Posts tagged ‘MO’

Change Your Sound Pt 8 : I know who I am

There is an identity crisis in the Body of Christ. Satan doesn’t have to steal our authority or power, but if he can steal our identities, we effectively stop ourselves.

Matt 3:13- the baptism of Jesus – after he was baptized, the spirit of God descended like a dove….and said,” this is my Son whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

It took 30 years for Jesus to get baptized and begin his public ministry. God affirms Jesus’ publicly before he even begins ministering.

-stop trying to earn or prove God’s love for you. It is important that we believe this and know that God approves and accepts us. As soon as you accept Jesus as Savior, you become loved unconditionally. He will never love you any less or any more. It is a changeless love. So God affirms Jesus before anything of note happens in his life.

Following his baptism, instead of beginning to minister, Jesus went on a 40 day fast in the wilderness. Perhaps this was to get his heart ready and to reveal the full scope and relevance of his ministry. This happens in Paul’s life as well in Acts.

During his fast, Satan meets him and begins to tempt him. Matt 4 details this for us. satan attacks his identity.

He attacks our identity by twisting scripture for his purposes. He only attacks his identity, because if he can get Jesus to lose focus of who he really is! he can render his entire ministry of no regard.

When you know who you are, you will not be….

1. Performance driven-when we know who we are, we understand that we don’t have to win his approval. When I really know that I belong to God, and that he loves me and affirms me, it sets me free.

Satan attacks Jesus first where he is weak because he had not eaten. (V3-4), but Jesus already knew that he was the cornerstone and the bread of life. In verses 5-7, he continues attacking Jesus’ identity again by challenging him to jump from the highest point of the temple. Jesus answers by telling him not to put God to the test.

2. When I know who I am in Christ, I will not be arrogant. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone about what you can or can’t do. When we are challenged, we must rest in who we are in Christ. Our boldness doesn’t come from arrogance, but from a deep knowledge of who we are in Christ.

Arrogance will keep you jumping off of stuff, just to prove that you belong. When we know who we are, we can blow negative things off because we are secure in our identity.

In verses 8-10, Satan offers Jesus the entire world if he will only bow and worship him?! Jesus rebukes him.

3. When I know who I am, I will not be selfish. It would have been easy for Jesus to accept Satan’s deal and skip the pain of the cross. However, he saw outside of himself and saw us, who would need him to endure the torment, so that we could be blessed and restored back to God. He paid the full price so that we could have a relationship with God.

Change Your Sound pt 2

How many times do we live our lives in position to receive what God has for us? We say that we are waiting on Heaven to move for us, but God is waiting on us to place ourselves into position. We position ourselves through obedience in little things.

Matt 18:19- if two of you agree about anything on earth, it will be done by my Father in heaven.

2 chron 7:14- if my people who are called by my name would humble themselves……then I will heal their land.

Mark 2:22- no one pours new wine into an old wineskins….No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.

You can’t take a new experience with God and place it in your old routine. If we do the same thing everyday, we will have the same result. We must make changes. You can’t put a new sound in a new attitude. A new season can’t come without some new changes accompanying it. Newness requires newness.

Something has to change if you want something to change.

1 Cor. 1:27- but God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; the weak things of the world to shame the strong;the lowly things of the world and the despised things – and the lowly things that are…..

People should look at your life and the way you have changed and say, ” that HAS to be God.”

The problem with the American church is we have built the church to look good to people, but not to God.

Psalm 114:1-2 – when Israel went out of Egypt. The house of Jacob from a people of strange language, Judah became His sanctuary, and Israel his dominion.

This means that God’s spirit and presence is found where the praises are! All Christians are His dominion, but praise is where God chooses to dwell!

Psalms 22:3- but thou art holy, O Lord, that inhabit the praises of Israel.

This means that when we praise Him, we build Him a throne. Bigger praise= bigger throne!

I’m a Survivor: life is complicated, but I will Survive

2 Cor 12:7-9- because of these great revelations, therefore in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I p,eased with The Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

-the Devil sends it, Paul recieves it, God decides to leave it, because Paul needs it!

Sometimes God takes what the enemy sends to destroy us and redeems it, then He uses it to develop us! Sometimes He likes the heat on us, because He likes the fruit it produces!

-God uses a small crisis in Paul’s life to help him avoid a big crisis. God was trying to keep Paul humble.

Satan never sent the thorn while Paul was still Saul. He waited until after his conversion. Satan always knew the destiny of Paul and the damage that he could do. He wasn’t worries about it until Saul saw his own destiny in Christ.

What is a thorn in my flesh?
-an agitating issue assigned us by the enemy to get us to abandon our God given assignment.

Romans 7:14- so the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin,

How do we survive life’s complications?

HANG ON TO GOD AND DON’T LET GO!!!!!!!!!

I’m a Survivor: Can You Handle the Heat?

We must learn how to handle the heat!

John 16:33- these things I have spoken to you, that you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.

The kingdom of God is not about avoiding tribulation. It’s about enduring tribulation.

2 Cor 4:8-9- we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; persecuted, but not abandoned; perplexed, but not in despair; struck down, but not destroyed.

To survive means to endure tribulation and overcome it. We have to realize that we will endure the heat at time, seasons where we are pushed on every side. I must stand firm! There comes a time when we must look at our trouble and declare that WE WILL SURVIVE!

No matter how faithful to God you are, life will still happen.

How will you handle the heat?

Willpower is very important. It comes down to our will in every circumstance. It can’t be taught. But willpower alone is not enough. There must be some God given skill to go long with it.

Daniel 2 and 3- Nebuchadnezzar had overtaken Israel. He had built the huge statue and had driven the decree that everyone should bow down and worship it when the horn sounded. He recruited the brightest minds in Israel to be his advisors. Daniel as one of them, and he, in turn brought on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

Sidenote: Daniel knew these three before he was even promoted. He knew their character and that they treated him with honor and loyalty before he was promoted. Understand, Sometimes, my door is not my door, but it is connected to someone else’s door. So you’d better serve faithfully now, because the person you serve with today might be the one God uses to open your own door! Be careful how you treat people now, because you never know what they may do later. Treat people good now, because those same people may be good to you in the future. Even if they don’t, God will!

You can’t love the door God opened for you more than the God who opened the door! There will be times when God opens a door of tribulation so that you can be refined!

How do you handle the heat?

1. Develop confidence in God before you go through the fire. Dan 3:17- if that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, o king.

If you don’t have confidence in God before the crisis, the heat will reveal our true make up. You must have the confidence in knowing who God is! You may not be in. Crisis right now, but God is trying to build confidence in you before your crisis comes. Growth is proved in how we respond to crisis.

2. Cultivate commitment to your convictions that is greater than your commitment to your convenience. Dan 3:18- but if not, let it be known to you that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the golden image which you set up.

If we don’t make up in our hearts now that we have convictions that we are willing to die for, we will fall for anything. The world will try to mold us into their convictions, but we must know who we re in God, and what God wants us to do. Choose to be solid in your convictions, regardless of your convenience.

3. Remain calm in the middle of the crisis.

Sometimes you have to speak to your subconscious and say its ok. WE WILL SURVIVE.
Sometimes, Gods answer is not to get you out of the fire. Sometimes God is looking to make us free IN the fire!

Dan 3:27- then high officers….crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!

Living in the Zone: How is my Heart

Luke 6:37-38- judge not and you shall not be judged. Condemn not and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your lap. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

If you want more of God,

4 things that keep our heart in the right place:

1. Deal with a selfish heart.

Deut. 15:9- be careful not to harbor wicked thoughts: the seventh year , the year for canceling debts, is near. So that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to The Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin.

First off, wicked thoughts are not bad in themselves. It’s acting on those thoughts and being lead by them. We have to realize that we don’t give to get. We give to please God. We give so that God can change our hearts. Sure there are blessings involved in giving, but the blessing should never be the purpose for our giving. The reason He wants us to learn to give is so at we can be more like Him.

2. God wants to deal with our grieving heart

Deu. 15:10- do not be grieved when you give, because for this thing the Lord will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand.

Selfishness will attack you before you give. Grief will attack you after you give. God doesn’t want us to regret what we give, but to walk away in freedom knowing that we have done His will. In order for us to get to a place where we can give without grieving, we have to realize that everything belongs to God. Anything good we relieve in life comes from God. When we operate in knowing that everything belongs to God, we can give freely back to Him by giving to others. It’s how we thank Him for blessing our lives. When you truly believe that God is your source, it eliminates the grieving process. When we believe that He is our source, our perspective changes.

3. Develop a generous heart.

Deu. 15:14- you shall supply him liberally …
Luke 6:32-36- but if you only love those who love you, what credit is that to you? …….but love your enemies. Do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great; and you will be a son of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful….therefore be merciful, just as your Father is also merciful.

In doing this, it breaks the miser spirit.

4. Develop a grateful heart.

Deu. 15:15- you shall remember st you were a slave in Egypt, and The Lord redeemed you; therefore I command you this thing today.

We must remember what God has forgiven us for, how he has sustained us, how much grace He has shown us…then it becomes easy to give our lives away to others.

Living in the Zone: The Principles of Multiplication (video) Robert Morris

Luke 9:12- Feeding the Multitudes with the fish and bread.

Understand that this was 5000 men, but women and children were not counted. There may have been almost 25-30k people altogether.

Principles of multiplication

1. It has to be blessed before it could multiply. What is the disciples had given out the food without Jesus blessing it? When we give our tithe, the rest of our money is blessed and God multiplies it.

2. It has to be given away before it can multiply. What if the disciples had eaten it after it was blessed instead of giving it away?

Tithing is NOT giving. Tithing is returning.

Living in the Zone: Who is First?

The foundation of putting God first is integral to our being able to move forward in blessing, and when we do place Him first, it sets off a chain reaction of His Spirit moving in our lives.

We can say that we place God first, but our actions will really tell the tale.

1 kings 17:8-14- this is the story of Elijah and the widowed woman. God told him to go to Zaraphath. When he got there, he asked for bread and water. The widow responded that she didn’t have them, but only a little flour and oil. She was actually about to prepare her last meal for herself and her son, and then they were going to die. Elijah told her to first make him a cake, then make one for her and her son. He then prophesied that her flour and oil shall not be used up until the drought ends.

This sounds crazy, but the best time to give to God is during a time of uncertainty. The fact is that everything around us is uncertain. The things that really matter are found in God, so we have to trust God to provide. We have to know that God is our provider.

This story is not about God sending Elijah to be fed. God didn’t need this woman to feed Elijah. God had fed him by ravens and angels. God could have fed Elijah through any means. What was really happening was that God was trying to set the widow up for a miracle that she could never have seen coming. He wanted to bless her, but first He had to test her.

Many times, God wants to do a miracle, but we never put ourselves in a position to receive it. The immature Christian says bless me first, then I will give. The mature Christian says that I will give to you first, then the blessings will come.

Gen. 4;2-7- the story of Cain and Abel. Cain presented some of his crops. Abel presented the best of his firstborn labs from his flock. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice, but not Cain’s. God told him that sin is crouching at the door of his heart, and that he must subdue it.

1. The heart of Cain- Jude 11- woe to them for they have gone to the way of Cain….they have run greedily…and perished in rebellion.

Cain was greedy and rebellious. He didn’t want to do it Gods way. When we don’t give God our first and best, we are operating in greed and rebellion. The blessing comes by honoring God to the fullest extent. We can’t live as if we make up our own rules and make up our own salvation. We also have to stop blaming others for our problems. We have to take responsibility for our mistakes.

Prov 19:3- people ruin their lives by their own foolishness, and then they are angry with The Lord.

Prov 3:9-10- honor The Lord with your possessions, and with the first fruits of all your increases; so your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine.

Ex 23:19- the first of your first fruits of your land you shall bring into the house of The Lord your God.

He wants the first ad best of everything we have.

2. The heart of Abel- Heb. 11:4- by faith, Abel brought a more acceptable sacrifice to God…though he is long dead, Abel still speaks to us by his example of faith.

God deserves the first. In EVERYTHING!

Josh 6:19- but all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated to The Lord; they shall come into the treasury of The Lord.

Gen 22- God asked Abraham to give up his first and only son with Sarah.

Matt 6:33- seek first the Kingdom of God……and all these things will be added to you.

1 Cor 15:20- Christ is called the first fruit

Why does God care about the first fruits? God gave us HIS first fruit. He sent Jesus to us. God gave his best, thus He expects ours in return.

First fruits?- our first words every day, the first music we play in the morning, the first thing we read,

Living in the Zone: Do I Pass the Test

Acts 20:35- …….it is more blessed to give than receive. (Those who give are so much more happy than those who receive)

When you give, you begin to walk in a new spirit of joy! When we do not give, we become selfish and invite a selfish spirit to consume us. We become depressed. We lose sight of what God has done and is doing.

Luke 19:8- zack stood before The Lord and said “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back 4 times as much.”

When God is working in our lives, we desire to give.

1. Giving is the action verb of the Bible. The entire Bible is based on love proven by giving. God has given us everything and expects us to return everything. When we don’t give 100%, we get out of whack.

Matt 6:19-21- don’t lay for yourselves treasure on earth. They are only temporary me decay. Lay them up in heaven. For where your treasure is, there your heart also resides.

Malachi 3:6-12- for I am The Lord, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, o sons of Jacob. Yet from the days of your fathers, you have gone away from my ordinances and have not kept them, return to me, and I will return to you.” Says The Lord of Hosts. “But you have said I. What way should we return? I’m what way have we robbed you, you ask? In tithes and offering. …..test me now in this,” says The Lord. “If I will not open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that there will not be room to receive it.”

Basically, if we don’t pay our tithes and offering then we are living under a curse. Furthermore, tithing is still relevant. As God doesn’t change, neither do His statutes. Just because we are under grace changes nothing. It just means that our sins are covered by grace.

1. Tithing is a test.

2. It is a principal fostered before the law, during the law, and after the law.

3. Tithing is a biblical thing:
Gen 14:19-20- and he gave him a tithe of all- 500 years before the law was established
Gen 28:22- I will surely give a tenth to you
Lev. 27:30- all the tithe…is the Lords.
Matt 23:23….. You should tithe, yes…..
Heb 7:8 – here mortal me receive tithes, but there, He receives them, of whom it is witnessed that He lives.

When I tithe, it not only supports the local church, but Jesus receives them as we’ll.

4. Tithing is a blessing

2 Chronicles 31:4-5, 10 -the Israelites has gotten away from tithing, but then returned. When they began again, their harvest was blessed. They had enough and plenty left over.

We can do a lot more with 90% that is blessed than 100% that is cursed. What we give will be given back to us in an even greater abundance.

Breaking New Ground: Time to do Something!

James 2:14- what good is it to say you have faith, but don’t show any actions? What good does it do?….some may argue that some have faith and some have good deed…..I will show you my faith BY my good deeds. Can’t you see that faith without works is dead? You say you believe in God? Good for you, even demons believe this and they tremble. Don’t you remember that father Abraham was shown right with God by his actions when he offered his son on the altar. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the scriptures say: Abraham believed God and God counted it to him as righteousness. He was even called a friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, and not by faith alone. Just as the body is dead without breath, so faith is dead without good works.

-Just believing that God exists does nothing for my day to day life!- anyone can wear a t shirt or have a bumper sticker. That means nothing at all!

-James says we must do something about it!

-the reason we aren’t breaking new ground is not because we don’t want it, but because we aren’t doing anything about it!

James is challenging us to not stop at proclaiming. He is pushing us to put action behind the proclamation.

-there is no divine intervention unit here is human exhaustion. We must do all we can do, then God will do all that He can do.

-God won’t get involved until we get involved.

-in the Bible, we see that God starts out almost every miracle with instructions first.
–examples: water to wine miracle, Lazarus’ resurrection, -in each case, people had a role to play in the miracle.

-God won’t do what we don’t wanna do.

-we need to access the areas of our lives that need to change and do what He says to do.

-stop wrestling with regret and learn from it to start doing your part now! Regret should bring us to repentance and teach us a lesson we don’t want to repeat. But then we must move on. We aren’t called to live with regret for the rest of our lives. Nobody can unlock our chains of regret but us. God has forgiven us if we have asked. We need to open the door and walk out of the cell. We can’t live our past everyday. Let the regret go! Move forward.

Joel 2:25- so I will restore to you the years that the swarming locusts have eaten. – God can restore what was lost. He can do more in one year than the enemy can do in 10! When we make the decision to change and move forward,

BNG: Growing New Perspectives

Someone that I look up to as a mentor urged me to really try to blog more often, because it helps with spiritual growth to be transparent and talk about what God is doing in lives.  I really enjoy blogging. I just have to have something to blog about. Lol. I do now. And I hope my Pastor doesn’t get too mad at me for adding to his sermon series. Just seemed to fit. Any members of my church woul read this, this is not from any message Pastor Gene has preached. These are just my own thoughts.

 

All of my life, I have struggled with so many things dealing with my identity. I regret to say that I have been jealous at times of others who I interpret as being further along in their purpose than I am. I’ve been resentful at both man and God for presumed slights against me, for overlooking my own presupposed giftedness. I’ve used the fact that I know God has called me into the pastorate to harbor ill feelings and feel looked over., completely overlooking the fact that God’s path for me is completely independent of what He does in someone else. Not painting a pretty picture of myself am I? And this is the me that I see when I look in the mirror. Much of how I move through the world is based on aspects of this personality deficiency.  Even when it comes to spiritual gifts, I often haven’t been honest about my own, and embraced them. So, as you can imagine, for much of my life I have struggled with an identity crisis of sorts. Not that I don’t know what God says about me, but I’ve struggled accepting where I am versus where I think that I should be. I know that I’m not the only one out there who struggles with this. For much of my life, I have harbored dreams of being someone important, without being sure what a person of importance really is, has to sacrifice, and is responsible for.

 

What I am understanding now, though is that I have thought about things wrong all of my life. I’ve ministered to people about recognizing their worth in God, but disregarded that same wisdom for my own life. Let me give you an example. Ephesians 4:11 is a very well known verse. It says that when Christ ascended, he left gifts to men for the equipping of the church and to build up the body of Christ.  When I was younger, I thought that the order in which they were listed indicated their rank of importance. So when I would complete those gift surveys, and mine would come out as Pastor/Teacher, I would change answers to try and fit what I thought were higher offices. Perhaps, not esteeming what God holds as important is a reason why I’m just now submitting to His will for me to teach. The thing is, God did not give us these gifts to lord them over one another. The 5 fold ministry gifts were given to build a winning team in which each office needs the other to do its job effectively. One is no more important than the other. I see that now. Even in the church, everyone is on equal footing. The Pastor may preach in front of everyone, but he or she gets the least face time with the congregation. It’s the greeters, ushers, and congregation that makes the most difference in whether people feel welcomed enough to receive the word. It’s a total team effort.

 

Another area where God is really dealing with me is in the area of pastoring. I’ve come to the conclusion that while God has called me into that area, my primary pulpit will not be in a church setting. It’s been a hard chain to break in my life. Parts of me have felt that if I did not have a traditional pastorate, then I had failed God. Isn’t it funny how things sneak into our lives about Godly purpose that have no Godly relevance at all? Again, God is working on me daily about my perspectives and mission. My “church” will be the students in my classroom who see me everyday. My pulpit will be my interactions with them. My sermons will be my actions towards them and others that show God’s love on a daily basis. In just my short time being in schools as a sub and library aide, I see so many children who just need to be loved. And God has had to break down my walls about this, because for so long I was just rigid, not allowing God to be creative in my life. I wanted the status quo, because that is what I had been conditioned to desire. But while, I will preach in church from time to time, I will be ministering to these students everyday, children whom God loves with a stronger love than I could ever imagine.  It’s humbling that God is equipping me to do this hard work.  What has God called you to do, and are you allowing Him to be as creative with His calling as He wants to be?

 

So here is what I’m getting at; it is easy for us to become disillusioned with life, and with our identities. It is easy for us to spout Biblical truths to others when we know the Bible. It is easy for us to live lives that have absolutely no relevance in our own minds. What I am learning daily is that my life is not about me. It’s not about what I think about myself. It’s not about where I want to see myself. It’s not about how important I want to be.  And even with my self- esteem issues, I realize that when I focus on how far I am from where I want to be, I’m still being arrogant. I’m still being prideful by willfully focusing only on myself when there is a God in heaven who has His own thoughts about me. I really hope that you’re getting what I am trying to get across. Our lives should be daily testaments. We should trust what God says about us, and believe Him when He says it. We have to quit holding ourselves to a standard that God has not set for our lives. Our hopes, dreams, wants for the future, etc, are nothing compared to God’s dreams and will. And if we will be still long enough to hear from God, I believe that the same things that God is pulling out of me are things that He wants to eradicate from His church as a whole.

 

Don’t be like me and allow yourselves to become corrupted by your own dreams and expectations. Free yourself in Jesus’ name, and ask God to help you see yourself as He sees you, that He will help you dream His dreams about you. Ask Him to help you see through His eyes, the work that He wants to do through you. He will begin breaking down walls in your life, and He will break new ground, thus growing more fruit for others to partake of and see His glory.  A big part of God breaking new ground in our lives is building a new perspective in our hearts.  As we stay in His presence, this perspective will become who we are and how we live.

 

On the flip side, maybe none of this is you. If not, I praise God for who He has made you! I just pray that you will be open to God moving in you to help others who aren’t like you. The body of Christ is made up of all kinds. We have to help one another become all that God desires for us to be. So that is your charge!

 

Be blessed, family!