Coming or Going

If you piled up all of the songs in American hymnbooks, almost half of them are about going to Heaven when we die. Probably another third of them are about having been comforted in our difficulties. Then Christmas carols and easter songs, then a few that just praise Him in His glory and His perfect character.

Most of it is about us, and most of what’s about us is weekend stuff – what we’re going to do when we knock off work on Friday. Going to Heaven.

We should be more focused on sitting in the throne and coming to earth in that posture! He has made us sit together in the throne, and wants to show us from that perspective the valuables hidden here in fields, and the opportunities that are about to open when a government topples somewhere, or when a business takes off.

We have access to revelation about the future and the present and the past. Listening to Him will set us up for success and advancement. Maybe it will even get us invitations to the next dinner He plans to crash (Luke 19:1-9)…

Your Weapons

We are people of faith. I don’t mean that in a cliche way. I mean that our Creator made us so that faith is always at work in us. This design becomes a problem for us when our faith is in our enemies’ strengths instead of our God’s.

The description of our weaponry Paul wrote in a letter to the churches in Ephesus pictured faith as a shield. The weapons most powerful against our faith are doubt and fear. They work together. Fear can cause doubt and doubt can cause fear.

Anytime you sense either doubt or fear, let that sense be like the smell of smoke. Look for the fire, and put it out. Answer it with confidence in your Lord’s love for you. Answer it with Scripture. Ask Him for the fruit of His Spirit, so that fear and doubt lose their power.

The answer to every attack, the advice for every opportunity, the access to wisdom and revelation are all just outside the doors we call the fruit of His Spirit. Open them wide and invite Him to invade your heart and mind and soul and strength.

Manifesting the Kingdom

In 1975, Bill Bright and Loren Cunningham, both leaders of international ministries committed to evangelism and discipleship, individually received revelation on a day before they were planning to meet for lunch. They each felt that they should share the idea they had received with the other.

The idea was that there are seven “mind molders” (Cunningham) or “world kingdoms” (Bright) which create cultures in the earth, and which need to be taken under the influence of Jesus in order to bring the harvest of nations to Him.

In 2000, Lance Wallnau heard the story from Loren Cunningham. He felt that the Spirit told him that the seven influential forces were “mountains” that should be invaded by believers who are under the influence of the Spirit of Jesus, so that they influence the cultures of the earth with the power of His Kingdom. He calls those mountains Religion, Families, Education, Government, Media / Arts, Science / Technology, and Business.

He suggests that there are four strategic paths that could be pursued to take leadership of the mountains:

  1. The Church preaches the Gospel, but is separated from Culture:
    1. Church + Gospel – Culture = Fundamentalism
  2. The Church gathers for Social Causes, but not preaching Gospel:
    1. Church – Gospel + Culture = Liberalism
  3. Gospel is preached, Culture embraced, but not by the Church:
    1. Gospel + Culture – Church = Parachurch
  4. All three are aligned:
    1. Church + Gospel + Culture = Kingdom

When we become more interested in revealing the Love and the Authority of Jesus than we are in being honored by societies, we will become powerful influencers of societies. Your work as a citizen of Heaven probably fits into one of the mountains. Be led to manifest the King in it. I expect that the influence Daniel had in his culture included the documents that led some star gazers to understand that a King had been born in Israel Who was worthy to be worshiped.

(Invading Babylon – The Seven Mountain Mandate; © Lance Wallnau; Destiny Image Publishers; 800-722-6774)

Who Do You Say You Are?

Three reasons there is always a desert between the place of hearing an instruction or promise from Yahweh and the fulfillment or acquisition of that promise or purpose are so that we can learn more about Who Yahweh is, about who He says we are, and about what our purposes and goals are when we enter the place we have been sent to inherit.

One day Jesus asked His disciples who people thought He was. Then, He asked them who they though He was. Peter’s answer indicated that he was benefiting from his time in the desert with Jesus. His grasp of Jesus’ identity gained him increased revelation about his own purpose.

Who do people say you are? Who, in contrast, does Jesus say you are? His brother, or sister? His co-worker? An important citizen with authority in His Kingdom?

Who do you say you are? Is there any discrepancy between His answer and yours? Is your answer different from His because of any fear, or pride, or shyness? Because you are still unsure what the answer is?

Knowing the answer is important enough for Him to think acquiring it is worth part of your life. If you don’t have the answer yet, ask Him to help you. The question is on the test, but He is an open Book.

The Power of Sin

O Death, where is your victory?
O Death, where is your sting?
Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ!

Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
(1 Corinthians 15:55-58 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

Knowing the laws about driving a vehicle in the state where you live is critical to passing exams that test people who want a license to drive. Understanding what the consequences of disobeying those laws are helps motivate most people to obey them.

The rules on a race track include some related to safety and some related to fairness in a race. Just knowing the rules doesn’t make me a good racer, though – or a winner. Navigating well the dangers and opportunities in the process of the race is how I win.

The laws Yahweh gave to Israelis through Moses didn’t make them righteous. They were offered as a path to life. The way they could work for that end was by Israelis obeying them perfectly. Any level of obedience short of perfect was counted as complete failure; death.

The path on which we walk as sons and daughters of Yahweh is one of following His Spirit’s leadership and instruction and correction. We have access to Him and He to us because of the blood of Jesus and the rebirth of our spirits by His Spirit. The power of sin is the law. The power that raised Jesus from death is in His Spirit. That power makes us able to walk in righteousness. Learning the rules doesn’t. Knowing the Ruler does.

Selfless Ambition

James had this advice about selfish ambition:

Who is wise and understanding among you? He should show his works by good conduct with wisdom’s gentleness. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t brag and lie in defiance of the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
(James 3:13-18 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

Once when Jesus was traveling, his disciples were arguing about which of them was the greatest. Jesus interrupted them. Instead of correcting them about their ambitions to be great, though, He instructed them on how to be the greatest.

Be the last of all, and the servant of all (Mark 33-35).

Some Love From Amy

Amy Carmichael served Jesus faithfully and effectively in India until 1951. She knew Him well and shared that knowledge with all who would listen. Some of her knowledge of Him includes:

“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”

“Satan is much more in earnest than we are – he buys up the opportunity while we are still wondering how much it will cost.”

“If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love, for a cup brimful of sweetness cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, no matter how suddenly jarred.”

“If I can easily discuss the shortcomings and the sins of any; if I can speak in a casual way even of a child’s misdoings; then I know nothing of Calvary love.”

“All along, let us remember we are not asked to understand, but simply to obey…”

No Scar?

Amy Carmichael was born in Ireland in 1867, and died in India in 1951. She understood that difficulties in life are our trip with Jesus through the desert of preparation. The more we take advantage of the difficulties as opportunities to be with Him, the more they make us like Him. This poem of hers is called “No Scar?

  • Hast thou no scar?
  • No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
  • I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
  • I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star,
  • Hast thou no scar?
  • Hast thou no wound?
  • Yet I was wounded by the archers, spent,
  • Leaned Me against a tree to die, and rent
  • by ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned:
  • Hast thou no wound?
  • No wound, no scar?
  • Yet as the Master shall the servant be,
  • and, pierced are the feet that follow Me;
  • But thine are whole: can he have followed far
  • who has no wound nor scar?

On Ice

When something is “on ice,” it is in a place of preservation. A conversation that is on ice is temporarily or permanently delayed from continuing. A deal that is on ice is settled or established.

How much of your life is a settled issue? What expectations are unquestionable? What promised things are not in need of defense, since they cannot be averted by our enemies or our failures?

Israel was promised as an inheritance the land Canaan’s descendants had occupied. Still, they had to fight for it, and avoid mistakes that could happen by missing Yahweh’s strategies.

Peter offered advice on maintenance of our inheritance. Not instruction on how to stay saved – how to maintain property and position and purpose in the Kingdom:

For His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted, and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins. Therefore, brothers, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly supplied to you.
(2 Peter 1:3-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

A Higher Life

When Paul wrote the following instructions to the congregations he had launched in Colossae, he clearly had in mind that believers should be easy to pick out of a crowd. Not because they wore their hair in buns, or had long dresses, or had a fine selection of “church hats.” Because they had their minds so set on another dimension that the interactions they had with the visible earth were strongly affected.

As you read this portion of his letter, imagine that he wrote it to the people in your congregation. Consider ways the Holy Spirit may be prompting you regarding whether you are fitting in or standing out:

So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, God’s wrath comes on the disobedient, and you once walked in these things when you were living in them. But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his practices and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of his Creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all.

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive. Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
(Colossians 3:1-17 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

Daniel in Babylon and Joseph in Egypt were noticeably aliens. When Paul was in Athens, he was clearly alien. Jesus was even clearly alien in Jerusalem. Stand out. Be awesome.