**this is NOT my writing – this is from the book “The Three Battlegrounds”
Satan fears virtue. He is terrified of humility; he hates it. He sees a humble person and it sends chills down his back. His hair stands up when Christians kneel down, for humility is the surrender of the soul to God. The devil trembles before the meek because in the very areas where he once had access there stands the Lord, and Satan is terrified of Jesus Christ.
Who Truly Are You Fighting?
It is only our exaggerated sense of self-righteousness that prevents us from looking honestly at ourselves. We know who is in us, but we must also know what is in us if we will be successful in our war against the devil. Therefore, be specific when you submit yourself to God. Do not rationalize your sins and failures. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is a perfect shelter of grace, enabling all men to look honestly at their needs.
Accordingly, be honest with God. He will not be horrified or shocked by your sins. God loved you without restraint, even when sin was rampant within you; how much more will He continue to love you as you seek His grace to be free from iniquity?
Before we launch out in aggressive warfare, we must realize that many of our battles are merely the consequences of our own actions. To war effectively, we must separate what is of the flesh from what is of the devil.
Allow me to give you an example. My wife and I once lived in an area where a beautiful red cardinal kept its nest. Cardinals are very territorial and will fight off intruding cardinals zealously. At that time, we owned a van that had large side mirrors and chrome bumpers. Occasionally, the cardinal would attack the bumpers or mirrors, thinking his reflection was another bird. One day, as I watched the cardinal assail the mirror, I thought, “What a foolish creature; his enemy is merely the reflection of himself.” Immediately the Lord spoke to my heart, “And so also are many of your enemies the reflection of yourself.”
Before we have any strategy for attacking Satan, we must make sure that the real enemy is not our own carnal nature. We must ask ourselves, Are the things oppressing us today the harvest of what we planted yesterday
Jesus Christ himself had a “Head”. It is because he did not “do his own thing” or think his own way. He always sought to follow Father’s directions and adhere to Father’s words. He thought Father’s thoughts
and spoke Father’s Words.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.
John 8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. 29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
John 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
As you can see, Jesus did not “free lance” like earthly men are prone to do by thinking their own thoughts and speaking their own words.
Isaiah 58:13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: 14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
John 5:36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. 37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. 38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
You cannot “put on the mind of Christ”, who is the Father Himself, if you do not know Him and cannot hear His voice. Jesus could see the Father and hear His voice at all times. That is how he was able to use the Father for his own Head. He thought Father’s thoughts and followed Father’s ways in all instances. If you have been taught that God does not speak to men in the way He spoke to the prophets, obviously you do not and have not heard Father’s voice. You CANNOT “put on the mind of Christ”! As for man and his righteousness in the eyes of God, the following is written:
Psalm 14:2 The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. So if a man cannot hear Father, then He cannot follow Father’s lead nor any commandment He might give at any moment. He cannot “put Father on his head”. Father is the mind of Jesus!
Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Jesus just might be too big for arrogant self-assuming and self-righteous men to “put on”! You cannot presume about your capabilities without walking a mile or two in Jesus’ shoes. I understand that all men have come “short of the glory” and our measure is beneath the “fullness of the stature of Christ”.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Let us eyeball Jesus and apply his thinking to recent events in our time. As we do this, think about your own thoughts on these matters and measure yourself against Jesus. He will be our measuring tape.
Are you in ministry? Are you starting/planting a new church? Here is a gift
These are not doctrines or rules of a church but what we believe!!
THE IMPORTANCE OF CORE VALUES
- Values determine a church’s ministry distinctives. No two ministries are alike. Some churches focus on biblical preaching and teaching, others on evangelism, and still others on counseling or the family. This is why it is acceptable to start churches even when there are other churches nearby. Different churches reach different people. The determiner is the essential values.
- Values dictate people’s personal involvement in the church. Church leaders can spare themselves and their churches grief by communicating their values to all who are considering becoming a part of the church. Communicate the values early in the life of the church and repeatedly throughout the life of the church. Encourage those with similar values to join. Encourage those with different values to look for a church that is more in line with their values.
- Values communicate what’s important. Values signal your ministry’s bottom line and make it clear what you believe is God’s heart for your church. If a core value is evangelism, make it known.
- Values help people embrace positive change. Changes in American society are having an impact on churches. Some of the changes have been good and some bad. The key question is: Does this change agree with or contradict the ministry’s core values? Reject that which contradicts, and accept that which agrees.
- Values affect the church’s overall behavior. Values shape the entire organization, determine the ministry’s direction, and dictate every decision you make and every dollar you spend.
- Values inspire people to action. The shared beliefs of leaders and followers are the motivators that energize people to take action. Values infuse ministry with meaning. They touch people at a deeper level that provides a sense of cause and brings significance to their lives.
- Values enhance credible leadership. Many leaders, as well as their churches, are values-driven and the ministries they build reflect those values. As go the leaders, so goes the church. Leaders with good values build ministries of integrity.
- Values shape a ministry’s character. Values are the qualities that make up an organization’s character. This character determines how an organization conducts its ministry.
- Values contribute to ministry success. An organization’s ingrained ownership and understanding of its core beliefs make it possible for its people to be successful in ministry.
DEFINING CORE VALUES
A church’s primary values are defined as its constant, passionate, biblical core beliefs that drive its ministry. This definition has five key elements.
- Core values are constant. Core values change very slowly. Change usually takes from 2 to 4 years. This is why it is hard to revitalize an established church. It takes time to change people’s values. Consequently, it’s critical that you begin with the right values.
- Core values are passionate. Vision is a seeing word; passion is a feeling word. Core values touch the heart and elicit strong emotions. They stir feelings that can move people to biblical, Christ-honoring ministry.
- Core values are biblical. The true test of a credo or values statement is: Does it square with Scripture? The statement doesn’t have to be found in the Bible, but it shouldn’t contradict the Bible.
- Core values are core beliefs. People use various synonyms for values: precepts, principles, tenets, standards, or assumptions. Values are your primary or core beliefs. A belief is a conviction or opinion you hold to be true based on limited evidence or proof.
- Values drive the ministry. Values are the deeply ingrained drivers behind the behavior of a church. This includes the decisions made, money spent, risks taken, problems solved, goals set, and priorities determined.
I was thinking this morning as I was waking up how life takes so many turns. For me I like to have a structure in my life, well to be honest in parts of my life. A few years ago I learned the hard way how I need to learn how to rest in the Lord and what it really means. (I am not going to write about what it means but I have a few blogs about it if you are interested check them out)
My day always begins the same, or that is my goal at least. I wake up and go straight into my office with a hot cup of coffee, get on my puter and open my Bible. I get some Word in and pray. My prayer is the same everyday for the most part… “Lord, I give you this day, I need you in all I do and say, I can’t make it without you Lord. I have tried and I failed miserably every time, not only hurting myself but all those around me and most of all YOU.
I really try to keep in the same Rhythm every day, when i don’t I feel it and not only that it’s harder and harder to get back into as time goes by. What made me think of this was I just recovered from 3 days of a brutal flu bout. I just came off of 4 days of ONETHING that was amazing!! It touched me in so many ways but probably the area that stood out the most to me is ME!! All of my life I’ve done everything for me, how I look to others, what others think of me, trying to make myself more than I was. I am talking all area’s of my life even in the ministry. In so many ways I’ve made serving God about me and it broke me this year listening to the heart of the ONETHING conference.
So I decided to take a step back and become a friend of God’s – not based on how busy I can be or how many likes I get on a statement I make on FB or Twitter. But based solely on my relationship with him. I wanted to take a year of just lose myself in Him. I asked my family if they all wanted to read through the Bible in a year. I am putting down any other books, devotions, sermons for now just going back to the Word. So we are doing it. I was so excited to get going and January 1 I fell sick, I mean SICK and stayed in bed for 3 days. Before I even started I was out – then I thought well I will start Feb. 1st and go from there……by the end of the day I was convicted of that thought and decided to force myself to get back in a rhythm and go for it.
I guess the point of all of this is we all have things in our life that pushes us back, slows us down, changes our direction. I want to say don’t give up just PUSH THROUGH — have your tribe pray for you and hold you accountable.
I am really looking forward to what the Lord will do this year, I’m looking forward to a prayer life that is changed, worship that is deeper and a relationship with the Father is one I have never known before.