Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Your Courageous Decision

Allow the Holy Spirit to be the only one who gives you the talking points for your life.  Appealing to your base with words they want to hear, a tactic of a political spirit, will only result in fear-based destinations. 

This unredeemed decision-making process can become a compromise to the fulfillment of your destiny. Unless corrected these decisions will have you arriving at the same failed solutions you experienced in your past instead of moving you forward into the promise of something new. The new thing God desires to do is waiting for you in your future just beyond the courageous decisions the Spirit is asking you to make.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Waging War

The Prince of Peace knows how to wage war. Trust Him with the battle and the battle plan. His methods are not popular with those who are led by their emotions and attempt to fight the battles of life in their own strength and intellect. Don’t allow yourself to be drawn into these lesser battle strategies.

When God asks you to enter the fray He will hand you two of the most powerful weapons a person can possess – faith and trust. Fire these weapons accurately and the enemy that now confronts you will begin to retreat into a place of defeat.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Command of Freedom

In the Book of Acts physical healing and deliverance from demonic powers was the result of Spirit-empowered commands, not prayers. "Rise up!" and Come out!" were the commands spoken as the Church advanced into new territory. These commands were the audible transmission of God's heart for broken people and culture.

Someone asked me why they were not seeing miracles taking place in their life and ministry like those in the Early Church. One reason might be that people spend their time pleading with God in prayer for something He has already promised. Instead, the Early Church cultivated their ability to hear what the Spirit was saying in each unique situation they encountered. When they heard heaven they obeyed by issuing commands. This is why the miracles came is such abundance.

This kind of lifestyle is not for the faint of heart. The first people who will challenge you are those held captive within religious formulas. If your command does not fit their formula you will bear their label of disdain.

Today, ask God to give you ears to hear what the Spirit is saying. Ask for the faith to believe what you are hearing and the courage to release a command of freedom. Nothing is able to stand in the way of God's revelation because truth is designed and empowered to displace every work of darkness that holds people captive to its deception.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Eroding Trust – The Goal of Betrayal

The most painful form of rejection is betrayal.  Betrayal is a powerful spiritual acid that pours its corrosive presence into your heart eventually eroding your ability to trust. 

Be careful when under this kind of attack. Betrayal has a goal. It wants to erode your ability to trust people by destroying one relationship after another until you finally give up the fight and find yourself standing alone in a place of darkness. This is when you are the most vulnerable to the ultimate goal of the spirit of betrayal.

If you cannot forgive those who have betrayed you the next step in this deteriorating process is to erode your ability to trust God. That has always been the goal of darkness from the very start when the first painful realization of betrayal brought its deceiving presence into your life.

The only way of out this dark and painful place is to forgive your betrayer. Forgive them with the same measure you have been forgiven.  When you take this step of forgiving faith you will see a pathway emerge leading you out of a dark and painful place into a place of light and truth. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Step Over The Dead Bodies

When the Apostle Paul said to the church in Corinth, “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (II Corinthians 5:17) he used a word to describe “new” that can be translated as “previously non-existent”. In other words, when a person is born again they are made so new they appear like an alien life form sent from another world who stepped foot on planet earth for the first time.

There are high levels of frustration between some believers because they continue to appeal to a dead nature to make righteous decisions. Dead things cannot change because the condition of death is static and unchanging. Only living things can change. This old nature is also deaf. It cannot hear the appeals of heaven.

Today, when you come into conflict with another believer choose to step over the lifeless carcass of their past and appeal to the new and previously non-existent person who now stands before you. This will require a higher level of faith on your behalf because the old nature is the most visible and the most annoying. Step over the dead body and speak with the vocabulary of heaven to the new creation. Then you will see the Lord do a miracle in your life and the lives of those who hear your words of hope.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Make Sure You Choose The Right Weapon

Many years ago when I was a young rookie cop, my training officer gave me some wise advice. He said, “If they pull their fists, pull your nightstick. If they pull a knife, pull your gun.” My training officer was telling me a cardinal rule in life and death conflict – stay one weapon system ahead of your assailant. His wise advice saved my life on numerous occasions.

Years later when I entered the ministry, a wise pastor gave me similar advice for spiritual conflict. He said, “When you are in a spiritual battle make sure you respond in the opposite spirit.” He went on to tell me if someone hates you love them back. If someone curses you, return a blessing. If you are dishonored, speak words of honor. His words were familiar because they sounded a lot like the words spoken by Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount.

I bring this up because I see a lot of warfare taking place in our culture where well-meaning Christians are using the wrong weapons to engage the battle. The noise of war coming from both sides in these conflicts sound similar because in some cases both sides are firing off the same weapons at each from their well-fortified positions. God’s weapons of spiritual warfare sound different. God’s weapons demolish earthly arguments - they don’t join them. His weapons pull down the strongholds of human logic - they are not loaded with the same logic in response.

Today, assess your spiritual arsenal. Lock and load the right kind of weapon because the enemy you face is not formed with flesh and blood and will not be brought down with natural weapons. The battle is not against what is obvious or visible. This is a conflict between opposing kingdoms whose power base is sourced in the spirit realm. Choose the right weapons to engage the conflict and when you are in the heat of battle never forget this important truth - with God you will never be outgunned.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Plaque of Your History

Jan and I live in the historic mining town of Jacksonville, Oregon. We enjoy living in Jacksonville and southern Oregon. After so many years of travel and various ministry assignments we finally found our place. Shortly after moving to Jacksonville in 2002, I discovered some of my relatives were on the first Applegate Wagon Train that passed through our valley in the fall of 1846. I have discovered relatives buried in the historic cemetery above our town.

As you can imagine, we have some building codes in place to protect our history. Many of the historic homes in Jacksonville have placards placed on them noting the date they were constructed and the names of the families who first owned them. As you walk through town you can see these placards and relive their history in your imagination.

As a joke, I found a bronze plaque that reads, “On this site in 1897 nothing happened.” I bought it and attached it to the outside wall near our front door as a spoof. Our house is not historic. It was moved here in 1948 from the original Camp White military base that was active in the Medford area during World War II.

The plaque has become a challenge to me. Each time I step up on our front porch to enter our home, I look at the plaque. It carries a humorous reminder of a deeper issue. I ask myself, what have I allowed God to do on the site of my life today? Did I trust Him for something? Did I speak in love when I wasn’t feeling very loving? Did I contend for a miracle when a miracle seemed impossible? It would be a tragedy if the words on the plaque of my life and yours had nothing to say.

The most important thing you and I will do today is to have an encounter with God. These encounters can come by simply recognizing His presence. Forgiving someone. Choosing to believe in the midst of fear, despair and overwhelming odds. When these encounters come they will rewrite the plaque of our history that will someday be posted on each of our lives. I want our historic plaques to tell the story of lives lived to the fullest because they had a daily encounter with the Living God.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The End of Your Unstable Season

Some of you have been climbing upward with great toil for so long you thought this was the only way forward. You faithfully climbed the stairs of suffering and you know nothing else. But God has put you in a new place without your knowledge or permission. This new place remains unacknowledged by you because you cannot believe your season of struggle has actually come to an end.

God has placed you on a smooth, flat place where He is about to accelerate your forward progress. You have misinterpreted what has taken place. You still see the journey as a climb and you are trying to walk on flat ground like someone still climbing up a flight of stairs. You look and feel awkward like a newborn colt trying to find its balance for the first time. You think you are stumbling, but you are not. You are adjusting to a flat place.

In the climbing season you developed spiritual muscles designed only to climb. These muscles are now being adjusted to learn how to walk on a flat place of blessing. Your spiritual muscles are submitting to new and unfamiliar terrain. Give this adjustment the time needed to fully develop. When it is over, you will look like a young colt that finally found his legs and scampered across a green pasture with great joy.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Hard Places

During my first year of ministry, I told my pastor, Roy Hicks, Jr. the spiritual ground where I was attempting to plant our new church was hard.  I was hoping for sympathy.  Instead, I received truth. Roy said, “Don’t focus on the ground.”  I have never forgotten those words.  

When Roy spoke, I knew the Lord was lovingly correcting me.  I had become obsessed with the challenges of planting a new church.  In the challenge, I had forgotten it was the Lord who was responsible to bring the breakthrough, not me no matter how hard I swung my spiritual hoe.

Some of you have been called to hard places.  Marriages, ministries, business and individual lives will each have hard and challenging seasons where it seems that no spiritual tool you bring to the hardness is making a dent. The nature of these hard places and their accompanying seasons can fill your thinking to such a degree that you begin to focus primarily on the hardness of your circumstance instead of the goodness and power of God. God wants to change how we see our challenges.

Hard places are like a stage – they are the setting for a miraculous display of God’s power.  Everyone who is currently watching your life can see that you will not be able to break through the restricting crust of your situation in your own strength.  When God comes in His perfect timing and with His amazing power, He will crack the hardness of the opposition and reveal the beauty hidden just under the surface that awaits your discovery.  Stay faithful.  God is never late.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Revealing Wind of the Spirit is Beginning to Blow

This morning, as I was reading scripture, I came to Proverbs 20:27 where the text says, “The Lord’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.”

When I read those words, I saw the image of a book.  As I watched the book a wind began blowing across its pages moving them one-by-one like an invisible hand was turning each page. I immediately knew the wind was the Spirit of God and the book represented the lives of individuals and institutions, both political and religious. 

As the wind continued to turn each page, I understood the purpose of the wind was to go deeper into the contents of the book hidden behind its beautiful cover and binding. The wind was peeling back the pages to reveal the true motives of the heart hidden deep within the chapters of the book.

When this revealing takes place it will be a work of purity, not punishment. The wind of the Spirit is doing a work of preparation for what God is about to accomplish in the earth.  Stay humble and merciful as lives are being exposed because the same wind revealing the motives in other people will also reveal the motives hidden deep within the pages of your life. This attitude of the heart will give your voice a merciful tone as you speak to those who are being exposed by the light of truth.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Going Lower To Rise Higher

-->To live and minister in the supernatural power of God over the long haul will require that you unlock the doors to your greatest weakness.  We hide these areas because of shame and the fear of disqualification they can bring.  By avoiding these areas we miss their hidden potential. What disqualifies a person from man-made religious ministry can actually qualify them for a greater impact in God’s Kingdom.  This understanding will require that we understand a principle of God’s Kingdom.

Paul would come to understand this principle when the Lord said to him, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” It is in these weak places where we are not only confronted with our brokenness and shame, but where we are able to see and experience the power of God.

If you desire to walk in the long-term release of the supernatural power of God as demonstrated by signs, wonders and miracles, at some point, you will need to embrace these weak places in your life. The lower you go into these areas walled off by shame and brokenness, taking with you the healing power of God’s love and forgiveness, the higher you will rise in your ability to be used by God to do those things your greatest strength could never accomplish.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

When Your Life Has Stalled

When it feels like your life has stalled, it is time to revisit your history. In your history you will discover an abandoned step that has caused your life to stall.

When God spoke to you at the start, He began moving you forward toward His preferred future for your life. Everything in your journey has built upon that original revelation. You cannot arrive at the end without acknowledging the beginning.

At some point you stopped doing the things God originally used to define your life and calling. This is why you now feel stalled. A stalled life is only intended as a temporary stop along the way where you reevaluate and reset your navigational instruments. It is not a permanent destination unless you choose to make it one.

The raw faith you exhibited in your past has been waiting for you in this stalled place ready to be released. When that faith is released the next step will be seen and your journey will begin its forward motion once again.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

God Is Making A Way Into A Place Blessing

-->This morning, Jan and I walked through our neighborhood.  It was a beautiful morning filled with blue skies, white clouds and crisp air. In our small town, deer walk freely among the homes. One of the homes we passed is known for its very elaborate deer fence.   If you have any plants exposed they must be deer proof plants or your garden will be eaten down to the nubs.  Your other alternative is to construct a deer fence.  These fences must be at least six feet tall and secured at both the top and bottom.  The deer in our town have the uncanny ability to find a way over and under these fences.

The home we passed on our walk is beautiful with an equally beautiful garden and yard filled with clover.  Inside the enclosure was a single deer – a doe. When we passed by she looked up. This was the happiest looking deer I had ever seen. She had won the deer lottery and was eating tasty plants not available to the other deer in town.  I stopped to take her picture. When I saw the deer feeding within the enclosed yard, the Lord spoke a word to me.

Many of you have been fenced off from the promised blessings of God.  You do not know why this has taken place. You have walked by these enclosed blessings resigned to feed only on what was immediate and available to you outside the fence. What was promised to you has always been seen on the other side of a restricting fence.  This fence was erected by a challenging circumstance and designed to keep you out.  That is about to change.

Like the deer I saw this morning, God is going to reveal a way through the restriction and allow you access to a garden of blessing.  You are about to enter a place where you will eat your fill of God’s goodness. This new season will not be the continuation of the past.  You will no longer have to walk by a blessing and look longingly at its beauty as it flourishes out of reach.  God is opening a way through the restricting fence and He is inviting you inside to eat to your heart’s content.