Thursday, July 06, 2017

Title & Position

I once heard a woman I knew years ago who held a management position with CITI Bank say, "there are 2 motivators to make a good employee. Either pay them more, or give them an important Title."

That really jumped out at me as I considered the Pride of mankind. 

The idea was if an employee feels he is important, a VIP, someone others had to submit to, then he would do a good job. 

That is so empty. 

Everyone wants to feel appreciated and loved. However, if one's drive is about how "great they are" or their level of authority over others...they are putting themselves in a really bad place.

The scriptures say in James 4:6 and Proverbs 3:34:

"God Resists the Proud,
But gives Grace to the Humble."

Do you remember the story of Moses receiving the 10 Commandments up on Mount Sinai? While the people of Israel waited at the bottom of the mountain for Moses to return they grew fearful and impatient.

Now God had made Aaron, Moses' brother, the first High Priest of Israel. 

Although God gave him Title and Position of High Priest, that did not automatically make him a great High Priest.

Watch what he does here:

Exodus 32:1-6
When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron. "Come on," they said, "make us some gods who can lead us. We don't know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt."
So Aaron said, "Take the gold rings from the ears of your wives and sons and daughters, and bring them to me."
3 All the people took the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 Then Aaron took the gold, melted it down, and molded it into the shape of a calf. When the people saw it, they exclaimed, "O Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of the land of Egypt!"
Aaron saw how excited the people were, so he built an altar in front of the calf. Then he announced, "Tomorrow will be a festival to the Lord!"

WHAT?!!

"To the LORD??!"

It gets worse. God tells Moses what is happening with the people. When he gets to the bottom of the mountain he is so angry he smashes the 2 Tablets that God had written upon.

21 Finally, he turned to Aaron and demanded, "What did these people do to you to make you bring such terrible sin upon them?"
22 "Don't get so upset, my lord," Aaron replied. "You yourself know how evil these people are. 23 They said to me, 'Make us gods who will lead us. We don't know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.' 24 So I told them, 'Whoever has gold jewelry, take it off.' When they brought it to me, I simply threw it into the fire-and out came this calf!"

We see Aaron's lack of integrity here. He blame-shifts onto the people, then straight up lies to Moses about how the Calf came to be, as if it were some supernatural phenomenon. 

Is he so different from people today?

We are all given opportunities to walk in Truth and Integrity or to Compromise. 

Too often we are chasing promotion and elevation, rather than working on our character and allowing God to lift us up.

So many times people get a promotion but do not have what is called, "Staying-Power." They cannot hold onto the higher position because they have not grown enough to maintain it, or their thinking is still that of the previous level.

I can't help but always remember the story of Joseph. Called revealed His plan for Joseph to rule since he was a teenager. 

Joseph was born free, but sold into slavery at age 17. He was then a slave for 11 years in Potiphar's house. Then thrown into Prison for 2 more years. This makes a total of 13 years as slave or prisoner before Pharaoh makes him the 2nd most powerful man in Egypt at age 30!

Contrast Joseph's mindset with Aaron's. 

Joseph knew he was called to rule. Even Slavery and Prison could not deter him from walking in Integrity and Truth. 

Aaron on the other hand, lived his whole life as a Slave. He never knew freedom, nor the responsibility and integrity needed to steward freedom. 

Title and Position did not deter him from walking in a LACK of Integrity and a LACK of Truth.

Jesus taught us a superior way of thinking when it comes to Title & Position:

Luke 22:27
Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.

Focus on Serving others and allow God to choose when and what He will promote you to.

This is God's Command and Promise to us:

James 4:10
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Milestones

A Milestone is defined as:

1. A stone setup beside a road to mark the distance in miles to a particular destination.
2. A significant Event or Stage in the Life, Progress, Development of a person, nation, etc.

If you are like me, it is important to have a sense of moving forward, accomplishing goals, and seeing progress in your life.

Juli and I reached a major Milestone in our lives yesterday...

25 Years in Marriage!!

Wow. I am amazed myself. What a wonderful wife God has blessed me with to walk this life together. She is such a Godly Woman and still takes my breath away. I am excited to experience the next 25 years together!

I really believe  reaching Milestones is a God-given desire He places in each of us. 

Jesus, our model and standard, was Goal-Oriented when He walked this Earth. He came on a Mission and would not be deterred from accomplishing what He was sent to do!

Hebrews 12:2 NKJV
Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

He is not only the author, (the designer, instigator, architect, creator) of our Faith. He is the one to see us through TO THE FINISH! 


1 Samuel 7 relates a story of Isreal coming out of a season of transition and even doubt, into a moment of great Victory! 

The Arc of the Covenant, that golden box that contained the 10 Commandments, whose lid was called the Mercy Seat, had been stolen by the Philistines. This Arc was the core piece of Israel's worship. God Himself sat upon the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle. The Blood of the Yearly Atoning Sacrifice was sprinkled on this box, appealing to God's Mercy to cover the sins of Israel for that year.

Now, it was in the Enemy's hands! And not just for a week or two...but for 7 months! Then upon receiving it back, 70 Israelites opened it up to look inside and died! So they put it in storage for the next 20 YEARS!

The people became depressed believing God had abandoned His people. Yet, the truth was, God's People abandoned Him to worship idols. That is why this whole problem came about!

Here is what happened:

1 Samuel 7:3-11 NLT
Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, "If you want to return to the Lord with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey him alonethen he will rescue you from the Philistines." 4 So the Israelites got rid of their images of Baal and Ashtoreth and worshiped only the Lord.
5 Then Samuel told them, "Gather all of Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you." 6 So they gathered at Mizpah and, in a great ceremony, drew water from a well and poured it out before the Lord. They also went without food all day and confessed that they had sinned against the Lord. (It was at Mizpah that Samuel became Israel's judge.)
7 When the Philistine rulers heard that Israel had gathered at Mizpah, they mobilized their army and advanced. The Israelites were badly frightened when they learned that the Philistines were approaching. 8 "Don't stop pleading with the Lord our God to save us from the Philistines!" they begged Samuel. 9 So Samuel took a young lamb and offered it to the Lord as a whole burnt offering. He pleaded with the Lord to help Israel, and the Lord answered him.
10 Just as Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines arrived to attack Israel. But the Lord spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven that day, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them. 11 The men of Israel chased them from Mizpah to a place below Beth-car, slaughtering them all along the way.
 
What a Victory from an impossible situation!

Look what Samuel did next:

1 Samuel 7:12 NLT
Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah & Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means "the Stone of Help"), for he said, "Up to this point the Lord has helped us!"

Along the Journey of our Spiritual Life it is good to hit Milestones that encourage us to KEEP GOING!

Markers like: 

  • Salvation
  • Baptism
  • Victories over sin
  • Moments of Healing & Deliverance 
  • Moments of stepping out in Obedience
  • Overcoming Obstacles
  • Experiencing Break-Throughs as we walk by Faith

All of these Milestones are encouragements that we can look back upon as we face the next challenges life brings.


So don't be discouraged today! Don't give up!

Victory is yours!

Philippians 3:13b-14 NKJV
13b ...Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.


Thursday, June 01, 2017

Judah My Bow. Ephraim My Arrow.

Last week in our Church's eNewsletter I sent a Prophetic Word that spoke about Double Portion Acceleration

We read it again at our Saturday Morning Prayer gathering and prayed more into it for LifeTree Fellowship and the Congregation. 

As we were praying the Holy Spirit reminded me of a scripture which I looked up and read to the intercessors. 

Zechariah 9:13-14 (NKJV) 
13 For I have bent Judah, My Bow,
Fitted the bow with Ephraim,
And raised up your sons, O Zion,
Against your sons, O Greece,
And made you like the Sword of a Mighty Man.”
14 Then the Lord will be seen Over Them,
And His Arrow will go forth like LIGHTNING.
The Lord God will blow the Trumpet,
And go with Whirlwinds from the south.

Whenever we read the Words of the Old Testament Prophets we must realize, though they had a literal meaning for the people of that day, they also carry Spiritual significance for God's People today! Especially when the Holy Spirit highlights a scripture in a particular Season we are going through.

The Lord gave me an interpretation of this scripture for us to understand what He is saying to us through His Word:

Judah = this name means, PRAISE 
Ephraim = meaning, DOUBLE FRUITFULNESS 
Sword = Word of God 
Mighty Man = Jesus 
Arrow = again, Ephraim (double fruitfulness) 
Lighting = ACCELERATION
Trumpet = His Alarm or Signal for Battle 
Whirlwind = brings God's judgement for the enemy and Blessing for His people

Wow!

Are you getting this?

We are surely in a Time of Battle. There is a Holy Shaking in our World and in many of our Lives. (Hebrews 12:25-29)

The way to Victory is through the Lord's Bow...giving PRAISE to the Lord!

You may want to go for a drive, turn on your favorite Worship Music and Shout HALLELUJAH to the Lord!

This releases His Arrow of DOUBLE FRUITFULNESS in our lives!

The Sword of the Mighty Man is obviously the Power of God's Word in this Season as we War for the Promises of God from a  position of Ownership! Reading...Speaking...and Meditating on the Word of God, the Scriptures, His Promises!

God then sounds the Alarm for Battle against our Enemy, the devil and his cohorts, as the LORD is seen "over us" His people as His Arrow flies against the enemy. 

The Result is a Whirlwind! 

Many times in prophetic language of scripture, the Whirlwind is seen to bring Judgement on the Enemies of God and Blessing or Deliverance to the People of God! (Whirlwind Scriptures)

Heavenly Father, we stand in Faith on Your WORD as we PRAISE YOU to bring us the Victory in this Season of Acceleration and Shaking!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Resistance

Are you feeling any RESISTANCE in your life?

Resistance = opposition, struggle, obstruction, a barrier, something holding you back

Resistance is experienced when there is MOVEMENT.

Have you ever tried to run in water? There is no Resistance until you try to Move. 

The Holy Spirit is always moving. His desire is to Move in our lives and for us to follow where He leads. As we begin to grow in Relationship with Jesus and obey His Word (Scripture) we most certainly will encounter Resistance.

The greater the work the Lord wants to accomplish in you, the greater the Resistance often will be.

The key is to keep our Identity in Christ, not focusing on our own abilities and plans. 

Acts 17:28a
For in Him we live and MOVE and exist.

In Him. 

In Him, in Jesus, we live and Move.

If you are truly in Him, and He is in you, the Resistance is because you are Moving!

Expect it! Look for it!

It is in the Resistance that we are Strengthened!

Have you ever lifted weights before? Muscle and strength is forged through the Resistance!

Now consider this: If God is working in your life through His Word being founded in your heart, and the Holy Spirit has begun Moving in your life, who is causing the Resistance?

1 Peter 5:8
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

We sometimes think, If I am a Christian, no troubles will come my way. This is not what the Bible teaches. We must heed this warning to Stay Alert!

In fact, we are told to turn the Resistance on to the devil as he tries to drag us down!

James 4:7
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

The first key here is to Submit yourself to God. This means to give in, to yield to, to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus in your life. If we are submitted to God, we are choosing to obey His Word, rather than fall into the devil's plan for our lives.

That is how we resist him. Then the scripture promises this will send the devil fleeing from us! Running scared!

An un-submitted, disobedient child of God will not see victory in his life.

So get into the Scriptures today. Stand on His Word and Resist the Enemy. In time, you willsee Victory.

1 John 5:4
For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this Victory through our Faith.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Be Still

The other night as I was lying in bed, the Lord spoke to me about the prophet Elijah.

In 1 Kings 18 Elijah has one of the greatest victories over evil in a spiritual battle and confrontation with the so-called prophets of Baal. 

One Prophet of Yahweh vs. 450 prophets of Baal. 

The CONTEST: Whose God can send Fire from Heaven to burn the Sacrifice?

Victory: Elijah

It is an amazing story as Elijah defeats the prophets of Baal. You should read it today!

If that were not enough, he then prophesies to the king that a 3-1/2 Year drought will now end with a great rain storm.

Victory: Elijah

But Wait! There's more!

He then runs 15 Miles from Mount Carmel to Jezreel FASTER than the king's horse and chariot!!

Victory: Elijah

Then we turn the page...to chapter 19.

The king tells his infamous wife, Queen Jezebel, that all her prophets were defeated and executed by Elijah. She is so furious she issues a Death Warrant on Elijah.

Elijah turns and runs for his life!

He finds himself in the wilderness. The Bible says in 1 Kings 19:4,

He prayed that he might die, and said, "It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!"

Wait a second. Isn't this Mr. Victory we are talking about? He just scored a Hat-trick on the devil! 

Now he's running scared and wants to die?!!

Can you relate? 

We go through times of God's blessing in our lives that can be quite amazing...but eventually challenges do arise. 

I can imagine Elijah's victories, though exhilarating, left him drained and weary. 

The Good News is that God was not going to leave Elijah in that state. He did not bring Elijah that far to leave him now.

An Angel came and ministered to him, feeding him and giving him a drink. This food was supernatural as he did not have to eat or drink again for 40 days! 

He journeyed all the way to Mount Horeb, also known as, Mount Sinai, where Moses had received the 10 Commandments!

There he had another supernatural experience. 

The Lord asked him, "What are you doing here Elijah?"

Elijah replied, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life."

When we feel overwhelmed in life, we have a tendency to isolate ourselves from others and paint a picture of reality in our minds that is often exaggerated. 

11 Then God said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord." And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord,
but the Lord was not in the wind; 

and after the wind an earthquake,
but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 
12 and after the earthquake a fire,
but the Lord was not in the fire; 
and after the fire, a still small voice.

Again the Lord asks what Elijah is doing there. Elijah answers again with the same words of defeat.

However, God was not finished with Elijah! He gave him new direction and encouraged him that Elijah was NOT ALONE. There were actually 7,000 others still faithful to Yahweh!

Elijah went on to defeat his enemy, Queen Jezebel. 

The Lord wants to bring us to Victory over our enemies as well! (Not people, but spiritual victory over our true enemy, the devil).

King David had written this Psalm; as I was meditating on the story of Elijah, I felt I received a new personal revelation about it.

Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)
Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

What the Holy Spirit showed me was first, what this DOES NOT mean.
  • To Be Still does not mean: Give Up
  • To Be Still does not mean: God will do whatever He wants so...Que Sera Sera 
  • To Be Still does not mean: Stop Engaging your Faith
To Be Still and KNOW that He IS God, is to Still and Quiet your Emotions and Feelings and Thoughts that are contrary to the Promises of God and His Nature.

To quiet your Doubt and to come to the intimate knowledge of your Savior's willingness and plan to deliver and rescue you no matter what problems in life you are up against.

Most of us are not in the situation of an Evil Witch-Queen declaring a death sentence on us.

We cannot Know He is God when we are lead by our feelings. 

Matthew 11:28 (NLT)
Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."

Be still.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Deception

Have you ever considered the topic of Deceit?

As Christians we all know being deceived is the last thing you want to happen to you. We have all seen others that were deceived and the path of destruction in their lives as they pursue something other than the Truth.

The problem is, when you are deceived...you don't know you are deceived...because you are...

Deceived.

It almost seems a deceived person is not responsible for what they do, if they don't realize what they are doing is wrong.

I know this may be a bit philosophical...

I am reminded of the Apostle Paul before his encounter with Jesus on the Road to Damascus. Paul was a Pharisee, a Religious Leader, filled with more Zeal for God than any other...

Yet, he was TOTALLY deceived into thinking that Jesus (the True Messiah and Son of God), was the leader of a false religion.

His deception caused him to pursue arresting and putting Christians to death.

Wow. 

So how do we as Believers keep ourselves from falling into Deception that leads us away from Christ?

Look at this scripture:

Proverbs 12:20 NLT - Deceit fills hearts that are plotting eviljoy fills hearts that are planning peace!

There is a clue here as to one way Deceit enters the heart...through the Plotting of Evil.

This often begins with Jealousy & Envy as we see another person doing well in life.

Here is a Serious Scripture in James to consider:

James 4:1-6 (NLT) - What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don't they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don't have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can't get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don't have what you want because you don't ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong-you want only what will give you pleasure. 
4 You adulterers! Don't you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. 5 Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. 6 And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,

"God opposes the proud
    but gives grace to the humble."

He is writing this to Christians!

He answers the question: "How does a Christian get to the point of being murderous or adulterous?"

Obviously, one in this state has been greatly Deceived.

Here in these Last Days before the Lord's Return, this is a very serious issue. Scripture teaches clearly the Deceit of these Last Days and the hatred that will fill the hearts of men, causing some Christians to even fall away from the Truth.

Consider this final scripture:

Proverbs 6:12-15 NLT- What are worthless and wicked people like?

They are constant liars, 13 signaling their deceit with a wink of the eye, a nudge of the foot, or the wiggle of fingers. 14 Their perverted hearts plot evil, and they constantly stir up trouble. 15 But they will be destroyed suddenly, broken in an instant beyond all hope of healing.

Serious Stuff!

However, we need not fear if we continue to pursue Jesus and Love Him with all our Hearts, Minds, and Strength! And Love our Neighbor as ourselves!

Lord, we Humble ourselves before You today. We choose to rejoice when others are blessed by You. We thank You for Loving us and caring for us. We pray You make us effective in Your Kingdom as we reflect your Love to others.

Amen!