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.

Leading People or Maintaining Robots

When we go to work and look around, do we see a vibrant environment full of inspiration and creativity, or do we find ourselves drained of purpose and just trying to get by? The “another day, another dollar” saying truly is a sad edict hung over many a head across this globe. I’d also venture to say that it’s not within the confines of Heaven’s original blueprints for humanity either.

I’ve heard before (and honestly have thought myself) some say that they just wish we could have a good dictator come in and “just… fix everything!” Ya know… just for a little bit. Whether this be about our governments or perhaps frustrations with red tape or management issues at our workplaces. We just want things to work right! Right?

Here’s the problem… Jesus, no matter how supreme and omnipotent, doesn’t act like a dictator. Why? Because God’s way of leading doesn’t require it. The reason for that is that we are created to be loved and to love. Therefore, when Jesus loves us, the core of our design is touched in such a way that though we have free will, we voluntarily subjugate ourselves to Him (John 14:15). It works this way because once you are convinced of someone’s sincere love, it is much easier to be persuaded of their cause.

On the other hand, though you strive for the most holy of stances, if you lack the purveyance of genuine friendship, you will be hard-pressed to win over a single soul.

I say “soul” because that’s exactly what we are dealing with. If you only want a robot in your following, then simply appease people on their basest of levels. Like for instance, merely a paycheck (shelter, food, water). We’ll call it the “carrot on a stick” motivator. You may also use this base motivation as leverage. For instance when the boss pulls out the whip and says “work harder or you’re fired!”.

If you want to activate what God puts on the inside of people though, and as a leader you need that to accomplish your vision, you have to go a level deeper. A good Godly leader needs to touch the heaven that’s inside his people to get the Lord’s answer manifested in his business or organization. To attain inspiration, there must first be a conducive environment for that to come through. Every organization rises and falls due to its leadership, so the responsibility to cultivate a heavenly atmosphere lies within the lap of the leaders.

Most places are filled with robots and most places are filled with managers instead of leaders. Should not the marketplace influence coming from the Church be different? If we invest at the robot level we will lead followers. If we invest in people, we will lead leaders, and that’s where the real multiplication begins.

Jesus used both the whip (cleansing the temple) and the carrot (miracles and provision) as tools, but that’s all they were. The spirit of His leadership is firmly grounded in love and a passion for bringing others up to His level instead of leaving them behind in the dirt. Jesus produces leaders. We can actually see whole cities mentioned in the Bible where they were offered the carrot but were blinded to the love and as a result they didn’t turn (Matt 11:20-24). Though He performed many miracles, they weren’t won to His cause. Neither benefits nor great pay can join people to vision. It must be love.

Why did certain people reject Jesus? 2 Cor 3:14-16 shows us that those who are so used to a cold, law-based life (The cycle of tradition – Mark 7:13) are veiled to the light and love of Jesus. In fact, in the aforementioned Matt 11:20-24, the only cities that were being rebuked were the ones that had the law readily available to them. Unveiling prayer then, must be an added component for the people we lead so that we may have as many as can be on board with God’s dream for the organization.

With these principles in place, the raised bar of activation within the company or group acts as a filter for those who refuse to be excellent. It is when the leadership is content with mediocre that “flies in the ointment” stay on board. As a result of God’s love in leadership, I believe Jesus can bring Christian influence to the top of the marketplace and make the competition wonder why our people are so alive and firsts in innovation.

So, I want you to know that Jesus loves you and I love you, and you’re more than normal. You’re an overwhelming conqueror!

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.

Consistency with God. Really?

Everybody who’s gone to church has heard it…”Time alone with God is important”. We hear quotes or stories of successful ministers who say “My secret to making it is my relationship with God!”. We know it’s true, but when we try to be consistent, it seems like it becomes muddled or hard to focus on. Before we know it, it’s been 2 weeks and the only time with God we really spent was at church besides maybe some casual time on a commute or something.

I’ve heard it explained at conferences quite clearly. Where hype is high, the speaker will tell the attendees that the hype will wear off in a few weeks, and that they have to be diligent in seeking God’s face. The annoyance I always had though was that no one ever explained to me how to keep diligent. I mean, it’s great to know that you need something; it’s another thing to know how to get it. How do you stop from growing cold? How does one stay faithful when his track record is full of “oh wow, it’s been 3 days since I last read the Bible…and I still don’t feel like it”?

I was never one of those “highly motivated” people. I’d see someone with so much going on in their life and wonder how they had the energy and discipline to do it all. Meanwhile, my spiritual life was like a roller coaster. I’d have good days and bad days. The problem is we don’t really start seeing results until we start seeing consistency because those bad days get us to stomp out our harvest.

Putting Up the Hedge

So we know our walk needs to be consistent. How do you do it? The answer is to put up a hedge of protection against the assignments of the enemy. The devil doesn’t have enough personnel to attack you every day, which is why most of the time our prayer lives go up and down. On Monday things may be going good, but on Tuesday a demon comes around on his circuit to mess with you. He starts pressing the buttons that he’s gotten results with in the past and he will keep pressing those buttons until he gets an inch. When you give an inch, he takes a mile.

Another key to consistency and the motivation needed to attain it is to stare at God until you are desperate to change the difference between the two of you. Then, trust that God gives the grace to sustain the fire. Some things you can just learn, but other things need to be caught from being around it. Prayer is just one of those things. We have to be around God continually.

Another way to look at it is that as sons and daughters we have to get in His presence to catch His dream, and then we can start dreaming about our part in it. God gives a dream to birth a burden in you. Motivation is about having a dream. Desperation is about not being satisfied until you see that dream come true.

Putting up the hedge isn’t a certain secret formula; it’s simply agreeing with Father using words of faith. Over time my prayer has evolved and I’ve added things that I pray about. At the start I prayed over just the people in my family, and then something was stolen from me. Then I added covering the possessions God gave me and the enemy attacked me at work. I added covering my work and the enemy attacked my focus. Needless to say, the enemy will attack any open area that you leave unguarded.

Don’t let this get you into a legalistic mode that just prays out of fear though. As a guardian of my family, I take it as my responsibility to do what I can do and what I know to do. Anything I miss or make a mistake in, God has my back. That’s what guardian angels are for. God wants us doing our part though. We can’t just sit back and expect our co-workers in the faith to protect everything if we haven’t empowered them by speaking the Word over our lives. The Bible says that the angels perform His Word (Psalm 103:20-21). If there’s no Word being spoken by the ambassador of the Kingdom (that’s you), then they can’t do anything because Earth isn’t their jurisdiction until given permission.

I know it can be hard to hear, but the most important part of your day is the morning. Whether your morning starts at a different time because of a third shift position or not, the beginning of your day is when the shield needs to come up. That’s when the enemy is waiting to start a new round of punishment. We can be ready with our own punishment though.

In summation –  Make a habit to cover yourself and your family with prayer at the start of each day before the enemy builds momentum (For instance as soon as you get out of bed, start the shower, make breakfast, etc.) and you’ll start seeing success in consistency with God as the enemy begins consistently failing in his assignments. Mingle this with obtaining your part of God’s dream for the Earth and look out – consistency is here to stay. Really!