I saw a news item today that was new back in August.
It will take a little time if you read it, but you may find it worth it. There is video also. It is the story of a young business man in Seattle whose generosity-based work ethic seems to be sourced in his relationship with his King.
Part of the story is how his generosity caused fear and jealousy to spring up and reach out to harm him. It so astonished people that it was difficult to do business for responding to peoples’ foolish attacks.
Here is the link.
If every believer has an important ministry, I would guess that 90% or more of the important ministries that believers should be doing must happen somewhere other than in a congregational setting.
Think for a few minutes about what it has to mean that it is the kingdoms of this world – every level of leadership – that will become the Kingdom of our God.
Yahweh did not pick you because your credentials implied that you were the best choice for the position He had open.
He rewards obedience, so being cooperative may improve your status in Heaven, but He has picked people who were directly opposed to what He was doing in the earth. Cyrus, king of Persia, was picked by Yahweh because He loved Jacob and because He wanted it known throughout the earth that there was no other God. Cyrus didn’t even know that Yahweh was a god, much less that He is the only true God.
Saul began his work as a murderer of believers.
Your future and your success in it are directly related to Yahweh’s intentions and desires, not your portfolio. After He makes you into who He sees you to be, your portfolio will experience quite an upgrade, but you don’t have to be impressive in the beginning.
Your failures, your attitude improprieties, your poor grasp of what the future holds – none of these can hinder you if you walk where He says walk, and do what you see Him do, and if you learn how to agape.
His call is based on His desire. His call on your life is able to educate and empower you to greatness. His intentions toward you and toward the world though you are His grace at work in the earth to make His name known.
You didn’t choose Him, but He did choose you. He set you in place in the way that He knows is excellent. Your intimacy with Him will give you something to bear in the earth that will look like Him and draw people to Him.
You are qualified by His call on your life. Your responsibility is to take each next step with as much faith as you can manifest, and as much agape as you can bear.
Expect to succeed. He expects you to, and He’s a genius about “what happens next” sorts of things.
The Finish Line on your most important project is out of your reach and out of your control. As you approach it, it could change distance and direction. The adventures between where you are and where it is are yet to be surprising. Or astonishing, or disappointing…
The Start Line, however, is right in front of your toe.
Any changes that are made regarding the Prize or the location of the Finish Line can change lots of things about the path to the Finish Line, but the Start Line is always just ahead of your toe.
When I play chess, I think 3 moves ahead. I will do this, she will maybe do that. I will then do this (move 2), she might do that. I will then do this (move 3), she might do that.
I make my move, my opponent makes a move. I then think 3 moves ahead. I don’t just take the two moves left in my last decision about sequence. I completely refresh. New move 1 (maybe I keep the old move, but I decide afresh). Maybe he will do this. Move 2, maybe he will respond this way. Move 3, maybe this response.
Every next move is the beginning of something. Your life can be like that. Every next decision or action can be the new Start Line.
Even if the last move was a mistake. The next move is Start.
Keith Greene was a musician, worshiper, and world class evangelist who met Jesus during the Jesus Movement of the 60’s & 70’s. He died in a plane crash while evangelizing in South America.
During his concerts, he would inspire evangelists in the crowd to charge the gates of hell to bring back unbelievers from damnation. He would convince everyone in the crowd who wasn’t an evangelist that they deserved to go to hell for not having a burning desire to evangelize the lost.
He was wrong. Everyone is not an evangelist.
We may never lead anyone through the “sinner’s prayer.” We may never answer a searching unbeliever’s questions. We do all have the privilege of influencing the unbelievers around us, though.
We are sons and daughters of the most impressive Person anyone will ever meet. The more you bear the fruit of His Spirit, the more you are introducing anyone near you to Jesus. Even without Spiritual gifts, Spiritual fruit can draw people to desire to know Him.
Gifts without fruit are just carnal expressions of God’s power. If you had to choose, I suggest you take fruit over gifts.
Happily, you don’t have to choose between the two. Choose both.
There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance. Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me. Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.
Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.
1 Corinthians 14:10-15 NKJV
I got thrown out of a ministry once for refusing to sign a doctrinal statement that included the idea that a believer has not been baptized in the Spirit of God if he/she has not exhibited “the” evidence of having spoken in tongues. The erroneous emphasis on the gift of tongues being “the” only appropriate evidence of having been filled with the Spirit was what I disagreed with. Some people who Luke described having been baptized in the Spirit prophesied as their “evidence.” (Luke 1:67; Acts 4:31; 19:6)
I suggest that you ask the Spirit for the privilege of both prophesying and of speaking in tongues. As an extra, I suggest with Paul that you ask God that you may interpret tongues. Yours and other peoples’ tongues.
When you get the gift of interpretation, don’t be discouraged if most of what you hear spoken in tongues turns out to be just the noise of people trying to avoid being accused of not being able to prove that they have been baptized in the Spirit. Religion is everywhere…
If you want to know if someone has been baptized in the Spirit, look for the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5). Agape, peace & patience are harder to fake than tongues or prophecy.
In Acts 9, the Spirit of God told Saul to expect a man named Ananias to come to him and restore his sight after he was blinded on his way to Damascus to harm believers.
The Spirit also told Ananias that Saul was expecting him, and that his sight would be restored when Ananias prayed for him.
Being led by the Spirit is only unusual because we are distracted from His voice by lots of noise. If you are not sensing His leading very often, spend time hiding from the demands of the earth and people, and spend time each day getting quiet and peace filled and listen.
He wants to talk to you!
Listening is a habit that is worth developing.
Paul, letter to believers in Rome: “…to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (8:6)
Carnal (flesh-related) mindedness IS death. Instant impact. No waiting. Great for the impatient. Spiritual mindedness IS life and peace. Just as fast, by faith.
When someone mentions the name of someone who annoys you, do you miss the good thing they are saying about the person?
When someone mentions the name of someone who stole from you, do you share the story of the theft?
Thieves and annoying people need to be freed from their failures. They need intercession – prayer for blessing. No one can bless them with more power or with more certainty of impact than one they have wronged.
If your mind is stuck in the past or on the flesh regarding painful relationships and experiences, let your spirit, under the influence of God’s Spirit, lead your mind to higher and better ideas and focus on improved futures becoming possible. Focus on freedom and eternity, and let the Spirit of agape fill you with what He thinks about when those people’s names are mentioned.
Justice and vengeance are not nearly as sweet as sacrificial intercession. That humble, loving kind of prayer reminds everyone in heaven of the cross.
The Spirit will enjoy it. You will learn to!
I am always impressed by evil masterminds who want to take over the world in books and movies when they plot and plant and wait and develop and in 40 years have created the machine and evil manpower to (they hope) make their plan work.
The patience, the foresight, the design, the recruitment, all of it seems to be impossibly out of reach in reality, but people really do make it work. The slow changes made by evil influences on the culture of the United States have been almost unnoticeable as they have advanced. When you look back 30 years, it is astonishing to see what depth and distance has been gained against the Kingdom by patient ungodly forces.
Put the dynamic to work in your life. Do you want to be able to play piano, or speak Arabic, or cook better than Wolfgang Puck? Imagine that you really are going to live a long time. Add up 10 minutes a day for 10 years. You don’t have to be able to devote 10 hours a day to a project of improving your skills in order to actually improve your skills.
Decide to gain some skill that you wish you had already gained. DECIDE.
Then, find a course that you really can take at your own pace. Make that pace be 10 minutes a day. Do not quit. 10 minutes a day for 10 years and you should be able to design rockets! In 5 years, you should be able to play guitar, or paint what you imagine, or build websites, or bake crème brûlée that makes people cry.
Decide today. In 5 years, show me what you can do!
Unity is raw power. It doesn’t resist being used for good or for evil. Electricity isn’t particular about how you use it either.
Unity empowers people who are like each other with greater strength than they have individually. Unity that includes agreement with an unclean spirit gives that spirit power. Then, the spirit can draw more people into the agreement, and they can keep adding strength until they together give the unclean spirit power to rule over a town or a city or a nation.
The power that is gained when similar people unite is greater than the sum of their strengths. It is multiplied, not just added. It is supernatural, so it affects the realm of the spirit, too.
The greatest power unity can offer, though, is when dissimilar people unite. When enough people of different races unite in an area, they can displace racism’s power if they want to confront it. When people of different religions unite they can overpower truth if they want to confront it.
Of the types of dissimilarities that can unite, the most powerful combination is when believers who have different Spiritual gifts, and different ministries from similar gifts, unite.
When pastors trust prophets, and evangelists trust pastors, and so forth, and bless each others’ perspectives and gifts, they can colonize the earth with the power and culture of heaven. They can overpower darkness if they want to confront it.
In chapter 6 of his letter to the believers in Ephesus, Paul commended them to make war properly with their enemies, by first knowing who the enemies were, and then knowing how to arm themselves with the mighty power of God Himself.
You know the armor parts – helmet, shield, breastplate & the rest. Verse 18, however, is also part of the instruction: “Pray in the Spirit…”
Paul used the phrase, “walk in the Spirit” several times in his letters. It makes sense: do what you do under the influence and leadership of the Holy Spirit. “Pray in the Spirit” means the same thing, only with regard to prayer, not walking.
The only influential Scripture that can help explain it is the similar phrase related to walking. Nothing in Ephesians 6 indicates anything different from that meaning. So, to impose on “pray in the Spirit” the idea that it means, “pray in tongues,” or “pray with your spirit” is inappropriate.
Paul wrote that we can speak, pray and sing with our spirit or with our understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15). I could be praying in English and be praying what the Spirit guides me to pray, and I am praying in the Spirit. I could be praying in tongues, not knowing what I am praying, but being led by the Spirit to pray what sounds come out of my spirit, and be praying in the Spirit. I could be praying with my mind or my spirit, in English or in tongues, and be so carnally minded that I am not at all praying in Him.
Galatians 5:16-6:1 (doing things in the Spirit)