Miscellaneous

Patience–Becoming Partners with Holy Spirit

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Patience is given a hard time. It gets no respect as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Everybody wants love and peace. People like gentleness and self-control, but nobody wants patience. People make jokes about patience. They talk about it like it’s a disease. It’s just not right. This article is to give honor to a great fruit!

Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT) But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Patience makes us a high level soldier in God’s army.

Patience enables us to walk with Holy Spirit.

Patience turns us into a partner with Holy Spirit.

Are you starting to want patience? I can feel progress being made.

Patience involves many things, but nothing describes patience like the word waiting. There I said it, one the most dreaded word in the human vocabulary, waiting. But waiting makes us a high level soldier and a partner with the Holy Spirit.

Our inability to wait makes us poor soldiers and partners. The lack of waiting causes us to move too quickly and shoot ourselves. The lack of waiting causes us to run ahead of what God is doing. In this article, I am using the word waiting to mean the same as the word patience.

Waiting teaches3 things, builds3 things, and requires 3 things to do.

Patience Teaches us 3 Things

  1. Patience Teaches Us Inactivity is not No Activity

When God makes us wait, it feels like we’re wasting valuable time. But He is working in us and around us. God wastes nothing in your life. He is always training you, changing you, readying you for what He wants to do in you.

Yes, I know, we are ready now! We live in a microwave, drive-through restaurant, all information is available from our phone’s browser. We’ve grown accustomed to fixing our dinner in 2-3 minutes.  We watch a TV show develop a situation, reach a climax, and be resolved in less than 30 minutes. “If human beings can fix stuff quickly, surely God can, too,” we think.

Remember this, God has a purpose and a plan in waiting.

He also may not be waiting on you. Everything of importance requires more people than you, more resources than you have, and proper alignment of circumstances. You may be ready, but other people, resources, and circumstances may not.

  1. Patience Teaches Us Whose Agenda is First

When I am required to wait, it means I didn’t get my way. Patience means I must wait on him and His agenda. But we don’t like to wait. We want what we want, and we want it now!

Many of us are “fixers” by nature. We see a problem and do our best to fix it, often without ever seeking God. Learn to adjust your speed to His speed. If we do it His way, it will always be in the right time.

The issues we take to God are sometimes urgent to us, but from God’s perspective may not be as urgent. Patience adjusts our expectations and agenda to His. We are learning to see from His perspective.

  1. Teaches Us to Be Partners with God

Patience is the art of learning to work the way He wants to work and at the speed He wants. He is teaching us to be sons and fellow workers in in His ways. Why are we in a hurry if He is not?

Patience Builds in Us 3 Things

  1. Builds His Glory

Patience – through trials – deposits parts of God in you.

1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV 1984) Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

Patience brings His glory! What is Glory? It is the manifestation of God’s presence.When we learn patience and wait on God, His presence rubs off on us! We become carriers of Him!

  1. Builds Maturity

James 1:3-4 (MSG) You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

As we patiently endure our trials, it makes us mature Christians. Yes, amid trials is where maturity comes. Doesn’t seem logical does it? How do you learn to be mature? Go through chaos.

  1. Builds Endurance

Here is my definition of endurance: “to outlast the enemy or the circumstance or maybe just that person that annoys you.”

Endurance gives us the ability to last. Endurance keeps us from running when times get difficult.

Patience Requires Us To Do 3 Things

Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting. – Joyce Meyer

  1. Do Resist the Urge to Do Something

Isaiah 40:31 “But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.”

Don’t do something just because you are tired of not doing something. You almost always end up doing the wrong thing.

Saul was about to enter a major battle with the Philistines in 1 Samuel 13:5-14. The prophet Samuel told him to wait 7 days and he would come and offer the sacrifice before the battle. After 7 days Samuel did not show up and Saul became impatient. He offered the sacrifice himself. His impatience caused him to lose God’s favor and eventually his kingship. Again, don’t do something just because your impatience has made you anxious to do something. It could cost you more than you ever thought.

Only do what you hear Holy Spirit say to do. Try to relax, enjoy God’s presence, trust God, and don’t get ahead of Holy Spirit. Patience will keep you in the timing of God’s plan. Don’t take matters into your own hands.

  1. Do Not Grow Weary in Waiting

Galatians 6:9-10 (NIV 1984) Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

We all get weary. Patience reminds us the promises of God will come.

  1. Do Rest

Relax. Seriously. If you are following God’s voice you will not miss His will. Impatience will cause you to run ahead of Him, go in the wrong direction, and in the end waste more time.

Isaiah 30:15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.

Rest and know God is working. He will make it all right. Is He God or not? The human nature requires us to work hard to enter God’s rest. Strange, isn’t it? Work hard to rest. I am afraid so.

Rest keeps us from making a mistake. Do we Trust God or Not?

Conclusion

Do you now appreciate the fruit of patience? It’s a fruit that helps us to be good partners with what the Holy Spirit is doing in the earth. Here is to patience!

Miscellaneous

You Are an Abolitionist!

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Once we are willing to work for a spiritual inheritance what do we do with them? The first thing we are to do is to free them—to become abolitionists!

Abolitionist: Alternate wordemancipationist. Definition-”a reformer who favors abolishing slavery”.

The ultimate abolitionist was Jesus. He has freed more people from slavery than anyone else. When Jesus started His ministry this was His stated goal.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed. — Luke 4:18 NKJV

His purpose was to free us from the bondage that sin has produced. This means physical, soulish, and spiritual slavery.

150 years ago there were physical slaves in America. But brave men and women became abolitionists dedicated to freeing slaves physically from their bondage. After much war and blood shed there was finally physically freedom for blacks in the South.

But there is still much to be done.

All creation anticipates the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. Rom. 8:21 (NLT)

Today, God is calling for brave Christians to continue the emancipation movement by freeing people from their spiritual and soul bondages. We are a people that are learning how to answer that call!

You were made for a mission! You have a purpose! Many times as we are focus on getting our needs met we forget our calling. We need our needs met but don’t forget that God has given you the ability to meet needs! You have been made to be a blessing like God has blessed you!

It is in you because the Holy Spirit—the great needs meeter—is in you. On top of that you will find great fulfillment when you are used by God to meet needs!

People Around Us Are In Bondage

They may look successful and happy on the outside, but the truth is many people are in a mental prison. Only through the power of the Cross will people get totally free. They can cover up the problem with drugs, focusing on careers, relationships, etc. But these things only help the symptoms and don’t solve the root problems.

How Can I Free People?

The Gospels are full of stories of Jesus freeing people from their bondages. These people include the woman with the issue of blood for years, the man with a 1000 demons, the woman at the well who was getting her emotional needs filled with many husbands, etc. The list goes on and on.

The way we free people is to do it in the name of Jesus. It is not us that frees people.  It is Jesus that frees people. We can free people simply because we are His brothers and sisters. He has given us the right to use His name. He has not given that right to everybody, only those who are in covenant with Him.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt. 28:18-20 (NIV)

The same Holy Spirit He had to do miracles you have! The Holy Spirit is to guide us into all truth and to comfort us. But His role does not end there.

The presence of the Spirit in our life is not just meant for our own personal satisfaction and fulfillment. Its purpose is not just so we can have goose bumps and hair-tingling experiences.

One of the reasons that God gives you His Spirit is so that you can be a channel of blessing to others just like Jesus was.

Jesus died for the whole city

We are to meet needs in the church. But a great fulfillment is found when we learn how to meet needs outside of the church too. Jesus was constantly going outside the “church” of His day to meet needs. This is actually where He met most of the needs.

Just as He “touched” people, we are His hands and feet to “touch” people today. Do you realize that Jesus said He was the head of the church and we are His body. We are His hands and feet today. It is a privilege, scary, and necessary to take up His burden for people outside the church if it is going to be done.

The future growth of our church is outside the church! This is where the future believers, pastors, group leaders, etc. are! After His resurrection, Jesus met with His disciples and deputized them as His ambassadors. He told them, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” John 20:21 (NIV). He endued them with a sense of mission and the same mission that was theirs is now yours.

God has given you the tools now! We don’t need these after we die and go to heaven:

And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick and heal them.” Mark 16:15-18 (NLT)

Five Areas in Which He Wants to Use You

It is your destiny to walk in these 5 things. These are the same 5 things that Jesus declared over Himself in Luke 4:18 before He started His ministry. He did it by faith. Declare over yourself these same 5 things by faith believing for the Holy Spirit to help you accomplish yourdestiny.

1. Preach the Gospel to the Poor

The world is full of those who are spiritually or financially poor. They are waiting for someone to point the way out of their hopelessness and despair. That is your first and primary purpose in life: to preach the good news that Jesus’ death and resurrection can cause you to rise from the dead too!

2. Heal the Brokenhearted

At some point in their lives, most people will suffer from some tragedy or difficult circumstance. They encounter rejection, heartache, betrayal, or death, and literally feel as though their hearts are broken.

Ask the Spirit within you to fill you with compassion for the brokenhearted. He will then prompt you to minister true love and healing to those who need it.

We are often afraid to minister to people when they are not Christians. But you will be surprised by the amount of people that just want relief. If you can give them relief then they will see the power of God and then become Christians. It is the goodness of God that leads to repentance.

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness  and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:4 (NASB)

3. Proclaim Liberty to the Captives

Captives refers to people who are held in the grip of drugs, nicotine, alcohol, pornography, and other activities over which they have lost control. They have become prisoners to these demonic obsessions and need someone with the power of the Holy Spirit who can minister freedom to them. That’s your role as a Spirit- filled believer!

You don’t have to understand everything or have all the answers; you only need to be full of the Spirit and willing to step out in faith and let God use you. He will do more than you can imagine.

4. Give Sight to the Blind

You probably know many people who need a healing touch in their bodies. God wants to heal them and use you to minister physical healing to those who are sick. As you pray for them and lay hands upon them, the Holy Spirit is released to do His healing work.

This is referring not just to physical healing but spiritually. Many people are blind to the spirit world and it’s consequences. Through your witness you can open their eyes that the world around us is not all there is. The eternal world is bigger and is the “final” world. We can show people how to become citizens of the eternal world.

5. Set at Liberty Those Who are Oppressed

This includes people with mental oppressions. You have the ability to minister to those suffering from bondages like suicide, depression, grief, guilt, or condemnation. All these things press upon an individual and cause him to lose hope.

But the flame of the Spirit within you can break any bondage and speak hope into the life of those struggling with oppression.

Summary

As a Christian, you have a choice to make. You can be an average Christian who looks to God primarily for personal fulfillment, or you can be a supernatural Christian who knows that you were saved to served and made for a mission.

One Christian is self-centered, and his walk with God is centered on, “What’s in it for me?” The other Christian is focused on winning and healing the lost at any cost. Jesus did His mission of Luke 4:18 at a huge cost to His life.

A part of our fulfillment comes from winning another soul for Jesus and seeing them healed, delivered, and discipled. We believe that through training every Christian can learn how to pray for the sick, deliver others of demonic oppression, and teach others to learn to hear the voice of God.

Take up the banner and march on! Change your world by humbly asking the Holy Spirit to use you to make a difference to those around you who are in bondage!

Miscellaneous

Why Am I Burning? It’s Because of The 3rd Baptism

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Ahhhhh! I feel like I am in the middle of a rope being pulled in two different directions by two different strongmen. What is this tug of war going on inside of me? If the pressure doesn’t let up I am going to be torn in two. Guess what? If the pressure doesn’t let up you will be torn in two.

Let me encourage you with this statement, God will not let you be pulled apart — You only think you will.

Do you remember the passage in James 1:2-4that talks about how trials will make you matureand complete (NIV)? It might be a good time to go back and re-read it. This is the tug of war. Let me explain.

“Mature” means perfect in labor, mental, and moral character. “Complete” means perfectly sound in your whole body. One of the strongmen pulling on the rope is the Spirit of God. The other strongman is your mind. You are literally in a fight for your life to see who will control you by pulling you to their side.

You may be saying again, “Craig, I know that principle, but why is it so intense now?” Good question. It is because the third baptism that the Godhead has for us is starting to come into full speed.

Third Baptism?

Third baptism? Most people have only heard of two. Each of the Godhead has a baptism that they want to release on the earth. The purpose of these baptisms is to make a bride for Jesus. All that God has done in the history of His people is to bring them to a place of where they could be a worthy and suitable bride for His Son Jesus.

Father God, is going to give away a bride to His Son just like Fathers give away their daughters in marriage today. Father God is not going to give away any second hand gifts. He is only going to give away a gift or a bride that is worthy to be called His daughter-in-law. That bride is you and I along with everyone else saved.

In many cultures today, the Fathers still pick out the brides for their sons. In these cultures every good father is going to have to do three things to get a bride ready for their son:

Ask a girl to say yes to be his future daughter-in-law. Of course, he wouldn’t just ask anyone, but someone that he knew who would have great potential.

Give the girl the tools and resources to reach her full potential and be successful as a bride and future wife. This could mean training, money, authority, etc.

Examine, test, and train her character, motivations, intentions to insure that she has a heart for his son. He does not want a self-centered girl. He realizes this does not make for a good marriage.

These are the same things that the Father God is doing for His Son Jesus. Ephesians 5:21-33spells out how believers are the church and wife of Jesus.

The 3 Baptisms

Each person of the Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—have taken responsibility for one of the steps to prepare us as a bride for Jesus. There are three major steps or the Bible calls them baptisms.

John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. I [1]But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit [2]and with fire [3]. Luke 3:16 (NIV)

First Baptism of Water

The first baptism is the baptism of water. This was symbolized by John the Baptist. It is a baptism of repentance. It is saying in effect, yes I want to be linked with Jesus. I want to be saved and to be His bride. Jesus enabled this baptism by paying for our sins on the Cross. Because of His death we now have the opportunity of becoming His bride.

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”….Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. Matthew 3:1,2,6 (NIV)

When we get saved and baptized we have entered into the first step in the eyes of the Father of becoming a bride for His Son. The results of this first baptism is fruit of a changed allegiance to your future bridegroom.

Second Baptism of the Holy Spirit

The second baptism or major step is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit and is called the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. This second work of the Godhead came upon the first believers 50 days after Jesus left the earth on the Jewish day called Pentecost.

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:7-8 (NIV)

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place…..All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:1,4 (NIV)

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit gives us the resources to carry out our jobs as Jesus’ wife. It gives us power, gifts and fruits to do what we need to do.

Third Baptism of Fire

The final step is purifying, pruning, and processing the Bride’s motivations and intentions. The Father is carrying out this job through the Baptism of Fire.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 1 Peter 4:12 (NASB)

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, or our “God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:26-29 (NIV)

God is setting us on fire to produce a good work in us!

Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. I Corinthians 3:13-15 (KJV)

Remember Gideon’s army that demolished the enemy. We all want to be a part of that army. Do you remember how it went through two “cuts” before the final number of people were chosen by God. We are going through tests and fiery trials now to become a part of that final army who will also be a beautiful righteous bride.

This third I will bring into the fire;I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’” Zechariah 13:9 (NIV)

This is our tug of war. The results of the Baptism of Fire is Holiness. The Father is “pulling” out of us motivations, intentions, and emotions that keep us from right living in the family with Jesus as our Husband.

Even Jesus went through these three baptisms.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. [baptism of water]At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him [baptism of Holy Spirit]. Matthew 4:1 (NIV)

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil [baptism of fire]. Matthew 3:16 (NIV)

The Father deals with us as individuals but He also deals with us as a group of believers. We lost many biblical truths when the church went into the dark ages starting in the 4th century.

When Roman Emperor Constantine made Christianity the State Religion and built the first “Christian” buildings in 327 AD the church lost it’s relationship with God and became a religion. It was not an overnight change but it did cause a major shift in the direction of Christianity.

Before this time, there were no “Christian” buildings. There were no hierarchal organizations of leaders. The people worshipped in simplicity led by the five-fold ministers working together as a team (Ephesians 4:11).

Constantine brought into the church many practices that shifted the focus from one of Jesus to one of ritual. Even the buildings themselves were modeled after the Roman judicial courts and the pagan temples. The concept of priest was introduced because pagan religions had them. Before this time Hebrews tells us everyone was considered a priest with Jesus being our high priest.

God’s heart broke as Christianity moved from freedom to bondage, salvation by grace to salvation by buying indulgences, worshipping Jesus to worshipping saints, being a dynamic body with Jesus as the head to a religious organization. This period lasted from approximately 300 AD to 1500 AD. For 1200 years the church lost all contact with what it was, why it was here, and who it was here for. It was so dark that historians now call it the Dark Ages.

But the Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—had a plan. That plan involved birthing (or should I say rebirthing) truths by each member of the Godhead into believers. There have been many moves of God. But there have been three major moves representing one person of the Godhead. Each of these major moves have been followed by minor moves reinforcing the major move. You could think of each major move as a large earthquake followed by smaller tremors.

Since the Dark Ages the Father has been helping the church rediscover His plans, ways, and purposes. During the last 500 years starting with the Protestant Reformation the truths and experiences of the first two baptisms has been largely restored to the church. The third baptism of fire has not been widely experienced by the Body of Christ until now. This baptism is now being unleashed upon the Body by the Father Himself to finish the job the first two baptisms started.

That is why you are feeling a tug of war between your mind and spirit like never before. We will soon see that this is a great time to be alive when we see the results.

Overview of the 3 Baptisms

Here is a list that will give an overview of the three baptisms.

1. First Baptism of Water from Jesus turns Heart (Repentance)

2. Second Baptism of Power from Holy Spirit

3. Third Baptism of Fire / Holiness from Father

James 1:2-4 talks about how trials will make us mature and complete (NIV)us.  The Father is “pulling” out of us motivations, intentions, and emotions that keep us from being a worthy bride.

Each of the steps that a good Father does in looking for a bride for his son are also being done by our Heavenly Father for His Son Jesus. These three steps are represented by the three baptisms. These are what the Father God is taking his Son’s bride through.

John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. I [1]But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit [2]and with fire [3]. Luke 3:16 (NIV)

History of Baptisms Being Restored

On October 31, 1517, the first baptism—the baptism of water—was released back into the earth in an earth shaking way. This baptism was to bring people to repentance and turn their hearts to Jesus. Before this day people did not even understand how to reach God. They were told so many “religious” lies and deception was so dark over the people that a concept of a relationship with Jesus was foreign.   

What happened on that day? Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic Priest, nailed a written document containing 95 truths to the door of a chapel in Germany. These 95 truths challenged the “status quo” maintained by the Religious Spirit of the day. Space will not allow much detail of this time period, but here are the major truths God restored back into His church.

  • Saved by Faith Alone
  • You Can Approach God directly. There is no need for a priest as a mediator.
  • Authority of the Word of God and the right of each Believer to read it.

These truths seem so basic to us today. But these were revolutionary truths 500 years ago that started the restoration of the Church to be Jesus’ bride. These truths were so radical that they caused literal wars and the followers were called “protestors” resulting in the name

“Protestant Reformation”. The truths so changed people’s hearts back to God that it was not called a revival but a reformation. Besides men’s hearts being changed, change came to all areas of life on the earth—civil, family, marriage, etc. The first baptism—one of repentance that would produce fruit and change in people was birthed into the earth to willing men.

It took approximately 400 years for these truths to be understood, assimilated, and incorporated into the lives of believers. There were many tremors that took the “earthquake” into full truth. One of the biggest was the Holiness movement that gained full momentum around 1800 and was the strongest in the Methodist church led by John Wesley. At the heart of this movement was an emphasis on the presence of the Lord inside of us and how that was to be used to turn us towards holiness.

But the second “earthquake”/baptism/major truth was released on December 31, 1900 in Topeka, Kansas. At the Charles Parham Bible School the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was poured out on all of the students. But the real pouring out across the world happened in 1906 with a Black Holiness preacher named William Seymour in an old building on Azusa Street in Los Angeles. There is much we could talk about, but you probably know most of what happened.

God through the Pentecostal movement, and the other tremor movements know as the Latter Rain, Charismatic, Word of Faith movements birthed much truth. The major truths restored were: the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Enthusiastic Worship, Dancing, Deliverance, Ministry of the Believer, etc.

This movement gave the newly (400 years old, 1500-1900) found bride the tools, power, and resources to become a beautiful bride! But the job was not yet complete—step 3—purification was to come.

The Charismatic movement—last movement of the 2nd Baptism—started in 1960. I believe it ended in the year 2000. The number 40 often means one of deliverance to a new thing.

I believe the final baptism poured out by the Father Himself —the baptism of fire—started in 2001. There are many things the Father is purifying us from and truths He is restoring us back to. But the most important thing He is restoring is a desire for intimacy with Jesus as the Bridegroom. What quality would a marriage be if the Bride did not get married with great expectation and excitement.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20 (NIV)

This process of refinement to become Jesus’ bride is just starting. It is a hard process and a deep work. But we will come out with some gold and silver in our character to present to our future husband Jesus.  As we learn more about the ramifications of this baptism we will see that it will cause as many changes in the church as the Protestant Reformation and the Pentecostal movement did.

Are you on fire yet? I hope so—because a beautiful bride is coming forth from the fire!

 

Miscellaneous

Special Forces in God’s Army

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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.