I will be on a small vacation until April 7, 2011. I am going into a season of prayer! God bless you all!
“1 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. 2 Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. 4 They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. 5 They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count the men and their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. 6 Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the LORD for help.”
These verses described the third time, in the book of Judges, that the children of Israel did evil in the eyes of the Lord as a nation. In the first time, they served Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim for eight years (Judges 3:8). In the second time, God gave them over Jabin, a king of Canaan, for twenty years (Judges 4:1-3). This time, even though it was only eight years, the Israelites found themselves in, possibly, the worst condition ever, so far, since leaving Egypt as we can see in Judges 6:1-6.
For some that may not know the story, this pattern of the Israel’s unfaithfulness to God, then crying out to God and then God restoring them is repeated over and over in Scripture. That is an example of many of our lives! What is the point that I am trying to make? Every time we fall, we hit ourselves harder and it gets harder to get up. If you are one away from the Lord or you are starting to feel coldness in your heart towards the Lord, repent and turn to Jesus. Many find themselves unable to prosper and they wonder why. Check your heart before you fall; surely it will get harder to get up.
Phil. 3:17 – ‘Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives
|Whether you take time to do it, or it just happens by default, you have chosen a mentor! Your mentor is the person that you have chosen to be an example, to guide your path, direction, and future. And it’s usually a person that you never have to ask to be your mentor, but it just happens because God has lead them into your life. Beware of people that ask to mentor you or that you have to ask for mentorship. That is usually your own agenda at work. The sad part is that many of us have allowed the wrong person to be in this position. And the way to know if you have placed the wrong person there, is to measure your progress. Are you at a stand still? Have you been walking in the same steps for the past few years? Has anything significant changed in your life because of this person leading you? Well, if your answer is no, then you have placed the wrong person in front of you and you are marking the wrong steps.
Mentorship requires someone that can look beyond their personal feelings and guide you based on the word of God and their wisdom. It needs to be someone that is not self centered, and not concerned about how they will look or how you will affect what they have going. You need someone that is focused on the big picture and can lead you according to what God has done for them. Never have a mentor that is not above you spiritually! Never have a mentor that is not progressing themselves. Never have a mentor that is not living their own life progressively. And whomever you have allowed to influence your life, will only influence you based on their own progress. So, be sure that you are submitting yourself to a person that has been where you are going or has conquered the things you are up against. Cut loose people in your life that just have opinions and no substance! They can talk it but have not walked it. They can say it but have not experienced it. Never submit yourself to anyone that has not taken authority over their own issues. Bottom line, submit yourself to the person that is totally submitted to God. God’s way is their way, and they can mentor you as God leads them.
Suggested Reading: 1 Tim 3: 1-14, Psa. 37:37, Rom. 16:17, Phil. 3:17, Psa 37:23
©2011 G. Craige Works All Rights Reserved
“On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel:
‘Sun, stand still over Gibeon,
and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.’
So the sun stood still,
and the moon stopped,
till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,
as it is written in the Book of Jashar.
The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a human being. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel!” (Joshua 10:12-14)
As I read this incredible story, I started reflecting on the aspect of my prayer life that has to do with asking God. I was surely convicted as I faced my own reality concerning the fact that I don’t ask God for much. Other than the normal intercession for my own family, friends, diverse situations and a sporadic “God help me!” my list of things I asked for is not impressive.
Not asking God for much may sound acceptable; but I am faced with having to search my own heart concerning the reason why I don’t ask God for much. Is it that I feel that God can’t do what I ask Him to do? Is it that I feel that He don’t want to give me what I ask? Is it that I don’t feel that He is even listening? Or is it that I feel that I can get what I want without God? Joshua surely asked for something completely off the charts of natural possibilities. Joshua dared to ask for a whole day to stop so that he’d be able to advance in battle. Crazy! However, the petition was, indeed, granted by God.
I guess today we may want to take a chance, expand our faith and ask God for something extraordinary. Do we believe He can do it? Is it something completely out of our own possibility of self-doing? I think God wants to challenge us today! I think that today, God wants us to ask Him for the impossible.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
The ultimate call for your own crucifixion is not to save others, but to be holy so that you can see God. We long for our day to see our Daddy face to face. But the reason for our crucifixion is complex and it involves others because God is a God of multiplication. The glory of God is also seen in the unattractiveness of hardship for the sake of a lost humanity who can’t make sense of tears and whose joy is inexistence.
What does your own crucifixion look like? Did it come in the form of being sexually molested as an innocent child? Did it come in the form of drugs and alcohol? What does your own crucifixion look like? Were you the one left by your husband with three children to care for on your own? You cooked, you worked hard, you were faithful, but in the process you gained a few pounds; so, your husband walked away for one in her twenties. Your self-esteem was injured; the echo of his words still hurts today; the memories of his expressions have you walking face down. But, did you survive the pain? Rise up and may your pain spring forward the seeds in the garden of the beauty that God sees in you.
Just like God showed his glory as He brought the children of Israel out of Egypt; just like God showed his glory as they fought for the land that was already theirs…God will show his glory in you! Did you see the crucifixion of Joseph? Betrayed by His brothers, sold into slavery, lied to in prison, forgotten and growing up without his family. But, do you know what was found on the other side of his tears; a whole nation enjoying peace and prosperity for over four hundred years.
Did you see the crucifixion of Job? His pain is a manual of hope for many of us whose pain doesn’t even come close to his. What about the prophets? They died horrible deaths and did not even see the promise they dedicated their lives to prophesy about. Like fools in their time they were humiliated and treated as nothing.
Did you see the crucifixions of the apostles who gave us the foundation of what is today known as the church? All but one died horrible deaths; they experience great pains for the sake of a love willing to give its life even for those who can only hate.
Our testimony is the seminary that equips us for our particular ministry; it is the pathway with the authority to speak when seasoned with love. Jesus was crucified for the sake of others in order to be able to provide an avenue for salvation for whosoever believes; our suffering is an instrument that has the potential to point at the glory of God. Are we saving anyone? No! Only Jesus can save; but we can overcome by His blood and by our testimony.
What does your own crucifixion look like? The greater the pain, the greater the power and the redemptive anointing in your life. Many are showing their diplomas and degrees, but, the scars of your heart are your indisputable qualifications; like Jesus as he showed the scars of his hands and feet. You don’t walk around with empty annoying words, but with words of life. You don’t have to go after human emotions and intellect; the Word that the Father has given you goes straight to the heart. So, with great honor and great pride in the glory of our God I ask you again: What does your own crucifixion look like?
So, then you stand today as a trophy and as a grand prize announcing the overcoming power of our Lord Jesus in your life. Specific spiritual muscles are developed in your soul; the stamina of your mind is able to push further than before; like a captain in a sinking boat; you are ready to give your life for the sake of others. Jesus is your model; you were trained for such a time as this. You were trained to go and set the captives free. Many are hiding in the caves of despair, hopelessness, depression, frustration, anguish, anger, shame and the list is never ending, but did you survive the pain of your own crucifixion? Then, look at the ID of your own calling, shine with the light of the message of redemption and go into the dark highways of inexplicable pains and tell the souls about God’s love and power. Let them look at you, let them see you; don’t hold back the transparency for your terrorizing nightmares, but release the never failing power of God in you to heal the broken souls. Go, they are in your family; they are in your neighborhood, in your jobs, in the bus stops…go!
Father, we are not superior to our brothers in Japan. We too, merit perpetual punishment as we all have fallen short of your glory. All we can do is cry out for mercy. Mercy Father, I ask for mercy for the nation of Japan as they face the repercussion of nature’s wrath. Father, I pray that they will not rely on their own patriotism and gods, but that their hearts be turned unto you. Manifest your supremacy, oh God, like you did when you took your people out of Egypt. Manifest your power as the Angel of the Lord went ahead of the Israelites as they fought the giants. May they discover how worthless and powerless there gods are and how marvelous are your ways. Shake their foundation of false religiosity; like a tsunami, destroy all false religions. Sound the trumpet of your mercy. Come and rescue your people in Japan.
Bring us to the end of ourselves; bring us to the end of our reliance on our own intellectualism. Father, we are powerless, naive even with all the knowledge of all our great universities. We can’t compare to your majesty; we can’t even come close to one thought from You.
Haiti, Chile and now Japan…are you speaking to us Father? Are we missing what all of this means? Surely you love us and for the sake of your Name I cry out mercy. Our sins are before You; we have turned our backs on You and have gone after our wicked ways. Mercy, oh God! Mercy, oh God! Help us, for we perish without You. My hope is in you and not on the mind of man; my hope is in you, oh God! Mercy, oh God! In the name of Jesus I pray…Amen!
Men must stop pretending to be what we are not; what you are really doing is pretending to be God for a woman. That is why you always end-up disappointing her; you have fallen into the idea of putting on that mask of perfection as you yourself set yourself up to be someone you will never be able to be, pretend to do what you will never be able to do and pretend to give what you will never be able to attain. Why? Because, only God can be all that woman wants you to be, only God can do all that woman wants you to do and only God can give that woman all she wants and more. These statements do not take anything away from the Biblical responsibilities of a wife or a husband, but are designed to take away unrealistic expectations that can only be fulfilled by God. He is God and we are not. I heard a lady saying: “My next man must walk on water, raise the dead, etc, etc.” I said to, myself, “This lady may never see her next man.”
God demands for His people to love Him above all things; He demands to be first in our lives. Why? Because, only He can take that position without disappointing. Only God is able to deliver! Only God carries that authority; anyone else that dares to take that place in our lives will, for sure be, a massive disappointment.
3. Can anyone truly give us peace? “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) Jesus clearly establishes that there are two kinds of peace; the one that he gives and the one the world gives. The one that the world gives is based on circumstances. However, how can we describe God’s peace? Philippians 4:7 gives us the answer: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” The peace of God is not bound by circumstances. When going crazy makes perfect sense, it is the peace of God that will be there to get you through. How? By guarding your heart and your mind.
4. Can anyone truly validate us? Luke 3:21-22 tells us: “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” When we get a revelation from God on how pleased He is with us, all insecurities and all the idols will be pulverized. Mr. Timothy Keller in his book Counterfeit God’s, tells us:
“Have you heard God’s blessing in your inmost being? Are the words “You are my beloved child, in whom I delight, en endless source of joy and strength? Have you sensed, through the Holy Spirit, God speaking them to you? That blessing – the blessing through the Spirit that is ours in Christ – is what Jacob received, and it is the only remedy against idolatry. Only that blessing makes idols unnecessary.”
TO BE CONTINUED…
No one can truly fill your life with joy, peace and validation, but God. It is ok to expect a man or a woman of God to behave in certain way and it’s ok to expect your future husband or wife to treat you in a certain way. Even an expectation of feeling good around that person is appropriate. However, to expect a human being to make you “feel” joy, strength, peace and validation is a set up for failure. No human being can measure up to such responsibility. You want Biblical evidence?
1. Can anybody truly give us joy? Philippians 4:4 tells us “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” No one is called to make us feel joy or to make us happy; we are called to rejoice in the Lord. The Lord is the only One worthy to always rejoice about. So, it is in the Lord and who He Is where we can find joy even in the midst of the most terrible circumstances. Does that mean that we will never feel sad? No, we are emotional people, we will feel unfriendly and uncomfortable emotions, but to focus on the Lord and who He Is, is the best medicine to come out of whatever situation we may be facing.
2. Can anyone truly give us strength? Nehemiah tells us “…for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) Strength is only found in God. God will always love us, but are we pursuing lives that are dedicated to doing His will? That does not mean that we are perfect; certainly David was not perfect, but do we have a heart after God’s own heart? That is the key to our joy. Sin will always keep us bound and oppress: pursuing a righteous life releases the joy of the Lord in our lives. When God releases His joy over us, it produces supernatural strength and an energizer that can’t be compared to any energy, vitamins or supplements.
TO BE CONTINUED…