Isaiah 12: 3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
Jesus was resting at the well when a Samaritan woman arrived to draw water alone. Most women drew water in the early morning or in the evening when the sun is about to set. She perhaps was an outcast because she came to the well alone. Jesus revealed that she was scorned by the townspeople due to her past.
Just the fact that Jesus spoke to her a Samaritan was a miracle of grace, she being a woman was scandalous, and one with her past was beyond imagination. Yet, he did more than add value to her by the courtesy of addressing her; what He did for her is simple; He gave her something better than what she came for – He gave her “Living Water.”
We should enjoy attending church and participating in the worship, because without a doubt Jesus always gives us more and something much better than what we came for.
Her story was one of contrast she came for something much less than what Jesus was offering. She came for physical water; but He offered spiritual water. She came as an outcast; Jesus made her accepted by God and employed her as a witness that stirred all of Samaria. Living waters of eternal value replaced her need for physical water.
When Jesus began to reveal to her the life she had lived, she did her best to change the subject and started an argument about her religion. She wanted to know which mountain was the right mountain to worship at. Jesus was a master of redirection. He came right back and revealed that true worship does not happen at a place but at the point where spirit and truth meet together. It’s about relationship not religion. It’s about salvation! Do you know Him? What are you Thirsty for?
Consider for a moment that Jesus is thirsty. He thirsts for true worship and sincere fellowship. It is the only thing that refreshes His Spirit. Your love, your worship and devotion makes Calvary worth it all to Him. The joy that was set before Him was that you would be saved.
At the Cross-we see two prophecies harmonized. “Living Water” cries out “I Thirst!”
The prophecies of old spoken by David under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost had this to say, “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (Psalm 69:21).
No element was missing from the portrait of grace painted by the hands of the master apostles; every prophecy was accounted for and fulfilled. No detail was overlooked because God in His wisdom inscribed in scripture every detail of the great tragedy of the cross centuries before it happened.
Jesus honored every word of God and he spoke these two words for one reason – to fulfill prophecy and make His obedience complete. Nothing but submission would cause Him speak to soon, “but it is written: in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink, and what pain could not do prophesy did do. The remarkable timing of Jesus shows us beyond a shadow of a doubt that He truly is God Almighty.
John 19:28-29 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
Jesus understands the human condition better than all the Psychology Departments of the Ivy League Schools; He knows that we are thirsty and in need of true “Living Water.” If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink (John 7:37). Our thirst can be quenched and we can be filled but we have to want it – Got Thirst?
Our world is in chaos; we all share a common experience of spiritual anguish and what we need cannot be satisfied by anything the world has to offer. Too often when we do seek for things of this world to satisfy we end up destroying ourselves. Our busyness, alcohol, drugs, extramarital affairs, none of these poisons will satisfy. They will leave you broken, bruised and beaten. I choose Jesus. The World needs Jesus. He is the only one that can meet that deep longing in our heart. Only through His presence can we discover the true and unspeakable joy of the Holy Ghost.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6).
When God wanted Israel to conquer their bitter waters he instructed Moses to cut down a tree and throw it into the water and the waters were made sweet and fresh.
At the cross, we find another tree that has the power to turn bitterness into sweetness that changes bitter waters to refreshing water to quench the greatest thirst of man’s soul – The Presence of the LORD – Got Thirst?
All of us, regardless of how spiritual, will experience moments when due to betrayals, misunderstanding, or faced with hatred and bitterness, will be knocked to our knees and left feeling devastated. Leaders are definitely no exception to this awful reality and the truth is our reality is just the opposite; we are far more susceptible. These moments can be overwhelming.
The Bible teaches us in Proverbs 18:14, “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” Man can endure much physical affliction. The body can, as it were, fall back upon the support of the spirit when it is distressed and weakened; but when the spirit itself is broken, grieved, wearied, and debilitated, it has no resource, no higher faculty to which it can appeal, and it must succumb beneath the pressure [Pulpit Commentary].
There will come a time in your ministry when you will be wounded. People will hurt you, walk out on you, and some will even try to destroy your ministry. You can try to be strong, brush it off and act like it’s just par for the course, but the truth is, it hurts.
Jesus himself suffered rejection and betrayal by those closest to him. In John Chapter 6, the Bible says that many of Jesus’ disciples turned back and walked with him no more. He then asked the twelve that were closest to him, “Will you also go away?” Will you abandon me as well? Peter, in turn, denied him three times, and that at the moment Jesus needed him the most.
The hurts will come, but it’s how we deal with the wound that determines our destiny. Hurting people hurt people and a leader with a wounded spirit has to be careful that he does not lash out at others to try to justify his own hurt.
How does healing come? Isolation is not the answer. The enemy would love you to isolate you from the body, but that is only detrimental to you.
Spiritual People can Restore You.
Just as people are usually the source of hurt, they can also be the source of healing.
People who are hurting can find comfort from trusted mentors who can help them deal with the issue.
The Holy Ghost is called the Comforter for a Reason.
Our other source is from God himself! “Who was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.”
“The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18).
“He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
The feeling of our infirmities can touch him because he himself has been there.
He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, he was despised and rejected of men, he was a wounded spirit and now he is a wounded healer.
Learn to Walk in Forgiveness.
To avoid harm to our spirit, we must walk in forgiveness.
Just as it takes time for a physical injury to heal, hurts to the spirit or heart also require time to heal.
Your hurt doesn’t have to define you, but your reaction to it will.
Let it become a defining moment that propels you into a new level in your relationship with God.
Another key to spiritual authority is what we think about; we must have a renewed mind.
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
The renewing of your mind is the changing of your perspective. You must see things as God sees them, and focus your eyes on victory and not on your failures. Sometimes we allow our imaginations to run wild and create scenarios that aren’t even real. The Bible says to cast down imaginations from our minds. When we allow our feelings and imaginations to decide how and what we believe about things, it can build strongholds in our lives.
Strongholds are the result of wrong thinking, wrong attitudes, and wrong behaviors. When you allow the same thinking into your mind repeatedly, it builds strongholds and invites spirits into your life that you don’t want there. Then you try to rebuke them and cast them down and can’t figure out why you aren’t having the victory. It’s because you built a stronghold in your mind.
You have to go back and renew your mind. Find the mind of Christ and ask him to reveal to you if there are any hurts, forgiveness you need to give to others, or anything you need to take care of to get rid of that stronghold that is allowing those spirits to come into your life. This must be done if you want to have victory.
You can’t speak faith out of one side of your mouth and doubt out of the other. You can’t expect to speak blessings out of one side of your mouth and then talk evil against your brother/sister and expect that blessing to come about or expect to have any authority.
We live in a rebellious and self-centered world. We were born into sin and we are hit with the enemy’s agenda on a daily basis. We can become desensitized to the wrongness in this world. We must have our mind renewed daily in prayer. (You have to have a prayer life to have authority.)
If we live having the right mindset it will daily impact our thoughts, our choices, and our behavior. If we don’t put the right things in our mind, the enemy will jump at the chance to put the wrong things in. We can’t let the world’s thinking have any place in our mind. I’m not just talking about the really big things that we can easily identify as going against God, but also about the subtle things.
If our mindset is changed just a little, it can take us out of the mind of God. Have you ever thought about the world’s perception on good vs. evil? Hollywood and this world try to make it seem like there is a battle between God and the devil. Yes, we fight the enemy but God does not. There is no struggle for God against Satan. God could take care of him with one word. He is simply a nuisance to God. Half the battle is in your mind. If you change your thinking the battle is won. It is like watching a recorded game. The outcome is already known. You may see the struggles throughout the game, the ups and the downs, but you already know who is going to win. We know the outcome. We may have ups and downs but we know we shall be victorious, and God wants us to be victorious and take authority while we are on this earth as well. Set your mind daily on the things of God. Align your will with God’s. Set your purpose with God’s purpose and you will have authority.
Tools we use to wage war: First off, let me say that we never use our tools of warfare against people. They are not our enemy.
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Secondly, you cannot use these tools and expect to see results if you aren’t practicing right principles or concepts. Being in the line of authority is one that we talked about but there are others as well. For example, I can’t pray for my finances and use all the tools God has given to prosper me, when I don’t pay my tithes. That’s an easy one to jump to but it applies in all areas. We have to practice right principles.
If you don’t see things changing, sometimes you have to examine yourself; what is it that is holding back your promise? Our authority is delegated. We know it comes from God and he has given us what we need to take authority and dominion over the enemy – the whole armor of God.
Charisma will not go very far in the Kingdom of God. On the other hand, submission, humility, love and respect for others will go a very long way. Your personality type has absolutely nothing to do with your authority. If a man is to use God’s authority to accomplish His work, he must fulfill three principal requirements. He must know that all authority comes from God, He must be obedient to God’s Will, and He must deny himself. If we do not meet these requirements, we cannot operate in God’s authority.
Jesus has given us authority over this world and everything in it. In Matt. 16:19 Jesus says he gave us the keys to the kingdom; and that whatsoever we bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever we loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Those keys aren’t just the keys to get into the doors of heaven, (salvation) but they are the keys to authority & dominion over every situation in our lives. It’s access to the throne room. It’s the power to call things as though they are. It’s the power to overtake the enemy and drive him back. It’s the power to rip our loved ones out of the enemy’s hands! It’s the power to call down the blessings and abundance from heaven! However, just like these keys, you have to do something with it. We must take action.
Let’s talk about a couple of these keys: We must realize that our authority is a delegated authority. What does this mean? It means my authority comes from somewhere else, and for me to have authority I must be submitted to an authority in my life. The world has taken the word submission and made it into a weak thing. Someone says the word submission and everyone gets into an uproar. “Well, no one is going to tell me what to do. You are not the boss of me!”
Notice that the enemy tries to discredit the things that give us authority over him. He has tried to cheapen the name of Jesus and make it into a curse word. Why don’t people say “Oh, Buddha,” or “Oh, Muhammad”, because there is no power there? Why is it that some churches preach that you should only be quiet in church, don’t pray aloud or worship with your voice? Because the enemy knows, life and death are in the tongue. Why, in newer translations of the Bible has the word fasting been taken out of “these things only come by prayer and fasting”? Because everything that give us power he tries to bury. He knows where our power comes from! He knows the Word and he twists it to try to take our authority away from us!
The centurion understood delegated authority in Matthew 8:8. He had an active faith – not a passive one. He went to Jesus and asked Him to heal his servant. Jesus said that he would go to him but the centurion stopped him, “no need to go all that way Lord, just say the word and I know it will be done. I have servants under me – I say go they go, do this and they do it.”
He understood authority. His authority did not come from himself either. He had a commander over him. The military, and people above him is where his authority came from and he understood that all it took was a word. The same is true for us. If we are not submissive to the divine line of authority in our lives, we will have no authority.
Let’s just break it down into everyday living; what does this mean? It means that I place my life under Pastoral Leadership. It means his vision is my vision. I allow him to shape my principles and concepts. It means that I follow the standards that he sets for the church. It means I am staying submissive to my divine line of authority; I want to stay in alignment with my pastor as he stays in alignment to God and the people of authority in his life.
I want my prayers answered. I want to have authority in the kingdom of God. I cannot have it if I am not submissive. If we do not submit, we open ourselves up to the enemy. James 4:7: “Submit to God and the devil must flee from you!”Submit to God – that’s your line of authority. You can’t say you are submitted to God and then not be submitted to you pastor. You will be out of the line of authority.
I’ve always heard it as an umbrella analogy. Think of God’s line of authority as an umbrella. When I am in the line of authority, all kinds of bad stuff can be going on around me, but I am protected. From the inside flows the blessings and protection of God. Because I am under the umbrella of authority, I can receive all the blessings God wants to give me.
So how do you know if you have a submissive heart? Well, what’s your attitude towards correction? What is your attitude when you are asked to do or not do something? Do you speak negatively about your pastor/leadership? Don’t do it!
You surrender your authority when you do that! Look at the two kings – Saul was told by the man of God to kill all the Amalekites. However, he didn’t do it, he thought he had a better plan. In addition, when the man of God confronted him he found all kinds of ways to justify himself. Because of that, the Bible says God took the kingdom away from him. Whereas, David when confronted by the Man of God regarding his sin, fell on his face in repentance.
Even Jesus was submitted when he went to the temple and his family couldn’t find him. He said, “Didn’t you know I would be about my father’s business?” Then it says that Jesus was subject to them and went home. The very next verse says that Jesus grew in wisdom and in favor with God and man. So yet more blessings of being submissive…who doesn’t want wisdom and favor with God and man?
Trust is a foreign concept to our generation. Today’s culture is not a trusting one. In fact, we are taught not to trust any institution or system whether religious, government or education.
Because our generation has allowed the culture to affect their relationship with God, it has become our greatest challenge and we must learn to trust God.
James Dobson said, “Faith in God is like believing a man can walk over Niagara Falls on a tightrope while pushing a wheelbarrow. Trust in God is like getting into the wheelbarrow!” To believe God can do something miraculous is one thing, to risk his willingness to do it in your life is another.
Trust is the highest level of faith.
5 Trust Principles found in Proverbs 3: 5-7
Principle #1 Trust is a matter of the heart. We must learn how to trust in the Lord with all our heart, with our emotions, our appetites, our purchases, our relationships and our salvation. Trust in the Lord with your emotion, desire, affection and need.
Principle#2 Lean not unto thine own understanding. James Kok said, “Faith is the capacity to trust God while not being able to make sense out of everything.” Don’t make decisions based on what you think you understand. When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away your ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.
Principle #3 Put God first. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. In every area of your life, put God first, first in marriage, in finances, in family, in your spiritual life, and in your emotions. The more we depend on God, the more dependable we find he is.
Principle #4 Don’t be a wise guy. Be not wise in thine own eyes. Don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought. Pride goeth before destruction and an haughty spirit before a fall. Oswald Chambers said, “the great stumbling block in the way of some people being disciples is that they are gifted, so gifted that they won’t trust God.”
Principle #5 The Obedience Test. Fear the Lord and depart from evil. Victor Raymond Edmond said, “To trust and obey God is the substance of the whole matter of living for God.”
Proverbs 3: 8-10 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: so shall they barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
When you step into ministry and into leadership, you paint a target upon your back. The only way to avoid criticism is to do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing, because for every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism. Here is a simple rule of thumb: if you are a leader, you will be criticized, Period.
Criticism hurts when it questions our motives. It has a way of striking you right in the heart. “It will never work, we’ve never done it that way before, and we’re doing fine without it.” Sound familiar? Understand this; as you become more effective in what you do, you become a bigger target for criticism. The danger of being criticized is that it can cause you to develop a wrong attitude and cause you to react with a wrong spirit toward the criticizer. Many aspects define your ministry and your leadership, however, one of the main ways your leadership will be defined is by how you respond to criticism.
A critic is one who points out how imperfectly other people do what the critic does not do at all! In the Gospel of Luke Chapter 7 Jesus is invited into the home of a Pharisee to sit down to meat. And behold, a woman, which was a sinner, brought an alabaster box of ointment and began to wash his feet with her tears, and wipe them with the hairs of her head, and anointed his feet with the perfume.
Immediately the Pharisee developed a critical spirit, and within himself questioned Jesus ministry. The problem in this situation was that it was the Pharisee’s responsibility to wash the feet of a guest, to kiss him, and to anoint his head with oil when he entered into his house.
This Pharisee criticized the woman for doing what he was supposed to do. How did Jesus respond? He forgave her sins. He never allowed the criticism to deter him from his destiny. He always fulfilled his purpose regardless of what “the crowd” said about him. He healed the sick, he raised the dead, and he preached the gospel regardless of criticism and false accusations. Jesus was willing to be misjudged, misrepresented and misunderstood to reach those that hungered and thirsted after righteousness.
How do you deal with criticism? Do you lash out? Do you defend yourself? Do you quit? If you respond with defensiveness, you become mean spirited, and if you return the criticism, you will start a verbal and spiritual war. St Augustine prayed, “O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself.” George Eliot said, “The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.” Your ministry will be a result of the choices that you make along the way. Your response to criticism will help determine your destiny.
Sometimes the best response to criticism is no response, at least not verbally. If you keep doing what God has ordained you to do he will validate your ministry. When you seek man’s validation you are simply looking for applause, and you are not committed to the cause. If the situation demands a response, always respond with Love.
The Right Response to Criticism – Stay Focused on the Positive Results: Remember your ministry and its impact is worth staying the course. Stay Focused on the Principles of Ministry: If you know the principles of God’s word, remember them well and never forget whom you represent and whom you truly belong to. Stay Focused on Your Purpose: Don’t lose sight of your purpose and the reason for your ministry. God did not call you to please people; He called you to please Him.
Jesus said to love your enemies, to bless them that curse you, to do good unto them that hate you, and to pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you. Why? “That ye may be the children of your Father, which is in heaven.”
In the throes of struggling with a burning desire to increase the effectiveness of ministry where more souls are saved, where saints receive greater light and where they are better equipped to tackle the unique problems of our society, God has led me to seven principles in scripture that have literally revolutionized the results when I preach.
You must understand that God is more interested in a prepared vessel than in a prepared message. In God’s economy, the most important factor is the condition of one’s heart. Ministry is a matter of both the renewed spirit and the renewed mind, working together to produce God’s purpose.
Consistency of God
From the example of Benaniah’s (one of David’s mighty men) victory over the lion in a pit (his lowest) on a snowy day (his coldest), I discovered that you can be at your lowest or at your coldest and God will still give you the victory.
You must learn to master your emotions. Whether you feel high or low does not change the power of God to deliver His people. Faith is not a feeling; it is an acceptance of truth in the face of adverse circumstances. Whether you are on the mountain or in the valley or even in the pit – you will find repeatedly in scripture that God’s power proved to be equal to the task at hand.
This means you must learn to create your own atmosphere. You do this by having the right attitude about your crisis. Your motives have to be reexamined and you must align them with God’s values. When you determine that you will no longer preach just to do a good job but you will minister to help save someone else from the destructive jaws of the lion (even when you are having a bad day), you will not stop believing that God is able to deliver. This type of perseverance will pay off in the long run.
Everyone has their pits in life that contain roaring lions ready to devour their breakfast, their lunch, their dinner, and have them for dessert. Opposition to one’s ministry should be expected from both the human and demon world. As you know, both evil spirits and the flesh war against God’s purpose. Our God is consistent, He is faithful and you should never judge what God can do by how you feel emotionally, but by what you know the Bible says is true.
Joy In The Battle
Brother T. W. Barnes pointed his bony finger in my face one day and said, “Brian, you don’t enjoy the battle any more. You must make up in your mind that every morning when you wake up you will have to unsheathe your sword and prepare yourself for war for Satan will never give up.
He will never cease to try and take you down, and if you make it to heaven and walk through the pearly gates, listen carefully as they close behind you because you will hear the rat-tat-tat of the arrows as he makes his last ditch effort to stop you from realizing God’s perfect will. However, remember this, for every new level of power you achieve, you must also face a new set of devils more sophisticated than the last. Also, remember that the same thing that defeated him before will defeat him again and again. The same name, the same blood and the same word works over and over again.”
From Samson’s encounter with the lion on his way to Timnath when he refused to discuss the conflict with his father and mother, I learned that there are some battles you must learn how to fight in secret. Instead of discussing the battle, he decided to extract honey from the carcass of the lion and share that honey with his family.
You don’t have to reveal every battle with the Lion. Just remember to carry plenty of honey with you wherever you go. Learn to celebrate small victories. Learn to celebrate other peoples’ victories – even those you don’t like. That’s a tough one. However, it’s necessary if you are going to continue to grow in the Lord.
If you are going to preach and struggle with the disappointments that come with ministry, then please be sure to carry your honey with you, for it’s through the joy that we draw water from the well, and through joy that we gain strength to overcome.
Power Of Agreement
You don’t have to have a majority to have revival. “Where two agree touching any one thing, God will do it.” All you need is one other person besides yourself to create the proper atmosphere in a church service for effective ministry. One will put a thousand to flight, two shall put ten thousand to flight. That can be your wife, a prayer partner, the pastor, the evangelist or just someone in the congregation that possesses a kindred spirit. It doesn’t make any difference who it is as long as you connect.
I have heard preachers say, “When everyone starts worshipping the Lord and praying around here, we will have revival”. Consequently, they never experience consistent revival. At best, it is sporadic and seasonal. This gospel has a built in provision that it works in season and out of season. When you feel like it and when you don’t, when the atmosphere is right and when it isn’t, God can still work. Andrew and the little lad with his five loaves and two fishes created miracle territory when everyone else was distraught; at the Master’s command, “You give them something to eat.”
Notice they didn’t try to take their meal to the crowd – they gave their lunch to Jesus. Don’t ever try to give what you have to the crowd. It will never be enough. Always give it to Jesus and He will make it enough.
Power of Words
We have underestimated the power of words for too long. The scripture teaches us that life and death are in the power of the tongue. We eventually become exactly what we think and talk about the most.
If you do not have a faith buddy that you can talk to about your dreams, about the word and about faith, then you need to pray that God will connect you with someone who is not intimidated by your desire to do more.
It’s not always good to share your faith with someone who does not have similar goals. It can be counterproductive. You need to always be sure that you link up with people who will help challenge your faith and give you the inspiration you need to continue the journey until you achieve the promised victory.
Prayer and Praise are WORDS! Blessing & Agreement are WORDS. Notice that God wouldn’t allow Israel to say a single word the entire time they encircled Jericho. The reason for this unusual request can be easily understood when you look back on Israel’s history of murmuring and complaining. Forty years earlier, they allowed the 10 spies with an evil report to persuade them to speak against God’s promise. They slandered the land and thereby canceled their ticket to enter into God’s promise that flowed with milk and honey. Therefore, God made sure this time they wouldn’t even get the opportunity to talk their way out of the victory. He, in essence, told them to keep their mouths shut until they heard the ram’s horn and then shout for the Lord has given them the city.
I have never regretted a single word I have not spoken. Unfortunately, we all know how difficult it is to control your tongue. You must learn this early in your ministry. The earlier you gain the mastery of your tongue the easier your life is going to be. Watch how you speak to your wife, to your children and to the people you preach to.
It is said that 90% of all domestic fights are started not by just the words spoken, but by the tone of voice one uses in speaking. Don’t allow your frustrations to master your pulpit presentation. If you have a word from God, then speak it in a spirit of meekness so those who hear it will receive the grace to acknowledge the truth and experience true repentance. Always use your anointing for redemptive purposes and leave the vengeance to God.
Need For Setting Goals
Missionary Bruce Howell to El Salvador made a startling statement during a committee meeting where he was invited to speak. He said, “The only year the El Salvador church did not grow was the year they did not set goals.”
Someone once said, “Destiny cannot be realized without direction; direction cannot be determined without defining what’s important.” We must discover what our focus will be as we move toward the turn of the century and the beginning of a new millennium. What we emphasize and reward will be what we will become.
Our focus must be on evangelism. A sense of destiny can only be developed as we turn outward to the world to change them into what we are. Focus can mean the difference between success and failure – it is the sign of determination and perseverance. People become what they think of themselves.
It is paramount that we affect our generation and define their values from a spiritual perspective, but first, our direction must be determined. Oftentimes we attempt to change others before we ourselves are changed. Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Although Gandhi wasn’t a Christian, he did understand the fundamental principle needed to make a positive impact on the world around him. No other law governs ministry and its effect any more than this one does. One must become the example they anticipate in others. Direction is absolutely vital to your success in God’s kingdom.
You must do more than just use the methods you see that are working for other people. You must also understand the principle behind the method. “Methods always change but principles never do” (Wiersbe). Dream big dreams, set goals for your ministry of what you want the Lord to do for you because He can do it all.
God Rejoices In Relationship
“I AM THAT I AM,” is a term referring to the redemptive name of God, “Jehovah.” God revealed this name to Moses in order to empower him to deliver His people Israel from Egyptian bondage. It was in the authority of this new revelation that Moses was able to demand of Pharaoh the release of God’s people. Unfortunately, the name meant nothing to Pharaoh at the time. Not until the plagues and miracles were performed in that name was he convinced that there might be a little more to this God than he had originally thought. When the release of the Israelites was demanded by Moses, Pharaoh asked the question, who is the Lord that I should obey him? That was the wrong thing to say. Now God proved by the power of the use of his new name that Israel would be delivered and that meant bad news for the Egyptians.
Note that Moses was the first to receive this redemptive name. It clearly states this truth in Exodus 6:3. The name was a new revelation. But then God surprised Moses with his use of the word, “moreover.” “Better yet” or “more importantly”, “Tell them that I am the God of your fathers – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
In essence, God was telling Moses that He would rather be known as the God of those with whom He had a relationship. These three men built a relationship with God so special that He was not at all hesitant to be named as their God.
A special covenant relationship involves commitment. Commitment is important.
These three men illustrate the principles and testimonies that God desires to be identified with. God’s ultimate purpose is to bring men and women into fellowship with Himself, a daily walk that is established similar to what Adam and Eve experienced in the cool of the evening. It is a fact that every major character in both the Old and New Testaments who has ever been used of God has employed these attributes. To be sure, these principles are most prevalent in the life of Jesus Christ who is the supreme role model for all Christian behavior.
Isn’t it ironic that in the daily walk of Christ as seen in the report of the gospels He accomplishes everything God ever asked of any Old Testament character? It’s no surprise to the people who know Him as Lord and Savior.
In Deuteronomy 6:23 Moses told the people that God’s purpose for deliverance from Egypt was, he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers. We have already covered what it takes to be delivered from sin. Now what does it take to get into God’s purpose?
First, we must learn that before we can experience the glory of God, we must learn the ways of God. God has a plan for our lives but He also has a certain path we must take in order to see it. I learned this truth from Ephesians 1:8, Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence. Wisdom is the eternal purpose of God and prudence is the daily discipline or knowledge that must be applied to your life if the eternal purpose is going to be realized.
Moses, as a leader, was given greater insight into how God did things than the Israelites. He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel (Psalm 103:7). Therefore, our prayer should be the prayer of the Psalmist David in Psalms 25:4, Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. When we learn the ways of God, the natural result will be the conversion of sinners.
Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Now we will learn how to step into God’s purpose and walk in harmony and in relationship with Him.
We must learn from Abraham. He was the father of the faithful and a friend of God. This is where we begin our journey into the life that God wants to give us. No one can walk together except they agree. Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3).
It was Abraham who believed God. His faith was strong enough to conquer great enemies. His faith was great enough that he left this testimony, that God is someone you can build your whole life around. Daily devotion can help bring you into agreement with God’s word and plans for your life. Israel was commanded to listen to the Bible read every 7 years. The King was to read through the law every year. We need to proceed further into this journey. Isaac became a willing sacrifice. We must learn to get together. Agreement cannot happen unless there is an open line of communication. Joy cannot happen unless there is willingness. We must go to church and learn to give our encouragement.
Jacob reveals the necessity of desire. This is when you learn to live for God, not based on your feelings, but on your will. Even though Jacob had failures and faults, it did not disqualify him from having a covenant relationship with his God. Jacob illustrates the power of learning to wait on God. He took his spiritual passion and focused his prayer until he prevailed over the angel. He learned how to seek the face of God and determine his place and ministry in the kingdom. God dances over people who seek to know Him as Father.
Attitude & Perspective are Everything
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say, or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home.
The remarkable thing is, we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will react in a certain way; we cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play the one thing we do have and that’s our attitude. I am convinced that it is 10% what happens to me and 90% how you react to it. And so it is with you – We are in charge of our attitude” (Swindoll).
One of the greatest aspects of Jesus’ mission was the training of the Twelve. He selected them, then trained them and sent them out. He prepared them to succeed and to accomplish His work; He included them in His PLAN.
The record of the four evangelists declares that Jesus was meticulous about how much time he spent with the three disciples he chose as His inner circle. They were allowed the privilege of becoming the fishers of men, which Jesus had promised them when they left the fishing industry to follow Him.
The gospels are clear as to His intention – to give them authority to operate on His behalf. He gave them the same ministry. Jesus was not interested in producing managers of His business. He was hungry to reproduce Himself in others.
It is definitely hard work, fraught with disappointment but it yields the only fruit worth producing. Seeing Jesus formed in the life of another human being is a reward in and of itself. From His example we can glean four important principles.
1. Leadership is the mission. Jesus poured himself into 12 men with the intention that they would carry on his mission after he was gone. He did not have a back-up plan.
2. Learn to be patient. Patience most of the time does not come naturally. Developing leaders is hard work and a difficult process of growth. If we allow them time to grow they will become much more than they are now.
3. Understand that they will make mistakes. If you develop a growth mentality and you work with them to correct those mistakes they will learn from them and become better.
4. Give trust. Trust is a gift that you give them during the training process. God called them, you are training them; now trust them. It will do wonders for their confidence and for their growth.
Disciples are made and not born. We, as leaders, have a responsibility to train the next generation of Joshua’s to help carry on this great heritage. Jack Welch stated, “Before you’re a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”