Reformation Series: Does God Honor Our Holidays?

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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!

 

 

3 Ideas For Getting Over That Creative Slump

1156284_39977081 Whether you’re writing that next great novel, unleashing your inner artist or brainstorming for the next big project at the office, you want creative juices flowing. What if it all shuts down though? What if you’ve found yourself in the iconic “writer’s block”? Read on for 3 tips on how to keep chugging along without losing your stride…

1. Change the zoom!

Have you ever looked at an instruction manual that showed the finished product laid out in its “exploded view”? I’m talking about when it shows all the components, bolts, nuts and screws with lines connecting each part to where it needs to go. If you’ve put together anything from IKEA then you know what I’m talking about and you’ve probably begun twitching from the memory…I’m so sorry…

Anyway, sometimes the best way to get over a creative slump is to change your “zoom level”. In other words try zooming out of what you’re focusing on right now and zoom into a different component for a bit. You can also zoom in to see the small things that make the whole. For instance perhaps you’re looking at the whole house when you should just focus on the kitchen, the spare bathroom or how you’re going to increase the audio dampening ability of your teenager’s bedroom walls.

This simple switching back and forth can help break up the monotony and set your brain free!

 

2. Compare your apples to your oranges.

So now you’re zooming in and out and all over your project making changes here and there. What’s next? Well for the next level of slump-slappin goodness we’re going to start comparing how our changes to the individual components are actually affecting other components. What’s that mean you say? If I expand my kitchen to allow for more pies to be produced then how is that going to affect the space I made in my dining room for the eating of said pies? We’re quickly coming up to a critical “bake to eat” pie ratio here!

When we start thinking about how the changes we make in one area can affect other areas it can open up a lot more to explore. Think even on possible intangible changes that might occur. Like how I want pie now…

 

3. Solve a different problem.

This may seem odd but you gotta try it. Let’s say you’ve been designing the next great widget that goes on the whatchamacallit that’s part of the super X3000 Gen 2 thing. After you’ve refilled your coffee and cracked the knuckles just stop and switch to a completely foreign project for a few minutes.

Now in your head you’re designing the next super car for your favorite automobile company. Yes I know you may not be an engineer but let’s just pretend. Just…dream. Go through switching the zoom in and out and thinking about what component changes might affect others. Most of all though have fun! Then after a bit come back and start afresh on your project. It will be a nice reset for your brain and hey, who knows? You might even be able to glean an idea from la-la land to use on your own project!

I hope this helps! I love ya and Jesus loves ya. Until next time – keep creating!

6 Ideas For A More Creative Leader – Part 1

Garden Design Blueprint SketchingDo you consider yourself creative? Where would you rate your creativity at? How about compared to others? There’s probably someone you know that you can think of right now that can just blow your mind away when it comes to creativity, isn’t there? So what makes them special? What makes creative people so creative?

Here’s the thing… I don’t like when I hear folks say that they aren’t creative. Ya know why? Because we are made in the image of God! Therefore, we all have ridiculously, amazing, powerful, stupendous, where-in-the-world-did-that-come-from creativity prowess! I mean… let’s not forget where we come from aye?

There can be a number of disconnects that cause us to not see ourselves as creative. Maybe a person hasn’t found their calling yet. Maybe they stopped dreaming a while ago because of a dark moment or their hope being deferred. Whatever the cause; Jesus restores all.

Having said that, I want to bring some ideas that I’ve learned to help leaders (and those who think they aren’t leaders!) generate creativity within themselves as well as in their organizations. I believe that the Lord wants to connect His children to His creative power. He is the light of the world and we can stand to get some of His creativity in us to change this place for the better!

1. Mastery and Discipline Expertise

You know I have to start out at the stewardship level, right? Obviously we have to start from a place where we are dedicated and focused on being our best. We can’t just be our best anywhere though. We need to know where to put all this focus on! Because we are created, we don’t get to choose where our talents are; we get to discover where our talents are. On the individual level this requires research, soul search, and God search.

As far as choosing the right people for the right job though, that’s going to require a more focused hiring process than the norm. Many Fortune 500 companies know this and have made their hiring process to have multiple steps for admittance. In short – hire the best.

When people fit where they are supposed to they learn fast, act fast and adopt fast. They also mesh well with each other and it helps generate excellence within the team. Ask yourself how they will fit into the culture of the organization. The hiring process should be lengthy and deliberate. It isn’t enough to work hard. If you’ve hired a hard-working accountant who is actually an architect on the inside, then you won’t get the full talent that’s needed. God’s gift achieves more than man’s sweat.

2. Reach Outside of the Discipline for Ideas

Bridge Fields – Connecting different fields can give insight! Go look at a completely different industry and see how they deal with what you’re dealing with. Perhaps they’ve found a way to accomplish about the same thing that you are.

Blend Fields – Is there something that you can create that is a hybrid of different fields? Think about how Apple blended tech and artful design together.

3. Expect and Schedule Creativity

There’s this thought that creativity is like lightning striking and you can’t choose when or where. Well that doesn’t mean you can’t hold up a lightning rod in the middle of a field on a stormy day! We can create environments that “catch” creativity. All kinds of people have great inventions in their head. Most of them don’t get them to market though because they aren’t ready for it. Here’s some steps to make creation a routine –

1. Review what’s been done – If change is going to happen then we need a starting point to know if that change is doing us any good. Save the good parts and move on. Be careful not to get stuck on a method! Every organization needs to be reborn at some point.

2. Generate New Ideas – Instill habits within your organization to spend time on creative ideas. Schedule brainstorming! I know this sounds like a no-brainer but sometimes you will hear that there’s “just no time”. Even worse is when no one cares about what the folks down in the trenches are thinking.

3. Test Ideas – Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t let others be afraid to fail! Learn to fail fast and then move on.

4. Use the Best Ideas – In other words; do it right. When you find a good idea take the time to make it really work. One polished idea is better than the clutter of many “ok” ideas.

Part 2 to come…

Question: What is one simple habit that you can establish that will schedule an opportunity for creative ideas?

Becoming Efficient with Time

Time seems to be that one thing folks just can’t get enough of. The interesting thing about it though is that no matter where or to whom we were born we all get 24 hours a day to accomplish life. What we focus that time on is what we become or what we continue to linger as. There are many successful people in this world that even started with nothing that have the same amount of hours as the rest of us. So what’s the difference?

I wanted to bring some tips that I’ve learned from my own fevered searches for understanding on this topic so that time doesn’t remain elusive. I hope it will bring peace to your day and hey…remember that Jesus is the Lord of time and the Restorer of what the locust has eaten!

The 80/20 Rule

Many have probably heard of the 80/20 rule because it’s used in just about every subject. Basically, usually twenty percent of the work that you do is more important than the rest (the 80%). Most of the time you will have twenty percent of your customers responsible for the brunt of your work and/or pay. In the same light, during twenty percent of your workday, you will be at your highest energy level.

Everyone has a peak energy “window” of time in the day where they are able to be the most efficient. It varies from person to person but we definitely want to figure out when that is for us. A lot of times this can coincide with optimal glucose levels in the body as well. In other words, the time of the day where you’ve been without food the longest is probably not the best time to make your most important decisions.

Once you are aware of this you’ll start to see when that time is. From there just start asking “is this an 80 or 20 project?” The key is to do your “20% work” during the time that you are at your peak. When this gets lined up the time starts freeing up more.

Another thing about that window…Protect it! Don’t let people steal your peak time with menial tasks. Broadcast your availability to others so that they know when they shouldn’t interrupt you. If you need to and are able to then get away from the distractions. For instance maturity is paramount with technology at this time. If you have Twitter buzzing your phone clear off the desk then turn it off. Uncle Frank’s post about his new Bassdestroyer 2000 can be liked during the eighty percent time. Unless of course you don’t like the Bassdestroyer 2000…but who wouldn’t?

If a large amount of your time is still being spent on the eighty percent even after you’ve dealt with the twenty percent in your peak time, then the next step comes which is to –

Delegate – Automate – Outsource

If you don’t have to micromanage something and you still are…I wish I had your energy. Leaders lift others up to their own level. The whole purpose of leading is to create other leaders. If you aren’t developing others around you then you aren’t passing the baton. When you stop passing the baton your destiny becomes stagnated because you’ve stopped work on your next promotion.

Here’s something that I try to live by as a general rule for delegation – If it can be done by someone else…it should be done by someone else. Now, that’s not an excuse to become lazy so it has to be said with balance. I’m saying it here because there’s some that need to balance doing everything on their own with this statement. Remember Jesus said you have to love me. :)

What can you delegate, automate, or outsource? Yes maybe you can fix the car for cheaper. How much is your time worth though? After five trips to the store, three YouTube videos watching professionals make it look easy and 6 hours of work did you really get your money back? How much work could you have done focusing on your strengths that God gave you to make a profit faster?

God made you specifically a certain way to answer a problem that the world has. When you find out what that is, you can focus on that strength and then use the success from that to pay others to do what they were created to do. Isn’t it so relieving that you don’t have to be good at everything?

Sleep and Have Fun!

The traditional thought about work is that it should be categorized apart from fun. The problem with that is that God created work and He’s the funnest person you’ll ever meet so somewhere there’s been a disconnect. The mindset is what I’m going after with this. The thought that we are going to just go full crazy for eight or more hours straight almost every day of the week just isn’t within the confines of our design. Our brain needs a break and our body does too. God doesn’t want us sedentary in body or in mind.

There are plenty of studies out there that say taking quick naps or just taking a break to play a game or create something small can reset the brain and make us more efficient. I want to challenge you to sharpen the axe throughout the day and see how much of a difference it can make! Eccl. 10:10

 

What are some ways that you break up the day to stay efficient? Leave a comment!

 

How to write a resume… to God.

It’s easy to find resources all over the web on how to write a perfect resume. No matter what employer that you’re applying for, these strategies that they offer will supposedly give you all kinds of advantages over the other applicants, right? I mean that’s at least what they propose.

Here’s the thing though… Jesus said that He went about doing His Father’s business. He literally worked for His Father. He was in the Family business. No matter what you may do whether you wear a white collar, blue collar, or even a camo one, you work for your Father.

The name of our Family business is the Kingdom of God. We may have many different dreams and many different avenues by which we operate in our Father’s company, but at the end of the day our Boss is God Almighty.

Do you realize what amazingly awesome news that is? No matter how high on the totem pole your boss is, he or she isn’t as high as your Father is. When you’re being mistreated or ignored by them it doesn’t matter. Your Lord thinks the world of you and is always watching. If the head of your company sits in an ivory tower all day and is unreachable, God still loves to hear about your ideas and dreams. Remember that promotion comes from God (Psalm 75:6-7). All authority comes from Him and all power comes from Him (Matt 28:18). I understand that we are told to respect our authorities, but who should we endeavor to please and honor the most here?

So… Think about this. We have all this access to God to the point of boldness (Heb 4:16) and we have all this favor from Him. Why don’t we offer our resume to Him? He’s the one that’s hiring us after all. I use that word “hire” loosely seeing as it’s service to Him, but the Lord does reward for faithful service. He is our first Employer. The Bible says to commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established (Prov 16:3). It also says In Deut 28 that everything you set your hands to do will be blessed (according to His will).

After realizing this I decided to submit my resume to God based upon his Word instead of what the world deems important. I base it upon His Word because all of His promises are yes and amen to those who are under the blood of Jesus (2 Cor 1:20).

In a common resume you will see listed a number of credentials. You will usually have past education, past experience, interests, referrals, and usually volunteer experience. So we’re going to list these out before the Lord and submit it to our Employer in an act of prayer for His preferred employment in His Kingdom. Ya ready? Here we go…

Past Education – I submit to You Father all that Your Holy Spirit has taught me and I submit to His ongoing tutoring to make me an excellent five talent servant for your Kingdom.

Past Experience – I submit to You Father all the wilderness times and the character transformation I’ve been through. All the times that you’ve shown me that You were always there and had me in Your hands. I also submit to You all the testimonies I’ve accrued over my time with You as well as the testimonies of those who have gone before me. I do not forget what You have done for them and myself and I claim them as current and “up and coming” in my life. I expect Your Word.

Interests – I submit to You Father the dreams that You have given me. I submit to you my talents, my skills, and my aspirations. Whether they be fleshly or truly from You. Weigh them and let my true inner motives be Godly so that You can use them. Let Your blueprints be manifest in my life.

Referrals – I submit to You Father my one and only referral – Jesus Christ. The Son of God says that I am holy and unreproachable. He said that I’ve gained a seat in the heavenlies. I ask for all that He has afforded me to be and have on Earth as it is in Heaven; that my condition would match my position by the blood of the Lamb.

Volunteer Experience – I submit to You Father that I do more than what I’m paid to do so that I may be considered a steward over more than I have now. I submit to your promotion and thank You for it!

We seal this prayer in the name of the Referral – Jesus Christ. The One who is anointed to preach the gospel to the poor. The gospel which IS the power of God according to Romans 1:16. Amen!

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.

Used Mantle for Sale. Great Condition – Only Dropped Once.

So you’re walking along in life, praying for revival, and for God to heal the land you love. All of a sudden you come across a crumpled up piece of cloth laying on the ground. It’s old. No telling how old actually…

You get closer to inspect it – there’s a singe around the edges and it seems to still smell like the fire that burned around it long ago. Another whiff and your mind is filled with someone else’s memories. Memories of tireless nights of prayer and fasting. Something about it just feels like hard work.

Was that sawdust?

Maybe it was the smell of the morning catch floating down the cobbled streets of a renaissance harbor city. Or, even older still, as dreams of eldritch peoples who stood watching the Messiah ascend into heaven are painted onto the easel of your mind.

You feel a tightening of the senses as the air grows still…

Another passerby has stopped to gaze at the abandoned mantle and again they wonder, “Will you pick us up?”

Some prayers and missions from the Lord are for our time and some are for the future generation. No one knew this better than King David who was tasked with preparing the supplies for the building of the temple which his son Solomon would later do. One of the key candidacies of inheritance and possessing the promised land that we find throughout the Bible is that of generational transfer.

Whenever the children of Israel didn’t pass on a good relationship with God to their children, bad things always pursued. Peruse through both of the Book of Kings and it tells the story. It’s called passing the baton and it has to be something that we do on purpose. What about the other way though? The Bible says that God turns the hearts of the sons to the Fathers too.

When Elisha picked up his spiritual father’s mantle, he walked over to the Jordan and called upon the God of Elijah. Not “My God”, but “Dad’s God”. Why did he do that? Elijah was gone. He’s in heaven now. He’s bye-bye. Does God answer the prayers of former generations? Absolutely. Through us, that is.

Just think about this. You have Elisha standing there with what has been used many times as the example of an empasse (the Jordan River) standing in his way. The rest of his life was on that other side; everything he was called to do and to use the double-portion anointing for.

He then calls upon the God of Elijah, or the God of the previous generation. He was calling upon God to answer and finish the work that He started in Elijah and to remember any unanswered prayers that were supposed to happen through Elisha. That power is what split the Jordan river and propelled Elisha into his ministry. What an awesome weapon!

Just know that the total fulfillment of your call is beyond you. It will always require the next generations to fully reveal the gigantic and grandiose vision that God has for you. On the flip-side, we all need to be locked into the previous generations so that we can be propelled with all the backup that’s available. Otherwise, we are stuck to reinventing the wheel at every new generation.

The key is to get connected backwards and forwards. In other words, get mentors and also people you can pour into. We have all this power and there’s so many mantles laying around (or brand new ones from Heaven) that no one has picked up because it costs something. Some anointings can only exist within certain lifestyles. If we want the results of Daniel, then we gotta pay the lifestyle price.

So get connected at the local church and find yourself some mentors. Read their books, listen to their teachings, and get to know some of them on a personal level. Then, be a river and not a reservoir. Give out to others what you receive!

It’s calling to you. The drumming in the deep. The heat of the fire. Let its weightiness drape over your shoulders and strike that Jordan! New lands await.