Know Your Enemy

When Israelis who were led by Joshua invaded land that had been settled by descendants of Canaan, they had been instructed by Yahweh not to make any deals with the inhabitants (Exodus 23:32,33).

The local Hivites deceived them into believing that they had come from far away, and were looking for a place to settle. Israel made a treaty with them (Joshua 9). When Joshua discovered the deception, he cursed the Hivites to be slaves forever.

In way, Joshua made the same mistake regarding these people that he had made at the city of Ai – he failed to inquire of Yahweh for direction. When he did inquire, he was led to impressive victories over his enemies.

You don’t normally overcome your enemies if you don’t know who they are. The battle with Mohammedan terrorists these days is difficult because they are hidden among people who are not our enemies. Further weakness toward them is created by the popular habit our nation’s leaders have of making deals. We offer protection to people who intend to control us.

Worldwide, terrorists have murdered thousands of believers in the past few years. As tremendous as this threat against believers is, a greater threat is making deals with influences that exist among the membership of the church worldwide. Not believers, but nominal (in name only) church members.

Influences such as valuing mediocrity, Christian universalism (Jesus died for everyone, so everyone is saved), rituals and meetings being valued more than transformed lives and impacted communities, these are modern Hivites with whom we must make no deals. This list is a very short sampling of them.

Pray before joining projects or congregations or deciding where to work or live. Expect to be led to great victory and glorious life. Success in our callings can only be found beyond revelation – after gaining knowledge from the Most High God. We must know who our God says we are, and who He says our enemies are.

Submit to your God and resist the enemies He reveals. Take the land He has promised to you.

 

Hebrews 11

Some people call Hebrews 11 the “Hall of Faith.”

I wondered for quite a while when I was being stretched from average church member to expecter of the miraculous, why the writer was bragging on these heroes regarding their faith when their ends included being cut in two, being whipped, beaten, poor, living in caves and deserts, and not receiving what they were promised. It seems to me now that I am not judged in heaven by whether people get well or not when I pray for them, but by whether I pray for them to be healed when the Holy Spirit leads me to.

Obedience and faith are inseparable. As James wrote, we give evidence of our faith by what we do or what we refuse to do. Our success is not measured by Jesus the way our accusers measure it.

How many times did Jesus send his disciples out on missions before they even knew how to pray (Luke 9-11)? If you are bearing much fruit, Jesus will prune you so that you will bear more fruit. After you are healed and again experience growth…

Be filled with faith. Be filled with confidence in the love our God has for us and for those to whom He sends us. Be filled with the confidence He has in your ability to succeed.

Your Provision, Your Preparation

Joshua 13:14
Only to the tribe of Levi he had given no inheritance; the sacrifices of the Lord God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance, as He said to them.
NKJV

Deuteronomy 10:9
Therefore Levi has no portion nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, just as the Lord your God promised him.
NKJV


Your provision is usually very near your responsibility. If the Lord of the Harvest assigns you to work with Him in the Harvest as it ripens in Canada, and you are instead living in Louisiana, your provision is likely to be out of reach and your work will likely seem ineffective and burdensome.

Your responsibility is also an access point to your authority. Jesus did not call the seven sons of Sceva the priest to cast demons out of people. They therefore had no authority to use His name as they did it. They did have authority over demons as sons of Adam and Noah, but those were not the credentials they tried to use in the event described by Luke in Acts 19. If they had tried that, they may have found some success.

Properly getting your instructions from the King regarding His desire for your life should be pretty easy, as hard as that is to believe on days. The Holy Spirit works in us to want to do what He wants us to do. When we submit to that much, He then works in us to be able to do what He wants us to do (Philippians 2:12,13).

When we submit to the whole process for fulfilling our responsibilities, we are being prepared by the processes that the responsibilities press us through, with the point being preparation for authority.

The best of everything is ahead. The path to the best is pretty awesome too, though.

Waiting for Approval

I quite dangerously advise anyone who has respect for me to learn to know the voice of their Shepherd, and be gracious in response to advice that differs from His instructions, but nonetheless, to refuse it.

No one would have given Jonathan good advice on the day he attacked the Philistines alone with his armor bearer and saved Israel from them (1 Samuel 14). Nobody gave David good advice on the day he saved Israel from the Philistines by killing Goliath (1 Samuel 17).

He will not call everyone to lead alone against a well-armed force of demonized idol worshipers. He will not call everyone to give away everything they own and launch out to find exactly where the end of the earth is.

If He does, however, happen to call you to such exploits, don’t ask advice of people who love safety and comfort and the approval of men. It will likely be bad advice.

Becoming Who You Like

You can be your most awesome self, no matter what your environment does to pressure you into another identity.

I think that at least 40% of the people I know got stuck in the 10th grade. In the American public education system, the opportunities are generally comply or fail. Having new ways of thinking, being creative, responding to situations like a hunter instead of a farmer, preferring adventure to information – all of these fit into the “non-compliant” opportunity, and are therefore classified as “failure.”

By the 10th grade, students have usually fallen into the very general categories of submitted to the curriculum, complainers about everything that is work or causes inconvenience, or so much not submissive that they won’t be present the next year. The percentages in each category vary from community to community.

Those three responses are reactions to the culture of the education system. The exceptional people who will be the next generation of inventors and creators are generally perceived to be troublesome, asking too many questions for which the syllabus has no answers, for example. They sometimes fit into the opportunity called failure, too.

You are not bound by your environment to stay immature. The culture that surrounds you doesn’t have to be where you find your identity. The fruit of the Spirit can be the source of your character and your attitude and your world view.

You get to decide. Go be awesome!

Proving God’s Will

 

When our bodies have been handed over to the Spirit of Jesus as living sacrifices – when we are being transformed by allowing Him to renew our minds – we can know His good, perfect and pleasant will.

We need to be always ready to explain what we understand of His will. Some things He desires will remain mysterious with regard to our ability to commit them to words and make them simple or rational.

In 1 Peter 4:19, Peter gave advice on how to trust Yahweh when we are suffering according to His will. When we determine to love what He loves and hate what He hates, do what we see Him doing and bless what He blesses, we will know His will and have the strength and wisdom to walk in it.

We will glorify Him and change the earth. Even on the days when we can’t defend His reasoning or actions.

Well-Equipped Saints

The silliest of people who have learned how to listen to the Spirit of God and obey Him will do greater exploits and win more and greater prizes than the greatest of the wise who are only wise in light of the wisdom of the world. The wisdom of the world may be able to split an atom, but the Spirit of God can reveal how an atom was made to a child who has learned to listen.

When the equipping we get from our Captain goes beyond simply learning to listen and obey to the level of learning to co-labor not just with the Spirit, but with the Body of Jesus, we become capable together of gaining pieces of a bigger picture and of building something larger than even all of us could do individually. We merge skills that are all parts of who Jesus is and what He does, and the result is a manifestation of Him that was not possible until we began to trust and honor each other so that we could gain the mind of Christ.

The relationships that He wants us to give our lives to will empower each of us to greater things. That’s what He wants us to do – He said so. He left to work it out. He left us to walk in it.

Huffing, Puffing and Building

We know that knowledge puffs up and that love builds up (1 Corinthians 8).

Still, what we prefer to offer to unbelievers and new believers is information instead of the costly commodity called agape. What makes new believers into disciples is fitting into a family through real relationships. They need accountability through relationships. They need to find opportunities to serve through relationships.

What best draws unbelievers to believe is a relationship with a believer through which they can discover the presence and person of Jesus, raised from the dead and enthroned on a human heart.

You are going to spend your life on something. Actually, some people will spend theirs on nothing, but not you. Your life is going to purchase something. Spend it on things that have the best return on the investment. Eternal things. People.

Seriously…

If you are going to fly, you have to overcome some things. My new puppy thinks that she can fly. She really can get airborne, but she can’t stay there. She hasn’t completely overcome gravity yet.

The flying deck is stacked against you – unless you can overcome drag and gravity, both of which have laws supporting them – you have to stay on the ground or in the water. Truly: it is against the law for you to fly. Two laws.

Learning how to apply thrust and lift to your self in ways that break those laws will empower you to F L Y.

If you are going to be unoffendable (and you should be), you are going to have to break some natural laws, too. The tension points in flying are drag/thrust and gravity/lift. The tension in offense is pride/love and taking things personally/being serious.

Be more interested in making a difference in someone’s life than in defending your honor or reputation and you can make a difference. Be more serious about what really changes in their life when you encounter someone who doesn’t respect or love you  than you are about your feelings and you can see changes in their life.

Jesus broke the law of how you pay for sin by being more serious about the joy that was set before Him (you) than He was about being honored and worshiped and protected from harm.