Monday, November 30, 2015

My Jubilee Year

Recently for many mornings I woke up with a prayer on my lips. Even before the fog of sleep had left my brain, I was praying for something very specific. The prayer has been for someone who has grown comfortable in their ability to make their own decisions and has wandered a bit from their relationship with God. Of course, they don't acknowledge that they wandered because they still attend church and know exactly what to say so that people think that they are still saved. But God knows the story of the heart. God knows exactly how far we have wandered and exactly what it takes to restore unto us His Salvation. Though I have been praying for their salvation for a while, I felt and was instructed to pray a specific way so that is what has been on my heart, mind and lips when I wake in the morning. One morning though something was different. I woke with a song on my heart and felt that spiritually something had shifted. I woke up with the lyrics, "Lift your voice its the year of Jubilee and out of Zion's hill salvation comes" from the Donnie McClurkin song "Days of Elijah." After feeling spiritually burdened for so long, I was puzzled. So while at work that day I prayed as I worked and thought about the song and asked God what He wanted me to understand.

"And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family" Leviticus 25:10

The cares of life have stolen things from you through the years of living for God. Perhaps no longer do you feel passionate or excited about your walk with God, instead it has become routine and obligation. Don't get me wrong, you love God and would not turn away but the excitement of the First Love has faded. That enthusiasm that you felt when you first received the Holy Ghost has been watered down and now you just look forward to a good church service. You do want your family saved and living for God but you have been living the life in front of them for a lot of years so you have kind of given up hope and grown comfortable. Perhaps your marriage has been stolen by the enemy. Maybe you are still together but the love has faded and is just a shadow of its former self. Your children have turned away from the faith and your heart is broken but what can you do?  There are so many things that have been stolen from you over the years but you just put it down as "That's life" and kind of give up. The calling or ministry that you had felt, the door of opportunity just never opened so it now is just hidden away in the corner recesses of your heart. There are times when you look over your life and you wander how you ended up where you are, you are just trying to make it rather than making things happen.

I want to declare to you a Jubilee Year. A year that everything that was stolen, lost or sold is returned. Your passion and zeal for God, His Word and His Gospel shall be returned. You unsaved children and spouses will be restored. Your calling and ministry that has grown cold and ineffective shall be revived. Your love for God's Word and dedication to holiness shall be renewed. God has declared that THIS IS THE YEAR OF JUBILEE!!!  I will seek His face, follow His direction and lay claim to the ministry and calling the enemy tried to take. I will devote my heart to reaching those that are hurting and needing my Savior. I will allow God to use me to proclaim a Year of Jubilee to my harvest field. By the Word of God, I lay claim to everything that the enemy has taken or tried to take from me. My children, my joy, my ministry, my family, my health... God shall restore for this is: My Jubilee Year

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Knowledge Can Bring Weakness

God is our Provider!
God is our Healer!
God is our Restorer!
God is our Peace!
God is our Salvation!

I have noticed something about our faith. We are sure of God being everything that we need, whether it is our provider, healer or restorer, until we get knowledge. It seems that we are certain that God can heal blinded eyes until we learn from the doctor that we are losing our sight. We are certain that God provides for our needs until our car breaks down and we learn that it costs more than we have in our bank account. We believe that God can restore anything until our spouse leaves us, our children walk away or our friends abandon us. The thing is, God's ability, God's promises, God's strength did not change once we gained knowledge of the sickness, the bill, the loss. The only thing that changed is our knowledge about the situation. God's ability to heal blinded eyes hasn't changed since the creation of man. God's ability and desire to bring salvation hasn't changed since Adam and Eve chose to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil. God's strength and ability to provide for our needs has been a constant since the dawn of time. The tiny fact that we gained knowledge does not at all impact God's ability or desire to show himself strong in our situation. Just like with Adam & Eve, sometimes knowledge can come between you and God because it detracts from your faith and causes you to waver in your understanding and belief in the magnitude of our Lord and Savior. When we gain knowledge of a situation, we must allow it to increase our faith in God's ability rather than allowing it to instill fear and anxiety in our hearts. 

"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."
Hebrews 13:8

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Making Room for God

I want to make room in my life for God. That may seem like an obvious statement but there are times when we fill our lives with so much stuff that we limit God's ability to use us in the way that He desires. When he doesn't answer in the time or in the way that we think He should then we puzzle about all the hows and whys. What we do not understand is that our own inability to let go of the stuff that we feel we must have hinders how and when God can use us. The hindrance is not because of God's inability to do the work but our inability to relent control of our stuff. 

There are so much stuff that we fill our lives with that there isn't any leeway for us to be available for God's work. We must have a certain type of car or house that keeps us obligated to work more than God wants us to work. We fill our hearts with desires that are smaller than what God wants for us thereby we limit His ability to give us from His abundance (I am not speaking of money here but it could be about money also). We crowd God out of our houses by filling them to the brim with stuff that only serves as a distraction and a hindrance to hearing the voice of God. We crowd God out of our minds when we become self-sufficient and self-reliant. We don't give God room to be our healer when we think to go to the doctor first and praying second rather than praying first. We do not give room for God to be our provider when we think to get a loan before we think of praying. We do not give room for God to be the lover of our souls when we seek to find fulfillment in the flesh first. 

When we give room for all the stuff, whether material possessions or emotional needs or even desires of our heart, we are crowding out the room and availability that God needs to do the work that He desires to do in our lives. When we give preference to a certain lifestyle, God can't send us on the mission field to minister to that one life that can impact 10,000 people in his community. When we make room for a house full of new furniture that we didn't need and that we have pay on credit and pick up a second job to pay for, we give up our availability to teach that one Bible Study that can change the life of a drug addict. When we give room and preference to the social aspects of church, we give up the intimacy of a relationship with God. It is impossible to make room for all our "stuff" and expect God to still utilize us in a powerful way. We cannot crowd out God and expect Him to force His way in. We cannot serve God and flesh.

Matthew 6:21-24
"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mannon." 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hedging Your Bets

Hedge your bets: to protect yourself against loss by supporting more than one possible result or both sides in a competition. (According to the Cambridge Advanced Learner Dictionary)

Recently as I was taking a prayer walk and praying about a very big God-sized and God-given dream. A dream that is larger than anything I have ever dared to dream. This dream, when it comes to fruition, will be more wonderful than words can express. The thing about this dream is that it is impossible. There is nothing that I can say or do to cause my dream to happen. I cannot work towards it and cause it come to pass. I cannot earn it or buy it. There is absolutely nothing that I can do to cause my dream to be fulfilled. It all comes down to God. This dream is so big that only God can put all the pieces in place, to open the right doors, give favor and bring about change. Only God can do the impossible (Luke 18:27) During my prayer walk I told God, "this dream is something that only You can do. I do not have the ability to make any change that would cause this dream to become reality. I must leave this dream in your hands and allow you to do the work." It is a hard thing to allow control to slip from our grasp but as Psalms 46:10 says, "Be still, and know I am God."

Joseph also had a God-given and God-sized dream. He didn't know how it was going to fruition but I imagine that he didn't think that it would mean being sold into slavery and enduring prison. He held on to that dream through years of isolation from his family and his culture. But through each day, month, year that he endured the pain of rejection and isolation, he remained faithful to God, the dream giver. When he was betrayed by his brothers, he still held the dream. When he was lied about by Potiphar's wife, he remained faithful. When he was forgotten by the butler, he still served the dream giver. It didn't matter how hard or painful enduring the betrayal and rejection was, he had a dream and he wasn't letting go of it. Even in the face of impossibility, he judged God to be faithful. He didn't try to hedge his bets by betting on God fulfilling the dream and on God changing his mind. Joseph was all in. He believed the dream to be God-given when he first dreamed it and many years and many heart-aches later, he still believed.

That is the way we need to be with our faith in God and his miraculous power. We must believe without doubt and hold tight to the dreams that God has given us. Perhaps the dream that God has shown you is impossible and if you told anyone they would scoff at it. God didn't scoff when he gave you the dream. Perhaps the dream is so big it is almost to the point of ridiculous. God didn't think it was ridiculous when he showed you the work that he wanted to do. God created the world with His Word, why would he think a big dream is impossible? God robed himself in flesh and endured pain and death for our salvation, why do you think he would find the huge dream that he gave you ridiculous? You can be confident that God, which hath begun a good work in you will perform it. (Philippians 1:6) You do not have to speak softly of the dream or give God an "out" just in case He doesn't come through. You may have to endure some pain, heartache, rejection and betrayal but it is simply to get you at the right place at the right time.

When God gives us a huge dream, whether about our ministry, our family, our harvest field, or anything, believe like Joseph did - no hedged bets. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Hand to the Plow

So you have bought your seed corn. You also still have your oxen and hand plow from the previous season. You have been praying earnestly for an abundant harvest but evidently God isn't going to grant it because your fields are still barren, with no growth. The problem isn't God but rather that you haven't taken the step of faith and planted the corn. 

Sometimes that is the way it is when we pray. We pray for God to bring a harvest of souls but we do no outreach. We pray for God to do a mighty work but we haven't trained our people how to do Bible Studies. We want God to do a big work but we don't want to put our hand to the plow. 

It is the same way in our personal lives. We pray for God to do things for us but we do not want to do the work until we see the results. Sometimes we have to take the step of faith and buy the luggage for that mission trip that God has called us on. Sometimes we have to buy the baby bed for the child God has promised. There are times we have to put our effort where our faith is. Just like the farmer having faith that God will multiply his harvest, he has to put his hand to the plow and plant the corn first. 

There is always work and sacrifice involved in every miracle. The four men who put their friend through the roof for Jesus to heal, had to first tear off the roof. The woman with the issue of blood had to crawl through the crowd people and be pushed and stepped upon to receive her miracle. The manna fell from heaven every day but the children of Israel still had to gather it each day in order to be fed. The woman and her son had to give their last loaf of bread to the prophet before God did the miracle of the unending flour and oil. What is it that God has promised you? Are you mentally and physically prepared to receive it? Are you waiting on the miracle before you prepare? Perhaps you need to put your hand to the plow and do what you are supposed to do and allow God to do what He is supposed to do.