The Womb of Revival

Yesterday we talked about how the Nazirites Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptizer are types for the anointed church. Powerful, uncompromising, set apart from the culture, willing to stand for God, His word, and His truth at all cost! But today I want to look at the mind sets that birthed these anointings. Because the anointing breaks the yokes of the enemy that manifest in revival but that doesn’t just happen, someone prayed it through, someone sacrificed, someone lived their life selflessly in faith for what was coming like a mother with child, someone pushed through and cried out. God used someone birthed these revivals.

First we look at Samson’s mother, the wife of Manoah. In obedience to the voice of God, she took on a Nazarite vow, something that normally only men did. She was willing to sacrifice, fast, and separate herself from sin and the culture of the land. What was ok for others was not ok for her because she was birthing revival and she had to set a strong pure clean foundation for it. Not only could the Nazirite not drink wine (the obvious sin) but they could not even partake of anything that came from the grape. No gray areas, going the extra mile, erring in the side of caution, avoiding even the appearance of evil, no compromise, no slippery slope, just selfless sacrifice and holiness unto the Lord! She gave up certain things in her life to birth a revival based on holiness (Naserite) that could carry mighty a anointing that the gates of his enemy (Hell) could mot prevail against.

Next, Samuel’s mother was a woman of fervent prayer, fasting, and faithfulness. So intense was Hanna’s praying that the priest (who should have understood prayer but lacked in that area himself) thought she was drunk. He mocked and ridiculed her fervency, her brokenness, her grieving fasted weeping before the Lord. Yet she pushed through and cried out to God until He heard her prayer and promised to send her a son, of whom she gave back to God to use as He willed. She was faithful to the Lord even when it was painful, and she trusted God with that which was always His to begin with, not trying to claim it for herself. She did her part, she prayed for it, she carried it, she nurtured it, she labored for it, but she did not try to horde the glory of it. She gave it back to God knowing that He could do more with it then she ever could.

Elizabeth, birthed John the baptizer. This mother of revival stood with unshakable faith and humility against the ridicule of many. Then once God had given her this miraculous promise did she not brag, or boast, or try to expose herself for vengeance sake, pride, or pomp. But rather she hid herself even while she yet carried this great gift of God until that He Himself was ready to reveal her in the appointed time. Patient, humble, faithful, sacrificial.

Just as remarkable and invaluable as these nurturers of revival were the fathers who selflessly stepped into their rolls as coverings, guardians, providers, and protectors over what God was bringing forth. Without them, these praying mothers could not have carried what God had placed in them to term, for the devil fought hard against the destiny that threatened him in them. In all three of these ladies chosen to care for the womb of revival and the husbands chosen by God to guard it, we see humility, prayerfulness, selflessness, sacrifice, faithfulness, righteousness, and above all holiness. Separation from sinfulness and anything that might lead to it, or lead others to become complacent with it. That what they were entrusted to bring forth would have the strongest, purest, foundation they could so selflessly provide for the vessels of anointing that would move forward from that foundation for generations to come.

“Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” – Genesis 18:18-19

“And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” – Ezekiel 44:23

All of these men and women had to lay down their own lives, wants, plans, and desires to live for what was coming even when they could not yet see it and had no physical reason to believe it. After all, all of these women were barren! Yet out of barrenness God brought revival. Out of despair He brought hope. Out of brokenness He brought healing. Out of death He brought life. God always works this way. Out of the lowliest He births the mightiest. In our weakness His strength is proven. He uses the least to do the most because they are willing to give all. Having nothing, they gain everything by simply trusting Him enough to follow His instructions and be ye separate, holy unto the Lord, so that He can use them to birth something different that the mockers and scoffers around them have never seen before.

So for those who have cried out in the midst of a spiritually barren land for God to birth revival, He is as willing to answer your prayers as He was to answer these three women’s prayers. The only question is, are you as willing as they were to count the cost, pay the price, and lay down your own life to carry it through. God is looking for the next womb of revival. Can He trust it with you? To no longer live for the moment, but to live for what’s coming? To make every decision sacrificially in faith for the best of what’s to come, like an expecting mom?

Perhaps you have cried out and the Lord has heard your prayer and begun the process of bringing something mightily anointed to bare. But like that expecting mom, you just can’t see it yet, but you can feel it. You know it’s real, and it’s coming. You don’t know exactly when, but you know it’s coming and you are determined to prepare for it as best you can in the waiting. Have faith, keep believing, keep feeding it with the word of God, keep it healthy, keep it growing, keep praying, keep preparing a place in your life for it, keep pushing, keep protecting the baby. Don’t give up on it when it gets painful or inconvenient like the culture teaches you too. Don’t abort God’s plan for you while it’s still in the womb. Carry it through to the appointed time and even you will be surprised by what God brings forth through you. Revival is coming. He just needs a womb. Selfless mothers and fathers in the faith to surrender their own lives to bring forth more abundant life. To die to self that others might live in Christ. To nurture, guard, and obey the word and work of the Lord and endure the sacrifice, selflessness, pain, and laboring required to bring forth the pure. To lay a strong foundation against compromise and sin with their every action and decision to ensure that a mighty anointing can rest upon the next generation. It’s time to birth revival.

Prayer:

I say, “yes Lord! Let it be me. I ask for Your strength to make my church a nursery. Raise up a mighty anointing that will break every yoke of bondage that the gates of Hell cannot prevail against. You did it before, you will do it again. Raise up a remnant from out of this spiritually barren land. We are willing to submit to commit to set the stage for it with selfless, sacrificial, God breathed holiness. Make us the womb of revival.”

“…for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth. … wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left.” – Isaiah 37:3-4

“And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?…So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” -Luke 14:27-28, 33

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” – John 16:20-24

The Anointed Church

“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock (foundational revelation) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” – Matthew 16:18-19

Peter had spoken a powerful divine truth by the anointing of the Holy Spirit that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. It was not something logic, books, or man had revealed to him but God speaking to him directly and personally that this revelation was imparted to him and released to those around him by the anointing that was on him because of the Christ (The Anointed One) that was with him. Upon this strong unshakable foundation, Jesus decreed, will He build His church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.

You might say, well it sure looks like the gates of Hell are prevailing against the church right now. That’s because it is not this church that Jesus spoke of, it is not the anointed church founded on the truth of God’s word, upheld by direct revelation received from time spent personally with Jesus, and release to others with anointing and power. That church turned the world upside down, tore down the gates of Hell, and could not be stopped like Samson in his glory!

However, like Samson the modern church for the most part has so mixed with the very culture that it was called to oppose that it has lost all of it’s strength and former glory. It’s anointing is gone.

“And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him.” – Judges 16:20

Samson was a Nazirite from his mother’s womb. This meant that he had to be different, Holy, set apart, an example against sin and the culture that others might look to him for deliverance from it rather then justification to stay in it, uncompromising, and strong by the power of God against the enemy. The Nazirite is a type of the Holy powerful anointed church!

“Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:16

The church in its glory should be as Samson in his glory! Unmovable, unshaken by the enemy, set apart from the culture, delivering people from it by example, overcoming the enemy, and proving that the gates of it’s enemy cannot prevail against the strength of the anointing of God that breaks every time of bondage! But many in the modern church do live under a yoke of bondage and it is for the same reason that Samson eventually ended up with a yoke around his neck that he could not break free from… because it has lost the anointing.

Why did he loose the anointing? Compromise, he broke his Nazirite vows of holiness, that which separated him from the culture. He wanted to be like the ones he was called to overcome. He wanted to incorporate aspects of the Philistine world into his and in doing so he opened the gate and allowed the enemy to infiltrate and overtake what could not be defeated because of disobedience, because of a lack of holiness or separation, because he stopped opposing the enemy and started sleeping with it. He lost his anointing and the church of today, in large, is asleep in Delilah’s lap. Their hair has been cut off, the glory has departed, and when the enemy steps in they stand up powerless with no yoke breaking anointing and don’t even know that the Lord is not with them.

“But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.” – Judges 16:21

In scripture there were three men who were Nazerites for life: Samson, Samual, and John the Baptizer. All three were types for the anointed church. In all three we see their story start with their mothers who were willing to pray, sacrifice, and be set apart to a higher stander then those around them to birth a revival with strength, purity, holiness, power, and anointing. We see this play out in the many reformations and revivals of history that saw the anointing birthed from a return to holiness which grew into the yoke breaking power!

When we look at these three men we see three different paths that a church individually, or the church corporately can take. In Samson’s time he was weakened by compromise and mixture with the culture.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” – Galatians 5:1

In Samual’s time he stood true even as the glory departed from those around him because of sin, selfishness, compromise, and disobedience. Yet the congregation rejected him and demanded a leader after their own lust like those they saw over other congregations who were physically and materially impressive, but spiritually weak and un-anointed. So God gave them what they wanted though He warned they would regret it and would end up in a yoke of bondage and oppression under such leadership.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” – 2 Timothy 4:3

In John’s time He stood true preaching repentance and righteousness in the face of persecution and led many to Christ through it. Though he was condemned by the world and received little glory for it in this life, he was commended by God Himself, remembered by history, and will receive a very great weight of glory in eternity.

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18

In these three men I see types and shadows of the church. Perhaps the weary preacher of righteousness can draw some encouragement from seeing his reflection in Samual or John. Perhaps the powerless preacher can see his reflection in Samson and find understanding and redemption. Crying out as Samson did, “God I have sinned, I repent! I’m all in! Anoint me again even if it kills me! I want to see me in John who was willing to die that others might know Christ!”

Die to self, die to sin, die to fitting in, die to the culture that we are in! Die so that you might live! Samson thought he was anointed with the strength to kill, but in the end he realized what John understood. That the anointing gave him the strength to die so that Christ (the anointed one) could live through him and break the yoked of bondage off of those around him. This is what the church needs to learn again, because in that moment the anointing returned and Samson’s yoke was broken.

“And Samson said, Let me die. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all that were therein. So the enemy which he slew in his dying were more than they which he slew in his living.” – Judges 16:30

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” – Matthew 16:24-27

“I am crucified with Christ: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:1-2

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” – Philippians 3:10-11

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” – Romans 8:11

Disappointment

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” – Luke 4:18-19

Disappointment is one of the most damaging blows to a Christian’s faith. It weakens walls and creates breaches that we didn’t even realize were there. Even John the Baptist’s Faith was shaken by a blow of disappointment. He had once boldly, publicly, and confidently announced that Jesus was the Messiah! So sure was he, that he had even released his own disciples to follow Jesus. Yet as he sat in prison and began to think upon the scriptures which foretold of the Messiah, how He would come to set the captive free, and how it did not line up with what he thought that would mean, so disappointment set in, and as it did his faith in Jesus was shaken.

“Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” – Matthew 11:2-3

He still believed in God, he still believed in the promise of the Messiah from scripture, but he began to doubt what God had revealed to him personally. Because he had taken what God said and shown him and shaped it into something that made since to him, he had limited his understanding of the scope of what God was really doing. John was playing a very important role in something much bigger and far more effective then what he had imagined could ever be achieved. It was so big, in fact that he just couldn’t see it. So Jesus sent Him what he needed to help him believe it and understand his place in it. That God was indeed doing exactly what He had promised and John had a place in it, but it would not be what he thought. It would not be physically grand or easy, because the captives that He was freeing were not in physical bondage like John was in the prison, but were in spiritual bondage in captivity to spiritual enemies. He was not fighting a fight with men for their captives in prisons of iron, but with powers and principalities for their territories and those held captive under their demonic authority.

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” – Matthew 11:4-6

To this Jesus concludes His message to John, “blessed is he that does not get offended with Me.” Jesus did set John free that day by correcting his shaken faith. You see disappointment is an onslaught of the enemy against a mind that binds and blinds it to spiritual things. We do not know the end from the beginning unless God chooses to reveal it to us and even then, do we know only in part.

When we try to fill in the gaps and imagine how we think He will achieve these grand things we can become disappointed when it doesn’t turn out the way that we imagined. It is in these moments that we must be careful not to be disappointed because disappointment implies that the wrong was God’s fault (a failure or deception) when in reality it was because of our own misconceptions. Instead, we must do as John the Baptist did. We must seek Jesus and ask Him. “Lord what happened? Did I miss it? Did I miss understand? This doesn’t make since to me but I’m not giving up, I’m just asking You for clarity.” To which Jesus answered him clearly by demonstrating the true meaning of the very passage that the enemy had used to confuse John. Just in a grander and more perfect way then he had foreseen. So lean not upon your own understanding or you will find yourself disappointed in the midst of miracles of biblical proportion! It will blind you to the greatness of what God is really doing and cause you to become offended with Him for not doing things the way we imagined He would, or in the timing that we thought He should.

“But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elijah, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” – Matthew 11:9-15

Our misunderstanding of God’s method can enviably lead to offense with God that robs us of our place in the Destiny that He is creating for us, if we let it. So great is the power of disappointment. Rebuke it, repent of it, and seek Jesus for understanding and answers until He corrects it like John did. The fight is always bigger then we think it is. We just don’t always see immediately what God is doing. But nevertheless, keep believing. What He has promised, He will do, it just may be so much grander then we expected Him too that we can miss the big picture and get disappointed in the middle of our miracle. So trust Him and keep seeking, praising, and believing, what He is doing is so much bigger then what you’re seeing.

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21

“And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” – Colossians 2:15

“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” – Ephesians 1:18-23

All For Jesus

“But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife.” – Luke 17:29-32

There will come a day when a great judgment will befall the earth and all the works of man will be burned up as the city of Sodom was. Jesus warned us to believe Him and flee these material things because that if you love your things and return to your home for them in this day, then you will be burned up with them. To which He provokes us to remember lots wife.

Materialism is the great enemy of obedience to, and intimacy with God. Nothing stands in the way of having a real relationship with God like materialism does. We see this reality played out in the example of the rich young ruler who chose to return to His possessions rather then to follow after Christ with his “whole” heart. In God’s eyes if we don’t give all we haven’t given anything because it’s a relationship. We wants a faithful bride who will abide and be wholly and entirely set apart unto Him, giving Him their whole heart.

A heart that is set toward the material things of this world will without doubt break God’s. It will choose those things over Him until they eventually set themselves at odds with Him for them. Materialism is the “other lover” that you will give your time, attention, and affections too when God is sitting their at home waiting for you. Table fixed, candle lit, conversation on His mind and love in His heart, and you stand him up for that which has no eternal worth. Money, career, yard, home, entertainment, toys, gadgets, projects, people, anything that you put before God, is an idol and one day all of the idols will burn. Let go of them, that you not burn with them.

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” – James 4:4

God desires to give good gifts to His children but when we love those gifts more then Him and desire to give our time and attention to them, they become idols. Therefor in the same manner that a husband becomes Jealous for his wife making the object of her adultery His enemy, so does the love of these things drive a wedge between us and God very quickly. This is why God warned that it is harder for a rich man to inter the Kingdom of God then for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle. (A gate in which a camel who was ladened with possessions had to first be stripped of them before he could enter in.)

The only people we see in scripture that God blessed with material things were those who had no love for them like Abraham and Job, because He could trust them with it. To freely give what they had been given and not allow those things to replace Him in time spent in His fellowship, attention, or adoration. It mattered not to them when they lost these things as long as they did not loose their first love, their real treasure, the King of their heart.

However, God does tend in most cases to use the least of us the most powerfully, not so much out of choice (I believe) but more so out of need, because that it’s usually those who have the least, that are willing to give their all. And in the end, that’s what He’s looking for. Someone who will love Him in all, with their all, and above all.

“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” – Matthew 22:36-38

“Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. “And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.” – Luke 14:16-24

All to Jesus, I surrender. All to Jesus, freely give. I will ever, love and trust Him. And in His presence, daily live. – “I Surrender All”

Faith is Thankful

“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” – Romans 4:20-21

If you really believe Him you will thank Him, praise Him, and give Him glory for what He has promised to do before you see any way for Him to do it, being fully persuaded that He will. God is able to make a way where there is no way. He can make paths in the wilderness and rivers in the desert if He needs to.

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:19

Nothing is impossible for God and those who come to Him but believe this because if we don’t believe it then we really don’t believe that He is God! And if we truly do believe this then we will diligently seek Him for the impossible, having all faith that He is able to do it. This and this alone is pleasing to God! Big faith in a big God to do big things that continues to give glory to Him in faith in the small things that He is working all things together in the unseen. So in all things, pray, believe, praise, thanks, give Him all the glory, and more more impossible it gets the more you need to praise Him for it because the more glorious and miraculous the manner in with He will fulfill it!

“His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” – Matthew 25:23

Like the blind man crying out to Jesus not to pass Him by in the crowd, or Peter in the boat saying Lord bid me to step out, real faith does not keep silent! Faith keeps fighting, faith keeps praying, faith keeps praising, and above all, faith keeps thanking in unshaken anticipation! No matter what it looks like, keep believing and be thankful for this one thing I know. That God is faithful.

Prayer:

God I thank you in the wilderness for the promise that is coming. I praise you in the sea for the victory that you are setting the stage to bring me in the presence of my enemies. I choose to not ask you to stop the storm that is threading to sink my boat but rather I ask you to call me out of the boat upon the waters. It’s a better testimony of your impossible awe inspiring power to walk on water in the storm then to sail on glassy seas. So in everything I stand in faith and praise and ask Lord use me to bring You Glory! You show forth Your victory over the enemy not by preventing Him from attacking me so that no one will ever know what You have done, but by allowing him to rise up against me and then defending me for all to see the unmatchable way that You defeat him.

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” – Jeremiah 32:27

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” – Luke 1:37

“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” – Mark 9:23

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6

God First!

img_6162“And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; In the day when I chose Israel, and lifted up mine hand unto the seed of the house of Jacob, and made myself known unto them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up mine hand unto them, saying, I am the Lord your God; In the day that I lifted up mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands: Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. But I wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt. Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them. But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them. But I wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out. Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands; Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols. Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness. But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols: I am the Lord your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God. Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted my sabbaths: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness. Nevertheless I withdrew mine hand, and wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth. I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries; Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers’ idols. Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live; And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the Lord.” – Ezekiel 20:5-26 KJV

“For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.” – Exodus 34:14-16 KJV

Maybe today we don’t bow down to God’s of wood and stone… but idolatry is anything we do that moves God out of FIRST PLACE! For GOD will only stay where He is worshipped and adored and esteemed first in all things and all ways. In our time… He must be first. In our relationships… He must be first. In our hearts by desire and our thoughts… HE MUST BE FIRST. In EVERYTHING…He must be first! 

In my time with the LORD recently, He made very clear to me the depth of His jealousy over me and his people! With strong rebuke the Lord corrected me and I’m very thankful for that correction… see on the outside you can make all the right moves but still not have Him first in heart and mind. Have you ever got down to pray when all of a sudden all the things you have to do and people who need you to help them flood your mind… He’s not first. This continually kept happening to me. My prayers were hindered by my idolatry. It’s so easy to miss sometimes.

Sometimes idolatry comes about as distraction that keeps you from giving God the FULL attention He deserves. Have you ever been talking to someone who you know was not listening and their thoughts were not on you and what you were saying? How does that make you feel?

Many times I would eventually give up the fight and go out to do the things that I needed to get done, thinking l’ll just get all these things done and then come back so I can focus and press in. But as soon as I gave in, my Lord’s heart was broken and burning with jealousy. Meanwhile the devil is rejoicing with the access to run havoc filling up your time until your energy is spent and the day gone.

“Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury.” – Zechariah 8:2 KJV

The sad thing is that if this becomes habitual God will eventually step back and let you have your way receiving the detrimental consequences of it, until you finally come back to Him with all your heart and soul. Idolatry can come subtly or intentionally, but it’s there at anytime GOD doesn’t have your ALL. Thankful for His seemingly harsh corrections to get us to see our whorish heart that wonders away from Him. And in truth, I want them, I know that He is for me and I know that HE IS TRULY ALL I NEED!

“Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee. For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the Lord thy God, to provoke him to anger: I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed. And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you. And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them. For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it? Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him. Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire.” – Deuteronomy 4:23-36 KJV

Once we become acutely aware of this most grievous sin in the eyes of our LORD and return to our God in full, His arms are opened to us and the closeness of His presence is restored, for it is His greatest desire to have a people who esteem HIM above all else. That the world might KNOW and believe that He alone is GOD and beside Him there is none else! 

“And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.” – Ezekiel 37:21-28 KJV

“He Calls Us His Own”

There can be no greater privilege than His sonship. But there is a responsibility that must be embraced if we want God to favor our life and ministry beyond our salvation, for His favor requires continuous surrender to His Lordship.

I have had many discussions with people on the question if Jesus can be Lord and not our Lord. Can He save us without being Lord over ALL of our life?

He is the Lord God of the Universe. He is who He is, whether we recognize Him as such or not. But to be Lord over OUR life requires our total submission to Him. His Lordship increases in our eyes and in our lives, even though He has never been less Lord.

I have found by my own life’s journey that the more I surrender in obedience to His Lordship through my personal abandonment of my rights to myself, and then to start trusting Him more deeply, the more I see who He is as Lord of the Universe, and as well, MY Lord and MY God.

This process leads to His objective for me, which is His favor and approval: “This is my beloved son” Years ago, my repentant prayer of rededication to God was, “Lord, I just want you to be proud of me again…” I began to realize that it is not what He is preventing that keeps His favor away from me, but rather what I was doing or not doing that prevented it.

“By whom we have received GRACE and apostleship, FOR OBEDIENCE to the faith among all nations, for HIS Name:” Romans 1:5

Remember to Ask

“For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.” – Galatians 4:22-31

Abraham had two children. The first was born of the flesh when they took matters into their own hands and tried to bring about God’s promises themselves by their own means and in their own logic. The second was born of the spirit when they trusted and waited on God to birth His promise out Himself in supernatural and impossible ways. In the first situation, God wasn’t in it and it brought nothing but confusion, hurt, and problems. The second birthing, God was in it and it brought hope, faith, and promise! With the first child they knew God had given them a mandate and a destination but they left Him out of the journey thinking they could get there on their own. So they messed it up and had to cry out for God to fix it!

Paul said this was a shadow of the old and new covenants. The first being of the flesh. They knew the destination but trying to get there in their own strength and logic only caused more problems showing them that they couldn’t do it and needed to cry out for God to come and fix it for them! This is exactly what the second covenant is! It is completely of the Spirit. It is God coming to fix what we messed up and bring about His promise in impossible ways by faith after that we had exhausted all our efforts in the flesh and come to terms with the reality that our plans, strength, and the arm of the flesh just don’t cut it.

We see this shown again in the New Testament when Jesus sent His disciples ahead in the boat while He stayed behind to pray. They had the destination, they had a boat, but Jesus was not in it. So when the enemy rose up against it like a mighty storm they rowed with all their might depending on the arm of the flesh until their strength was exhausted and were near to parish. Then in the middle of the storm they see Jesus walking on the water and in their desperation they “cry out”, save us! Then Peter asked for something more then just salvation, he ask for miracle working power from on high to do the impossible and be like Christ, and Jesus obliges! Peter then walks on water but wavers in His faith being distracted by the storm. So gain He cry’s out and ask to be saved and immediately Jesus reaches out and pulls him back.

At this point they get in the boat and now that they are no longer depending on your own strength, direction, or there weary arms of flesh, but instead they now have Jesus with them and once Jesus was in it He only spoke a word and the storm calmed, everything became easy, and immediately they were at there destination. One they had not planned or would have ever gone to in their own limited logic, but one that was part of a bigger story that God was preparing to give them a place in for all of history. But first they had to learn that their own strength, logic, direction, authority, and ability will quickly fail against the attacks of the enemy, but if we will humbly cry out to Him to save us then He will step in to our boat with all authority, get us to the destination much more quickly, and allow us to be part of his story as we find our place in history.

We all experience this in our lives in one way or the other. The moral law is the destination, or perhaps for us it may be a personal promise given, a mission or a vision. Then we step out and try to achieve it and he lets us strive against the storm and the enemy it stirs up. Then when all seems lost, He shows up! However, He did not stop the storm immediately. It had not completed it’s purpose. He needed them to see Him walking peacefully in the midst of the storm. In that moment He became more important then the storm! It was the intensity of the storm and it’s total inability to threaten Jesus that caused opened their eyes to who He really is and in that moment the storm became completely insignificant. In fact, it became a thing to increase the amazement of the power available to those who were close to Him, and truly believed in Him. Not only did Peter walk on water, but He did it in the storm! After this it calmed, for it could do them no more harm.

Whether it’s about the old covenant and the new, salvation, miracle manifestations, or the everyday trials and tribulations that we go through; the moral of these stories is that it’s about crying out not striving. Not going out ahead of Him even when He’s told you the destination. To be like Moses who said’ “Lord I’m not moving unless you’re going with me.” To truly see that He alone is our strength, our authority, our storm stopper and water walker and if He is with us then nothing can be against us but if we set out without Him, trusting in the arm of the flesh to get us to the destination then we will be overtaken because without Him we can do nothing. Once this was learned He stopped the storm and got them to their destination immediately

Everything changed in this story when they asked Him for help. In this do we see why Jesus said to abide in Him daily. Power is available but you must ask for it. In everything, you must ask. About everything, you must ask. For everything, you must ask. They all asked to be saved from the abyss that day so they were all saved, but Peter was the only one who asked to walk on water, so Peter was the only one who walked on water. Stop trying to figure out how to achieve things, defeat the enemy, and reach your destination in your own strength and understanding, and ask.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8

Thankworthy

“For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:” – 1 Peter 2:19-23

In Luke, chapter 17 we read of ten lepers. Jesus has pity on the ten and healed all of them. Yet of the ten only one returned to thank Him for it, to acknowledge that He was God and He had done this impossible thing of great mercy. We can understand what is being said here. Though we see it daily and are even ourselves, at times guilty of it, we can easily see the fallacy of such and unthankful attitude toward God in the face of abundant blessings.

Yet our opening passage takes the level of the thankfulness that God expects from all of us to such unexpected depths that to truly read it, see it, and believe it is nothing short of a spiritual glass of cold water in our face. It’s a wake up call. Quite plainly, God says that if we do everything right and obey Him completely and others jeer, revile, despise, reject, slander, attack, insult, punish, or persecute us, trying to influence us to change our stance of obedience to God’s voice and leading, then this, God says “is worthy of thankfulness.”

There is no testing of faith, manifestation of fruits, or testimony of present grace making us a witness to others of the overcoming power of His Holy Spirit if we are buffeted for things we have truly done wrong. Yet when we face resistance for our obedience and stand unshaken, unmoved, and un-offended, thanking God in the midst of it. Patiently awaiting, in faith, the Lord’s deliverance believing that His is still the defender of the defenseless and that none who trust in Him shall be left ashamed. But that He will in due time move to reward your faith with a great outpouring of grace if you stand fast and are not removed from your righteousness by either faltering in your obedience to God’s voice, reacting in the flesh to mans resistance of it, or failing to thank God in the midst of it. This, it says, is acceptable to the Lord. For this is the example that Jesus endured the cross to set forth.

“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” – Hebrews 12:3-4

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” – Galatians 6:9

We tend to thing that God ought to thank us for our service and love but in reality that is merely expected of us, for He rightly deserves it. It is us who should ever be thankful to Him in every situation for the service and love that He has already demonstrated (for we do not deserve it) and be grateful for any opportunity to emulate it.

“But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” – Luke 17:6-10

God is a good master, He has done so much more for us then we deserve and we would do good to remember this and be thankful as we try to emulate Him to the unfaithful. Now we know that God is not the author of wickedness, so in this we understand that God does not expect us to thank Him “FOR” everything, but being our only source of deliverance He does expect us to thank Him “IN” everything. Jesus did not thank God “for” Gethsemane, for it was man’s sin and rebellion that put Him in that garden. He did however, thanked God “in” Gethsemane for His promise of deliverance from it. Jesus did not thank God for the cup of wrath as though He was some cruel master. He thanked God while He drank from it, in faith for what came after. Because He knew (as we do) that Pentecost always comes after Passover, and that those who endure till the end shall be saved and made unashamed who call upon His Name and hold fast their profession of faith. So in every situation, we Thank Him because we have faith in Him and we appreciate Him and His faithfulness.

Prayer:

Lord help us to be your witness and shine forth the example that you gave us for all the world to see. Never lacking in selflessness, faithfulness, fruitfulness, patience, endurance, and above all, thankfulness.

“Be worried for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” – Philippians 4:6-9

“For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” – Hebrews 13:14-15

Throne of Grace

“My sons, be not now negligent: for the Lord hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense.” – 2 Chronicles 29:11

The word translated into “negligent” in this passage in the original Hebrew means to mislead, be misled, or to wrongfully take something lightly. This command was given to the priest, and since the blood of Jesus has made us all priest, it now applies to us. Therefore does the Holy Spirit plead with us not to be misled into wrongfully taking lightly the fact that we have been chosen to come boldly before the throne of grace and minister unto the Lord face to face in worship, prayer, and petition. For when we are misled to take this gift of great price lightly, then we mislead others to do the same and trust in the arm of the flesh that cannot save.

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” – John 15:16

“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:15-16

Grace, or the power that effects real change, is attained from the throne of grace when we have enough faith in God alone to approach His thrown with every need and situation. He has the right plan and wisdom, the right resources and authority, the right timing and instructions, the right vision and mission. If we do anything without first approaching His thrown with it then we can be assured that we are moving by our own leading and without His grace to accomplish it, it will fail and do damage in the process. This is the nature of trusting in the arm of the flesh and it comes by way of those who take this inheritance, that Christ paid all to give us, lightly.

“And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.” – Genesis 25:31-34

The word translated to “disposed” in this passage also means “to think little of” or to “take lightly”. The Holy Spirit warns us not to take the great gift that we have been given by adoption through the sacrifice of Jesus. This inheritance given to us by birthright, like Esua did. While Esua took his inheritance lightly enough to be willing to trade it to please and appease his flesh, his younger brother esteemed it enough to contend for it. So in this was it stripped from him and given to the one who esteemed it to be a perl of great price. So great of an insult to God is it to take lightly the inheritance that He bankrupted heaven to give us.

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” – Jude 1:3

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.” – Hebrews 12:14-16

When we become the bride of Christ and take His Name, we become partakers of His inheritance. This gives us access to the thrown of grace. He gave all to make a way where there was no way. Don’t fake it, don’t waste it, don’t take it upon yourself to trust in the arm of the flesh like Esua did.

Don’t take the gift lightly. Call upon His Name. Enter in boldly to the throne of grace. Pray, partition, praise, proclamate, prophesy, worship, and abide. It is when we truly have faith in Him and His abilities that we will not take this great gift lightly and will in every situation enter in and abide. It is then there in the abiding that His grace is poured out from the thrown of grace to make a way where there is no way and effect real change backed by the power of heaven, and it’s all because of the Name that is above every other Name. The Name that we are given when we become His bride. Do not take the Name of the Lord in vain. Use it the way He intended you too, use to obtain grace from the place that He died to regain assess for us and then release it wherever He sends you. In this will you produce much fruit and be a good pleasing priest unto God, having not taken lightly the gift, sacrifice, and Name of Jesus.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” – John 15:4-8