My latest book, Made For More – 7 Proven Strategies For Reaching Your Full Potential, is now available. I hope you enjoy these excerpts from my book.
Endurance Leads to Victory
The path to blessing leads through suffering. A fourth way suffering produces growth is that when you endure, you become victorious. The path to blessing leads through suffering. This aspect of Strategy No. 5 is crucial. When you experience difficulty on your journey, you must remember that victory comes to those who persevere. No trial lasts forever, but it will produce a harvest of holiness in your life if you remain faithful.
God, at times, allows us to go through pain in order to experience the blessing that he has for us and for those we can influence with our lives. Often, our pain also serves to bring blessing to others. Until we see the big picture—what God is doing in and through the difficulties in our lives—we miss the fact that God is using it for his ultimate glory. Don’t misinterpret your pain, struggles, or circumstances as either a curse from God or a roadblock that cannot be overcome. God is not punishing you; rather, he is positioning you for his purpose. Remember, “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
Practice Strategic Thinking
Strategy Trumps Vision
A second reason to engage in strategic thinking is that how you go about an endeavor has the power to make or break what you hope to do. Good intentions are worthless in the absence of a practical strategy. And strategy ultimately determines outcome. How you choose to accomplish your goal—and not the goal itself—will determine whether you are successful. Just as you cannot drive from New York to London, you cannot achieve your full potential through a regimen of complaining, isolation, procrastination, and ignorance. The things you do determine what you accomplish. Your pathway determines your destination. Strategy trumps vision every time. To succeed in growing to your full potential, you must have a strategic plan for doing so.
Practice Strategic Thinking
Sun Tzu, the military general, strategist, and philosopher of ancient China, observed this in his classic work, The Art of War, “When your strategy is deep and far-reaching, then what you gain by your calculations is much, so you can win before you even fight. When your strategic thinking is shallow and near-sighted, then what you gain by your calculations is little, so you lose before you do battle. Much strategy prevails over little strategy, so those who have no strategy cannot help but be defeated. Therefore it is said that victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”5 I couldn’t agree more with the concept that to be successful, you must learn to think strategically. Show me your plan for growth, and I will tell you how successful you will be. A strong plan, well executed, will lead to a good result. Here are some practical growth activities that will assist you in creating a strategic plan for growth.
Every person, regardless of his or her station in life, has the God-given potential to be something more than they currently are. We are all aware of this at some level. We know that God has created us for more—more holiness, more fruitfulness, better relationships, less guilt, fewer regrets. We instinctively know that we have unrealized potential, regardless of how much progress we may already have made. God could do more in us, with us, and through us if we were more fully available to him and more fully saturated with his Holy Spirit. This truth is not for pastors only. Every believer has the potential to grow, to become more like Christ and more effective in his Kingdom. And it isn’t true only of new believers. No matter how long a person has walked with the Lord, he or she has room—and responsibility—to keep seeking, keep growing. Spiritual growth is not a course of study that ends with graduation. You will be growing in Christ for all eternity. And one of the great tragedies of our day is that so many Christians ignore or defer both the need and opportunity to be transformed by the Spirit of God. You were made for more.
I want to help you understand, identify, and remove the barriers to a deeper relationship with God. We grow by our connection to him; therefore, it is essential to understand the things that will enhance that relationship and the things that detract from it. The busyness of life—even the busyness of church—demands so much of our time and attention that we are not able to keep in close contact with God, overcome sin in our lives, and function the way he wants us to. Ironically, many pastors and other Christian workers spend so much time investing in the kingdom that they fail to pay attention to their own heart. Even the apostle Paul had this concern and warned about it, saying, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Cor. 9:27). I have seen many Christians—even pastors—fall into this trap. Some have even failed morally and walked away from ministry simply because they became too overwhelmed to maintain their spiritual health. Though many have repented, salvaging their marriage and their own salvation, they nevertheless failed to live up to their full potential in Christ. I want more for you.
I want more for every believer, every pastor, every church volunteer, every follower of Jesus. My aim in writing this book is not merely to build a hospital at the bottom of the hill to help and heal those who have fallen—though I do believe in saving and restoring grace. Rather, I want to build a Temple at the top of the hill, a place of hope, of worship, of intimate fellowship, that will draw all people to a deeper, closer, more powerful relationship with Jesus Christ. Once there, I want to construct a guardrail—a fence—to ensure that we continue in close fellowship with the Father. We need solid principles and consistent actions that will keep us from sliding back into old habits and practices. This fence has seven sides. They are seven spiritual principles that will open your eyes to weaknesses in your life, make you aware of the more that God has for you, and ensure that your relationship with him remains intimate, vibrant, and strong. When we are finished, you will have a clearer picture of what your life could be, and you will have identified practical action steps for moving in that direction. You will be energized, equipped, and motivated to set out on the greatest adventure of your life—reaching your full potential in Christ. Are you ready?
My recently released book, Made for More – 7 Proven Strategies for Reaching Your Potential, is now available through Amazon, Kindle, or you may order directly from us at First Pentecostal Church by calling 850-477-1100.
I have learned certain truths that I perceive to be absolutes for leaders and those who want to grow. You can hedge on some principles, but these are rock solid and you must submit to them or your forward progress will be derailed. I have never seen anybody violate these certainties and then accidently stumble into growth and success. As a matter of fact, I have never seen anyone even hedge on these and last very long in kingdom work. Everyone that is used of God applies them faithfully. It does not mean that they do not have struggles and that God does not apply the necessary pressure to forge them into a new appreciation of their importance, but everyone sooner or later realizes they must comply or be eliminated from the picture.
Take the High Road. This simply means to rise above pettiness. One of the greatest enemies to our legacy is a critical, petty spirit. I have seen great leaders fall into this trap and completely wipe out their legacy because they lost their ability to affirm others. As we grow older we become more fearful and insecure, but when you take the high road you remain confident, especially when others are insecure. So keep your priorities aligned with the vision and purpose of something greater than yourself. Having a Faith Perspective gives you the ability to understand that the high road is really the best way.
Have an Attitude of Gratitude. Adversity comes to everyone, regardless of station in life. The number one killer of passion is an unthankful spirit so we must learn to be grateful in the midst of adversity. By doing that we banish fear and faith will appear. The only way I know to keep your attitude of gratitude is to express it. If you feel it but don’t express it, you will lose it. You need to become intentional about this and do it everyday.
Have an Attitude of Learning and a Teachable Spirit.“If you stop learning today, you stop leading tomorrow” (Howard Hendricks). Everyone makes mistakes and everyone fails. But when you make the commitment to learn from your mistakes and continue, regardless of your failures, you have made the most important decision of your life. You learn much by watching others who do things extremely well. Leaders train continually, working hard not necessarily to be the best, but to be the best they can be. Teachable people are joyful people. They work hard to make a difference by improving themselves. Ask yourself this question; “What am I learning now that will make me better tomorrow?”
Commit to Inner Renewal. Consistent and continual improvement is the legacy of lasting and true leaders. Their focus is always forward and they keep growing, in spite of the resistance they feel from within and without. This renewal happens daily because they do not neglect their daily routine. When you are committed to controlling your choices you make sure that no one crowds your time. Keep your calendar from overwhelming your responsibility to continually renew your passion. Stay focused and don’t allow distractions to defeat your purpose or detour your intentions. If you make this important commitment you can be certain you will stay fresh and full of faith, rather than fatalistic doubt and fear.
Create an Atmosphere of Affirmation. Too often you see people who desire to influence others but end up poisoning the pond rather than cleaning the fountain. They invariably allow their negative emotions to override their faith and they express their doubt and fear rather than their hope for the future. For leaders to bring out the best in situations and people, they need to discover their voice of affirmation. Find someone today to affirm by speaking an encouraging word. Believe in someone else, and not just yourself and what God through grace has done in you. Redemption works for you but also recognizes the potential in others. Redemption sees them as a potter sees the clay and envisions excellence, and begins the lifting process to form in them the values that will transform their future. Redemption perceives people as rough diamonds that need the touch of a master craftsman. Our words can become self-fulfilling prophesies – words like, “I believe in you,” and, “You can do this.” I want to say to the saints of First Pentecostal Church, “We can do this.”
I have learned certain truths that I perceive to be absolutes for leaders and those who want to grow. You can hedge on some principles but these are rock solid, and you must submit to them or your forward progress will be derailed. I have never seen anyone violate these certainties and then accidentally stumble into growth and success. As a matter of fact, I have never seen anyone even hedge on these and last very long in kingdom work. Everyone that is used of God applies them faithfully. It does not mean that they do not have struggles and that God does not apply the necessary pressure to forge in them a new appreciation of their importance, but everyone, sooner or later, realizes they must comply or be eliminated from the picture.
Forgive everyone, every time, for everything. Without the ability to forgive you simply cannot add value to others. I like what Martin Luther King, Jr said, “Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.” You can’t use a list and decide which infraction you will forgive and which ones you will not; that is not true forgiveness. Forgiveness is actually more valuable to the one who forgives than to the one who is forgiven. The first person to which you will add value through forgiveness is yourself. Ghandi stated, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Once you learn to forgive, you can free yourself from the nightmares of the past and lay claim to the dreams of your future. Forgiveness is not an emotional decision; it is a choice that you must make. To forgive is to set a person free and discover the person was you. Buddy Hackett quipped, “I’ve had few arguments with people, but I never carry a grudge. You know why? While you’re carrying a grudge, they’re out dancing.” Bitterness is too heavy a burden for anyone to carry. It will weigh you down and keep you from your destiny. Promises are aborted, destinies are lost, and destruction follows an unforgiving spirit.
Every day matters. What you do every day counts! Integrate a daily focus with a long-term perspective. You have to be intentional about what you do every day and know how it fits the endgame that you have in mind. Acting on and implementing your rule of five is necessary for growth; not only by acknowledging the things you must do every day, but acting on those things. Our destiny is connected to what we do every day. We need a compass to guide us to make the right daily choices. Your compass is your vision and values that guide your mission and purpose. When your activities and your appointments every day begin to support your purpose, then you are moving in the right direction for transformation and true growth. Too many people fail when they are promoted by the Lord because they think they have arrived, when in fact they have only just begun. The key to focus is knowing what to do every day. Knowing how it fits your desired future is what we call perspective. Locating the one thing you need to do now and DOING it is what FOCUS is all about. Find it, do it and reap the benefit. If you are going to fulfill your mission, you must allow your compass to guide you every day.
Psalm 139:16 “Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you. The days of my life, all prepared before I’d lived even one day.”
Everyone needs encouragement. When you learn to give encouragement, you have learned the asset that every successful leader must possess – the ability to accentuate the positive. Encouragement keeps people moving in the right direction. We all have poisoners in our lives who do everything they can to poison our faith. We have self-absorbed people who are too fixated on their own stuff to help anyone else with theirs. People who feed off of negative energy may get others to follow them but they will always stay close to home because they are afraid of new horizons. However, we also have those who are life enhancers and who inspire us to greatness. These people are convinced that a better day is coming and from their life flows a positive energy that is infused into the weary until they become strong. People will go farther than they think they could when someone else thinks they can. Encouragement makes people better and gives them hope that every day matters if they follow through doing the right things. We must learn how to empower people, motivate them and invite them to become extraordinary. Encouragement can turn a life around.
Find your voice and speak faith. When you possess a spirit of expectancy, you will communicate it by finding your voice and it will be evident in everything you say. When you believe that what is right will win you develop a positive view of the future. When you can declare with certainty, knowing that your message will be accepted, then you will expect good things to happen. You must be able to declare with certainty: I have a destiny to fulfill. I have a contribution to make. I have convictions that guide my choices. I have a legacy to leave. You have seen what others cannot see and you are willing to help them find their voice and speak their faith until they become what God wants them to be.
2 Timothy 2:2 “And the instructions you have heard from me along with my witnesses, transmit and entrust as a deposit to reliable and faithful men who will be competent and qualified to reach others also.”
People need the voice of someone who believes that God is able. Learn to speak faith instead of fear. Speaking faith empowers people. People need role models to follow. Speaking faith makes you an elevator that lifts people to a higher level. It energizes them to function at their best once they reach that higher place and they become more because now they are the reason the church is advancing. Their voice is the voice that is making the difference.
God is our helper and He is ready to bring our highest destiny to fulfillment. The Lord Jesus Christ is Lord of all history. Therefore, he has power to overcome your past and produce a different future.
Let’s see if we can find ourselves in the book of Nehemiah. This historical sketch reveals to us some surprising truths that can be applied to our lives today to help rebuild what is broken. Step back with me to a century when the Spirit of God converged the activities of half a dozen kings, powerful prophets, and a captive nation, and produced one of the greatest stories of restoration ever written.
The year of this book begins in 446 B.C. Ninety years have transpired since the Jewish release from Babylon captivity. During that time, 50,000 Jews were released by the Edict of Cyrus, ruler of the Medo Persians. Our God was controlling all of the events, weaving them together to fulfill the greatest prophecies of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zephaniah, and Haggai.
The Jews were released from their captivity in 536 B.C. Through the ministry of Ezra and the spiritual inspiration of Zechariah and Haggai, the temple was rebuilt and finished by 516 B.C. It was not until 70 years after the completion of the temple that Nehemiah became concerned with the fact that the city had no walls. What good is a spiritual relationship with God, and a life with a temple, when the walls of the city are broken down and the gates are burned with fire?
You can have a relationship with God; lead a normal life, and deep down still be a mass of broken pieces. Nehemiah responded to this need through prayer, weeping, mourning, and fasting. In chapter 1 we find him interceding, in chapter 2 we find him risking his life, in chapter 4 securing their safety, in chapter 5 unselfishly giving his own resources, and in chapter 6 we find him committing to complete the task in spite of the obstacles.
Today, the Holy Ghost acts as the Nehemiah of our restoration. The name Nehemiah means “the consoling breath of God”. It is the ministry of the Holy Ghost that restores and rebuilds our lives. He can rebuild our broken strengths and our weaknesses and lead us past our ignorance into the victory that his word declares we can have.
I believe in the need of the rebirth, but we must come to grips with the fact that we need rebuilding as well. The Comforter (Nehemiah) is a concerned person who is ready and willing to do whatever is necessary to put us back together again. Only through the power of the Holy Ghost can he return to us the ruler-ship and authority that was lost by Adam. It means recovery of self-control, personality, stabilized temperament, and character.
Hanani’s complaint focused in on the embarrassment of a people who definitely had a relationship with God, however, they still had some brokenness that was not yet resolved. First, he fulfilled his word and returned the Jews to their homeland; second, he helped them in rebuilding the temple; finally, with his help, they were able to faithfully worship God at the temple site.
However, what good is a temple when the center of government and all self-control is in shambles? Without a wall the city was open to oppressors. If we have no self-control, we cannot fulfill the purpose God has created us for. Each of us must rebuild our lives out of the rubble of our past sins and mistakes.
Some people wonder why they can come to church and get a God feeling but cannot shut out depressive thoughts or overcome fear; feelings of worthlessness seem to prevail, and they are constantly subdued by temptation. The only way this state can be overcome is when the Holy Ghost reinstates the rule over you.
One thing needs to be remembered – this type of progress takes a tremendous amount of patience and time. Our partner in the rebuilding process is the Holy Ghost (Nehemiah). Our recovery will not be instantly gained through being born again, but will be patiently produced through the power of the Holy Ghost.
So take the time to heal, and recover the blessing of joy and life you have lost. It is God’s will to restore to the Apostolic Church her power and authority over every sickness, problem and crisis that all of us may live to the glory of the one who made it all possible; our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
God has empowered the church with covenant promise and through prayer we can establish perimeters of possibility. Even while we are faced with despair we can create new potential for restoration and growth. We can become the image of Christ in the earth through His transforming power and then take authority over the ruin and destruction of our lives and personalities to become His ambassadors in the earth.
After coming to God we must all rebuild our lives and recover from the past. We must be willing to deal with the destructive behaviors that we allowed to exist and begin to rebuild what has been broken. We can recover from our defeats and remake our personalities into the image of Christ.
Nehemiah discovered the ruins of the city of Jerusalem and surveyed the devastation of 90 years of neglect by taking a mule ride around the wall under the cover of the darkness of night. He had told no one what God had put in his heart to do.
So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days. And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon (Nehemiah 2:11-12).
This kind of assessment doesn’t come from wise counsel; it comes only from being alone with God. Sin has done a great deal of damage in all of us. Even though the image of God is indelibly stamped upon each of us, there are still things about us that have been broken and remain so.
I want you to discover the possibilities God desires for your life. Even though we are all unique, we can still have unity. I believe that all of us have a certain dimension of passion or heart, a certain dimension of hope, and a certain measure of faith. The body of Christ needs your measure. Every joint in the body supplies its portion of oil to the body. From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:16).
Though disaster may burn our hope, tragedy may smash our faith, and injury may bruise our heart, God can and will resurrect our faith and we cannot be kept down. However, your amount of willingness and measure of faith will determine whether it will be successful or if it won’t. You can take an honest assessment of your brokenness but you cannot fix it by yourself. You need to enlist the aid of the Holy Ghost. You need, as John said in the New Testament, a paraclete; a comforter. The Holy Ghost is the only power that can rebuild and restore. Even though along the way your destiny has been taunted, tainted, and tangled by test, trauma and tragedy, God had a blueprint in mind from the beginning.
My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, Yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them (Psalm 139: 15-16).
The Bible teaches us that Christians are to be joyful in Christ. That Biblical joy is not a simple feeling, but a frame of mind and established on a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is not fleeting like feelings; it is the knowledge that we are never victims we are always victors! Victors by nature are joyful people.
If the joy of the Lord is our strength, and if we use joy to draw water out of the wells of salvation, then we need to discover the sources of joy. Joy is not something that you have to earn; it is something you already have.
Joy is a command not a suggestion. Therefore, if you are not experiencing Christian joy, something is wrong: either you do not understand it, you are not looking for it, or you are too stubborn to allow it to rule in you. This is where Romans 8:28 comes in. All things work to our good. While the individual ingredients in our life aren’t always pleasant, the combination of our entire life will reveal a God who loves us and is always working on something good for us.
The reason a Christian can experience joy even in the midst of great pain or a painful struggle is the knowledge that God is always in control. There are no accidents for the believer. Satan has no authority over us unless permitted by God, and God never permits anything that will destroy us. Only our own bitterness, anger, or resentment can rob us of our joy.
Our joy is tied to the things of another world. It keeps us strong during trials we do not understand, it gives meaning to meaningless experiences, and it enables us to stay on course when a storm is overwhelming us. Joy is not a feeling it is connected to who we are related to, Jesus Christ.
Biblical joy can and will renew your spirit. What enabled Paul and Silas to sing at midnight while in prison, facing a death sentence after being beaten up all day long? It was their joy in Christ that allowed them to sing. It renewed their spirit even after a pretty rough day.
Every trial you have, and every sorrow you experience is going to be temporary. Jesus has assured us they will not last, nor will they be permanent. No man can take our joy from us. The “miserable saint” breaks the heart of God as well as deprives himself and others the life of Christianity.
There is no excuse for a believer not to experience genuine, Christian joy. Jesus gave all assurances that it would be available to those that sought it. The Bible doesn’t ask us to do what can’t be done, therefore, we can rejoice always. It is a fact of our relationship to Jesus Christ that brings inward joy.
During times of war, certain military terms are constantly used: logistical, tactical, and strategic initiatives. While these terms describe three levels of military operations, they also describe three levels of prayer: Personal Needs Prayer [Logistical], Kingdom Purpose Prayer [tactical], and eternal Purpose Prayer [Strategic].
Personal needs prayer is prayed from an earthly perspective and can become self-centered. The focus is on personal needs. Kingdom purpose prayer is also prayed from an earthly perspective; however, its focus is on helping others. Eternal purpose prayer is the focus of God’s ultimate objective for this world and is prayed from an eternal perspective. It captures the heart and purpose of God rather than mere human purpose.
In 2nd Kings chapter 3 the Bible tells the story of the army of Israel just before they faced the Moabites in battle, one more illustration of God’s people missing a pivotal moment because they were caught up in themselves. Ancient Israel and two allies took their armies through the wilderness to face the Moabite army. After a week, however, they faced a crisis: they ran out of water.
They decided to go to the prophet Elisha to seek God’s help. They begged for water. As the prophet sought the Lord, he responded through Elisha and said in essence, I will give you water, but this is a small thing for me. I will also give the Moabites into your hands.
At this crucial moment, Israel asked for the wrong thing. They saw only the small picture. They sought only the solution to their immediate needs. They prayed a personal needs prayer. They prayed for the water, not the war! Kingdom praying means we perceive crucial moments and how the future hangs on them.
Kingdom prayer has more to do with your heart when you pray than the words you choose. It is the expression of your heart aligned with God’s heart to fulfill his purpose in your circumstance.
Kingdom praying means staying focused on the mission, even in crisis; staying in relationship with God in our prayer time. Think about Jesus in Gethsemane. If there was ever a moment he was tempted to shift into idle and pray a “save me prayer,” it was in the garden. Hours away from torture and death, Jesus considers the temptation: “My Father, if it be possible, may this cup be taken from me.” This is a normal reaction to his situation. However, he then added a strategic phrase: “Yet, not as I will, but as you will.” It was a pivotal moment and Jesus stayed on mission in his prayer.
God yearns to accomplish so much more through our prayers, if only we can connect with him. We can accomplish this by praying , not only for our needs, and the needs of others, but by praying strategic, eternal purpose prayers, that say, “God, not my will but thine be done.”
The Doctrine of Prayer
[Praying Effectively in Crisis moments]
When we are in crisis, and our world is troubled then we need to pray — Kingdom Prayers. In turn, they will influence our decision-making, and it will result in powerful answers.
Most people pray, but they only pray during the tough times and have not yet learned how to pray God’s will into existence. Sister Nona Freeman when she returned from Africa she attended one the first Louisiana Women’s Conferences; she told me, Brian, America doesn’t know how to pray. The church is praying her will and not God’s will into existence. This is a tragedy, and we need to find a remedy.
Kingdom prayers have the power to influence key decisions and result in powerful answers. True Apostolics understand the pivotal role of prayer, and pray with purpose, they don’t panic and react in fear, they seek to find God and in turn, He leads them to significant breakthroughs in their life and ministry.
The question is how do we recognize these critical moments. The scripture tells us to pray without ceasing; however, there are times when what we pray and how we pray are more important because of what is at stake. The revival moment introduces an opportunity for significant change. We must learn to think as God thinks and pray his thoughts and his purpose. Jesus demonstrated this because he was the greatest prayer warrior of all time. John 12 shows how Jesus made sure that He was praying correctly before continuing his journey to the cross.
So how did Jesus pray? He prayed, “now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say, Father, save me from this hour?” No, “it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” [John 12:27-28]. He could have prayed a survival prayer: “Father get me out of this mess.” But instead, he ordered His praying in perfect alignment to the Divine Intention and Will of God; the result was amazing grace revealed in redemption.
If we learn to pray based on our relationship to God, to pray from the heart and not just routine and repeated phrases the result will be a powerful breakthrough into a new dimension of the miraculous. We should not pray just to attempt to get God on our side that is for immature and manipulative people to try to spiritualize their own way rather than submit to God’s way. It trivializes the will of God and makes of none effect the cross of Jesus Christ and dishonors the price he paid for our salvation.
As we grow and mature, our prayers do so as well. Kingdom praying increases as we mature spiritually. Too many people become caught up in fulfilling their agenda. Mature believers trade their agenda for God’s. They move from simply praying what they want, to praying the heart and mind of God. Learning to pray this opens the door to miracles, and releases God to do what He does best; make the impossible, possible.
Helmet of salvation – Let us think right and see what God sees.
Breastplate of righteousness – Put on God’s righteousness because we know ours cannot stand against the enemy, but God’s can. That’s why we shouldn’t let any of our mistakes or shortcomings keep us from using our authority. We are standing in the righteousness of Jesus! Mine is worthless but He is pure.
Gird about our loins with truth – Know truth. Wrap it tightly around you so that the enemy cannot twist God’s word to you. In Hosea 4, the people lost truth, then mercy, and then the very knowledge of God. How scary to no longer even recognize who God is!
Preparation of gospel of peace – be a peacemaker, be willing to take the gospel to those who need to hear. Be peaceable, don’t allow yourself to become easily offended.
Shield of faith – We must have faith to operate in authority. It is indispensable. The scripture says “Above all”, because without faith none of the others will matter. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. However, with faith Mark 9:23 says, ALL things are possible to him who believes God. Sometimes we can have faith for those little things but then we find ourselves making excuses for God for the bigger things. Why do we do that? God doesn’t need our excuses! Ask and it shall be given to you, pressed down and overflowing!
How do we increase our faith? The bible says to ask God to increase it. The man that brought his daughter to Jesus obviously had some faith or he wouldn’t have fought his way through the crowds to get to Jesus. However, when he talked to Jesus he asked him to help his unbelief. He recognized that his faith was mixed with doubt.
Romans 10:17 tells us another way to increase our faith is by hearing the word of God. We need to be at the house of God and have our faith renewed by hearing the Word of God preached, and not stop there, but also to be reading and studying and understanding the Word of God. The devil is a liar. It is not just what he does but it is who he is. We must know that word well enough to recognize his lies and turn right around and speak truth!
Sword of the Spirit. It is the only piece of offensive weaponry that we have been given. Jesus used the Word against Satan in the wilderness, saying, “It is written!” It doesn’t say that Jesus thought it, but it says he said it. We have to speak it. Speak the Word into your situations. When you speak the word, it will not return void. Isaiah 55:11, So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Send God’s word out to do a work in your life.
We have the authority to bind and loose. Matthew 18:18-19,Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall bebound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
Binding: Forbidding, to prohibit
Loosing: Permitting, to permit
Anytime we bind something, we want to be sure we loose something in its place. We sure don’t want there to be a void and the spirit come back and bring his friends.
The name – we all know the power of the Name of Jesus. Everything we do, every ounce of authority we have claim to comes from that name! That is why the world tries to cheapen it. There is nothing in this world more powerful than the name of Jesus, and I thank God that we, as Apostolics, have the revelation of that name! There is salvation, deliverance, healing, restoration, and there is peace! When we put that name upon our lives, it goes before us in the spiritual realm. We have the same name as the king.
The enemy may not always know my name but I guarantee he knows my daddy’s name – Jesus. I simply say his name and the enemy starts shaking. Put the name in front of you and call things as though they are!
The Blood and your testimony (what you speak) is another tool:
Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb, and by the Word of their testimony; and they loved not their lived unto the death. We all know about pleading the blood. You can’t be around Pentecost long before you will hear it. The blood is a protection. After I put on the armor, I always plead the blood over it. It is like putting an impermeable suit of amour over the whole thing. The enemy cannot stand against the blood. When you put a bloodline around your home in faith, the enemy cannot cross it. Over your mind, the enemy cannot enter. Put the blood over your finances and the devourer can’t touch them. Plead the blood over your children and you can actually have peace when they are out of your sight. The blood is a counter agent to sin. Where the blood is applied sin and the enemy cannot stay. Use your authority and plead the blood over you and yours every day.
It also talks about the word of your testimony. I like the example of David and Goliath. 1 Samuel 17:36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defiled the armies of the living God. First, we see David proclaiming the faithfulness of God in his past, then he goes on to declare his confidence in God’s deliverance for this enemy. Then Goliath begins to belittle him and again we see David speak words of faith – 1 Samuel 17:46, This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee.
Big words from a young man with a handful of rocks but he spoke faith! Are you struggling with something? Take a look back and see what is coming out of your mouth. So many times, we talk ourselves out of the blessing or miracle that is right around the corner. Words of faith are mighty. The power of life and death are in the tongue. Speak life.
Sometimes we take ownership over things that God never intended for us to. Something can come into our lives and instead of rebuking it or speaking peace into it, we just accept it. Change your thinking! We don’t have to take it! Remember who you are!
Be persistent. If you don’t see the answer today, pray about it again tomorrow and expect to see your answer! Thank Him and praise Him for what he is doing. You never know the wheels that God has already set in motion for your answer, and you will get an answer: it may be yes, it may be not now, or it even may be no.
Even in His silence, there is sometimes the answer of “wait.” However, if we are in alignment with him, seeking his will, we can even take the no answer. Because we know, he has our best interests at heart. Just keep praying. Prayer changes things and sometimes what it changes is you. Just keep believing and remember who you are! Sometimes we feel it is too late. “Oh if I had known this earlier I wouldn’t have lost this, that, and the other.” This can lead to hopelessness. Depression is the emotional result of hopelessness, but joy is the result of hope, and peace is the result of faith. Speak hope, speak faith!
The alternative to faith is hopelessness – so don’t listen to those lies from the enemy. It is not too late. There are numerous examples in the Bible where all was lost and in man’s eyes, it looked as though there was no hope, but then God stepped in. It looked like David had lost it all when Ziklag was raided. Everything was gone – and he was about to lose his life because there was talk of stoning him. However, David encouraged himself in the Lord, then he inquired of God, and lastly he took action! And in 1 Samuel 30:19 it says he recovered ALL. Not some, but ALL. It is never too late when God is in the mix! Remember who your daddy is!