Crossroads

God has placed each of us at a crossroads.

Isaiah 30:21

Whether you turn to the right of to the left, I will be with you. A voice behind you saying, this is the way walk ye in it.

Our cross roads are different. They come at different times in our lives. They come under different circumstances. They come involving different people.

But all the same, we each come to a God crossroads.

God longs for us to turn to Him and say “Lord, where do you want me to go? What choice will not be a hindrance to your will? Which way will bring you glory?”

Sometimes these are MAJOR choices…and other times it is…how will I react in this situation?

We had our ladies meeting last night, and the point of the message came to – my choices might affect someone else’s decision about God.

Meaning if I chose to act like a jerk and give free reign to my complaint, will that bring someone to Jesus or stop them? Or if I chose to bite my tongue, have anger and do not sin, give my complaint to the Lord – will that bring someone closer to Jesus or stop them?

There are times when a true social injustice towards others is committed and it is then our duty to respond in a Godly manner and then there are times when it is you under attack and the Lord must come to your defense. You have to see the situation for what it is.

But you also have to ask God’s option and do that! You don’t have to follow God’s will – He gave us free will. But we all have had the times of us doing our own thing and falling flat on our face with  our hands in our pockets. When we do as God wishes us, then we succeed, He gets glory, and His kingdom and unconditional love progresses forward.

I don’t know about you but I defintely want God’s will to come to pass in my life at every opportunity. I’m making it a daily habit and throughout the day to always ask ‘ Lord, what am I to do? How do I act? How do I react? How do I speak in this situation? Which way do you want me to go?”

I hope I”m not alone in this, for the benefits of doing God’s will are second to none.

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Are you a zealot?

Radical. I’ve used this word before describing what it is what God is wanting us to do – living radically for him. What does radical mean in context to both us as a person and our actions?
Radical as an adjective – so describing something – is going to the root or origin, thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms, favoring drastic political economic or social reforms, forming a basis or foundation existing inherently in a thing or person.
As a noun it is a person who holds or follows strong convictions or extreme principles, advocates fundamental political, economic and social reforms by direct and often uncompromising methods.
This is from the modern dictionary – these are the current implications as to what people think when they hear radical.
When I look at those, I see a big difference from what people thought when Jesus was alive. I know 2000 years ago, times have changed. Uhh…you sure? Solomon says there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
So…people’s thoughts about being a radical or living radically hasn’t really changed too much. When Jesus chose his disciples (I’m sure we’ve all heard this but I’m gonna say it again) he has two extremes within his camp. Matthew – tax collector (Matthew 9:9-10). Modern day liberal Christian, supporter of liberal policies. Simon – the zealot (Luke 6:15). Modern day conservative Christian, supporter of conservative policies.
I feel like these are poor descriptions so let me elaborate. The tax collector now would be the one who ‘believes in God, He just doesn’t care about what happens now. The Bible is an old document and doesn’t say anything about things going on in this day and age.’ This dude worked for the oppressive liberal politicians over him and his people…let that sink in.
Then you’ve got the zealot. That was what he was called. This dude was SO serious that he was called the zealot. He didn’t like the oppressive people, he didn’t like the people who worked for them, he didn’t like the mention of their names. He may have been violent (some were very violent) he may not have been – but he was passionate! So he is the extremist to the right – like won’t even support the left’s agendas with his time or money in any way, shape, or form.
So you have these two opposite ends of the spectrum living, walking, studying, learning, eating, sleeping, doing everything together with Jesus as their leader. They didn’t like one another but what I want to focus in on is that people then thought of radical zealots the same way they do NOW!
It won’t take too long when you hang out with the opposite end before you realize…you don’t have much in common and you can’t be around them and they can’t be around you. They may even call you crazy, a zealot, conservative, old-fashioned – whatever. The name may have changed, but the thought pattern is still the same.
I was talking with my friend the other day and I had a rough day – I couldn’t focus – and I realized that it was because I hadn’t been able to saturate myself as I had become accustomed to. And I said “this may make me sound crazy but I don’t care. I miss the presence that was so saturated with Him” and she did call me crazy. She said well at least you’re crazy in a good way.
But when you walk in radical love both for God and from God, people are going to think you’re crazy. Some will say that you’re good crazy and others are going to mean it in a demeaning way.
So how do we walk in radical love? Just look at Jesus’ two disciples here. He loved them both – liberal and zealot. I’m not saying that he condoned their behavior or those they supported. I am saying that he loved them. After they spent time with Him then they made better their ways.
Matthew stopped being a tax collector and went around ministering and later wrote the gospel. Simon calmed down and channeled his passion against the oppressive people into sharing God’s love. When Jesus loved them, He changed them. Took their presented qualities and changed them into presentable qualities to the Father.
He loved prostitutes (Matthew 21:28-32)
And this includes even those who sleep around for free (John 4:1-19)
So He loves them, no matter what they have done, what they are doing, or anything else. God loves them! And if we are to be like Jesus, we need to love just like that. See through heaven’s eyes regarding those you come into contact with. God sees them as they will be, the change that will take place, so must we as well. Believe me, I know it’s hard but with God’s help it is possible!
When we love them no matter what, they will come. They will be influenced and battles in the spiritual realm will be won. And all we have done at that point is love them, as God loves us, as God loves them.
When they come, we cannot be Pharisees. We can’t. When they come, they’ll be messed up (we already talked about this) but also they will bring others with them! Look back at Matthew 9:9-10. It says that his friends came over as well.
I imagine (in modern vernacular) that Matthew sent out a text “Yo, I got Jesus coming over tonight. He’s cool. There’ll be food. Come over.” And all his friends are like “Food! Oh Jesus…yeah I’ve heard of him. Sure I’ll be there” So all these people who are JUST LIKE MATTHEW (minus the encounter with Jesus) show up and Jesus was totally cool! So this is the SON OF GOD and he is chilling with a bunch of messed up tax collectors, and he is at home there because He loves them.
He isn’t pointing fingers and calling them out on their stuff right in front of everyone, He isn’t sticking his nose up in the air (saying I cannot be associated with you), and He isn’t uncomfortable around them. Earlier this week I was having dinner with a different friend and she said that one of the nights she was getting ready to go on stage in her dressing room and one person was talking trash about everyone. She told them to get out because 1)she didn’t want to hear and 2)that gossiped knowledge would affect her performance. This knowledge would have made her uncomfortable.
We as humans unless we’ve trained our minds to think like Jesus and not hold their deeds against them; we will automatically go into judgment mode, and it makes us uncomfortable. “I know what you’ve done and I can’t handle that information.” It is our default setting due to the fall and without God – the manufacturer – there really is no changing it. My friend didn’t judge them and she did a marvelous job that evening on stage. But when we do that and they are trying to grow in God, all that says is “I’m imitating God and God can’t handle that.”
But Jesus, sweet Jesus, is right at home with them. He walked in radical love, loving those that the world had deemed worthless, they who are so consumed by their sin they don’t know which way is right, and those hardened against Him.
I know it isn’t easy to actually do this. We can say it all day long, have all the right theories, and the 5 step program. But when we actually encounter those in desperate need of radical love…then we get a little rocky.
You may be thinking, this has not a lot to do with spiritual warfare. Well let me tell you, yes sir-ey bob it does. The many people Jesus drove demons out of, he had compassion on them, He loved them and because of that He drove them out.
One was a girl and a woman, those are easy to love and have compassion on. One dude was NAKED! He was so messed up, all the demons in him went into an entire herd of pigs. This herd was a major part of the town’s livelihood. So it wasn’t like 5, one version says it was 2,000! Even if that isn’t 100% accurate, my version still says large. You can’t tell me that would be easy, for you.
But it was easy peasey for Jesus because He always walked in radical love and in the Spirit and under the authority of God. Let’s just do those three things and then we’re golden 😉

Ignition

You may not like too much after reading this but take that up with God. Also, you have to look up most of the scriptures…it’ll do you some good to crack your Bibles once more. You can’t do it enough, promise!

Are you on fire?
Fire is the visible evidence of a chemical reaction between oxygen and fuel. But it has to have an ignition temperature. The fuel begins to decompose and is it does, it is released as volatile gases. These gases react with the oxygen in the air and technically begin to burn. This process has a side effect which can be both beneficial and detrimental depending on the degree. Heat. It also produces light – free carbon atoms rise as light.
The fuel’s size can determine how much energy is required (how hot) to get it to catch flame. The bigger it is, the more it takes. A large oak tree requires a lot more energy/heat/higher temperature to get it to catch fire whereas a toothpick doesn’t require as much
God is calling us to be on fire for Him. Don’t believe me?
Matthew 3:11-12
And guess what happened? Just what John said Jesus would do. Acts 2:3-4 “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
Let’s take a look at God himself to see if He is on fire, because if He is then if we want to be like Him (as He desires us to be) then we should then also be on fire. If He isn’t, then we’re okay to just be cold stones.
Hebrews 12:28-29, Deuteronomy 4:23-24
God is a consuming fire. SOOOOO we must be consumed by His fire. Be on fire for Him, put on fire by Him.
So God intends for you to be on fire for Him. Both with the Spirit and in the spirit. He desires for you to be on fire for Him and proved by fire. (1 Corinthians 3:1-15 )
So when we are on fire for God this means that there has been a reaction that has taken place between two things.
His holiness and our humanness
As His holiness decomposes our humanness it releases praise as volatile gases. Volatile means that it is explosive – when His holiness decomposes our humanness we become more explosive in our praise and worship!
When our praises come into contact with more of the Spirit, then we begin to burn.
As we burn we release heat and light. The heat of our passion for God and His heat as he touches us. We also release God’s light.
His heat is a Holy Flame and He touches us we catch that fire as well.
Isaiah 10:17
Isaiah 66:15
Isaiah 6:5-7
Matthew 4:15-16
Matthew 5:13-16
Matthew 6:22-23
Acts 26:17-19
So we are burning and people around us can feel the heat of God and see the light of God. We influence people just by our presence that is so enveloped and on fire for God.
IF we are on fire that means we are also the fuel. There are two things we need to look at in regards to us being the fuel.
We will look at the negative first then finish with the positive first.
When God and His Holiness come into contact with our humanness, what is He getting rid of? Our sin. Let’s look at the second part of the science part at the beginning. The bigger the fuel is, the more energy is required to set it ablaze.
MEANING, the more sin we have in our lives the more of God needs to come into our lives and burn it up. This also means it will take us longer to become on fire for Him. So I implore you to take care of your sin when it is small! When it is, metaphorically speaking, only a toothpick so that it becomes consumed by God’s fire quickly.
Romans 6:15 “What then, Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!” This is saying we should not keep sin in our lives so that we may experience more of God’s grace – we should not keep sin squirreled away for when we need a touch from God.
HOWEVER (here is the positive – and no I’m not saying you should have a lot of sin in your life) once you are lit and it’s a big fuel source then the fire stays lit for a long time and it is HOT!
Again I am not encouraging you to keep sin in your life so you can burn for God, but what I am saying is that once you are lit – you will stay lit.
The fire starts when His holiness comes into contact with our humanness as far as I can see…we’re all still human and He is still HOLY.
Because of that we should constantly be lit – our sin should constantly be consumed with God’s Holy Fire as soon as it comes into being and causes explosive praise to constantly erupt from our mouths.
Psalm 100:4 “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name”

Everyone else is doing it!

W. Worshipper
A. Authority (under it)
R. Righteousness
R. Real
I. Influencer NOT influenced
O. On Fire
R. Radical love (walking in)
We can look at this and think of the negative connotation of it – peer pressure and all that, but God is looking at it from a different perspective from our own. While yes we need to be wary of peer pressure – even in our current time – because it can take shape in many different ways.
It can take shape of other ‘fad theology’ such as super grace or a new one that says “I’m God’s favorite” or as deeds to be done (social drinking, social media, whatever).
We’re talking about us influencing people to follow God’s Word more closely. To live more effective lives and to walk in God’s power.
We are to be like Jesus. Jesus just walked up to people and told them “Follow me” and they did. If that isn’t an example of being an influencer then I don’t know what is. Matthew 4:19, 8:22, 9:9; Luke 5:27, 9:59-61; John 1:43, 21:19
He was so at peace, so full of God, and so powerful that He only had to say two words for people to know He was the real deal. He wasn’t a Pharisee who looked down on them, he influenced them to follow him and thereby also become more like Him in the process.
The disciples weren’t the same after Jesus ascended and you can either attribute that to the three years they spent with him or you can attribute it to the Holy Spirit falling on them – I don’t care either way, only that because of Jesus they were influenced to be different. Luke 48-53; Acts 2:14
When was the last time you influenced someone to do the Godly thing? It makes people uncomfortable when you always do the right thing because then they want to do the right thing to make you feel uncomfortable. Or they get mad and do the wrong thing over and over trying to get you to slip up.
When I look back at my previous job I remember how people would gossip like it was air. Then I would walk into the room…you could hear a pin drop. Like “dang, she’s here. We can’t gossip anymore”
I’m not gloating, that is the way it was. But that is being an influence.
There is a lot of meaty stuff as to be an influence on people’s lives. If we want to be like Jesus’ example we need to look at His life.
He didn’t do anything without the Father’s say or prompting. He spent hours in prayer. He spoke with authority. He knew the Word. He never wavered from His mission or from what the Father told him to do.
He was 100% committed. And it showed. Luke 14:27, 18:22; John 8:12, 10:27, 12:26 (these show he was all in – no wavering) Matthew 14:23, 26:36-42; Mark 1:35, 6:46; Luke 6:12, 9:28, 22:39 (these show he prayed, a lot. Luke 22:39 NIV states “Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives”)
That’s why it only took two words. That’s what led to people loving Him and others hating Him. When you never waver there will always be two sides; those with you and those vehemently against you.
2 Corinthians 2:15-17
God wants us to remember verse 17 that we aren’t peddling the word of God for a profit but simply because we love Him and His Word. As I listened to Dad on the radio on my way home (which doesn’t happen every often simply because of my hours) he was talking about being a partner with the radio ministry. But he said “I don’t do this because it benefits me financially. I do this because I love God’s Word”
And this is either going to make people love what you have to say or hate everything that comes out of your mouth including the air you breathe. I know many people around the county/state truly enjoy listening to dad on the radio and I’m sure there are others that as soon as they hear his voice are like “TURN HIM OFF!!!”
When we follow God’s word and just spend so much time with Him that our very presence that is so richly enveloped within Him just really makes people either draw to us or hate us.
And either way you are still being an influence!
God wants you to be an influence. And if you think, “Oh, I’m a Christian. No one could hate me, I’m so nice!”
NEWS FLASH: The world hates you. The devil hates you. John 15:18-19 states that the world indeed does hate you. But GOD loves you! God has chosen you out of the world!
The world hated Jesus first, it hates you because of Jesus. But just because they hated Jesus did NOT stop from doing what he was sent here to do. So…that shouldn’t stop you from doing what God has sent you to do. That shouldn’t stop you from being 100% committed to the calling on your life.
Is it? If yes, why? Only God can reveal it to you.
It is important to being an effective Warrior for God’s kingdom that we live 100% committed to Him. To be an influence to people for them to better follow God’s Word.
When we need soldiers in real life, we call on our best warriors to come out and rally the people to want to be a part of the military. We call out the best to come and influence those who are not yet a part to be a part.
This is no different. God is calling you out to be an influence to those who are not yet a part of God’s Kingdom to come on in and join the party!

Really real

So what is the opposite of judging? Empathy and understanding. When we lean not on our own understanding of the situation but of what God sees, when we look through heaven’s eyes we begin to understand on a completely different level. Proverbs 3:5
Not one of superiority but of compassion. Yes we may not have chosen to do that specific thing that they did but that doesn’t make your sin any better than theirs. You then see that Jesus had compassion on you, he forgave you, we then need to have compassion on others for the pain they’re going through and forgive them even if they can’t forgive themselves. 1 John 4:18-19; Isaiah 30:18-19
Another huge thing this generation and world is looking for is genuine people. Not brutally honest people – honest yes but you don’t have to beat them up with your biblical honesty Matthew 17:24-27 – They have had enough with the façade that everything is wonderful. Granted, when you spend more time with God you see through heaven’s eyes but it isn’t always that easy. Let us not forget that at one time we all were baby Christians and it is difficult getting your roots soaked and keeping them rooted and not uprooting them in a moment of weakness. Deuteronomy 9:7-11; John 3:16-17
I am going to speak to you as a member of my generation and a participant of this feeling – don’t give me platitudes. You don’t really care or empathize with my feelings or understand what I am going through, don’t just give me an easy answer.
I went through this with a friend, we were both going through extremely difficult times at the same times. They were different issues but we each were feeling extremely down-in-the-dumps. She asked me how I was getting through my issue and I said ‘prayer.’ (Understand I did not even come close to feeling like praying at the time) and she said ‘does it work?’ and I said – honestly this is what I said (or as close as I can get to it as it was several years ago) – ‘honestly, not really. I have not yet seen any answers to my prayers, but I’m praying anyway because God hears me even if I don’t get an answer’ she didn’t reply after that. Revelation 5:8 shows us that our prayers get to heaven and fill bowls like incense at the throne of God
I struggled with my answer for a couple of hours and I asked a different friend who had a different perspective on the situation if my answer would hurt our friend’s situation. She said ‘no, because it helps to know that the solution isn’t always easy and that you don’t always have everything together’
When I was genuine with my friend, even to the point that I didn’t even think my prayers were being heard, she did better for a little bit of time. I’m not sure how she is faring now, but the point is when we are genuine with people about our struggles they respect us a little more. I know it doesn’t make much sense but think of it this way.
CAUTION! Use wisdom with whom you share your short-comings with. Matthew 10:16-17 You wouldn’t want to say ‘I’m having trouble staying true after all these years because I haven’t seen my promises come to be fulfilled yet’ to a baby Christian as they may begin to question their commitment to Christ. But you could say “I remember what it was like for me when I encountered this problem and that it was a big struggle and this is how the Lord helped me through it. I’m not saying it will work for you, but you could try it or ask the Lord for help in this situation because I know it is a toughie but I know that the Lord will help you through it!’ (Or however you wanted – that’s just me)
There are a lot more things that would be indicative of being a ‘real Christian’ but I think these are the biggest hindrances facing us today.
• Let God judge them as He deems and when He deems it is a time of judgment/refining
• Remember the situations you’ve been through and how hard it was to go through it and yet how glorious it was to come out on the other side. Use that to empathize with them and understand what they’re going through.
• With those situations that allow you to empathize with them, tell them – with discretion and wisdom based on whom you’re speaking with it – of your struggles at the time and how God came through for you.
Please remember I love you all and I’m not pointing any fingers at anyone, unless I’m pointing at myself because I still struggle with being fully empathetic or fully understanding of people – sometimes it is my own lack of experience that is the problem – but I also have a hard time with making sure not to judge people, especially when they’re being stupid, and to be genuine with them instead of hiding my true feelings. I am mainly referring to discipleship situations not work day conversations (unless God opens the door for you to speak into their lives)

Keeping it real man

What do you think of when you hear being a real Christian?
I think love, empathy, understanding, genuine, actions, peaceful, honest
When I hear someone say ‘oh they are a real Christian’ it makes me think two things: 1) they are spending so much time in the Word and in the presence of God that it shows to even strangers Matthew 7:16-20 and 2)that’s heart breaking that there are two different types of Christians Matthew 13: 29-30
I heard the leader of the A21 Campaign, Christine Caine, at school who is from Australia and she said something that has stuck with me and comes into my memory every so often “In Australia there is none of this being a lukewarm Christian. It is all or nothing, the witness is too important to dilute with being lukewarm” (granted it’s been awhile and I have heard many sermons since then but that is the main message)
There are many people – of all ages – who want it/need it to be real. It is real, they need us to show that it is real. It isn’t just something we do on Sundays and Wednesdays, or something we have kept doing for years and now it is part of our routine and don’t want to change.
They need the real love of God to show through us. No judging – everyone has done stupid things, not always the same stupid things and they may not all have the same consequences, but that does not negate in any way that you cannot say you haven’t done some stupid stuff in your life. It is not our place to judge other people’s sin. Matthew 7:1-5
That’s something I had to learn very quickly about people God put in my life and about my own potential. Now potential can be taken either negatively or positively depending on the context and who you are speaking with. It can be positive for your future career or walk with God OR it can be negative when you think of the potential you have to sin.
I am talking about the second one. I am going to be real and honest with you – the people in my life were messed up. Just about anything bad you could think of, they had done it. I learned quickly that Jesus wanted me to be a part of their lives and they a part of mine so that they could encounter real Christianity. Love that would not judge them for what they had done or were doing. Honesty that would tell them to stop and go to God. Genuine care for them. Romans 3:9, 21-26
I am still a part of their lives – not as much as I would like, but still a portion. I love them very much. Being their friend helped me to realize that everything they had done, I was more than capable of doing that. That may shock you, but scripture tells us all that we have fallen short. Sin is sin and therefore we are all capable, of having the potential to do all the sins.
All that to say, even though this example was of my generation the concept of no judging is applicable to all. God is telling us that is the biggest struggle we have before us as both a church (locally and as a whole body) and as Americans.
Americans are all about judging what status their neighbors are at and getting to that point or better. The church is constantly breaking up into different denominations (Oh, you’re a Baptist? Well I’m AG). We as a church congregation have to realize that we are just as broken as the world, the only difference is we have chosen Jesus to help us in our lives. And just because we have made that choice doesn’t mean we don’t still have the potential to be just as bad as those out in the world.

To the left…or the right?

R. Righteous
Being righteous means being in right-standing with God. We just talked about being oaks of righteousness and touched on how to be in right-standing with God.
It ties in directly with being under God’s authority. When we are under His authority, we know exactly what keeps us there (being in right standing) and what takes us from underneath it (not being in right standing)
We are no longer ignorant as we once were according to Romans 10:3 “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.”
I know it isn’t easy to constantly try to figure out what keeps you under his authority and what takes you out from under it, but that’s at first.
We aren’t young Christians who have to figure out where the protection boundaries are. We know because we have spent many years in the Word and in His presence. We don’t follow them because we have to – God will definitely let you go out from under His protection, it will be stupid but he’ll let you do it. We do this, being in right standing with Him, because we want to – God wants you under His protection, it makes His heart happy when you stay under there. When you are in right standing with God.

Numbers 14:6-9 “But Joshua the sun of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.””

Joshua was telling them that they would have the land if they ‘do no rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land…’ and this is also applicable to us. We shouldn’t rebel against the Lord nor fear the promise ahead of us
Now what happens when something takes you out from under there, and you don’t know it? It could be un-forgiveness, it could be bitterness, it could be something that you’ve “hidden from the rest of the world that no-one will ever see,” or whatever else.
First: ask God to reveal that which is hindering your protection from being complete. For me I had to do something in order for God to work freely in my heart, flow through me onto the keyboard for lessons. I did part of it earlier that week and I was like ‘oh I’m fine now. I don’t need to finish’ and I pictured God as chuckling like ‘you silly girl. You know better.’ I tried for an hour to get going, to find the flow of the spirit and each time I tried God said “you know what you have to do” or “have you done this yet?” Finally I gave in and finished it out and after that I was free to open myself to God.
I had – unknowingly – had something blocking or hindering my ability to submit.
So after God has revealed this to us, what next? Well the answer is obvious – fix it!
Un-forgiveness fix with forgiveness.
Bitterness fix with forgiveness and root that out with love
Something hidden fix with bringing it to light in front our God.
When he reveals what is holding you back, he will also reveal to you how to fix it either through scripture or through revealed knowledge. Mine was both – I had scripture to back up what was revealed to me (the way) to fix my problem.
And don’t be stupid. Don’t make dumb choices that you know are wrong and just assume God will forgive you of them and nothing will happen – he will forgive you but there could also be consequences that you don’t see.
I’ve done that too and had to work hard to remedy those consequences, the work then at that point out-weighed the stupid thing I wanted to do and had done.

This is shorter than other lessons, but that doesn’t mean it is simple or easy. Your flesh can be quite stubborn, in case you haven’t run into this yet. Just wait, it will come out eventually. It’s our nature.

Be stubborn for God instead of your selfish flesh.

Who’s in charge here?

We have made the choice to be a warrior and have taken the first step as being that – developing/enhancing our level of worship so that it is done in extravagant love, as a lover, and with extreme submission to our God.

The next step is realizing who is in charge…us or God?

Let’s clear that up in case there is any confusion – 1 Corinthians 15:25-28 “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be defeated is death. For he has ‘put everything under his feet.’ Now when it says that ‘everything’ has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.”

God has placed everything under Jesus’ feet, which includes you. God is the main boss, Jesus is our supervisor, and we are the employees. God makes the decisions, Jesus tells them to us once he has met with God, and we adhere to the decisions.

Please understand, we have been given authority from God as well – it is similar to when your boss entrusts a job to you. “Stacy, I want you to stay at this job and minister to your co-workers as only you can. Since I’ve put you there and as long as you keep your flesh in check and your spirit under authority with me, you have total authority to speak with power and pray over this place.”

So we are not in charge…how could we be? Job 40-41

God asks him “whoever is arguing with me, how can he correct me? Go ahead, let him answer!” Job says “I was stupid to answer and question before, now I’m going to keep my mouth shut” but God doesn’t let him get off that easy and starts his correction with “Prepare yourself like a man for my answer…” and goes into this forever long reprimand. Job grew wise and realized God is in control and he – Job – is quite small in comparison.

Let us also realize this, in every part of our lives. God is in control of everything – great and small. Matthew 28:18 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to in heaven and on earth.” He calls the shots – a league of their own (the two coaches fight over the correct signal to give)

What does that mean authority?

Authority:

1)      Legal power or right to command

2)      Power derived from opinion, respect or esteem

3)      Testimony or witness or the person who testifies (as the Gospels or the evangelists are our authorities for the miracles of Christ)

So according to the original definition, God has the legal power to command. Command what? The answer is above – everything!

Even if that wasn’t enough, the second definition says power derived from respect or esteem…God is worthy of all our respect if all he ever did was make the earth from words (Thank Him because He has done so much more! He is worthy of all respect!)

And if that still doesn’t explain his authority or why he has it all there is the testimony. Testimony of Jesus “I only do what I see my Father doing and only say what I hear my Father saying”, the testimony of the Holy Spirit, and, as the example given in the definition, the disciples’ accounts of Jesus and his miracles John 8:38, 14-19

Ok so we recognize that God has the authority, why he has it, and also that he will delegate a certain job to us, to work as His vessels after we have submitted to Him.

We talked about extreme submission last week a little and Dad did his series on submission to God’s authority, which I’m sure he still has the notes if you want a refresher, so I’m not going to beat a dead horse.

(For web readers, if you would like the sermon notes I am referring to please let me know and I will obtain them for you and either post it or send it to you)

However there is one more thing I know God wants us to discover or remember: when someone has authority (in human terms) they have confidence. They aren’t weak and timid about it – maybe the first or second time but once they see that it gets results then they use it with more confidence.

This reference is when Gandalf goes into Dol Guldur and calls out the enemy. (Gandalf in The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug) Here is a link to it if you want to watch

So if in human terms, those who have authority aren’t afraid to use it, God has given us authority to cast out devils, rebuke the devil, resist the devil, and much more. As long as we are first under God’s authority, only then can we begin to use the authority given to us appropriately. Let us not be timid or afraid to use our God-given authority for its purpose.

Worshipping Warrior

In case you forgot, the acronym is
W. Worshipper

A. Authority (under it)

R. Righteousness

R. Real

I. Influencer NOT influenced

O. On Fire

R. Radical love (walking in)

Being a warrior means first you are a worshipper. Exodus 34:13-14 “But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a Jealous God)” Get rid of that which you worship before God and then worship Him.

Worship (verb)

– to adore, to pay divine honors to, to reverence with supreme respect and veneration

– To respect to honor to treat with civil reverence

– To honor with extravagant love and extreme submission; as a lover

I personally love that last definition – extravagant love, extreme submission, as a lover

I do not condone, suggest, approve, or wish to put someone I love on this earth over my King. That is not what I am saying.

God is the lover of our soul. It takes two to tango so if he loves us, let us love Him in return. 1 John 4:18-19 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.”

Extravagant love…wandering beyond limits, excessive, irregular, wild, not within ordinary limits of truth or probability

That is how we should love on God. Yes he loves us even more extravagantly, but he wants us to worship him as best we can in an extravagant manner.

I don’t watch many romantic movies nor do I know a lot of personal experience in this department but I have a very strong imagination and I read a lot. Not romantic novels, but even in the most hard core sci-fi or adventure tales there is some aspect of romance. So through my readings I have an idea (I know ideas don’t always compare to reality)but extravagant love is the one where you bring gifts surprising the other, saying how much you love them out of the blue, doing everything that you know will make their heart happy.

Let us do that for God. Surprise Him with gifts of praise – he loves those. Psalm 100:4-5 “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures to all generations.”

Extreme submission is when we give over our control. We humans love to control things. Even when you say ‘I’m not controlling’ I can guarantee you that there is at least one thing where you want it to be a certain way. Don’t deceive yourself.

We are ignorant of what God’s righteousness is unless we submit (Romans 10:3 “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.”)

Submitting to God benefits you in so many ways but in context with warfare it means that the devil will flee from you when submit to God and resist the devil (James 4:7 “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”)

Extreme submission – dying to self. We will no longer be offended, no longer worry, no longer stress, no more freaking out. We have given everything over to Him. Completely. I’m aware how difficult it is and yet how easy it is. We want to show God how to do it but we forget He is in control.

Remind yourself through prayer – God you are in control, I don’t see the big picture now but God you do. You know the pieces and how they fit together. Let me not come in and force them together – like a puzzle. When you try to ft two pieces together and it just doesn’t work…God knows exactly which pieces go together and how they should be placed together

Tell him in your prayer life how much you love Him, not just for the stuff he has blessed you with, but thank Him for the hard times because He knows you’re strong enough to go through it with His help. James 1:2-3 “My Brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

Thank Him for everything and that you love Him. It makes Him smile. Think about God’s smile – don’t you want that to come into your life constantly? Let us do everything we know to do to make his heart happy. Psalm 80:7,19 “Restore us, O God of Hosts; Cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved!” “Oh Lord, you’re beautiful, Your face is all I seek, For when your eyes are on this child, Your grace abounds to me.” Oh Lord You’re Beautiful – Keith Green

It isn’t rocket science to know what makes His heart happy and what makes it sad or hurt.

He did give us a manual.

There was a picture of this huge book with tiny print that that ‘the manual for understanding women is now in paperback” now I have to admit it was funny, but God isn’t like that. Sure there are these huge bibles but it is the same book. His message never changes.

His instructions never change. You simply have to read it to find all that we should do want to do to make His heart happy.

Now you have your second choice. If you have chosen to be the warrior, steadfast to the end then your next choice is: will I worship the Lord with extravagant love, extreme submission, as a lover?

Do not be indecisive

So we know that we are called to be involved in spiritual warfare, but you make the choice whether you are a soldier or a warrior?

There is a difference between the two: a soldier is in it for a short time. They follow orders without much conviction and they will eventually leave the service. Their service is commendable but not life-long.

A warrior will never leave the service. Even when he is physically told to no longer serve, he still serves with his heart. Helps those who are still fighting, they follow orders because they want to serve the higher authority.

How many times have we heard ‘he died a warrior’s death!’ that means that he died doing what he knew in his heart to be true and right. He died protecting that which he always wanted to and did protect.

There are many perversions of being a warrior – the wrong causes – but the attitude is what I’m referring to. We already know we are called by God for his purposes. We have his battleplans already given to us, he gave us the appropriate armor and tools to use to be effective on the battlefield.

The choice is now ours. Do we decide in our hearts to be warriors and follow God’s plan to the very end? Or will we decide that it is too much a commitment and to be just a soldier that sits back until ordered and will give up at some point?

1 Timothy 1:18 and 1 Timothy 6:12 both encourage us to wage good warfare and fight the good fight of faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 states that Paul did that which admonish Timothy to do – showing that he wasn’t afraid to walk the walk and practice what he preached and that it is possible to do that which he was saying.

I’m not saying that we won’t ever not feel like giving up, meaning that there will be times where it is so hopeless it seems that we cannot move forward. That there is no reason to move forward, nothing to look forward to. But I am saying that in those times, that we will remember that which God has placed before us.

We will remember that there are battles to be finalized in Jesus’ name and even though it looks hopeless – God is our hope. God is the victor. He has won for us, all we need to do is listen and follow him wholeheartedly.

I know I’m talking to steadfast mighty men and women of God, but as we near the end of time for it is coming soon, I do not want us to grow complacent. It looks so hopeless out there right now – there seems to be no one out there living a Godly life. They scorn us, call us old-fashioned, intolerant, ignorant, and many other things. It seems hopeless. And yet, God says there is hope. He is our hope and he is coming soon! For that reason alone we should choose to be warriors for Christ.

What does that mean exactly? To be a warrior for Christ.

W. Worshipper

A. Authority (under it)

R. Righteousness

R. Real

I. Influencer NOT influenced

O. On Fire

R. Radical love (walking in)

(The above acronym was from a sermon from a local pastor, Pastor Hackenberg – he came up with the acronym, the following notes/posts are fresh, not taken from his sermon. Just giving credit where credit is due)