter what I say there are old things I like.

Third, I heard somewhere that, Blessed are the Flexible for they will not be Bent Out of Shape. 

So true.

Fourth, when you see something that you don’t know what is going on – don’t reject it – you may be rejecting the Jesus.

Instead ask “What in the world was that Jesus?”

You can trust his response!

Miscellaneous

God’s Blessings Are NOT For Another Time Period

God's Blessings Are NOT For Another Time Period

Have you ever been around Christians that believe most of God’s promises are in the future time but not now?

People like this make it sound like all of the good stuff happened either in the Old Testament, the first century Church, or will happen after Jesus comes back.

Have you ever heard something like this?

The Old Testament is just for the Israelites. None of the promises there apply to us.

The Gospels are not there as a pattern of living but to give us a history of Jesus’ live.

The book of Acts was only to give them the power to get the Church off the ground and get going. It also was not a patter of living but transitional.

Large parts of the Epistles isn’t for today because they talk about supernatural gifts and miracles.

The book of Revelation is only for the future.

If you believe this it leaves us with only a small portion of the scriptures that applies to us today.

I don’t believe any of this. All of the promises in the Old Testament, Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Revelation are for today. God never said in the Gospels or Acts His gifts and power were temporary.

“Faith in Christ Jesus is what makes each of you equal with each other, whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free person, a man or a woman. So if you belong to Christ, you are now part of Abraham’s family, and you will be given what God has promised.” Gal. 3:28-29 (CEV),

If we are not careful we will create in people what I call a “hold on until the Rapture Comes” mentality. This is not victorious thinking but escapism and victimization. Jesus Christ could come any day but don’t focus on packing your bags. This is the wrong focus. Jesus is not coming back for a bride whose is hiding in rags, cowering in fear, and is in hiding. He is coming back for a bride who is fruitful, multiplying, and taking dominion because she is believing the promises of God NOW!

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3

Miscellaneous

Why do you want me to Change My Ways? 

Web

Have you ever had God ask you to change something that seems fine the way it is? At these times I just want to ask, “Why do you keep changing my ways?”

John’s disciples and the Pharisees sometimes fasted. One day some people came to Jesus and asked, “Why do John’s disciples and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples don’t fast?” Mark 2:18 (NLT)

What is the root core of the question in this verse? I don’t think its about fasting. I think it’s about why Jesus’ method of ministry was different than John the Baptist’s. Jesus came on the scene and changed the way ministry was done. Fasting had always been a sign of spirituality but Jesus wasn’t fasting. Instead, He went to parties and feasted!

Jesus is always changing how we do things. It can get frustrating. Also, when He asks me to change something in an area and I do it, I assume it is going to be the last change needed in that area! But before long He asks me to change it again. I am learning Jesus does not bring us to the ‘endpoint’ immediately because it would be too much of a change to do at once. He gives us intermediate steps which will eventually get us to the endpoint. Unfortunately, I don’t realize these intermediate steps are in fact intermediate and not the end.

Look at Jesus’ answer to the question in the verse above?

Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. They can’t fast while they are with the groom. But someday he will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. And who would patch an old garment with unshrunk cloth? For the new patch shrinks and pulls away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger hole than before. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. The wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine needs new wineskins.” Mark 2:19-22 (NLT)

What was Jesus’ answer? He basically said I am doing something bigger than you thought I was doing. I am not sure any of them understood what He was talking about. It was too much of a foreign concept. Celebrating with the groom? What does that mean? In the Old Testament you never considered being so intimate with the coming Messiah.

Old garments? New garments? Did Jesus just throw out the Old Testament by calling them old garments? New wine? He was prophesying about the Holy Spirit coming and indwelling man. It was obvious Jesus was doing something bigger than anyone had considered before.

The same thing applies to us today. Most of the time you will not understand why Jesus is asking you to change. But you can rest assure He is guiding you to something better than you have ever considered before.

So ask away. But realize you won’t probably won’t get an answer. Your answer will come when you arrive at the next destination and see the new model He is building.

Then He will ask you to change again.