Reformation Series: Does God Honor Our Holidays?

old-ornament-1415893

Have you ever wondered if God accepted your worship? Have you ever thought if perhaps there was a preferred way that He wants to be praised? After-all when we bring the Lord an offering it really is just that – an offer.  Abel’s offer was received as acceptable worship but Cain’s offer was denied. What made Cain’s worship unsavory in the eyes of God was his decision to ignore what God wanted and to do it “his way”. Today on this Reformation Series we’re going to be addressing the Cain spirit to see if it has infiltrated our way of thinking and thus our way of life. WARNING – The smell of sizzling, sacred cow will be wafting our way soon so grab a bottle of steak sauce and put on your Berean sunglasses; it’s cookout time!

So the first and main question about the Cain spirit is have we lost reverence for God’s opinion? If God cares about how we should live our lives and bring Him praise then have we ignored it?

The beginning of this problem is that an all too large number of Christians today don’t really pay attention to the front of the Bible. This is like starting 3/4ths of the way into the greatest novel ever written and thinking we can understand what is going on. Then on top of that we try to read Paul’s epic scholarly dissertations with about a 3rd grade education in the very thing he mastered in…actually a double doctorate would be the modern equivalent.

So what happens if we don’t start from the beginning? Often times it ends up creating a belief system that kinda sorta maybe requires God to change His mind about some things in order for it to fit into our theology. Well you have a problem if that happens. If you can change what is perfect, then it wasn’t perfect to begin with because perfect can’t change. This is why God said multiple times that He does not change. The Word also states that He is thrice holy (Is 6:3). That’s Hebrew for “you better listen up because this isn’t to be forgotten”.

So now we know that God didn’t change His opinion about what He considers holy and unholy after the cross. What’s that mean for our evaluation of the culture we are in? Well we know that anything that isn’t of the Kingdom of God finds its root in the Babylonian system which is also where the root of all paganism came from after the flood by way of Nimrod and the tower of Babel. Let’s see what God says about Christians and Babylon in Rev 18:4,5-

I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. NASB

So apparently it is possible to participate in the allotted plagues or judgments unless we come out of Babylon. All throughout the Bible God shows a theme of how if we allow ourselves to be snared by Egypt, Canaan, Babylon, and so on, that it can cause us to lose our birthright or inheritance. Let’s see what Duet 7:25,26 says –

The graven images of their gods you are to burn with fire; you shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, or you will be snared by it, for it is an abomination to the Lord your God. 26 You shall not bring an abomination into your house, and like it come under the ban; you shall utterly detest it and you shall utterly abhor it, for it is something banned. NASB

Now remember that because God didn’t change at the cross and because He is in eternity and outside of time, He does not look at this as an antiquated thing. In fact if a thousand years is as a day to the Lord then to Him it hasn’t been a week since he said it. This is about the place where that sinking feeling in the stomach comes. If it hasn’t then we should probably assess our level of the fear of God. This is the same One that struck down Ananias and Sapphira… under the new covenant. Thought I’d throw that in there.

Speaking of the fear of God let’s see what has happened through the Bible when God’s people wanted to carry on the Cain spirit –

Lev 10:1 -3 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. 2 And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. 3 Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the Lord spoke, saying,

‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy,
And before all the people I will be honored.’”  NASB

Jesus said that if we love Him, then do His commandments. Therefore we walk out our love for God by obeying His commandments. Wherever you have a kingdom you also have its rules and regulations. Jesus’ main passion during His Earthly ministry was the Kingdom of God and thus God’s statutes and precepts.

Okay the next one is 1 Sam 15:22 –

22 Samuel said,

“Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams. NASB

The context of this story is well known. King Saul feared the acceptance of the people instead of the command of God. He disobeyed God by sparing the best of the enemy to give as a “gift” to God. Obviously God didn’t care about his opinion. That brings us to a biggie about whether God cares about our opinion on how we choose to worship Him. Let’s head to the story of the golden calf in Exod 32…

He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. NASB

A couple of points of interest here – The word “Lord” in verse 5 isn’t a general term, it’s actually God’s name (Yahweh) in the Hebrew. The most common assumption is that they immediately went to serving some foreign god of Egypt but that doesn’t really pan out logically. First of all they had just seen all the gods of Egypt become insulted and defeated through the ten plagues. They knew very well Who brought them up from the land of Egypt. His pillar of fire and smoke was standing right there while they were making the calf. In fact the Paleo-Hebraic word picture for Elohim was a bull (which represented strength) and a Shepherd’s staff. The people simply lost patience with their mediator Moses, who was a type and shadow of Jesus, and decided that they were going to revert to the practices of the cultures around them and put their God into physical form, thus nullifying Who He was. (The misuse of the calf symbol for God is seen with Jeroboam’s golden calves as well.) Then they decided to make up their own holiday in this brash initiative and celebrate God their own way.  The end of the story isn’t pretty; 3,000 people died for worshiping their way even though they meant well.  And so in like fashion when Moses burned the golden calf with fire we come to the BBQ …

After this long-winded preamble the question must be asked. Does God honor the holidays we celebrate in His name? Well I believe that if God has not ordained the practices and those said practices are pagan in nature then according to everything we’ve seen so far the answer should be a resounding “No”. Now I anticipate the rebuttal that some will say that we just need to redeem the pagan practices and then that makes it better. The problem with that idea is that the word redeem has to do with returning or restoring something that originally belonged to God or was originally holy.

I would offer that the first reason someone would play the “redeem” card would be that they don’t want to give up something that has emotional attachment. In other words as you read through this make sure your feelings aren’t in the driver’s seat instead of the Word of God. After all Isaiah 5:20 states  –

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

If God calls something unholy then it will be classified as unholy forever unless you can cover it in the blood of Jesus. If sin is covered in the blood though it must be followed with repentance; not as an excuse for continued violation. It’s time to start getting into the specific practices of our holidays. Let’s see if we can find anything redeemable in here…

EasterEnglish form of the female god Ishtar.

First of all I want to give a quick math quiz. How in the world do you get 3 days in the grave from Friday to Sunday? Last I checked Friday night to Saturday night is one day, Saturday night to Sunday night is 2 days. Hmm…Something’s off here…Wait a minute didn’t Jesus die on Passover as the final sacrifice? Easter must just be a western Passover right? Well not really. Easter was commandeered by the Holy Roman Empire and basically turned into the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection because all the Romans were used to worshiping on that day. The problem is that over time the fertility and sun god worship aspects of the former holiday never left. God gives specific instructions in the Bible that we are not to learn the ways that the pagans worshiped their gods so that we won’t be snared by it.

Easter or Ishtar was known by many names. If you keep going back in time you will eventually land on a real woman named Semiramis. She happened to be Nimrod’s wife…and sister….and mother (Legend goes that Nimrod’s dad had a daughter and he married the daughter and had Nimrod with her. Then after the dad dies Nimrod marries his mom.) She was known as the original true whore of Babylon. After the dispersal from the tower of Babel you had all these different people groups that deified Nimrod, his wife and their son and included them into their pantheon of gods. The mythology believed that Ishtar had come back down to Earth in an egg and when she landed she turned a bird into an egg laying rabbit. Right…Anyway the pagans would sacrifice their children and paint eggs with their blood as an offering for prosperity. Nothing says family time with the kids like honoring abortion.

Demons have been around a long time. They look at ancient practices and remember the original like it was yesterday. If we won’t bring a pentagram or a voodoo doll into our house because we know it attracts demons then why in the world would we participate in these practices? Because they have sparkles and look pretty? The witches rejoice when Christians join in on their holidays. According to the occultic community it’s one of the few times in the year that the hedge opens up and allows curses to land.

We can’t plead the blood of Jesus over something we won’t repent from. The lukewarm Christian can generally get away with these practices but not those who want to move higher. Satan will use these breaches of covenant as a get-out-of-jail free card that he holds in reserve if you ever decide to be dangerous. One of the greatest weapons the enemy has is hiding cause-and-effect from the eyes of the believer.

Halloween – This one is obvious. We should be in constant prayer and vigilance to bind the wicked practices of witchcraft in our area on this day. If you knew the exact day out of the whole year that your house was going to be robbed you wouldn’t go out to a party. You’d stay home and rack the shotgun.

Christmas – Anything but that one!

If you’re still reading this then you knew this would be coming. Quick question for you — as a Christian how many times have you heard that you shouldn’t want any spirit but the Holy Spirit? Probably a lot if you’re well churched. It’s in our songs and our prayers. Well, except for Christmas time. For some reason as soon as it’s December all of us want the Christmas spirit. I don’t know what or who that is but I’m pretty sure we should be careful how we word our wishes. After all warm fuzzies can only come from God right? The Bible states that we are to test the spirits; even the ones that look bright and cheery. Just something to ponder.

Let’s get into the nasty bits —

December 25th is not the Lord’s birthday. Before the Julian calendar was switched to the Gregorian calendar the 25th was the winter solstice. On that day the pagans would celebrate a resurrection of the sun god. In Rome the celebration was called Saturnalia. On that day they would fill their houses with holly which they held as a sacred plant. In fact one of the ways that they could tell if a family was Christian is if they refused to deck their halls with boughs of holly on December 25th. There’s no record but still a big chance we have brothers and sisters that were burned or crucified because of their solidarity. Holly isn’t as touchy a topic today but it was still used in worship practices of the day.

Speaking of sacred plants, the mistletoe comes from Druidic worship which is where Wicca and a lot of the new age magic derives its roots. In fact, they considered it so holy that they harvested it with a golden sickle. The kiss under the mistletoe came from 2 gods supposedly declaring a truce under the plant. It’s a parasite by the way. It doesn’t grow on its own accord so it has to leech the life from another tree in the forest to live. Sounds like prime material for the occult to me. If you’d have a problem hanging crystals in your house that were bought at a new age shop then there really isn’t a difference. It’s still inviting spirits that are familiar with its use into the house.

At the source of most sun god worship you will usually find fertility cultism. In other words the people would usually worship sexuality for the promise of a fruitful year. The wreath represents the female side of the worship of fertility. The evergreen branches were used for the wreaths because it represented longevity and eternity. The Christmas tree represents the male side. Did you know that Christmas trees used to be illegal in America? The Puritans who had come from Europe knew where they came from and knew that they were so overtly pagan that they refused to permit their use and deemed them blasphemous to the Lord. The last regulations prohibiting their use weren’t removed until the 1840’s.

When you trace the origin of the Christmas tree back you will find that it is a European version of an Ashera pole. Each version was used for the same type of sun god worship. The Bible actually has a whole lot to say about an Ashera pole…

2 Kings 23:6-7…  6 He brought out the Asherah from the house of the Lord outside Jerusalem to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and ground it to dust, and threw its dust on the graves of the common people. 7 He also broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes which were in the house of the Lord, where the women were weaving hangings for the Asherah.NASB

Deut 7:5-6… But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire. For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. NASB

1 Kings 14:15…  “For the Lord will strike Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water; and He will uproot Israel from this good land which He gave to their fathers, and will scatter them beyond the Euphrates River, because they have made their Asherim, provoking the Lord to anger. NASB

Deut 16:21-22… “You shall not plant for yourself an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of the Lord your God, which you shall make for yourself. 22 You shall not set up for yourself a sacred pillar which the Lord your God hates. NASB

And that’s just the beginning. My final comment on these things is this…

Are we instructed to redeem pagan things or destroy them? In our endeavor to come out of Babylon should we also see if Babylon needs to come out of us? Does God redeem paganism or does He redeem pagan people? Has America become like Jeroboam’s northern kingdom? Are our two golden calves (Christmas and Easter) replacing God’s intended way of worship? Finally, what in the world does any of these practices have to do with the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?

Merry birth of our Lord Jesus Christ celebration Christmas everyone!

 

 

Bearing Arms in the Bible

longsword-1422533

Whether bearing arms is a hot topic in our politics or not, the subject isn’t just in our news headlines; it’s actually found in a number of places in the Bible. For this reason I wanted to write about it so that when we are discipling the nations we can take God’s stance and not just human opinion.

So where exactly does God stand on someone’s right to defend themselves and does He have anything to say about the type of defense we are to have? Let’s go to the scriptures starting in Nehemiah:

13 then I stationed men in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, the exposed places, and I stationed the people in families with their swords, spears and bows...16 From that day on, half of my servants carried on the work while half of them held the spears, the shields, the bows and the breastplates; and the captains were behind the whole house of Judah. 17 Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon. 18 As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built, while the trumpeter stood near me…21 So we carried on the work with half of them holding spears from dawn until the stars appeared...23 So neither I, my brothers, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us removed our clothes, each took his weapon even to the water. NASB

Here we have an example of regular citizens (note the “people in families” in v13) that are taking up arms against the threat of having their lives taken from them. As far as what they are specifically defending, In verse 14 the man of God tells the people to “fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses”. Now what were these regular citizens using to defend themselves with? It says swords, spears and bows. When you look at these implements you can see three different ranges of engagement represented. The sword was close range followed by the spear and then the bow being the longest ranged tool in their arsenal. If we bring these into the technology of today we can see short, medium, and long ranged weaponry as well. These people were using the handguns, shotguns and rifles of their age to defend themselves.

Unfortunately this wasn’t always the case though. Let’s look at another time in Israel’s history when the people weren’t able to defend themselves…

19 Now no blacksmith could be found in all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears.” 20 So all Israel went down to the Philistines, each to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, and his hoe. 21 The charge was two-thirds of a shekel for the plowshares, the mattocks, the forks, and the axes, and to fix the hoes. 22 So it came about on the day of battle that neither sword nor spear was found in the hands of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan, but they were found with Saul and his son Jonathan. NASB

So let’s think about this. God decided to put this little fact into the living Word. The Word that shall never pass away even though the heavens and the Earth will. Apparently this point was worth showing! If a nation is disarmed then it can be controlled.

You may be wondering if any of this is relevant in the New Testament so let’s move on to what Jesus said in Luke:

35 And He said to them, “When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said, “No, nothing.” 36 And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. NASB

I can see a lot of folks saying that the Lord was using the sword as a representation of the Word but contextually this wouldn’t make sense. In verse 35 he is referencing when he had originally sent out the 70 to evangelize with the orders to do so with no physical goods. He did this to teach them trust but now right before His death He knew that the times and seasons were changing. So much so that Jesus now showed that a weapon would be more valuable than clothing.

Now that we see that God shows that weaponry is a good thing to have on hand let’s turn toward our responsibilities with them. Starting in Ezekiel 33…

But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’ NASB

This shows that we have a responsibility to defend the defenseless and warn people of coming danger. I really like how Psalm 82 puts it…

2-4 “Enough! You’ve corrupted justice long enough,
    you’ve let the wicked get away with murder.
You’re here to defend the defenseless,
    to make sure that underdogs get a fair break;
Your job is to stand up for the powerless,
    and prosecute all those who exploit them.” MSG

Think of it this way – In John 10 it says that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. Through this look into the enemy’s strategy we can know the natural progression that he takes against you. If someone breaks into your home to steal, know that they are under a demonic influence. If they are under such a thing then the temptation and the drive from Satan is to elevate it to killing you. Then, once they have killed they will be driven to utterly destroy you.

Thus I believe (to the extent that the law allows) that it is required of every guardian of every Christian household to be prepared to defend themselves in the same manner that Nehemiah and the Israelites had to. Once the invader has crossed the boundary of the inheritance, the season to give charity and be at peace has ended and now it is time to defend just as Eccl 3:8 states.

Some will say though that the angels of the Lord protect them and that defending themselves isn’t their responsibility. Yes, the angelic armies of the Lord of Hosts are encamped around and about those who fear God, but often in scripture it is shown that they aren’t involved with all of the fighting. With Joshua and the Israelites more fell by the hail of the Lord than the sword, but many still fell by the sword. God sent forth an angel before Joshua to cut off the mighty men of the enemy but not the rest. It is also said that the glory of the Lord shall be our rear guard. So who then is the front guard? Did the angels inherit your home? Are their names on the title and were they given dominion over the Earth?

Here’s how I look at it – The Lord strengthens my hands for battle and my fingers for war (Psalm 144:1) and I am to be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9) but for anything that I can’t handle I have the backup of Heaven for ultimately the battle is the Lord’s!

The Life of the Mountain Path

692860_35521712There’s two paths that lay before us; one that goes through a plain and one that goes through the mountains. The former is a single level of existence and the latter a consistent inclination (with lots of huffing and nerdy wheezing of course).

We know that we are offered the scenic route when we come to the Lord. His character shaping challenges us to move higher as the clutches of the world’s way of thinking begin to burn off.

What’s holding us back though? What is it exactly that lock us into the pathway of the plain? I believe that when you are able to name something you are then able to better deal with it in prayer.

Let’s look here in Genesis 11…

It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” – NASB

In verse 3 we see that they had to use substituted materials for building their city — brick for stone and tar for mortar. Why? They decided to settle for a one-level lifestyle and compromise their call to pioneer the world. Their supplies were cheaper in quality because they were made out of what their path was made out of. Their trust in mankind instead of God’s provision caused them to self destruct and the driving factor behind all of this was fear. Where God isn’t, there is no peace.

There’s good news for those who believe in Jesus though. The Word says that perfect love casts out all fear. Jesus said that the man who builds his house on the rock won’t have it sink on him. There is provision in the call even into the unknown. You know what’s out in the unknown though? Adventure! (and ice cream…I think). I know there’s at least adventure. Oh, and a whole lot of joy and fullness of days too.

So whatchya waitin’ for? There’s a nice mountain path out there with a bunch of people on the other side that are connected to your breakthrough. History isn’t changed by the mediocre — It’s changed by the mountain walkers.

 

What are 2 ways you can start up the mountain path right where you’re at today? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Restitution Plunder

When I was a little boy the most interesting thing to me about the Bible was all the battle stories. Nothing got me more into listening to the Word than hearing a tale about these amazing heroes that just did these ridiculous feats that no one else could do. They were real super heroes! Not the fake kind on the cartoons but ones that actually existed and if God empowered them, then He could empower me too! All I ever really wanted to hear about was David’s mighty men, or Joshua, or those crazy battles in the book of Judges where Samson would win against impossible odds. I can’t forget about the hail that would fall from the sky to destroy the enemy too. That was the icing on the cake.

Well today I want to talk about another awesome battle of supernatural strength. This one isn’t usually heard about though because it’s nestled right in there in the middle of a bunch of those “begats” in 1 Chronicles. You know… that book you ignore and then go and read 1 Kings instead.

I see you…

Jesus sees you…

Anyway, I just want to point out 1 Chronicles 5:18-22. Real short and sweet, but powerful –

18 The sons of Reuben and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, consisting of valiant men, men who bore shield and sword and shot with bow and were skillful in battle, were 44,760, who went to war. 19 They made war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish and Nodab. 20 They were helped against them, and the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hand; for they cried out to God in the battle, and He answered their prayers because they trusted in Him. 21 They took away their cattle: their 50,000 camels, 250,000 sheep, 2,000 donkeys; and 100,000 men. 22 For many fell slain, because the war was of God. And they settled in their place until the exile. NASB

Here’s the thing that makes this fight for the promised land different. This is not the days of Joshua. Quite some time has gone by since the days when all the tribes were supposed to get their allotment of the land of Canaan. These folks had been waiting a long time. Their portion had been postponed. If this sounds familiar, just wait because I hear the story ends well.

Think about this though… All the cattle, camels, sheep, and donkeys were never raised by the Israelite. These soldiers didn’t tend any of those animals. Nope; not one. Not a single day did they have to heft out the feed bag or fight off predators to protect them. All they had to do was become valiant and skillful in battle with the sword, shield and bow. All the days that they were sitting outside their rightful portion God just had the Canaanites raising that plunder for them.

When the time came for breakthrough, all of the character development and training paid off and God walked them in and gave them the farm. God has plunder for each and everyone of us that grants restitution for our time spent in the wilderness. This truly shows that even when the enemy tries to offer us a “shortcut” to success, it’s not really the quickest way. The alternate path will have us meander about to and fro until we finally end up in true poverty. God’s way is quicker. He’s just waiting for the right time and a few valiant soldiers.

So let’s take these heroes as a testimony for what God can do through us and be heroes for our God, our families, and our nation!

Keep your sword down on the whetstone, your shield polished, and your fletchings dry. You have a farm to inherit.

The Sickle and the Sword

Have you been tithing and giving but haven’t quite seen the breakthrough that you’ve been praying for? There’s a lot of principles to nail down like maturity, being a cheerful giver, making sure the core motives are right, sowing into good soil sources and so on. Then there’s the whole “right season” thing that we have no control over. Needless to say, it takes soaking into the Word to really get it. It has to become our true profession. The reason for that is because obtaining God’s abundance requires that we change more than our circumstances change. I mean, that’s the easy stuff. One angel on assignment from God can change everything around us. The thing that takes time is us, right?

Let’s say you’ve done all those things though. I’m not bringing forth a hypothetical perfection here. I’m just saying…hey, you’ve been working on and doing everything you know to do… and still no dice. What gives? Does it really take this long to get to harvest season? Well I can’t answer that because I’m not the sovereign God. Here’s the thing though… there’s a lot of great Word speaking people using the principles of what I’d call the sickle (the sowing and reaping principles) but just think about this; all of Israel’s blessings were about when they would obtain their promised land. While they were in the wilderness they just got charity.

Free bread falling from Heaven every day. Free bread that only came in bread form…not seed form for sowing. Why? The soil in the wilderness can’t produce a crop, so God had to give them bread. The problem is that you can’t multiply with bread. You can only consume it. You can’t save it up like seed and you can’t invest it.

That mana went bad quickly. After all, God didn’t plan on them being there next week, so it didn’t have to have a long shelf-life. Each day though, He’d look down to see if they had taken good soil from the enemy’s hands and…sigh…nope. “Well Gabriel, I guess you’ll have to wipe off some crumbs from the angel’s mess hall table onto them again. They still haven’t matured and attacked.”

Sound familiar? Perhaps a weekly check that just gets you by until next week might jar your memory. It’s kind of hard to disciple the nations if we only have grocery money for our own families. God has more available than that. So how do we get it from Heaven to Earth? I mean they pave the streets with the stuff up there!

So we use the sickle like the Word instructs us to and that’s good. What I propose is that next we need to pick up the sword in the other hand and start laying siege to what God has promised us.

Now, don’t be discouraged about all your sowing and think that you’ve been wasting it. God’s guarantee on return still stands. The obstacle that we have to get by is the fact that He’s been stockpiling it into the silos of our promised land. Within that place, there are others who are tasked with gathering it up for us. This is found in Eccl 2:26, Deut 6:10-11, 1 Chron 5:18-22, and Josh 24:13.

All of these instances show the fruit of the sword or plunder. Some harvests are won by the sickle; others are won by the sword. As you engage in spiritual warfare over your calling or region, you loose what God has tasked sinners to gather up for you. Ever wonder why the 5 talent servant got the 1 talent servant’s portion from Matt 25? This is why. As soon as someone moves from an investor in God’s kingdom to a hoarder, he reverts back to the curse laid upon sinners to gather up riches for the righteous in Eccl 2:26. If you’ve wondered about that whole “wealth of the wicked laid up for the righteous” thing, that’s what it’s talking about. It also happens to be another good reason not to be jealous when the wicked prosper. They’ve been ordered to. The real problem is that somewhere, a Christian hasn’t taken their inheritance yet.

How do you take a promise land then? How do you use the sword of the Lord? Well, that’s a broad subject and the posts on this site will continue to point towards that goal, but before we get into more teachings on it later, I just want to point out the first key. A major key to the breakthrough that Daniel received that brought wealth transfer and promised land aquisition to Ezra, Nehemiah, and many others. That key is what most call the “Daniel fast”.

The amazing thing about Daniel’s 3 week fast is that it wasn’t about quantity; it was about quality. He just decided that he wasn’t going to please the flesh. See it never actually says he planned on stopping after 3 weeks. It just says that the breakthrough came after 3 weeks. He got desperate enough to change his lifestyle to one that only pleased God. Lo and behold, it made things move.

To be put simply, a lifestyle that’s sacrificed to please only God develops character. That more mature character then is able to handle higher level anointings and promotions in the spirit realm. Finally, the higher level anointings bring with them the higher level angelic assignments that walk in and move mountains. So start loosing those angel armies and keep pressing in. Go for it! We can take the promises in the Word and declare and stand on them in our prayer times. Jesus makes us overwhelming conquerors!

It’s time. Fighting is optional. Winning isn’t.

Centurion or Plebeian

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you just went for it? I mean, like… really went for it with God. You probably know what I’m talking about. It’s that haunting thought that whispers to you in the quiet hour. When that twilight time meets your inner musings and you almost question the cost of your habits. Why don’t I run from this fence with sword and axe flailing, you may ask. Just… give it all up? The friends? The shallow activities? That box that I stare at for entertainment, or whatever the excuse is.

No. Thoughts flood back in a rush of reality. Because it’s always been this way we believe it is inescapable. I need my rest and that’s where the entertainment comes in. As for the people that drain my focus, I can’t just be rude to them. We’re supposed to be nice, right? Jesus was nice, wasn’t He? On and on the reasons pile up. In the end the limbo stays and there’s still no peace.

But why?

It’s a simple reason of design. We are made to be in the army of the Lord (2 Tim 2:3-4) and the attempt to live in such a way that tries to ignore this fact is a practice in futility. I want ya to just try to raise up your hand and grab hold of some air. Just go on doing that for the rest of your life and let me know how that’s goes.

Hmm? Don’t want to do that? Well, the sad reality is that many Christians suffer a multitude of frustrations over trying to live a civilian lifestyle in the army of the Lord. When we understand our responsibility of discipline the fence-sitting lifestyle becomes illogical and we can finally start changing for the better.

So here’s a few points on how to come out from the commoners and answer the call to be God’s centurion…

  1. War is Upon You – No person or ministry (even business) can hold onto a vision if war is unexpected and unprepared for. When we don’t expect there to be a battle for what we believe in, we don’t wake up every day to win. If you don’t wake up to win, then you cede the battlefield by your silence. Spiritual warfare needs to be normal. It needs to be daily.

  2. On-Purpose Growth – Jesus said in Matt 10:16 that He wants us to be “shrewd as serpents”. That word “shrewd” is talking about a wise acumen or practical skill. If you don’t like where you’re at right now and you can read, then READ! Being able to be mentored by people who are wiser than you that you don’t even know is an ability that most take for granted every day. Set a schedule. Make goals. Every time you choose to spend money and time on growth instead of entertainment you choose to experience the pain of discipline over the pain of regret. That’s an eternally-minded decision that’s worth making. Remember, our deeds will be judged by Christ with fire in the end. You don’t want to be that guy that brings only his treasured stamp collection before the Lord and Commander of the universe. If you don’t know which way to grow, then ask God about what you should dream about. If you stopped dreaming, then dream again!

  3. Sacrifice Liberties – 1 Cor 8 shows us a principle about choosing to forgo liberties that we might be able to enjoy so that we don’t cause our church family to stumble. Our society has a tendency to run full-boar into practicing and enjoying every liberty that is made available. Just because something isn’t exactly evil doesn’t mean it can’t siphon our focus though (1 Cor 10:23). Whatever holds your focus determines your future. So there’s two reasons why we walk circumspectly about this… Focus, and our brothers and sisters who might have weaknesses to things we may not blink an eye at. Are we our brother’s keeper? Absolutely. In God’s army we don’t leave a man behind.

  4. Accountability – Don’t run! Please! You’ve read this far and I promise it’s almost over. Accountability is a good thing. How much do you trust that flesh of yours anyway? Honestly everyone has blind-spots that we have no idea about. It takes people ahead of us that have been through some things and are a little wiser than us to tell us about them. Iron sharpens iron; it’s just how God made it to be. Get hooked in and get a hold of a mentor. You need more than just books and conferences. You need a Godly spiritual father that can model for you the right way. Some things need to be caught and not just taught.

The rewards of choosing the warrior’s path are many. You can’t weigh the value of obtaining growing, ever-curious, iron-sharpening battle-brothers and mentors. How much money can you pay for a close walk with God? Average doesn’t make it into the history books.

It’s time to live. It’s time to taste battle and take the plunder of promised lands. No more average. No more grasping for wind.

 

Swing away centurion.