Heading into this busy time of year, I woke up and asked the Lord to direct my thoughts. With so many options before me, I knew I needed to focus my energies carefully. That's when I heard, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven"(Eccl. 3:1, ESV). I quickly realized that I could slip into automatic gear this time of year and begin to expect certain things, anticipate needs and priorities, and miss what God is doing this time. I felt the Lord's caution and reminder to carefully look and watch for what He is doing in this season, rather than assuming.
"And the Lord said to Joshua, 'This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.'"(Josh 3:7-8). Joshua had been a faithful number two man under Moses for 40 years. Can you imagine serving one man for 40 years? Now that is faithfulness! Even so, when the time came to pass the mantel to Joshua, God knew he needed to be elevated in the eyes of the people in order for Joshua to accomplish his purpose. That is the purpose for elevation - so that you and I can fulfill our purpose and our mission.
Where do we go as a Church? Today, we hear the Spirit of the Lord clearly say, "The future is in your hands!" On this New Year, let's consider what are some things that must be done to revitalize the Church? Where do we go from here? We must build out koinonia – our togetherness. Our connectivity must cross all pre-defined boundaries – past theological differences, past polarized partisan dogma, and beyond gender and racial divides. Probably none of us agree on very much on doctrine!! Could we be straining at the gnats?
Broken voices hold their secrets in the recess of their pieces. Listen. They call out to wake us from our slumber and illusion. Reality. These voices express truthfulness and candor that sting the heart and mind. Burden. Within the shadows and the silence lie their real and raw stories. Injustice. It is time for the revealing of these truths. Exposure. It is time for these wrongs to be made right. Justice. Oh, precious voices once broken, you will now speak and sing a brand new song. Freedom.
I had a natural father who encouraged me to pursue my dream. I never realized what a gift my dad was until hearing the stories of broken families and the shipwreck it leaves in personal identity. God can reverse all that, but it's not magic, and it often takes a spiritual father. The second motive for touching this topic is reformation. We are in the early stages of another reformation. The first one changed minds and gave access to the presence of God. The fruit was a renaissance that revolutionized the arts and an industrial revolution that changed cultures and living standards around the world. This reformation will be even bigger because it targets hearts with an invitation to work with God. It targets what God can do through you. The brilliance of this reformation is that it includes you. People don't need to be convinced that they are invited into this move. Something is already stirring in their hearts, and they want to know how.
Recently I had a powerful encounter with the Lord where I heard His voice thundering over His people, "Make up your mind!" It wasn't an angry "make up your mind," it was a strong decree and invitation to partner with faith and to move away from being double-minded. The Lord showed me that there was an "entry point" for the enemy to come in with his torment, fear and oppression that was in the hearts and minds of God's people and that "entry point" was called "DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS." "When you are half-hearted and wavering it leaves you unstable. Can you really expect to receive anything from the Lord when you're in that condition?" James 1:7-8 (The Passion Translation)
I have come to set the captives free from the spirit of religion and tradition so that they can enter into all that I called them to be and do concerning the Kingdom. Many do not even understand their calling or all that I am doing in this new season. They have given ear to all the naysayers and religious hypocrites and now cannot discern the truth from the lies. Once you give ear to the spirit of darkness it works like a cancer. It is the same way with criticism and gossip. It ends up that they see fault in everything and then spread it around. I say to you repent. Watch out for whom you listen to and what you watch because the enemy twists the truth. He has ways that make these things appear to be truth. Walk not by what you see or hear in the natural but walk by My spirit.
The Lord showed me a basket of mixed nuts in their shells. There were a large variety such as pecans, Brazil nuts, hazel nuts, pine nuts, almonds, pistachio nuts and others that were unfamiliar to me. Some of them were slightly peeled open, some had soft shells that were easy to crack, while others were in hard shells which were more difficult to break open. The Lord is showing me that He wants to release us out of the confinements that we are entrapped in, and anything that is holding us in bondage. As we will soon be coming into a new year, Jesus wants to release us from these things so that we will be free to enter into the New Year with all that He has available for us.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33 The Word of God says, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Now, what is the kingdom of God? The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 14:17 that the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but "righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." When you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and pursue the kingdom of God, which is Jesus' righteousness, His peace and His joy, God's Word promises that "all these things" will be added to you.
God is going to bring the breakthrough all the way through. "Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies" (Psalms 60:12).Let's declare the words of David from Psalms: 68:1, "Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; let those also who hate Him flee before Him."But let's not forget that simultaneously, as God brings the breakthrough, He wants to train our hands for war and our fingers for battle (Psalms 144:1). "He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze" (Psalms 18:34). As we allow God to train us in warfare we'll be wearing those "robes of authority for those who overcome."