THE WALK OF PRACTICAL MINISTRY

THE WALK
PART 49

THE WALK OF PRACTICAL MINISTRY

“Abstain from evil (shrink from it and keep aloof from it) in whatever form or whatever kind it may be. And, may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through (separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God); and may your spirit, soul and body be preserved sound and complete (and found) blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (The Messiah). Faithful is He who is calling you (to Himself) and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it (fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you).” (I Thess. 5:22-24 AMP)

At times, we need to share our thoughts because we have seasons when our perception becomes cloudy, while others may be able to see a more balanced view because they are observing from a different angle. I can say with conviction that it is very important to be careful whom you share your most intimate visions. Mockery and ridicule is becoming more rampant within the fabric of our culture which has bred sharper tongues with less sympathy and compassion – even in the church environment. We realize there are many weird ideas out there and unfortunately, there is much suspicion and doubt of the super-natural, which is always ready to chip away at faith and hope. Remember that God is ALWAYS working in the super-natural because HE IS super-natural, and walking in His Spirit includes visions and dreams. Only share with those who love you and care for your soul to speak into your life. Selah.

Discernment is crucial when making strong bonds of trust. It is sad but true that people you look up to are sometimes fleshly and not always concerned with your well-being. You would think that ministers and leaders would be more loving and have you on their minds – but do not be deceived. Anyone can be cordial in public to your face, yet have no substance in their personal relationship with Christ. If leaders are not red-hot in their prayer life then do not expect them to even think about you or remember your problems. Praying is a direct result of love and can be justly measured on the spiritual balances of genuine concern. If leaders do not seem to sincerely love you “just for who you are”, it is probably the best decision to be nice and just stay on the “surface” with them. You can only be as trusting with them in the ministry as they are intimate with Father and you are not obligated to remain under their authority if they are not submitting to Christ as the Lord of their life. These ministries are usually just trying to build their own legacy and will surround themselves with those who can help them.

We have heard the phrase, “people person” and we casually presume it means someone who has the “gift of gab” or charismatic charm when it comes to communicating, but I believe it is much more than that. My view of a genuine people person is a rare individual that actually listens “beyond” the words of others with a commitment to being sensitive to hear not only the cry of someone’s heart, but also what God has to say on their behalf. Sadly, many who love to communicate do not necessarily care about the lives of the ones that are pouring out their heart but are just using this time as an opportunity to take advantage of them. I have known some people that were convinced they were really good at connecting with everyone but in reality they were deceived. Have you ever shared your problem with someone that you knew was not really listening? What about the ones that try to come back with a story of their own that is even more traumatic or they just pat you on the back and say that it will all work out while looking at their cell phone? It is very common to find people who love to talk about how life is treating them and their world-views, but do not really care about how others are hurting. Only those who abide in God’s love have the desire, interest and wisdom to “hear” a soul in crisis and in the arena of spiritual ministry, this is vital for divine appointments. Ministry is not telling everyone what to do but it is being consumed with agape love – which always desires the best for others. Humility is becoming extinct because we live in a calloused society that continues to lure leaders away from being selfless and harden them into being selfish! Sadly, even many pastors have become so caught up with their own agenda – they have little concern to really listen or pray for anyone else. We all need true friends and strong respected leaders that we can trust for counseling and confide in because we “believe” they are walking with God. Sadly, it is alarming to realize that genuine followers of Christ’s character are rare. Proverbs 11:14 say’s, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety”.

I realize this may sound elementary, but make certain before you move out in a ministry that you have heard the Fathers distinct voice telling you NOW. Just because you know HIS direction, also make sure you are moving in HIS timing. For example, many missionaries have moved out too fast and failed, not because they were not called, but because they were not prepared. God is never late, he is always on time! He has planned our lives for thousands of years with careful planning and charts out a unique course for each of his elect. This is not to say that all things are carved in stone before they happen but some things are destined according to the Fathers sovereignty. It is true that our limited free-will can help or hinder God’s plans, which is why the importance of walking in the Spirit is mentioned so many times throughout scripture. Step out in faith – but just make sure it is HIS time! “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching for those things that are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”. (Philippians 3:14)

If you feel led to delay or alter your course, maybe there are loose ends that need to be tied up before you leave. Sometimes there are business and financial situations that need to be settled, so that your integrity is preserved. Also, if you are married there must be an agreement that you both have heard from the Lord in the decision. When a couple has confirmation they are in God’s perfect will, there is nothing more exciting but if a spouse is not completely convinced about the change, there is nothing more miserable and the move is probably destined to have problems. Also, if you are blessed with children you will need to direct your attention to some special issues that would pertain directly to how this change will affect them. You must have God’s peace in your spirit about these sensitive “behind the scenes” areas or you will not be as effective as you could be on the frontline. Do not be offended if you are not “blessed” with encouragement from family and friends. Sad but true, many times you are not quite as loved or respected as you thought you were. It is a difficult lesson but unfortunately people are not as appreciative of your labor as you would have thought. Do not be discouraged but settle the issue within your own heart by telling the Lord that all of your work was for Him and His glory. “For I say, through the grace given unto, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3)

You are a minister of God in EVERY area of life – ALL the time!
It is important to minister love and life to everyone in your network including the eyes and ears of strangers. It is crucial that you NOT be a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide, because this will hinder your anointing and without God’s power to live holy, your attempt to labor for Him will be powerless and ineffective. Make a list for the purpose of forgiving each person that has failed, discouraged, offended or betrayed you and make sure you are clean of all resentment and “hard feelings”. If you sense it is necessary – speak a kind yet firm declaration to those who have hurt you, that you forgive them and are following the Lord’s call and that you would appreciate their prayers. (This releases you from a root of bitterness and gives humility a chance to develop in your life.) How they choose to react is between them and God. Maybe The Lord will reveal to them an important lesson about their lack of spiritual concern and through conviction of the Holy Spirit their eyes may be opened to a revelation that can change their attitude. If people think your ideas are foolish and out in left field, then do not even ask or expect their intercession, support or encouragement. Sometimes you might discover that people just do not respect you because you do not believe like them. Life is filled with politics from the tip to the toe, yes even in the “religious” arena and who knows all the reasons why people act the way they do. If you are not received, dust your feet off and keep going. Father has plans for you each minute of the day and it is exciting to see what is just around the next corner. It is true that you and the Lord can accomplish anything but He uses other people as links in a chain, to form a support system that can open the doors we need to accomplish HIS perfect will.

Where are all the resources going to come from? Three things; Prayer – Prayer and more Prayer! Praying is not only to change things “around” us – it changes US into His image! The battle to overcome our carnal flesh is a serious sacrifice that is OUR responsibility. Couch blessings are a fantasy! There is much LABOR to do for Him and that involves OUR faith! He is calling for His children to fall on their knees (and roll up their sleeves) to become what Jesus died for them to be. We pray, believe and know that where He guides – He provides. Selah. Seek His specific will night and day, so you will KNOW when and where to act. Be instant in season and out of season and be ready to show the “doorkeepers” your ideas so they can see the vision God has spoken to you. Preparation is the most important work you can do because, IF YOU ARE NOT READY – YOU WILL MISS YOUR DIVINE APPOINTMENT. He is not working within our plans – we are following Him! Are you moving in His dreams and visions? Are you waiting for Him, or Is He waiting for you?

LEARNING HOW TO WALK V

THE WALK
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who
WALK not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:4)

PART 8
LEARNING HOW TO WALK V

THE WALK OF MINISTRY: If you have been involved with any kind of ministry for the Lord, I know you have wondered at times why things have not turned out like you thought they would. It is true, there are many different “conditions” associated with our destiny just like with everything else that is connected to the will of God – and the will of man. There are people who have been blessed with amazing talents and have been given gifts that are nothing less than miracles but He is not always necessarily searching for ability – He is seeking availability. Christianity is not a talent show – it is all about attitude! It is not about who can do the most but rather who has the pure heart, the holy motive and intention that only has God’s will as their purpose. Let us take another look at what Jesus was saying when He was watching people give their offerings. “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing (2 cents). And He called His disciples, and said unto them, verily I say unto you, that this poor widow has put in more than all the others which have given into the treasury. For they all did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” (Mark 12:41-44)

Do we actually believe that we can impress the one who created everything? When God calls someone to do something, He has a complete understanding that we cannot do it on our own. If we had the wisdom, power and spiritual perception to be self sufficient, we would not need to worry about the indwelling Holy Spirit, the revelation of His Word, His super-natural anointing, or the privilege of prayer. And even if we did accomplish some things in our own power, it would be noted that WE received the commendation, honor and glory. Those who pull themselves up by their own boot straps and have the single vision of their own imagination often forget that even the blood racing through our veins and the air we so freely breathe is a gracious gift of mercy and grace from our loving heavenly Father. I know people who think they have the world by the tail but will never give The Lord any acknowledgement. I have seen people receive awards of great accomplishment and never even mention God’s Name. If anyone has an ability to do anything – it is because our loving Father has placed His gift within them! This anointing was never intended to be abused or used selfishly to bring us all the attention. The ability was given that we might be used as a special instrument to bring Him ALL the glory and that He might “USE US” to execute His vision!

I am convinced that in the spiritual journey of following Christ, that EACH person is so complex and unique that Father must consider them an individual “world” within the universe of mankind. The depth of His infinite power to create so many different people as they connect with and influence each other AND be able to monitor each one – every second, is mind boggling. He has mapped out a specific destiny for every person. He watches and knows if they will eventually choose to follow Him or follow their own ideas in EVERY decision they make. Those who DO make the commitment to trust Him as their Lord and to WALK in His ways will discover that He carefully draws an exciting blueprint of divine appointments that is completely original and unprecedented. This divine path is called “His perfect will” and it is similar to when He created the earth and released His dream of how everything would exist simultaneously. He has created each person to follow a certain mission and be used as a “tool” to accomplish His plans, but what happens when the tool is broken or needs to be adjusted? They are placed into “patience” mode until they receive the revelation of what He desires from them. Many “tools” are so busy trying to work on projects that have nothing to do with God’s plans and this is called, “leaning on our own understanding”. Of course, He can use another tool that is ready and “available” to get the job done, while He lays the other ones on His workbench to receive His attention. Are you a usable tool today in the hands of the Master or is there something wrong within your heart that is preventing you from being used? Do you need a maintenance check and a cleaning?

If we are willing to allow Him to do whatever He wants to make us useable, then we are destined to please Him. If we disagree with His ideas and refuse to submit, then we are put on a shelf until we can gain more MATURITY. This could be the reason that many in the body of Christ have not reached their full potential in their calling. It is not God’s fault and He is not trying to deny our success, it is that we have not received the revelation of divine order that opens the doors to His miracle power. This divine order is the revelation of spiritual priorities that we must understand because it is the spiritual “LAW” by which the Father operates. For example, if someone is infected with the sin of “gossip” and is out of control with no sense of discernment then it would be completely understood why Father would NOT allow them to prosper or succeed. To Him this is envy, instigating and strife and His Word says, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and EVERY EVIL WORK.” (James 3:16) Since they have not repented and do not even see their transgressions, it is not difficult to see how they CANNOT be used in areas of crucial responsibility. They actually become an enemy to the cross and a hindrance to the plans of God. This ongoing, unrepented SIN can actually keep the person out of the holy of holies and sever their intimate relationship with God. They have created a distance between them and God and have come to place of being confused as to why they do not feel Him anymore. Sometimes those who have become deceived in their sin blame the pastor, the church, their family, other Christians and the entire world for their failure and disappointment. The truth is that our effectiveness is based on our pure heart, our attitude, obedience and God’s timing. If we are not advancing in our ministry and we do not sense His presence or anointing, then maybe we have been taken out of commission BY HIM because pride has distracted our focus.

Many times we do not realize where we are in God’s process. If we have lost the connection or our tuner has drifted off the station, we might be going one way while God is going in the opposite direction. These are times when fasting and fervent prayer is needed for us to “re-connect” with Him and to KNOW what is going on. The Lord will always do things His way because He can see the big picture and we cannot. If there is a character flaw that we have not learned to control, then we are a target for the enemy and destined for another problem. Much of what we learn about spiritual warfare is revealed as a FLESH problem and the big question is always whether or not we choose to deal with it. If we have a weakness that we have not conquered, then it would only make sense that God desires to see us OVERCOME it so we will not REPEAT our failures. It could be a strong probability that our inability to overcome sin – is the very thing that is closing the door to our advancement. For example, why would God allow a man with a sexual addiction to become a summer camp leader for teenage girls? Or why would the Lord allow a person that is vulnerable to pride, control and politics become a pastor? Maybe the reason why many have never reached the true potential of their destiny is because God is waiting for them to say goodbye to their old nature and bury their carnality deep in the grave. How can we grow stronger and continue to advance in our learning if we have never passed the basic tests? It would be like progressing to algebra when we cannot even add and subtract.

When we abandon our carnality the enemy cannot push our old “buttons” and get the same old results. Cutting the wires makes our buttons useless and allowing ourselves to be melted into His image is the ONLY THING that can give us His strength to cut them. We are not strong enough in our own resolutions but we can do ALL things THROUGH Him and His supernatural power! He can bring the “180 change” if we become determined to let Him flood our senses! WE built the damn and we are the only one that can tear it down! He can take away our sinful desires if we ask Him to fill us with His REFINING FIRE! He can clean up our messes and cleanse us from the filth and darkness we try to hide, but He waits for us to SERIOUSLY repent and that means to STOP doing what we are doing – forever! We can go as far with God as we want and we can have as much of Him as we desire – but these decisions must come from the fervent zeal to love Him with ALL our heart.

Religious spirits love to play games and ACT like an overcomer but it is only mimicking the genuine. Hypocrisy is saying all the right things but NOT doing them. It is time to realize that our words are seeds and all the words we have spoken have grown and are growing to produce a harvest whether good or bad. When these “seeds” begin to produce fruit they can change the course of our destiny. Today is the day to repent of every negative word and every sin of our flesh. Spending more time confessing God’s Word will increase our “planting” which will generate a spiritual renewal of our mind. Many have missed God’s purpose by saying, “I am just leaving everything up to God” but if you have ever raised a garden you know that is not the best idea. If you turn your garden over to whatever comes up in it, you will be disappointed because it will be full of weeds. Not because it is God’s will – but because the earth is under a curse. Living in the “default” is automatically receiving what the world has. We have been called to live in God’s divine reality and that is what makes us EFFECTIVE ambassadors for His Name. Watering His Word develops our faith harvest! Selah.

LEARNING HOW TO WALK III

THE WALK
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who
WALK not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:4)

PART 6

LEARNING HOW TO WALK III

THE WALK OF VISION: I have read how most cultures consider the elderly as having gained more wisdom and are admired as being more intelligent. But I must add – this is not necessarily true straight across the board with everyone that has accumulated a substantial number of “miles” I mean years. I personally know older people that are just as unlearned now as they were fifty years ago because they have made the CHOICE to remain the same. Yes, we can all draw from our experiences and learn from our mistakes but not everyone cares to advance in their understanding of absolute truth. Most people take the easy path with forming opinions and developing attitudes about them. These ideas (wherever they come from) solidifies their personal worldviews and it does not really matter to them “why” they believe it – they just accept that it is true. I have come to the conclusion that very few people have ever actually prayed for God to give them the vision of wisdom and this statement proves itself everyday by just talking with those we meet. I do not claim to have arrived at a know-it-all stage; on the contrary – I am almost considered elderly and just now beginning to see a glimmer of perception about why I turned out the way I am. I realize many of my thoughts and decisions were not God’s will and my lack of vision is a result of the absence of spiritual revelation. There is a world of difference between knowing bible stories and learning spiritual principals. When anyone lacks Godly wisdom they automatically (and with pride) fall prey to the default system of BLIND ignorance.

Would you agree there are more people that watch television than individuals who read, write and study on a daily basis for the purpose of seeking spiritual wisdom? I am not being critical or judgmental or talking down to anyone, I am just asking a question. Do you believe that according to people’s actions, they have all of the spiritual vision and wisdom they want? Only those who have been truly born-again in Christ have the correct “tuner” that can dial into the redemption frequency. Christians are the only people in the world that have been transformed in their spirit and have God Himself dwelling inside of their conscience. This brand new spirit cries out to God for more wisdom like a baby cries for their formula. If a Christian allows Jesus to be the Lord of their heart, they will surrender their will and submit to what God desires to do in their life. What Father is most interested in is developing His nature and character in our mind and this is done by the absorption of His Word. The way we become saturated with His Word is to spend time reading, meditating, writing, worshiping, praying and learning how to apply all of this into a LIFESTYLE. So we see a definite process and until we can subdue our flesh while developing a strong desire and a disciplined work ethic, our VISION to see Godly wisdom will NOT just automatically happen. Selah.

Let us consider the word “vision” for a moment. The Bible say’s, “Where there is no VISION, the people perish: but he that keeps the law (God’s Word), happy is he.” (Proverbs 29:18) What is God talking about in this statement? I believe He is using this word as a foundational platform for SPIRITUAL wisdom along with our natural levels of intelligent insight. We cannot ignore His gift of common sense and the ability to learn all that we can in this world. But the Christian must filter everything through the Holy Spirit in order to obtain spiritual revelation and be led in the perfect direction of God’s will. He is saying how those who will SEEK and receive the illumination of holy truth will understand what an important part Godly wisdom plays in the disciple’s life. This “vision” of Godly truth is Jesus Himself! His Word declares our redemption from the darkness of ignorance and His wisdom reveals His love which is our salvation. This “deliverance” rescues us from sin and the danger of not knowing God’s Word that can further enhance our abundant life. Those who are not enlightened with the vision of Christ and what He offers through His covenant are plagued with misery, emptiness and hopelessness. Nothing they can accomplish in their own strength can satisfy because it is all based on the false trust of humanism – the vision of self.

The Webster’s New World Dictionary explains the word “vision” like this; the act or power of seeing. Something supposedly seen by other than normal sight, as in a dream or trance. The ability to foresee or perceive something not actually visible. We can now also incorporate and connect faith into our platform of “vision” because God’s thoughts are “seen” and developed within the spirit and the fruit or “birthing” is the manifestation of Jesus ministering through us. To claim to be born-again yet not having the vision of Christ being formed “in us” is to be in danger of religious deception. The definition of “perish” is; to be ruined, destroyed. To die an untimely death. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you, that you will be no priest to me: seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.” (Hosea 4:6) The knowledge of what? The revelation of knowing God and how to live for Him!

I was raised by good parents who were clean, decent with generally good morals. My dad worked hard in his own construction business and my mom was a stay at home housewife. They provided a loving environment for us kids and we all lived a good life and enjoyed the blessings of what I would call the “normal” middle class, American family. I was raised in a traditional church, went to Sunday school and was born-again as a young teenager. I heard lots of salvation messages and thank God for that, but I do not remember receiving spiritual instruction at home. In fact I cannot recall much in the way of teaching me about anything pertaining to the lessons of life or how to WALK as a Christian. I do not intend to be critical; rather I am actually sympathetic because I believe I finally understand how the LACK of spiritual insight can be a generational cycle. If one has not been personally instructed in spiritual wisdom – they will not be sensitive or aware to teach and pass on the “visions” of God’s divine reality. Since I was not taught the spiritual knowledge and wisdom about how to live in God’s presence, I did not pass these specific instructions on to my children like I should have. My wife and I did join a spirit-filled group of serious believers and did pray and lay hands on them at bedtime and this was an improvement. But I still feel that I failed as the head of the home to plant the seeds of vision and wisdom that could have increased their awareness of God and would have given the Holy Spirit a greater opportunity to influence them even more.

Years ago, my wife Cheryl and I became friends with a Mormon family when our children played sports together. We had read about the Mormons but had never been around them personally and what we learned was very “eye opening”. I do not agree with Mormonism doctrine and this is not the place or time to discuss it but rather I want to share with you how they have discovered the importance of the cycle of passing on the “vision” of Christ to their children. Mormons take every aspect of family VERY seriously. Their dedication and commitment to their church and their family would put the average Christian to shame. Mormons believe in the unity of their faith and are closely connected with each other in everything they do. Education is one of their highest priorities and you will seldom find a Mormon that does not graduate college. It is very common to find Mormons at the top of their field in business and most of them enjoy financial success which enables them to abundantly provide for their children and church. Their Sunday school classes are not babysitting situations but rather are led by qualified teachers (most of the time actual public school teachers and professional leaders). They teach little girls how to cook, clean, sew, wash, iron, changing diapers and every other possible domestic responsibility connected with taking care of a home. Many of their classrooms have complete kitchens as these teachings are presented as serious “seeds” that are planted into impressionable minds that produce a rich harvest of blessings. Little boys begin boy scouts when they are tiny as the boy scouts have a long tradition of being partnered and supported with the Mormon Church. Boys are not only taken out on regular field trips to learn about nature but also instructed on HOW to act and interrelate with others in a Godly attitude. They are shown how to respect authority and the elderly. They receive personal instruction on how to treat other people with incorporating the character, nature and attributes of Jesus. They learn the value of money, the responsibility of working and the awareness of being business minded. As they progress through the scouts they grow more mature about life to the point they can handle a two year mission experience after high school so they can put into practice all of the “life skills” they have learned.

There is usually no question as to whether Mormon children will go to college or not. It is expected, planned and provided as a normal part of life. There is a high rate of success in their work and usually marry within their faith as husband and wife are comfortable in their spiritual values and can share their passion for God and family. On top of being trained by the tight knit community of church friends and mentors, each Mormon family (especially when starting to raise children) is committed to what they call “family alter” each evening. This is a time where the father leads a spiritual teaching along with having special prayer for each person and a time of sharing personal experiences, questions and just having honest discussions about life. We have had the honor to be a guest at these family gatherings and were very impressed with how close this bonds the family as a whole. You can feel the closeness and the joy that is felt in this caring atmosphere. If you have ever really paid any attention to the “Walton’s” you will notice how their family dinner table was the place of unifying and focusing on “each other” and how this genuineness and transparency builds the bonds of love. In today’s world it is not difficult to see how the devil has broken up these bonds of affection and scattered the families with electronic distractions and worldly attitudes. The television, computers and cell phones have replaced the vital “human” connection and consequently have brought a distance and a weakness in the strength of CARING within the family. Sensitivity and tenderness has been replaced with harshness and resentment. Loyalty, respect and honor have now become embarrassing and its cruelty breeds backstabbing even within the sacred presence of family. Husbands and wives easily drift apart from each other and lose their vital spiritual and physical connection. When couples do not pray together they lose their spiritual adhesiveness. They actually drift so far apart they do not even really know each other anymore. Parents forget about their children and are satisfied with allowing them to make their own life as long as they leave them alone. Parents expect the public school system to teach them everything they need to know but have become so busy they do not care about the lies and poison their children are absorbing. It is easy to see how the average family has become a victim of sin and has suffered from the lack of making Christ and His Word the CENTER of the family. I am not saying that Mormon families are perfect and I’m only using them as an example of those who are grounded and committed to living and leading in their faith. And I am sure there are many good Christian parents that have “walked” and taught their children in the same path. The point is the LACK of personal instruction is why people do not know how to live in Christ. And when they grow up they in turn do not “pass on” the crucial truth of what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus. When the principals of God are not planted deep within the heart of a CHILD it is difficult for that person to find the buried treasures of God’s divine reality. This glance at understanding why people do not know how to live for God is not meant to be condemning neither am I offended by not receiving instruction from my family. I am blessed to have been given what I received. I simply recognize why things are the way they are and pray this developing Christian generation will plant spiritual seeds and build their “vision” within God’s Word as their highest priority. “Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.” (Proverbs 8:10)