Unity brings Victory

Gideon shared his battle plan with the army.  “Do as I do; do the same as me!  Come together under my leadership” Gideon’s men never said “I’m not sure that is a good idea?

“And he said to them, “Look at me and do likewise; watch, and when I come to the edge of the camp you shall do as I do:  When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then you also blow the trumpets on every side of the whole camp, and say, ‘The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!‘ “Judges 7:17 -18

The devil knows the churches key to victory is unity.  You never hear of devils splitting up and starting a new hell.   God is not asking for our opinion. We do as the leader does.  That is how you have a breakthrough in a city.

This is demonstrated in our corporate worship times. Our task is not to score the worship leader on the job they do or decide whether we like their song choice.  No, our job is to follow their lead.   In the temple when they made one sound, the glory fell.    The Spirit of God will fall if there is one people, with one heart, in one accord, and in one place.  When we say whatever the leader is doing, I’m following it. It doesn’t matter what song is sung if people follow with faith and a good heart. If there is unity there can be a break through.  The power of God didn’t fall because Paul and Silas could sing well but because there was unity in the prison.

 And every man stood in his place all around the camp, and the whole army ran and cried out and fled. When the three hundred blew the trumpets, the LORD set every man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the army fled to Beth Acacia, toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel Meholah, by Tabbath. Jdg 7:21 -22

When every man stood in his place or the place he should have been standing, God moved and the enemy ran. If we are not bringing our gift to the house and our strength to the army, we are not standing  in our place.  One can put 1000 to flight and two can put 10,000 to flight.   If you have an enemy you can’t defeat by yourself,  find a friend to stand with you.

  And the men of Israel gathered together from Naphtali, Asher, and all Manasseh, and pursued the Midianites.   Then Gideon sent messengers throughout all the mountains of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites and seize from them the watering places as far as Beth Barah.  Jdg 7:23-24

Soon all the other tribes’ joined in the battle.  300 brave men armed with lamps, vessels and trumpets brought all the rest of Israel up to the battle.  Our actions can inspire others to rise up.  Don’t wait for your mate to decide to be a world changer. When you decide you will bring your friends with you. Be the first.  Your decision will change not only your destiny but maybe the future of those that know you. God has not changed his mind about you.  You may have had a call and you may have got off track but there a great verse in Amos for you.  “So says Jehovah: As the shepherd takes two legs out of the mouth of the lion, or a piece of an ear; so shall the sons of Israel be taken out… Amo 3:12 .  Here the lion had devoured the sheep.  All that was left was an ear and a leg but God was going to take them out of defeat.

Friend, what ever enemy has stolen and torn you to pieces – as long as you have an ear to hear His word and a leg to stand on, it’s not too late for you.   God will restore the years that the locust has eaten.  You can get back in the game and back in the battle under leadership.

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Sons in the Battle

In the middle ages, many sons of noblemen were apprenticed to existing knights. They learned to be knights by wielding weapons and fighting in armour until they were successful in war and were able to guard the house (castle). They became sons of the house through warfare.

Spiritual sons know they are part of an army and they know who their enemy is. Sons understand that, when Jesus defeated the devil, He did it in their name. Jesus never came to earth to prove He was greater than the devil – He’s always been that! He came here to defeat him as a human being on our behalf.  The devil was a strong man who could only keep his goods until a stronger one came upon him. That stronger one is Jesus and His Church!  The enemy is still our foe but now in the presence of the enemy, Jesus provides victory.

King David said “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil;” (Psalm 23:5) There are some things God only puts on the table for us in the presence of our enemies. In other words, most of the times we receive something fresh from God are in the midst of a battle.  In an environment where we need nothing, we receive little. The Christian life is a life of being in need. We should get used to it! We need Jesus every day to live as a Christian. We can’t heal the sick or forgive constantly without Jesus; we can’t cast out devils or defeat our enemies each day, except through Him.

Jesus said to one of the churches in Revelation, “…you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. (Revelation 3:17) They had everything they wanted but nothing they truly needed. If we know our true need, God will be our garment, our life, and the anointing we need to see clearly. Sometimes our greatest challenge is to know what we truly need. Like this ancient church group, sometimes we need an enemy to fight!

Friend, to increase in authority there has to be an increase in the challenges we face. God works on the basis that His provision for us is not just sufficient but is more than sufficient for our need and the things we face. If our enemies are a two on the scale, then His grace can be a four. If our troubles are a five, then the strength and more than sufficient anointing that He gives us, will be a seven plus.

(Excerpt from my new book Sons in the House) Email for copies:   jim.shaw@mnl.org.nz

Getting over failure

 

A number of years ago I was in a worship time and I heard a voice speak to me to do something with was not bad in any way but I just wasn’t sure it was God. Initially, because I heard this voice in the worship time, I thought it must be God.  However it didn’t sound like Him and I’d never heard a voice like that before, so I wasn’t sure. If it hadn’t of been a good thing it was suggesting, I would have dismissed it straight away.  I was confused and then condemned as I struggle to reconcile who had spoken.  If it was the devil, I would never do it but if it was God and I don’t do it, I could lose His blessing because of disobedience.

I decided it was the devil and still fought condemnation for some time. Part of the problem was I didn’t think that the devil could just turn up in the presence of God like that, when I was worshipping God.  I guess I should have twigged but have since then I’ve discovered that he often turns up in God’s presence to condemn.

In the book of Zachariah 3, Joshua the High Priest is standing before the Lord and Satan was standing at his right hand to oppose him. Satan is there right in the presence of God. Right when God is speaking to you and wanting to bless you and speak to you the devil is accusing you.  We might come into the presence of God to hear and to receive life but many times there is a battle that first must be won.  The battle to hear the Lords voice, over the enemy’s voice. “You’re not worthy of blessing; God has nothing to say to you; you’ll have to much better that that, if you expect God to really love you.”

But God speaks above the accusation, “See I have removed your iniquity from you and I will clothe on with rich robes of my righteousness”

And friend, our Fathers word, is the final word.

Step forward

Jesus said to the man with a withered hand “Arise.”  He never said “Arise and I will heal you,” or “Arise and good things will happen to, but “Arise and step into the midst”. The man had to act before he received his healing from Jesus.  He might have thought “I don’t know whether I want to do that; I don’t want to be embarrassed and I’m not even sure that anything might happen.

But he first had to repent; to obey the word in spite of his desires and lack of promise from Jesus. Sure, the words of Jesus quickened his faith to believe and act but repentance is where everything starts.  He had to align his thoughts with Jesus thoughts and his miracle started.  His life changed forever.

I believe God wants us to align our thinking with the thoughts of God. To align our thinking about, honoring parents; about moral purity and wanting revival in our lives and churches but it must begin with repentance.  If we confess our sin and forsake it, we will prosper!   Forsaking our sin simply means we stop doing it. In other words we prosper because we repented.

Friend, God will prosper everyone who truly repents and heaven explodes in joy.  There are blessings sometimes kept back in heaven that God wants you to have, but they are held back from us because you or I have not repented in a biblical way.

Only a deposit

After my Mum and Dad died they left me an inheritance which was enough to put down a deposit on a new house. The deposit wasn’t the full price of the house but it did mean that we could move in begin to live in it.

God gave Adam an inheritance in the garden before he sinned; a commission to bring the earth under the rule of God.  He makes man in his image and tells him to be fruitful and take dominion. But when he left his calling; his relationship as a be­loved son; the beauty of God’s image, He lost his inheritance, his divine covering and his destiny in God’s divine purpose.

As returning prodigals we are given it all back.  Relationship, acceptance, life from dead, clothes of righteousness, a ring of authority and shoes.

It’s fantastic but no matter how great this life is on the earth now, the greater inheritance is still to come, when the meek shall inherit the earth.

Our experience of the Holy Spirit now is only a deposit. It is the first investment God makes into your life and soul, but it is only a guarantee of the full inheritance he has for you, that happens at the redeeming of our bodies when Jesus come back.

Friend, when we get to live literally in His presence, we won’t be walking by faith, we’ll be seeing Him face to face.   No more through a glass darkly but we will be perfectly known by him. In eternity, he will show us the full inheritance of His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Don’t just sit there

God uses His power not to interrupt free choice but to turn evil for good.  He uses the tribulation of the world and the temptations of the devil all for good.

We know all things work together for good to them that are called but does that mean we just accept them all blindly? No, we don’t just accept it or give in to it.  Joseph didn’t say well it Gods will for me to be in prison for ever so here so I won’t take any opportunity to get out.  When the apostles ended up in prisons they didn’t say it is the will of God, no they prayed till there was an earthquake.

When troubles come or we lose our job, we don’t say Que – sera sera – instead  God wants us to rise up in faith and trust Him for the new job. Sometimes you have to fight the devil off.   This builds in us character, forges perseverance, opens our understanding and grows us into the mighty image of Christ

Friend,   if the enemy is seeing to depress you or sap your strength, rise and fight him off by declaring God goodness and His promises.

Key to everywhere

Cars, buses and taxis ply the streets of our town. Men and women walk to work and home again. It is easy to think that there is only the world we live in but high above and deep beneath there are other worlds.

Three realms exist.  There is heaven, the spiritual realm that God dwells in. There is earth on which the masses of humanity live, which we to reach with gospel and there is under the earth.

The cross is the key to opening all three.

The cross opened heaven for us. It restored our relationship with our Father in heaven.  Through the cross of Christ, we are reconciled to God. Praise God that through cross we are able to fellowship with Jesus.

The cross is also the key to authority with men in the earth. When a man or women speak as one truly carrying the cross of a disciple of Jesus there is a ring of authenticity about them that has impact in men hearts. Also between believers, it is the cross that reconciles brother with brother as the cross is embraced.  It is the cross that releases ministry to men and women.

Certainly the cross is the key to authority under the earth. It was the victory of the cross that destroyed the authority of Satan. The cross is the only badge of authority the devil recognises.

So the cross is the key to authority in every realm. The cross gives you recognition in heaven, recognition in earth, and recognition under the earth.

Friend, it is not a uniform of bright colours or a flag that flutters proudly that gives us authority, but the cross. Not a physical cross to be lifted or carried through the town but a cross clung to in faith and embraced in our heart that gives us power in every place above, on or the under the earth

 

 

 

 

 

Spiritual warfare

Elijah stood in front of all the people, and demanded to know how long they were going to limp between opinions.   But the people answered him not a word.

Canaanite mythology believed that Baal ruled the earth and was responsible for harvest, rain and fertility and that Mot ruled below in the underworld, as the god of death. These two were engaged in constant battle and when Mot was winning, there was cold, drought and famines but when Baal got the upper hand, there was rain and blessings harvest and life.

The ministry of Elijah was set in direct opposition to the supposed power of Baal. When Elijah declared that there would be neither “dew nor rain” it was a clear challenge to Baals’ supremacy.  At Zarephath he is seen to overcome death (seen as the power of Mot) when he raised the widow’s son from the dead.   We too live our lives on a battle ground not a play ground but like Elijah our God is with us to bring victory.

The nation had turned away from God. God’s people were not fully following Jehovah but they weren’t fully following Baal either.  There was an accommodation in their life to his influence. After all, his religion was more satisfying to their flesh. He offered unbridled sexuality without restrictive standards. Baal titillated their imaginations. Many were not fanatical worshippers like Jezebel but they knew his philosophy and Baal was all the gossip around the nation.

Sure we love God he has been our traditional God for generations but we like Baal too.    We think there are some good things about Baal; we feel we can relate to Baal, he’s not all bad.

Friend, surely we can see the picture here of the western nations in the last days.  The nations were forged and strengthened by God and His Word, but now they are post Christian. They may still have prayer in parliament on occasions but there are new false gods in the land. Our leaders may choose to be like Jezebel in its state sponsored syncretism and denial of the God of Israel but let not the people on the mount be a picture of ourselves!

 

In the fire

After the Potter has dried out the vessel in the drying shed, the vessel is read for the kiln. He fires the vessel, to set its shape. In the fire the material is actually changed into from clay to a type of crystal. It may look the same but it has become a different material altogether, which cannot be decomposed. Pottery pieces can last thousands of years.

Our Potter puts us in the fire, to set our character; to fix in us, the integrity, faithfulness and characteristics of the King. He wants the vessel to be able to hold its shape, no matter how much weight of water fills it. No matter how much anointing, power, authority, privilege, wealth and acclaim we are given.  God knows that the true level of character that we have, is what we have, after we are tested.

Friend, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials in the kiln.  They come to test our faith and to prove the genuineness of the vessel

 

 

 

Stopping jesus

The devil knew Jesus was coming to set the man free, so he stirred up a great storm to stop Jesus coming to the region.

The devil is not really interested in stopping you doing anything but he is interested in stopping the Lord Jesus from touching people’s lives.  It was not the disciples he was trying to stop from reaching the other side, it was Jesus. The disciples at this point were merely men. Christ did not live within them.  They were not anointed with the Holy Spirit and Jesus’ authority was not dwelling in them. The only person that worried the devil about that boatload of people was Christ!   But things are different now. Today Christ is in our life, just like he was in the boat and because Christ is in us, the devil will cause the storms and troubles to come against us. If he can, he will seek to way lay us, distract us and cause enough trouble to turn us back. How many times have you made a fresh commitment to be available to God only to find that quickly trouble comes?

Friend, Jesus is in your life just a He was in the boat. The enemy can’t stop Him and if the enemy seeks to rock your life, you have the authority to stand up and still the storm and your life and boat is safe.