Chosen, Created and Called for a Time Such as This!
"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight." Ephesians 1:4
I used to think of chosen and created as the same thing. God chose us, God created us, what is the difference? God recently unveiled to me the deeper knowledge and revelation of His intentionality towards us! He challenged me to go to His word and distinguish the difference and learn of the depth of His love for us through this intentionality. I was challenged then to consider which came first; did He create us then He chose us? Or did He choose us then He created us?
In the scripture above it says God chose us before the creation of the world, so before Genesis 1:1 or before Genesis 1:3? According to the Greek the word in Ephesians is katabolēs kosmou which means "the foundation of the world". And He chose us before that! So to me that means that before Genesis 1:1 when he created the heavens and the earth (the foundation of the world), He chose us. God has been thinking about you and me since before He formed the heavens and the earth, what an amazing God. That shows purpose and intention!
Genesis 1:27 reads "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them." Psalm 139:13-16 says "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."So after He chose us which was before the world was formed, He created us! So we were chosen long before we were created and God had the idea of us, knew us before He actually formed us. God has been thinking about us for a long time! How long have we been thinking about Him? How intentional have we been with Him, to know His heart, to hear His voice, to seek His wisdom and to understand His kingdom?
In II Peter 1:10 it reads, "Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure." God has a calling on our life, He has a plan for us. He chose us before the world was formed, He created us in His image and He called us to serve Him and do the work needed in this time. What have you been called to? What skills, giftings and abilities did God give you to do His work? Are you a gifted musician that should be honoring the Lord with your music? Are you an entreprenuer that God has called to the marketplace to steward a business idea or product? What problem did God create you to solve? There are lots of problems in the world and we are to be the answer, what problem are you the answer for?
Romans 8:28 reads, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." Here it says we were not only called but we were predestined! Predestined means to "decree in advance". When did God predestine us? When did that happen? Before we were created? After we were called?
Lets take a look at Ephesians 1:11, "In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory." Here it says we were chosen, "having been" predestined so this tells me we were predestined before we were chosen! So before, before the world was formed we were predestined, God decreed in advance our purpose, why we were chosen and what we were called to! God has been intentional with us since before he created the world, I have to ask again, how intentional have we been with God?
What would and could the world look like if we all stepped into the fulness of our assignment here on earth and answered the problems we were called, predestined, chosen to solve?
Now for those that read last week's blog regarding the Key #1 to Supernatural Acceleration, don't worry we are getting to key #2 next week. I was planning to write this week on the Second Key but God wanted you to know this today instead. God wanted you to know that He chose you, He created you, He called you and before all of that and before the world was formed He predestined you to solve a problem, to be an answer to the world, to be YOU!
You may also hear me speak on this topic on May 4th, next week, in Portland Oregon at the 4th Annual Marketplace Summit, hosted by the Christian Chamber of Commerce of the Northwest.
3 Keys to Supernatural Acceleration in Business: Key #1 – Our Competitive Advantage
"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." John 14:26
Anyone in business knows that we need to have a competitive advantage to accelerate in the market place. A distinguishing factor that sets us apart from other businesses and gives us the advantage. Competitive is defined as "having a feature that makes for successful competition". Advantage is defined as "superiority or ascendancy (which means domination), any state, circumstance, opportunity, or means specially favorable to success". So a competitive advantage is "having a feature that makes for superiority or ascendancy or domination". As a business we want to dominate our market, our niche our industry. So what is our competitive advantage as christian business owners and workers? Let's go to God's word.
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we out to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." Romans 8:26-27
"Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit..." Romans 8:23
"As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit-just as it has taught you, remain in him." 1 John 2:26-27
I believe the Holy Spirit is our competitive advantage in the marketplace. The Holy Spirit teaches us all things, helps us in our weakness, prays and intercedes for us according to God's will and reminds us of everything Jesus has said. Wow! That sounds like a competitive advantage to me. And we not only have the Holy Spirit in us but we have the first fruits of the Holy Spirit. First fruits are described as the best of the best. God not only sent us the Holy Spirit he sent us the very best of the Holy Spirit that we might have all we need to complete our assignments. Lets tap into the competitive advantage God has given us and seek understanding, wisdom and counsel from the Holy Spirit in every aspect of our business and be expectant of what God is and will do in and through us and the businesses he has called us to steward. What will things look like next week, next month, next year if we do this?
Who better to have with you in a business meeting, a sales meeting or a board meeting then the very best of God, The Holy Spirit! Do we sometimes feel weak in business, inadequate, unprepared, lacking in wisdom? Maybe that's just me but I think we all feel that way at times, who do we lean on? The Holy Spirit, in our time of weakness he intercedes for us according to the will of the Father. Do you ever worry you're not in God's will, you're not doing what he has called you too? Rest in the peace of knowing the Holy Spirit is interceding and praying for us at all times according to the will of the Father. God has a plan for us in business, in the marketplace in our communities and the Holy Spirit is praying on our behalf for that plan, even if we don't know it God does and the Holy Spirit is interceding for our success!
So the first key to supernatural acceleration in business is having a competitive advantage and I submit we have the very best competitive advantage, the Holy Spirit. God wants believers working together in the marketplace to advance his kingdom and his will on earth for his people. As we all work according to the counsel and teaching of the Holy Spirit in us we will unite together as an unstoppable force for Christ in the marketplace and in our communities. Our businesses should look different, operate differently and excel when others are not. Our businesses should experience supernatural growth when others are failing. Our businesses should stand out as a role model for other businesses and should attract other business because of our competitive advantage, the Holy Spirit. And just as a reminder, whose business is it? God's! He has appointed us stewards of his businesses and ambassadors of the kingdom of God.
Next week we will talk about the second key to supernatural acceleration in business. I will also be speaking on this topic at the upcoming Marketplace Summit in Portland, OR sponsored by the Christian Chamber of Commerce.
|The Journey of Making God my CEO!
First and foremost this is definitely a journey. It doesn’t happen overnight and it takes continual surrender to keep me out of the way!
God and I have been working on this for the past several years now and there are many lessons I have learned and many lessons still in progress. I just wanted to take a minute to share a few of these with you in hopes to encourage you on your journey and maybe help you learn more quickly than I have! The lessons I have learned are incredible and absolutely worth it.
First my time spent with the Lord every morning was and continues to be well worth it. I started with the verse in Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” God really challenged me to put everything aside and just do this. It has been an incredible adventure and my life has been transformed in so many ways I can’t begin to describe in this blog. However, if I had to some it all up I would say spending time with God has convinced me of my identity in Christ and who and whose I am! I understand I was created in his image not just from a head knowledge but a heart knowing. I know I was chosen, created and called to be in this world at this time in history to complete the assignment I was created for. He chose me and all of you before the world was formed!
Secondly I have learned to continually surrender. I find I take things back, try to grab control and do things in my own strength and understanding (it must be the entrepreneur in me!). But God’s word says in James 4:7-8 “Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” I Chronicles 16:11 says, “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” 2 Corinthians 10:5 “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raise up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” This is my daily journey of total surrender to ensure I am giving up my agenda for his, every day. The renewing of our mind happens every day as we spend time with our heavenly Father and read his living word. Whatever creeps in from the day before if something does it is quickly identified and released in my morning time with God, continual surrender. This lesson brings transformation!
Not the last but the third lesson I want to share is the idea of asking God the right questions? What am I missing from you God that you want to teach me or show me? What are you doing right now and how can I come in alignment with your plan today? What is the wisdom from heaven that I need in this situation? The number one verse for this lesson is James 3:17 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” We must always seek His wisdom from heaven. We know we have received it when the wisdom brings us peace, is considerate and submissive and full of mercy and good fruit. This helps us distinguish the wisdom God is bringing to us through the Holy Spirit and our own wisdom or someone else’s! This third lesson has brought alignment! Alignment of purpose with what God has predestined me for, alignment with His timing and His will for my life. This leads us into a state of acceleration which is incredible. We don’t need to wait days and months and years for answers, for wisdom, for revelation. God brings it to us instantly as we need it right when we need it. We are connected “real-time” with our Father, hearing what he says and seeing what he does and doing those things, just as His son Jesus did.
Some of the lessons I am still learning are creating margin, leaving the HOW up to Him and trusting Him with them! I will share more on these as God unfolds His wisdom to me in these areas. When we live daily totally surrendered and continually transformed it’s an incredible walk. I walk in expectation of the suddenlies God is and will do and making the impossible possible! I encourage you to spend quiet, uninterrupted time with God, continue to surrender everything that is not of Him and ask Him the right questions. It will be an amazing adventure and I can’t wait to hear about it!
May His Force be With You!
Yes a Star Wars reference for all you fans, I couldn't resist!
We as believers have the power that raised Christ from the dead in us (read Ephesians 1:18-21), that seems like a mighty force to me! Romans 14:17 says "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit".
Our force is our peace, joy and righteousness, our power is that which raised Christ from the dead and our citizenship is of the kingdom of God. We are a united people, operating with a united force (God) to achieve a united mission to share the gospel of the kingdom, to save the lost, to introduce the hope of Christ to all nations. As we unite in this mission and in the peace, joy and righteousness of the Holy Spirit we can feel the force and the disturbances in the force! We can sense when things are shifting in the atmosphere and the spiritual realms. We can sense the battles between the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world and we can discern the disturbances and where they are coming from. However if we are walking in the joy, peace and righteousness of the Holy Spirit there is still peace in the disturbance because the force, His force, is with us.
I know we can all sense the great disturbances going on today. As the security of the world around us decreases our interdependence on God and each other should increase! The disturbance can actually cause a uniting, a drawing near to Him and each other and a gathering of His remnant. However, if we are not walking in that peace, joy and righteousness from the Holy Spirit then the disturbance can be frightening, unsettling and cause fear, anxiety and hopelessness. Those are the reactions the enemy would want us to have to disarm and divide us. We can grab out our lightsabers and start swinging at anything that moves or we can remember that our weapons are not mere lightsabers but the power that raised Christ from the dead in us and the joy, peace and righteousness in the Holy Spirit. We have the swords of the spirit, our weapons of warfare are mighty and more powerful than anything that can cross our paths.
We can choose to walk in fear or expectation, we can choose to rest in the peace, joy and righteousness of the Holy Spirit or we can get caught up in the disturbances and feel helpless. I say walk in expectancy every day of what God is doing and let His force be with you!
In Romans 8:28 the bible says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his pupose." So no matter what is causing the disturbance God promises all things will work for our good, He promises that as we abide in Him the force will be with us, He will be with us!
Let's make sure we are using the right weapons, resting in the peace of the Holy Spirit and moving with the kingdom of God, moving with His force. Every day we can choose how we react and respond to the disturbances in the force, how will you respond today? What is happening in your life today that God wants to work out for your good? Give God the controls, hand over your lightsaber and grab on to the peace, joy and righteousness that is yours in the Holy Spirit and have a power filled day as a citizen of the kingdom of God!
May His force be with you!
A Mother's Love, A Mother's Loss
My heart breaks and my spirit weeps for the loss of someone's child. A daughter so lovely and so wonderful and a young mother, brave and courageous. The Lord says, "She is mine, she is precious in my sight and she is with me in the heavenlies." The angels rejoice in heaven at her arrival while her mother weeps here on earth for her loss and for her grandchildren's loss. A dear friend weeps and wonders why? Why God, why her, why now? God says, "I have her in my arms, I have drawn her to my bosom and her death on earth is everlasting life with me. Be forever changed and forever touched by her life and reach out to many that they to will be saved, so they to will end up in my arms. Seek me first, I am with you."
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he als glorified. What, then, shall we say in reponse to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" Romans 8:28-32
We can run to God in times of anguish and tribulation or we can run from God. The enemy would try to confuse us to think God does not care, God does not love or this tragedy would not have happened. But much tragedy comes to a fallen world, a sinful world but our triumph and victory is in Christ. Our triumph is in running to God, seeking His love and comfort and asking Him what good can come from this, how can others be changed and transformed through this tragedy and what can I do to extend the Comforter's love and compassion at this time?
The Lord's ways are not our ways, His wisdom is far beyond what we can comprehend or imagine and His love for His children is greater than all the earth. He gave His own son that we might live! He is our great comforter and He will comfort us if we let Him. He comforts the mother, He comforts the children and He comforts the friend. As a mother, I weep for this mother, for her loss and I hug and love on my children a bit more, thankful they are still with me. I cry out to God to comfort this mother, these children and this friend knowing He alone can fill the void, heal the pain and bring His peace and comfort in this time of sorrow and loss. I cry when the mother cannot cry, when she is too tired, too distraught, too exhausted and God weeps with me and with her. God sees the mother's pain, the children's sadness and the friends grief and He calls unto each "Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
A Mother's Love is unconditional, just as God's love and a mother's loss is as God's loss of His son. I don't think anything compares and I don't think we can truly understand unless we have been through it. But God has been through it, He knows our pain and He will comfort us! Run to God with your burdens and He will give you rest. Run to God for comfort and His peace will come. Run to God and He will run to you! Please be prayerful for this mom who has lost her daughter, for these boys that have lost their mommy and for this friend that has lost her dear friend. Some would say all they can do is pray as if that is not enough, as if that has no impact when in fact that is exactly what is needed and what God is calling you to! God responds to prayers, when we move God moves and He is moved. Thank you for your prayers!
Tune in next week as we pick up our kingdom march and discuss our home court advantage!
Rising Above the Muck!
Do you ever feel bogged down in the mire of day to day life and find it hard to climb out of the muck? Would you be surprised if I told you I do? What do we do when we find ourselves in this place and how do we climb up and out quickly before we get too scathed? We worship the Lord, we pray and we read His word. We worship the Lord, we praise Him, we thank Him, we pray and we read His word. We worship, we pray and we read. Yes that's right, we just keep doing what we know until the relief or you might say the release comes! We can all pretend every day everything is fabulous but you know some days it just isn't and we have to face it and rise above it. The victory is already ours in the Lord but we have to want it and we sometimes have to kick and scream to get it!
See it's easy to stop caring, stop praying and slide into the abyss of the unknown. Lance Wallnau talks about managing our "state" which is so critical to keeping you from getting to this place at all, but sometimes it just comes. One day leads to two, leads to three. Maybe we are spending too much time watching the news or reading our financials or working and we get caught in the cycle of worry and the world's time instead of God's timing. The key is to recognize the signs and have a plan of action to recover your "state".
Dr. Caroline Leaf spoke to us this last weekend about becoming aware of our surroundings and aware of the thoughts that we are thinking and how we think. She shared some wonderful insights about how thoughts form in our brains and how to recognize the toxic thoughts and remove them. What are you thinking about and how are you controlling your thought life?
We can choose to think about the kingdom, to dwell in the presence of the Lord or dwell in the muck of the world. It's our choice, God gave us choice. We can choose to get bogged down in our own mire or we can choose to rise above and "seek ye first the kingdom of God." Matthew 6:33
I choose the kingdom of God, I choose thinking about God and I choose to seek His presence at all times. I choose to go kicking and screaming until I find God's peace, until I feel His presence and until I am renewed in my thinking. I put on my praise music and I worship, I open my bible and I read all the wonderful promises He has given to me, I clear my thinking and I rise up and out of the muck. As I continue to press into the Lord and who I am in Him, I find myself in the muck less often, Praise God! But I also find I can sink into the muck deeper and faster because my dependence on the presence of God is greater than ever before. So when I feel unplugged from my God Port, my direct connection I can tumble pretty quickly into self-pity and doubt. But always remember God is faithful, seek Him and His righteousness and all things shall be added.
I share all of this to say don't despair, be of good cheer and recognize the signs of "unplugging" from God and get plugged back in. Spend more time with Him, take a day and enjoy the beauty of His creation, YOU! See we are made in the image of God, He never leaves us nor foresakes us, how can He, we are in His image! Rejoice in who you are in Him and step into the plans He has for you. It's never too late, we have never gone too long He is always with us! Say Hi to your heavenly Father today and ask Him what He wants to do today and join Him.
|The Kingdom of Heaven is Like...
What do you think the kingdom of heaven is like? Have you given it much thought? What comes to mind when we talk about the kingdom of heaven? I spend a considerable amount of time thinking about this. Matthew 6:33 says, "But, seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." I am seeking the kingdom, I want to understand it, I want to access the benefits of it and I want to tell others about it. The book of Matthew is filled with parables of Jesus telling us about the kingdom. The kingdom of heaven is like...a mustard seed, a hidden treasure, a man who sowed good seed, a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish, a merchant looking for fine pearls and yeast mixed into flour. Have we ever really stopped to think about these parables and what they mean? If we want to access our kingdom citizenship priviledges and advance the kingdom we should understand what the kingdom is!
Let's start with this verse Matthew 13:33, "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough." What does this mean? As I was reading this verse in a speaking engagement God brought new revelation to me as I was speaking. I was so excited to hear what He was telling me about the kingdom I could hardly wait to get back to my desk and study it. There I was in the middle of speaking on the kingdom of God and He was downloading fresh revelation as I spoke. I was plugged into my God Port and receiving in real-time His thoughts and revelation. This is another blog topic altogether so let's move onto the revelation He brought me about the kingdom being like yeast unto dough.
Now I am in no way a baker this is not a skill or talent God gave me which is probably why I needed revelation into what this verse meant! We won't go into the details of what makes up yeast but it is basically used to cause dough to rise. Yeast is a fermenting agent that can turn grapes into wine and flour into fluffy baked bread. I tracked this a bit further and looked up the word ferment and here are some of the definitions of ferment; to cause to rise, to inflame and to seethe with agitation or excitement. Think about this in relation to the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven is a ferment as yeast is and it causes things to rise. It causes things to be inflamed and to seethe with agitation or excitement. God created the entire universe and this planet earth we live on. Jesus preached repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Maybe this could be read as the kingdom of heaven is being mixed with the earth and that causes things to rise, the earth to be inflamed and seething with agitation and excitment. In Romans 8:22 it reads, "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time." I think this speaks to the yeast, the kingdom spreading through the earth seething with agitation for the completion of His kingdom to reign here on earth.
I believe we are to be like yeast, mixing with all of creation and advancing His kingdom, spreading His kingdom so it permeates the entire earth. The kingdom is in us and surrounds us so everywhere we go the kingdom goes! When we add yeast to dough it permeates the entire dough and as you continue to mix it in it's impossible to separate it from the dough. It becomes part of the dough and the fermenting process, the rising begins to take place. Once this happens you can't stop it, the yeast cannot be removed and the dough cannot be contained in the bowl you are mixing in. It rises out of the bowl, it surrounds everything around it and it absorbs everything it touches. This I believe is what Jesus meant with this parable. He is saying that as we mix the kingdom of heaven into this land, into this earth and spread it amongst the people it cannot be contained, it cannot be removed and it cannot be stopped. The kingdom of heaven will rise, it will expand and it will seethe with agitation and excitement until it covers the entire land. The kingdom of heaven is exciting, it is everywhere and it is this truth that gets me out of bed in the morning, it is this truth that keeps me moving in obedience to what He has called me to, it is this truth that far exceeds the earthly concerns or desires!
Read the parables of the kingdom of heaven is like and ask the Holy Spirit to bring you deeper revelation in regards to His kingdom and your call to advance it here on earth. I will continue to sprinkle in the parables of the kingdom, the benefits of the kingdom and our priviledges as citizens in the kingdom in future blogs as to help you grasp the enormity of His kingdom and hopefully help rise up in you that agitation and excitement for His kingdom to rise on this earth. We are all His fermenting agents and we are to be like yeast is to flour by mixing in the kingdom in our lives, in our businesses, in our families and in our communities so the kingdom of heaven permeates all that is around us. Yeast transforms flour into dough which bakes into a wonderful, warm, delicious loaf of bread and everyone is drawn to the scent of warm bread. As the kingdom of heaven rises up, lives will be transformed, communities will be transformed and others will be drawn to the wonderul scent of the kingdom so that "...everyone is forcing his way into it." Luke 16:16
Frozen in Fear or Moving in Expectancy?
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7
I believe we have the choice every day to move out in expectation of what God is doing or be frozen in the fear of what might or might not happen. Fear of death, fear of loss, fear of the world, fear of the economy, fear of change, fear of lack, fear, fear, fear. Fear can have a powerful grasp on us if we don't recognize it for what it is and stand on the promises of God's word to withstand it. God's word says He has not given us the spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Have you ever noticed when you are operating from a place of fear that reason seems to go out the window? As I consider this verse I realize that fear and a sound mind cannot operate together because fear does not come from a sound mind. Let's look at the definition of fear; a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. The enemy would love to keep us bound up in fear because then we are not operating from the wisdom and understanding of the Lord but rather operating from a place of distress. Our mind is not sound, our reasoning is not sound and our actions are dictated by our thinking. How many times have we operated from fear and made decisions or choices from that state of mind? How did those turn out?
As we continue to discuss obedience I felt discussing fear was critical. I believe fear can be a major cause for lack of obedience. Fear that you aren't hearing God, fear that you can't do what He is asking, fear that you will make a mistake, fear that He won't be with you as you step out in faith, fear that others will reject you, fear of what others might think and fear that things will go wrong. If we are always in fear then we are always in distress and a sound mind does not come from a place of distress. I remember when my daughter hid in the clothes rack at the store and I could not find her. I became fearful and distressed and ran around the store like a mad woman looking for her when all the while she was two feet from me hiding and giggling until she heard my voice hit that high pitched panic sound. Then she became afraid and kept hiding because she thought she was in trouble and was afraid to come out. Fear begot fear and everyone around became distressed. I was not operating from a sound mind but from panic and fear which escalated the situation further.
I believe the second step to obedience is standing on the promises of God, believing His word to be true and operating from faith not fear. We can easily watch the news and become fearful of all that is going on or we can focus on the love of God and the goodness He brings to our lives. Again it is our choice what position we want to operate from fear or expectancy? I choose expectancy, I choose trusting in the Lord and the promises in His word. I expect everyday the goodness of who He is in my life and in my business. I stand on the promises in Matthew that say Do not worry about what you will eat or what you will drink or what you will wear. I expect the Lord to meet my needs and my family's needs as I abide in Him and He in me.
We were made in His image and He wants others to see Him in us. What do you think they see when we are operating from a place of fear?
Start your day with a praise song on your lips and a promise from His word and you will be amazed at the difference it makes. Let's be expectant of all the wonderful things that the God of the universe has promised us and created for us. Put fear behind and step out in the faith of who He is and who we are in Him.
Obedience, Where does it start?
I have heard for years that we are to be instantly obedient to God. When He asks us to do something we just do it, no hesitation. What I began to realize is that if I couldn't hear God's voice I couldn't be obedient? If I wasn't sure it was God talking to me I wouldn't be compelled to act. I remember thinking, God if I just knew for sure which voice in my head is Yours I would gladly obey! Now maybe I am the only one with voices in my head but I hope not! The noise of the world is coming at us with thousands of messages per second, how do we wrestle through these to get to God's voice? In addition to the noise of the world we are bombarded with our own self-talk of which most of it is self-destructive. With all this going on in our head, how do we hear God, how do we become instantly obedient when we can't hear what God is saying to us?
I quickly realized the first step in becoming obedient to God was being able to hear His voice clearly and distinctly above the noise! So how do we do this? How do we clear the clutter and get to God? The God Port book is my journey in discovering this very process of learning to quiet myself before God. I had to learn what it really means in Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God!" Wow was I in for an adventure. All the years I went to church, read my bible and prayed I never learned to be still! I never learned how to really stop and listen to what God was saying. I had spent years talking "to" God but very little time actually listening. God showed me that I was using only one-way communication protocols with Him instead of two-way communication protocols.
In my book I talk about the difference between these two protocols and the revelation it brought when I began to really understand this. Relating this to the internet one-way communication protocols are called UDP. UDP is a "connectionless" protocol that is unreliable and unordered. Connectionless protocols do not setup a dedicated end-to-end connection. The more I read about this protocol the more I realized that is exactly how I was communicating with God, no wonder it wasn't working. It was a connectionless, unordered and unreliable method! I then researched two-way protocols called TCP. TCP is a connection oriented protocol that requires a "handshake" to setup the end-to-end connection. I was amazed at this idea. If we are going to communicate with God we need a "handshake", an end-to-end dedicated connection. An "open port" directly to God so we can build a relationship! The other thing I learned about two-way communication is that it is reliable and ordered! Now this sounds like the way to communicate with our Creator doesn't it! There is so much more to just this one concept that I don't have time to go into here but I dedicated an entire chapter to it in my book.
So the first step to becoming obedient is to learn to hear the voice of God. Learn to open two-way communication, get our God Port opened and begin to understand who God is, what His voice sounds like and what He is saying. There is much more on this topic we need to cover so we will continue next week on learning how to hear the Voice of God.
|Entering into the Kingdom!
We have recently discussed the idea that the kingdom of God is here on earth today and we have discussed the benefits of being a part of His kingdom. Today I want to talk about how we enter into the kingdom and become natural citizens of the kingdom thereby granting us the priviledges of citizenship.
There are several verses in Matthew that discuss entering the kingdom but first let's cover the basics of being saved. I believe we can be saved but never enter into the fullness of the kingdom and the life it offers. The first step of course is beging saved and having eternal life. In John 3:16 it says, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." God started the process by providing Jesus Christ His son as a living sacrifice. Romans 10:9 reads, "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." In I John 1:9 we are told, "If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." These are some common verses we use to lead people to the Lord that they might have eternal life.
But what's next? Is the journey over, are we all done? No, we have just begun the journey we are now on an adventure with God! Seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness, pressing in and beginning to discover who we are in Christ. This is where transformation begins as we read His word, spend time with Him in prayer and begin to accept and act on the promises He has made us. Unfortunately I believe many Christians (and I was one until a few years ago) spend their whole lives "working out their salvation" when we should be learning to walk in our kingdom authority and mandate. We should be transforming our minds so we can understand our citizenship in His kingdom and operate from there instead of spending our whole lives just making sure we go to heaven when we die. God wants us living in the kingdom here on earth now and advancing it! Refer to my blog a few weeks ago for scripture regarding the kingdom is on earth today.
How do we make sure we are in the kingdom and we are citizens of His kingdom? Matthew 7:21 says, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord', will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." The first step in living a kingdom life is living in obedience to the will of the Father. How do we make sure we are being obedient, doing what He is calling us to, walking in our assignment and purpose? We must learn to hear God's voice, we must learn to read His word and let the Holy Spirit teach us and bring us revelation into the mysteries of God. In II Peter 1:10 it says, "Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." As we spend time with God, seeking His will for our lives, understanding the skills and giftings He has given us to fulfill our assignment we will be walking in His kingdom and advancing His kingdom here on earth.
Secondly we have to become like little children! Matthew 18:3 says, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Why do you think this is important? As we grow up we lose sight of our dreams, we become doubtful and fearful and we try to do things in our own strength instead of trusting God for His strength. Children are full of vision, dreams and belief. They think all things are possible and they can do anything. Children obey their fathers without question, they are trusting and have faith that their father has the best intentions for them. Unfortunately not all earthly fathers have hit the mark in this area which also brings doubt to think our Father in heaven is this way, but He is. God wants us to trust Him with our lives, God wants us to believe in the promises in His word and carry out our calling and election. God wants us to come to Him for all things, He is our sustainer, our source, He is our Abba Father. God wants us to walk in His kingdom and have the benefits of His kingdom in our lives. We must become like little children again and believe to walk in the fulness of His kingdom here on earth.
I believe the third step in entering into the fullness of His kingdom is understanding we are stewards of all that He has entrusted us with, not owners. "For the earth is the Lords and everything in it," as it states in I Corinthians 10:26. The King James version says, "For the earth [is] the Lord's, and the fulness thereof." The fullness thereof is everything including the fullness of His kingdom here on earth. Matthew 19:23b says, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." Many have mistaken this verse to mean we should be poor if we serve the Lord, we should be without but that's not what it means. Remember in my last post the verse in Deuteronomy that says He gives us the power to produce wealth? Why would He give us this power if He didn't want us to produce wealth? The reason it is hard for a rich man to enter is because they begin to believe that what they have is really theirs and they are not willing to give up ownership for stewardship. If we want to truly walk in the kingdom and operate from the kingdom and the fullness thereof we have to transform our thinking from what we have is ours, what we have we worked hard for, what we have is all from our own strength to a mindset of God has entrusted us to steward those things in our area of influence. God has entrusted us with children, homes, businesses and finances. He has entrusted us with all of His creation here on earth and we are to be good stewards of it all.
What are we doing with God's things? Are we using what He has given us to advance the kingdom or carve out a nice little niche for ourselves here on earth while we are here? Are we feeding the poor, clothing the naked, healing the sick and visiting those in prison? Are we watching after the orphans and widows to insure they are taken care of? Are we becoming the answer to a problem or just part of the problem? These are tough questions, revealing questions but ones we must ask if we want to step into the fullness of who we are as kingdom citizens and permeate the entire earth with His kingdom. As we feed the poor, they come in contact with His kingdom. As we help the homeless, they come in contact with His kingdom. As we teach our employees integrity and honesty in all business dealings, they come in contact with the kingdom!
Let's begin to operate from Matthew 6:10 that says, "your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven". We should be walking daily in a state of expectation of what God is doing each day through us as we walk in His kingdom and proclaim Come they Kingdom, Be Done Thy Will! That's the adventure we are on with God, that's an exciting life, that's worth getting out of bed for each day. Walk in expectation, expect the impossible and bring the unseen things of heaven on the scene here on earth! In my next few blogs we will talk further about obedience and learning to hear God's voice so we can be obedient and access our kingdom benefits. We will also discuss more our calling and election and understanding our assignments so we do not fall.
Benefits of the Kingdom!
Recently we have discussed the idea that yes indeed the kingdom of God is here on earth today. We have also discussed the mandate from Jesus to “Seek ye First the kingdom of God…” (Matt 6:33) and now let’s discuss the benefits of His kingdom. I suggested in my last post that we read Matthew chapters 6 and 13 to begin to understand the depths of the kingdom and what it means to be a part. Let’s skip to John 3:1-8 for a moment to set the stage. Jesus is talking to Nicodemus about being born again. Nicodemus is trying to understand this concept and Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” Jesus is talking about us being born into the kingdom. As we are born in the Spirit we become natural citizens of the kingdom of God. What does this mean? What are the benefits of citizenship? What are the responsibilities?
The definition of a citizen is a native member of a nation who owes allegiance to its government and is entitled to its protection and privileges. Our benefits of belonging to the kingdom of God is that we are provided protection and privileges which I believe are the promises of God. If we read His word we find His promises to us. Promises that we are taken care of more than the birds of the air and the lilies of the field (Matthew 6). Promises of peace, joy and righteousness in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Promises of “my yoke is easy and my burden is light…” (Matt 11:13). In Deuteronomy 8:18 it says, “But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.” Promises of our inheritance and the power in us is the same power that raised Christ from the dead (Eph 1). These are tremendous promises and benefits and there are so many more!
The responsibility part says we owe allegiance to His government. The government of God is the kingdom of God. A true kingdom operated according to true kingdom principles where the people are not oppressed but the people rejoice. I believe our responsiblity of allegiance is our responsibility of sharing the good news, of spreading the kingdom and bringing new citizens into the kingdom. Our responsibility is to carry the culture of the kingdom wherever we go so others can experience the kingdom, see the benefits and become a part of something greater than themselves. I didn’t coin this phrase but I love the imagery of “bringing the culture of heaven to earth”.
Think about that what is the culture of heaven and how do we bring it to earth? I believe the culture of heaven is about worship and as we become true worshippers I believe we establish heaven’s culture here on earth. As we become worshippers we establish the righteousness of God throughout our sphere of influence and as the righteousness of God spreads through the land the rest will be taken care of. When the righteousness of God is in the land people will respond to it.
When the culture of heaven is truly visible and manifested here on earth the kingdom of God will advance and the problems of our world will be resolved and the citizens of the kingdom will benefit and “everyone will be forcing his way into it”. Luke 16:16 says “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.” Why aren’t we seeing this readily throughout our nation? Because I believe the message of the kingdom has gotten lost! God called me several years ago to begin to study and understand His kingdom, His government and I believe it’s for a time such as this that we need to escalate and proclaim what God called us to in Luke which is to preach the good news of the kingdom of God.
Let’s begin to share the benefits of citizenship in His kingdom and bring hope to the hopeless and be the salt and light we have been called to be. Some might be wondering if they are really a part of His kingdom so next week we will discuss how we get into the kingdom and understand how to invite others into it.
Seek First the Kingdom of God
In Matthew 6:33 it reads, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” You might ask all what things will be added? Well if you read from Matthew 6:25 and down it talks about Do Not Worry and explains how God has taken care of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, how much more will he care after us? He says don’t worry about what you will eat or drink or what you will wear because He has already taken care of that. God knows what we need and His promise to us is if we seek His kingdom and His righteousness all these things will be taken care of for us. Why? Because they are benefits of the kingdom!
We have spent plenty of time preaching salvation but forgetting the greatest part of that salvation which is citizenship in a kingdom, His kingdom. We are called to bring His kingdom to earth in Matthew 6:9 where Jesus tells us how to pray he says “…your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Why would Jesus have us pray for God’s kingdom to come to earth if that was not part of His plan. We are so busy telling people what they have to give up to be saved that we never get to preaching the gospel of the kingdom! Jesus preached his first sermon which was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand“. How is the kingdom of God operating on earth today? How do we move in the kingdom and the benefits there of? What are the kingdom benefits? In a hurting world people need to know about the benefits of the kingdom, the joy, peace and righteousness that comes from knowing Jesus and being born into the kingdom of God. Read Matthew 6 and 13 to begin to get a glimpse of His kingdom and we will talk more next time on the benefits of the kingdom.
Let's Talk Kingdom!
For years I thought the Kingdom of God was something we entered into upon our death as we went to heaven to spend eternity. Over the last several years as I have spent more time with God, more time in His word and more time seeking His face I realized how wrong this was. Several years ago God challenged me to learn about His kingdom which is His government so I could understand the assignment He had for me. God began surrounding me with others who talked “kingdom” and I wanted to understand what this all meant. I am amazed at the journey I have been on and the faithfulness of God to show me the deeper truths of His word and His kingdom.
For today I want to help you answer the question of Is the Kingdom of God here on earth today? I say absolutely, yes! Now I am not a theologian or bible scholar I am just a follower of Christ looking into His word and asking the Holy Spirit for revelation and wisdom. Here is what He has shown me:
In Matthew 4:17 Jesus preached for the first time and his message was simple, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.” In Luke 22:29 Jesus says, “And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me…” Jesus was all about the kingdom of God which is the kingdom of heaven. When he taught us to pray he said in Matthew 6:10, “…Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”
So then my question was, well Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is near so did it really actually get here? I think for years I interpreted this message to mean it is near until Jesus comes again then it will be established. But let’s go to more scripture and find out.
Matthew 11:12 says “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.” How do we lay hold of it if it is not here? Luke 16:16 says “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.” Forcing their way into what? The kingdom of God!
Praise God! We an operate in the kingdom right here today on earth and we can participate in the benefits. We are called to advance His kingdom here on earth. Ask God what your assignment is and how you are called and He will answer you. It says in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Have you called to the Lord, have you asked Him the question about His kingdom? In my book “The God Port”, I talk about calling to God and opening your God Port. Your direct connection to God. I encourage you to consider this verse in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you as well.” What does it mean to truly seek His kingdom and righteousness first? I will go into this in more depth on my next post.
Our Capacity for the things of God
For years I have prayed Lord I need more of you, Lord teach me and show me who you are. In this journey of learning to press in and hear His voice He began to show me what I was lacking, what I needed to do to receive more of Him. It wasn't that He was holding back it was that I was not prepared and ready for more of Him. As we think about opening The God Port we must think about our capacity to receive the things of God. In 2 Peter 1:8 it says "For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. This implies that we can be ineffective and unproductive which I believe means that if we don't have the capacity to be effective in what we already know then why would God give us more? If we are unable to "consume" that is absorb the things of God we already know how can we increase our capacity to receive more?
The God Port is about opening a tunnel between you and God in which you can communicate back and forth with Him. The size of the tunnel is referred to as bandwidth. How much bandwidth is between you and God? Is the tunnel filled with your prayers for what you need or is it filled with God's revelation and wisdom flowing back to you? Are you using one way communication protocols with God? God I need, God please help, God give me.... Sound familiar? If our tunnel or bandwidth is consumed by our requests then how is God to communicate His thoughts back to us? So you see our capacity for the things of God is directly related to our bandwidth and our ability to have two-way communication with God allowing God to speak to us if we are "still" before Him.
How do we increase our bandwidth and our capacity for God? We need to spend more time with Him in worship and thanksgiving. We need to spend more time in His word and letting it marinate in our spirits and letting the Holy Spirit teach us and reveal the things of God to us. Finally we need to learn what it means to "Be still and know that I am God." As we truly spend time with the Father we begin to understand the capacity He has for us which is unlimited! Read Psalm 139 to begin to understand the breadth and width and depth of His love, His capacity for us as His children. Psalm 139:17-18 says "How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you." God's thoughts for each one of us outnumber the grains of sand and there are 6 billion of us He is thinking about. How often are our thoughts on Him?
As we press in to who He is and who we are in Him, we can begin to understand the magnitude of His love, His capacity for us which will increase our thoughts and love for Him, thereby increasing our capacity for the things of Him. As we increase our capacity He will increase His wisdom and revelation coming to us through The God Port! Be blessed, be encouraged and take this journey with me into The God Port, into the things of God.
Sowing in Good Soil – How Does this Apply to Business?
Lately I have found myself frustrated with “networking”, I am in the wrong room, with the wrong people and no one here needs my services. What is wrong with this viewpoint? A little self centered maybe? If you are only in the room to see who can help you get what sales you need then you are missing out on the greater opportunity God has provided in those encounters.
What can you do for them? How can you serve and sow into the lives and businesses of those present? Now does this mean we shouldn’t be focused and thoughtful about where to network and spend our time? No not at all, God wants us to be good stewards of all He has given us especially our time. But finding the right place to network is somewhat by trial and error so when you find yourself in those less then ideal places make the most of it and know that God has a purpose for you being there. As well when you are in the ideal setting remember that we sow first and reap later so take your time, build relationships and be genuine with those around you and the sales will come.
God took me to the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13) and to this verse below to remind me of how He wants us to engage in these situations.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Corinthians 9:6
In the Parable of the Sower Jesus taught about the 4 types of ground that can be sown into. Sowing along the path, the rocky places, where there isn’t much soil and the good soil. How are you sowing into your Kingdom business? Are you sowing into good soil or one of the other places? There are many “gems” in this parable that we can use in our businesses and even as I write this blog God is revealing more and more to me which I will continue to share over the next several weeks.
For today I want to start with these two questions as they relate to sales and marketing; 1) where are we sowing and 2) what are we sowing? We as business owners have several opportunities every day to sow into others lives, our employees, our clients, prospects and vendors.
Marketing is like sowing, are we delivering our message into the good soil (is it getting to our target market) or is our message falling along the path? In other words do our clients and prospects understand our message or is it stolen away by our competitors and what they are saying? Are we building deep, lasting relationships with those we encounter (deep roots in good soil) or are we sowing on rocky places where no roots can grow (no relationships only brief conversations and encounters) and our message is quickly forgotten as others come along.
Remember as Kingdom business owners we can operate according to Kingdom principles and seek God in all things so that He may be honored and glorified in all we put our hands to. So be faithful in the sowing, seeking first the kingdom of God and God will be faithful in bringing in the harvest (the sales).
Have you Grown Weary?
I have been struggling the last few weeks with weariness both body and spirit. My morning time with God felt unproductive and mediocre because of the lack of energy I had to put into it but God remained faithful. I asked God to teach me why and show me how to overcome and "press on toward the goal" (Phil 3:14). God gave me two verses one from Hebrews and one from Isaiah. He spoke love and encouragement to me as I read these verses and He smiled as His revelation came to me. God is truly amazing, steadfast and true to His word and promises.
Hebrews 12:3 says "Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
This was a gentle reminder to get my eyes off of myself and onto the things of Christ. It's so easy to slip into our own muck and forget the greatness of Christ and the things He overcame when He was here on earth. Remember when we talked about our "state". I had let my state slip and as long as my eyes were on my own circumstances I was not able to truly change my state but as soon as I looked at Christ my state changed.
The second verse He gave me was from Isaiah:
"The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught." Isaiah 50:4
Wow what a priviledge to be woken by the Lord morning by morning so that we may be taught. Continue to press in, persevere and seek God in all things. He will always be there, He never grows weary and His word is true and living and springs forth to sustain us each day.