Thursday, October 29, 2015

How to Walk Out of Self-Sufficiency {It's Easier Than You Might Think...}



Faith is hard to come by some days. 

This former perfectionist still drifts towards self-sufficiency.  The spiritual disciplines can become the end instead of the vehicle to journey into His Presence. 

My stressed out body lets me know that I have wandered, and now I recognize that my mental state of “being out of sorts” has little to do with the pressures of the world or the schemes of the enemy, but rather it is because of my heart, still prone to wander…


I need to change my perspective…like Job.   
My life hasn’t been reduced like his.  That is perspective right there!  

I have been in Job lately, reading chronologically with my sweet teen through the Bible.  Job was asking “why God…” when all of a sudden, God comes in {after 37 long chapters of man’s wisdom, mind you} and “spoke to Job out of the storm.”

Wow! 
Selah…{pause and think about that!}.

God has a few questions for Job, like: 

 Who is this that obscures my plans
    with words without knowledge?

  Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.
 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
  Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?
...


What is the way to the abode of light?
    And where does darkness reside?
  Can you take them to their places?

    Do you know the paths to their dwellings?

Surely you know, for you were already born! 
 You have lived so many years!

God continues speaking of all sorts of wonders, each one illustrating that He is the one in total control - the creation and the continuing rhythm of life…all are sustained by God’s hand.  We can only comprehend a fraction of the entire picture of our lives and all of life on earth; then the heavens are even beyond this. When we look at just the simple processes that we observe everyday, we can begin to move to looking at our lives from God's point of view, instead of our limited earth-bound vision.

Whenever we question “why, God”, we show that we believe we are the ones in control.   
There it is again - my self-sufficiency rearing up in my being…a grandiose heart blind to its short sightedness!  Such is the nature of the flesh!

Notice the bolded and italicized verse, Job 38:2, and these particular words: “that obscures my plans with words without knowledge”.   God is saying that we actually hide our ability to perceive His plans for us when we enter into that domain ruled by our own fruitless words and thinking! 

So, when faith seems far away and I have drifted into controlling my life apart from Him again... 

a walk outside grounds me. 

I can see the heavens, grass, trees, rocks and insects. 
I hear birds and crickets.   
Depending on my direction, I can walk beside a pond or come up to a vegetable garden.  
A spent dandelion head reminds me of the charm of making a wish.   
A hopeful kitten checks for a treat in my hand.  
It is fall, so masses of color are everywhere.  
Leaves let go of their anchor and pirouette to the ground.   
Dried abundance crunches underfoot.   
The air smells pungent and warm.   
I am in the midst of everything God has designed…
                  and my perspective is lifted from hidden “whys” to the true questions…

“How should I respond to this?”
and
“What do You want me to learn from this?”

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Secret to a Blessed Year - 4 Blessings That Are Already Ours {Part 5, Final of the Jubilee Series}


There is a reason so many Christians today live in fear and confusion. It is because they don't understand the joyful sound of Jubilee! They know that Jesus died and rose again, they know His blood has power to save. But they have not yet understood the joyful sound of all that He has provided for us to live in freedom!


Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound..."  
(Psalm 89:15) 

The joyful sound we hear today is the trumpet of God proclaiming our deliverance, through the blood of Jesus Christ.  Now, here are the other blessings of Jubilee: 

1.  "...they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance" (Psalm 89:15).  The Hebrew meaning here suggests, "They shall walk in cheerfulness, secure in God's promises, at ease in His presence." Simply put, we no longer have to walk in darkness or confusion - because we will behold the light of His face!

2.  "In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted"(Psalm 89:16).  We know our own righteousness is as filthy rags.  And so we are to take courage by rejoicing in his righteousness - which is ours by faith alone!

3.  "For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted"(Psalm 89:17).  We know that Christ alone is the source of all our strength.  And we don't have to live under the devil's thumb anymore.  All we have to do is look upon Satan's back, where we'll see the heel print of our Savior.  Jesus has crushed our enemy!

4.  "For the Lord is our defense... " (Psalm 89:18).  We are utterly helpless in our flesh.  And so we trust totally in the victory of Jesus'cross.  He defends us against every enemy?

 Dear saint, we are headed for one last, great Jubilee - 
signaled by the final trumpet blast:  


"...We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.  
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, 
at the last trump: 
for the trumpet shall sound, 
and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, 
and we shall be changed" 
 (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). 

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:  and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord". 
(1 Thessaloninans 4:16-17)





When those trumpets sound, the dead shall be raised.  There will be no more prisons, no more bondage, no more sin, no more sickness.  And in that moment, we will have eternal Jubilee.  hallelujah!  

Wilkerson, David. Times Square Church Pulpit Series. 13 October 1997. 
Used with permission - link to Times Square Church here  

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Secret to a Blessed Year - {bonus} - Knowing What Jesus is Doing RIGHT NOW for our Jubilee!


Christ ascended into glory not only as our Conquering King, but as our High Priest - making intercession for us...


Just as the high priest ascended the stairs to the holy place on the day of atonement, our high priest, Jesus, ascended into the heavenly tabernacle, "...a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands..."  (Hebrews 9:11).  John describes seeing Jesus in His priest robe "...a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle" (Revelation 1:13).

Jesus ascended not merely to enjoy the glory He deserves - but to do a work on our behalf.  The apostle Paul writes:  "...When He ascended upon high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men"(Ephesians 4:8).  He is quoting from Psalm 68:  "Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive:  thou hast received gifts for men...Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation..." (Psalm 68:18-19).  The psalmist is saying, "Our savior has given us every gift and benefit we need to live in freedom!"

The writer of Hebrews reminds us that Jesus' work in heaven is all for us:  "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: (Hebrews 9:24).  "...He ever liveth to make intercession for them [us]" (Hebrews 7:25).  Jesus Christ does all this for us!

Yet, what exactly does it mean, that 
"He lives to make intercession for us"?

 1. Jesus intercession is Him stepping into Satan's accusations against us and declares the victory of His cross.  He doesn't have to convince the Father not to believe Satan's words...and then Jesus turns to Satan and says "Didn't you hear the trumpet sound, devil?  You know you have claim over this child of Mine.  Keep you hands off my property!"  


2.  Christ's intercession for us means He makes sure we obtain and enjoy all the benefits provided by Jubilee.  Just as the Levites enforced the law that provided every man with his just blessings, Jesus today enforces the privileges of Jubilee for us.  He makes sure we know we are legally free!

Satan may try to circumvent the victory of the cross by telling us, "you're under my hold, and you know it.  You'll be bound by lust all your life!  You'll never get victory over your habits."
 
But the moment that happens, Jesus intervenes.  he sends His sheriff - the Holy Spirit - to enforce His decree of Jubilee, saying, "The trumpets have sounded, devil.  It's Jubilee time!  Release your claim on this free child.  You have no further rights to him!"

We may still struggle with sin - but we have been legally declared free from all bondage.  And we are to claim our freedom and our full inheritance, no matter how condemned we may feel.  

3.  Jesus intercedes in our own hearts, reconciling us with the Father.  He continually answers our doubts and fears, reminding us:  a) we are forgiven, b) we must remember God's goodness and mercy toward us, and c) we can trust in God's faithfulness to provide us with all the power and strength we need.

Because of Christ's intercession, we now can say, "I may have my battles with the flesh - but I know in my heart what Jesus did for me.  Sin can no longer hold me.  I've heard the joyful sound!"  



Part 1 can be found here 
Part 2 here
Part 3 can be found here

Wilkerson, David. Times Square Church Pulpit Series. 13 October 1997. 
Used with permission - link to Times Square Church here 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A King is Coming!


The following was sent in the monthly newsletter from Paul Wilbur ministries.

It is so good!  Encouraging!  I had to share!

"So what about the blood moon tetrad, the schmitah, the solar eclipse, the Jubilee, all happening in the month of September this year? The massive U.S. Military movements, the Iran deal, the Supreme Court decision on marriage, gay rights, abortion limits removed, Christians being slaughtered in the Middle East, policemen murdered in their cars and on the streets, wars and rumors of war, earthquakes, fire...what are we to think? Is this all a sign of coming judgement, do we build bunkers and store up food and water expecting the worse? I have a simple answer for you...




A KING IS COMING! 

"This has become my battle cry and the unseen reason for so much of the unusual events that are taking place, and will continue until the day we hear the Angel of the Lord and the shofar of Heaven sound. 

Be prayerful, 
watch and pray, 
look up, 
do what you are told (by the King), 
keep your lamp full of fresh oil, 
trim the wick, 
let your light shine, 
be salty, 
be instant in and out of season, 
stay in the Word of God, 
remain in Him...

Yeshua warned that a time would come when the love of MOST would grow cold (Matt.24). These things must all take place, and then the end will come. Remember, He chose you, you didn't choose Him.  

And He chose you for such a time as this, 
which says to me He knew you could handle it, 
and you would remain faithful to the end. 

So let's honor our Father and finish strong, finish well, be somebody's hero, and receive the reward that is laid up for you."

words by Paul Wilbur, emphasis mine

You can sign up to receive his newsletters here:  https://www.wilburministries.com/

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Secret to a Blessed Year - {part 3 of 3} - Declare YOUR Jubilee Prayer + Journal Prompt


Jesus IS the Believer's Jubilee

The prophet Isaiah declares the Messiah's role as the bringer of Jubilee:

   "...He hath sent me...to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord..."
Isaiah 61:1-2
 
Your declaration!

 These are the words that Jesus used to announce the beginning of His public ministry: 

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. 
He has sent me to proclaim - 
freedom for the prisoners and 
recovery of sight for the blind, 
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
Luke 4:18-19

As Christians, we recognize this passage as a proclamation of Christ's victory over death and sin, yet Isaiah is using the language of Jubilee here!  

David Wilkersen, the founder of Times Square Church in New York City, also says that the entry in Isaiah also refers to Christ's ascension into glory!  Using this and other passages, Pastor Wilkersen paints a splendid image in words - 
 a.  The heavenly Father prepared for Jesus a glorious entrance into heaven.  Indeed, as Christ made His ascension, He was escorted by a host of angels and multitudes of chariots:  The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels:  the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.  Thous hast ascended on high...Psalm 68:17-18
b.  Our finite minds can't begin to conceive of this glorious event.  As Christ approached the eternal city of God, riding on His white horse, He was escorted by this huge procession.  And as He entered the gates, the trumpets of God began to sound:  God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet...Psalm 47:5.
This was the joyful sound - the trumpets blaring, announcing the believer's year of Jubilee!  And the sound proclaimed to all humankind, "I have made provision for you - to walk you out of prison, be restored to your family and have everything you need for a fulfilled life.  You are free to live without fear of any enemy.  Enter now into my joy! 
 c.  Paul writes of Christ's ascension: Having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it...Colossians 2:15.  Staggering behind our Lord's triumphant procession was the prince of darkness himself, bound in chains!  And behind the defeated devil - underneath the wheels of the heavenly hosts - were all the powers of darkness, bound and vanquished.  They were being put to an open shame before all those who had died in faith before the cross.


And Jesus entered the gates carrying in his hand a scepter of righteousness - His "rod of iron" with which He rules all nations.  Then, after His triumphant entrance, He took His rightful place on the throne, in full possession of all power, authority and dominion.

What a glorious picture!
Satan is not in control.  
Communism is not in control.
Atheism is not in control.
Terrorism is not in control.
Neither Democrats nor Republicans are in control.

The enemies of Christ exist only by His permission.
And right now they only continue to fill up their cups of iniquity.  
Jesus is in control of all things - and one day, when He is ready, He will
"...dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel..." (Psalm 2:9)
 
Beloved, our understanding of Christ's victory over Satan and the dominion of sin cannot be a vague, confused theology.  We must know and understand the joyful sound!  Satan is totally defeated; he cannot hold us prisoner.  And Christ has freed us by His blood from every bondage.  Now He sits on His throne with all power and authority - offering us peace, joy and freedom!

Journal Prompt:

Write the Jubilee declaration in your journal, on an index card to tape in a strategic location...encourage a friend with it! 

Pray:
Thank You, Jesus, that You have brought me the Good News 
and I have received that Good News!
 Because of You, my broken heart is healing;
I rejoice that I have been set free from bondage;
 and my mind is no longer oppressed;
I thank you that where I was once blind
that now I have spiritual sight.
I declare that the Lord's favor rests on me.
In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Wilkerson, David. Times Square Church Pulpit Series. 13 October 1997. 
Used with permission - link to Times Square Church here

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Secret to a Blessed Year - {part 2 of 3}


"Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; 
on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land...
~  Leviticus 25:9 

Continuing from yesterday, after a "sabbath of sabbaths", the fiftieth year would be a year of Jubilee.  When the precise time arrived, there would be a sounding of trumpets (the word "jubilee" means "toe clamoring of trumpets.") 

What was this precise time?  At the very hour as the high priest entered the holy place to sprinkle the sacrificial blood - trumpets began to blare all across the land.  The trumpets were heard in every city, hamlet, village, mountain and valley.  Every Israelite knew the meaning of the sound...

What was the meaning of the trumpet sound?

Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.  
~  Leviticus 25:10
 
The sound of the trumpets announced:
blessings
freedom
liberty
deliverance
 The sound of the trumpets canceled all debts and restored all goods to the original owners.  It freed every servant from every form of captivity and bondage!  It was a new start in life for all people!


Under Jewish law, no man owned any land.  Even though he may have inherited his property, and it remained in his family as long as the family survived, God owned everything.  Every Israelite was to recognize that God possessed the hills, the valleys, the cattle, the wealth of this world - and that His people were only the lifetime leaseholders.  They were to hold onto their possessions lightly.

Yet, if a person fell into debt - whether through mismanagement, disobedience, sloth or some kind of disaster - there was no provision for bankruptcy.  Let's say a farmer owed someone a large sum of money.  He might have to sell his own children and servants to pay off the debt.  Them, if the farmer fell further behind, he would have to hand over his land, forfeiting all profits from the harvest.  And in an extreme case, the farmer might even have to sell himself to another farmer, just to provide a living.

But when the Jubilee came - in the fiftieth year, after a sabbath of sabbaths - every debt was wiped out!  All leases and possessions reverted back to the original leaseholder.  And that meant the farmer would get his land and his family back!

You can imagine the rejoicing that took place in Israel and Judah when the trumpets sounded!  Families were reunited.  Homes were restored.  It was a time of liberty, freedom, deliverance!  

No planting or harvesting was done during the year of Jubilee.  Instead, it was a time of rejoicing and rest - praising God for His grace, provision and freedom!

The liberty proclaimed at Jubilee was not just an idea founded on faith alone.  It was the law of the land.  

All the debtor had to do to have the law enforced was to stand on it.  One of the duties of the Levites was to enforce God's code; they assured justice was given.  If a debt holder or slave master tried to hold on to the property or persons that had been sold to them, the debtor merely had to declare there was no more legal right over such property or person.  The trumpets of Jubilee had announced the time of release had come!

They could declare:
Nothing in my past can be held against me!
I've been unshackled, delivered!
No one can rob me of my deliverance!

Yet the person in bondage had to act in order to take possession of his freedom or his lost porperty.  He could dance and shout in the synagogue all he wanted, crying: "I'm free!  Everything has been restored!" But until he stepped out and claimed his rights, he couldn't enjoy any of it.

Do you see the significance and relationship to our life in Christ?

Most Christians have not claimed the Jubilee Jesus Christ has given them!  Many think that merely showing up at church or singing praise songs is that "joyful sound" of Jubilee.  But it is much, much more! 


What promises is God prompting you to appropriate 
today, this week, and this year?

Part 1 can be found here 
Part 3 can be found here

Wilkerson, David. Times Square Church Pulpit Series. 13 October 1997. 
Used with permission - link to Times Square Church here 

 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Secret to a Blessed Year - {part 1 of 3} + a journal prompt


"Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: 
they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance..."
~ Psalm 89:15


One of my favorite preaches, who has passed on to heaven, interpreted this little verse with the following:

"There is a certain, joyful sound that is of such powerful significance, it is the very foundation of victorious living.  And if you know and understand this sound, you will be changed from glory to glory.

All who know the meaning of the joyful sound become self-assured, fearless.  They walk through life with an ever-increasing sense of security.  They are able to overcome depression, even when being sifted by Satan.  Their hearts area steadfast and at rest - because the Holy Spirit has revealed to them the meaning behind the joyful sound!"1



There is a powerful revelation based on the year of Jubilee!

A little background:
The history of the year long festival of "Jubilee" is found in Leviticus 25.  It begins with the year of rest for the land itself that came every 7th year - similar to the day of rest for mankind which came every 7 days.  
It takes a LOT of faith to obey this...no agricultural work was to be done, no intake of crops for food, no grain harvest for livestock, agricultural laborers would have no work!  Think of what must have been going through the Israelites' hearts and minds!  I am sure it would be similar to what we would think if God asked us to do the same in today's world!  Yet the Lord did not leave them with no plan...He promised that He would "command My blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years" (Leviticus 25:20-25).

What is God trying to teach us?

God is setting a principle for His set apart nation - that their provision is always from Him, when they are working as unto Him, AND when they are not working... 

Here is a short list of scriptural examples:

1.  Israel in the wilderness for 40 years - there were no supermarkets and they didn't plant crops!  God rained down manna from heaven and birds fell by the bushel full so that they could have meat.  He caused water to flow from rocks.  And He kept their shoes and clothing from wearing out for the entire 40 years!

3.  Money was found in a fish's mouth in order to pay required taxes.

4.  5 thousand people were fed with 5 small loaves of bread and two fish.


Journal prompt:

{You might consider pausing and making your own list, looking back through your life and seeing, with 20/20 hindsight, how He has quietly provided for you, even in the times that looked darkest...}

Answer this question:  How did He provide an abundance of ____(what you needed)       that you continue to "draw from" today?

BUT THIS WASN'T ALL! 

After a cycle of 7 times of this 7 year rest, a sabbath of sabbaths (49 years), there came a very special rest in the 50th year.  There would be the normal 7th year rest, and immediately following, another year of "rest" and much more!  49 years represented an entire generation in Old Testament times - during these 49 years 3 generations would have learned the faithfulness of the Lord, through the sharing of stories and through direct experience.  Yet, only the oldest would have possibly seen 1 Jubilee year!

The anticipation had to be incredible...


Part 2 here
Part 3 here

1.   Wilkerson, David. Times Square Church Pulpit Series. 13 October 1997. 
Used with permission - link to Times Square Church here