**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.
A body of water can be a very dangerous place. I remember once, when I was about 9 or 10, that I nearly drowned in a river. Since 1850 over 5,000 bodies have been recovered from Niagara Falls. Some of those deaths were accidental, many were suicides, and a few were daredevils who tried to ride barrels, or other contraptions over the falls. There are some bodies of water you want to avoid.
What if I told you that God possesses a body of water… a river that he wants you to…
Get in over your head……Give yourself over to the river…..To be swept away in its current…..to get to a place in this river where you are helpless…..
Ezekiel writes about this river – it’s a vision about absolute healing in the nation of Israel……
I want to tell you about a spiritual river that flows through this world right now. I want to tell you about a river that brings refreshment, power and glory right now. I want to tell you about a river you can swim in.
This sermon is about becoming more of what the Lord wants each of us to be…….it’s about….
Leaving the shore of stagnant, disappointed Christianity and wading into the deep spiritual waters of the born again life!
In the church today many have become far too cautious about giving their all to Jesus. Many are afraid of getting in over their heads.
I want to ENCOURAGE you to throw caution to the wind today!! I want to challenge you to wade out into the deep water, and to release yourself to the current of God’s will and power.
I have learned so much about being a “Christian” – we have taken the gospel and cheapened it, made it “easy” and a no-brainer thing to do…. We can add salvation into our lives and still live the same life…..the result is frustration, brokenness, secret sin, addictions, divorce, depression and the list goes on and on….
We have people raise their hands and repeat a prayer and BAM ETERNAL SALVATION!! We teach them the “right things” such as….
Die to self daily….Crucify yourself… Carry your cross…be Holy for God is Holy… nail it to the cross….Leave it at the altar… only to end in disappointment and failure.
I have found the secret place – the place where there is VICTORY – the place where there is FREEDOM – the place where we are suppose to dwell as Christian people! It’s called REST!! Enter into God’s REST!!
We all need Him, but we think we can do on our own. We know we are broken, we know we need something…..so we end up trying to fix ourselves in relationships, or we end up in addictions….. We find someone hoping they can save us only to find out when we get to know them they have baggage too!! I have problems they have problems – we learn they can’t be our savior…..
On the 7th day God said “It is GOOD, and rested” – It’s called the Sabbath day which means REST –
In Jer. 17 he speaks of the Sabbath he says “do not bring loads of…..into the gates” God wants us not to come into his presence loaded down, with baggage from our lives, loaded with guilt, loaded with “stuff’ – He wants us to enter into his presence FREE and light so we will have a “TRUE WORSHIP EXPERINECE WITH HIM” He wants FREEDOM WITH ME…
We get bogged down with the stuff of the world, money problems, relationship problems, work problems, addictions, secrets, deceptions……..trying to hang on by a thread at times hoping that if we could JUST CONNECT WITH HIM I could be FREE!!! And we enter into the “Sabbath” loaded down!!
When God gave the 10 commandments HE said “Remember the Sabbath Day” – remember SIN BREAKS SABBATH – or REST!!!! Remember the things you hold on to breaks REST – remember the relationships that are killing you, the secrets that are holding on to you – the sin that has hold on you – the money problems you have, the job that …..the child that……….. the wife that………the husband that…….the……………the anything that……… BREAKS REST!!!
When Jesus comes onto the scene and he says ….. well he actually screams ““Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”….Matthew 11:28-30
Most shout about it – most dance about it – But MOST never do respond to it.
You see, we only enter the rest of God by our relationship with Jesus Christ. As we live consciously presence, we are at rest, and he provides our needs.
Husbands and wife’s — parents and children – friends and families all of these are connected by love. All are a different kind of love but LOVE is the key that makes relationships work. We all know that words are cheap, anybody can say “I love you” with their words and hurt you deeply with their actions. How can this be? I am going to speak to the husband/wife relationship although the “truth” is for all relationships. It is what brings words and actions together.
We are all born with the ability to love but this love is formed in what we see and experience as we grow up. Our parents, families, friends, teachers and so on. Children are starving for love if they do not get it as they should they will do whatever it takes to try and find it. Our self esteem is wrapped up in love and how we view it, experience it. So with that said you can see how there are so many dysfunctional teens, young adults and gown adults with their own families in this world. Who are trying to raise their own children only to take dysfunction to a new level in the next generation. I DO understand that there are mental disorders etc that play into all of our lives at the same time, so I am not saying everyone is a certain way because they were not loved.
For me most of my life I have been really good at making people feel like I love them with my words and some of my actions, but when it came right down to it when my selfish thoughts, desires, needs would kick in my life became all about me and I would leave my loved ones hanging, hurting, crying and alone, with a broken heart and a broken spirit. Over the years of my life I have hurt so many people that I can’t even count them all, and it brings me to tears to even think about it. But it does cause me to dig in and find out how this could be. I do know the answer…..and that answer is a reality in my life now!!!
Doesn’t it make you scratch your head when someone can be so in love and then leave their mate so broken and hurt? Have you ever been shocked to find out about a man or woman who had a secret life on the side. Why do you think it makes national news when a “star” has fallen in their marriage or relationships? It’s NOT supposed to be this way.
It is one thing to be “in love” with your wife or husband but it’s another thing to love them with your spirit. Let me try to explain this. I believe in God, I believe that we are all born with the Spirit of God after all He created us in His image. But through what happened with Adam and Eve in the garden our “spirit” died and lies dormant until awakened by the Holy Spirit. When this takes place (at salvation) everything has the ability to change. Our body has five senses that enable us to receive information from the physical world, just as our spirit enables us to receive information from the spiritual world.
At the miracle of the new birth, our spirit is joined to the Holy Spirit and filled with supernatural life. We were created with a spirit so that we could relate to God who is spirit. Our spirit is the place where we communicate with God directly and receive revelation from the Spirit.
17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. (1 Cor. 6:17)
There are two Greek words for life in the New Testament. The Greek word psuche speaks of natural life that all humans and animals have. The Greek word zoe points to the supernatural life of God; it is the quality of life that God has. God breathed zoe life into Adam’s spirit at creation.
Before Adam sinned, his spirit governed his soul and body. His spirit possessed the zoe life of God; thus, his spirit was dominant in his decision-making and thought processes. His physical appetites, five senses, and emotions were subject to his spirit. After Adam sinned, his spirit became devoid of God’s zoe life and filled with darkness and became spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1). Things reversed as his body (five senses) and soul (emotions) gained power over his spirit.
The challenge is that we do not feel or discern our spirit. Our spirit man is “spirit” and, therefore, it is invisible and indiscernible, even “hidden” from our five senses. We cannot measure our spirit with our five senses. Peter and Paul referred to our true life, or our spirit man in this age, as being “hidden” in Christ. Our born-again spirit is called “the hidden person of the heart.”
4 The hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle spirit… (1 Pet. 3:4)
3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Col. 3:3)
We only know the truth about our spirit because the Word reveals it to us. Unbelievers only know about their condemnation before God because it is revealed in the Word. This is the same way that we know about our future resurrected body. As Abraham believed what God said about him without being able to see it with his eyes, so we believe (Rom. 4:18-22). Most believers do not know who they are in their spirit. They rarely ever think about their spirit. As we receive training related to our body and soul, we must receive training related to our spirit.
As we grow in our spirit-man we begin to love in a new way. I have learned that the way I love my wife today is so deep and so different that it was in the past. Why, because I LOVE HER IN THE SPIRIT, I care for and see her spirit, I love her and see her the way that God loves her!! I love her in the Spiritual Realm not just in the natural. The natural world will always let you down, people grow old, get wrinkles, loose hair, teeth, blah blah blah… the world has us to believe we will be loved more if we look and keep our youth. THIS IS A LIE!!! Growing old and dying is a TRUTH, it’s part of life.
Are there men and women who love deeply without being filled with the spirit. YES I believe that there are but it is rare and the truth is we do not see behind closed doors. Jesus says to love as He loves…. There are hundreds of Scriptures about love and it even goes as far to say if you say you love ME and hate your neighbor you are a LIAR.
This is a truth for ALL relationships. Loving someone in the flesh and loving someone in the Spirit is complete true love that cannot be shaken by the world. Your friends, children, co-workers. CARE the SOULS of your family –