Posts Tagged partnership

The Brass Ring

Isaiah 42: 1

Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.

I am sometimes asked which book is my favorite of the Old Testament. That’s easy! I love the book of Isaiah. The prophet Isaiah undoubtedly was in the flow of the Holy Spirit. He saw into Jesus’ life and ministry as no one else did. Because of Isaiah’s own intertwining with the Spirit, one can see the person of Jesus all through this book.

Obviously, in this verse, Isaiah foretold the coming of the Messiah. He also was shown the partnership that would exist between Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Before the Chosen One would bring forth justice to the nations, he would experience his own union with the Spirit.

It is through this partnership with the Holy Spirit that Jesus was empowered to do any of the things he did. Without the power of the Spirit, Jesus could do nothing (John 5: 19). This is one of the most profound realities of Christian life. Isaiah’s fullness of understanding of Jesus’ anointing is seen in the sixty-first chapter. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me,” (Isaiah 61: 1). These are the very words which Jesus read in the temple that launched his earthly ministry (Luke 4: 18). This prophesy shows two examples of partnership with the Spirit. First, it shows that Isaiah spoke by the power, leading and unction of the Holy Spirit. Second, it reveals Jesus’ collaborative relationship with the Spirit. This is Jesus’ commission. I have only given a small part of it but you will appreciate reading the entire chapter.

Nowhere is this cooperative relationship defined more precisely than in Zechariah 4: 6, “Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord . . . saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.” This is critical language but an idea that we, perhaps, are yet to fully realize. While simple in theory, it is a bit more challenging in application, especially in that most of this applied theory is new in many parts of the body of Christ. We are only just now learning how to work in the flow with the Holy Spirit as Jesus did. However, he is giving us this revelation at this time in Church history so that we may go forward as a dynamic body of believers. As we increase our walk in and with the Spirit, we bring his power and wisdom to our own lives. That must be our first step. Only when we, through the Spirit, have met the pressing needs of our own lives can we set our eyes upon the horizon. However, having learned how to cooperate with the Spirit of the Lord for our own needs, we then take his power to the world. Our perspective changes along with our vision. We can then begin to cooperate with the Father on His goals and His vision instead of constantly being bogged down by earthly issues.

This intertwining with the Spirit is the key element necessary for us to arise as the mighty church of God, The Eternal. If there is any singular expression of needed deep revelation for believers it is the knowledge of how to walk with the Spirit such that every one of us is in continual communion with him, following him step by step. God spoke through Zechariah to reveal to us that everything we need to do, everything we are called to do is to be accomplished in the strength and power of the Spirit. What does this mean? This is the critical question. When we can answer this question definitively, we will have laid hold of the Kingdom of God. This is the brass ring!

More Power Please

Psalm 68: 35

O God, You are awesome from Your sanctuary. The God of Israel Himself gives strength and power to the people. Blessed be God!

You are getting a lot of Psalms and Isaiah this week because these two books, along with the Proverbs, are where I go for strength and encouragement. The Psalms are a good place for you to look for our Father in a time of need.

I need strength and power so I journeyed into the Psalms to find a promise I can hang my hat on. I have taken on a bicycle ride that is a bit of a challenge but like every aspect of my life, I expect Dad to be a full partner for this ride. I need Him to supply the strength and power and I will supply the legs. That sort of ends my commitment. Just like in my work, He has to do all of the hard work. This is an arrangement that is working very well for me and is what He wants my role to be. I know because I asked Him. I felt a bit guilty that I was expecting Him to supply all the strength and all of the power but He told me that is where He wants me. He wants me to rely on Him to provide for my every need. Wow!

I have three BIG guys. Why would I want to do the hard labor. That just does not make sense. Father, Son and Holy Spirit have this covered. And, oh yeah, my part? Well, that was praying about it before I committed myself. If Dad said, “No,” then I wouldn’t be doing this.

This applies in every single area of life. When things present themselves, before we say, “yes” we can go to the Father and ask Him. He manages the resources which include our time and energy. He also knows which things move us forward and which will set us back. We are such rugged individualists that we often forge ahead. “Damn the torpedoes. Full steam ahead.” Well, I am beginning to think that individualism may be at the root of a great many of our social, familial and even personal problems. In fact, I am beginning to wonder if it is sin. Regardless, your Father is here to carry the heavy load for you. He has all strength and all power. He is all we need.

Hey, remember to scratch out the name Israel and write in your own. That is your proper standing in this New Covenant.

Partner Meeting

1 Thessalonians 5: 17


Pray without ceasing.

Now what does this have to do with our partnership with Christ? In yesterday’s Word of the Day I shared how Father gave me insight and answers while I prayed. Now, what if I want that divine insight and wisdom all day long? Well, pray all the time, right?
I am increasingly impressed that our part of many situations is simply prayer. However, there are times when there is more for us to do. It is through prayer that Dad tells us what to do. He wants to lead us every minute of every day and the way He can do that is through our vigilance in prayer.
One of the cultural problems we encounter is that we have built prayer up to a formal event. Read what David wrote and you will appreciate that prayer was never meant to be ritualistic. It is the common communication between you and your father. It has to be familiar rather than formal if we are to pray without ceasing.   Prayer is simply talking with your Father, God.

Another element of prayer is making ourselves receptive to His voice. We also use the time in prayer to give Him the authority in every situation. This is when you can put the problem in His “inbox” (see the Word of the Day for June 4, 2014 and October 19, 2015). We need to invite God into our every part of our lives and day and then we need to let Him work out the problems and tasks for us. In prayer give Him your projects and then begin to thank Him and praise Him for the result. And do this all day long, without ceasing. This is your perpetual partner meeting.

Partnered with Christ

Psalm 25: 12

Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.
First let us begin with a small reminder. There is no reason to be afraid of the Lord our God and father. This fear is more akin to a reverential awe. I personally read it as, “Who is the one who loves the Lord?” I think of this as applying to the person who is living in and with the Lord. Those who so do will be instructed by the Lord. God will show such a person the profitable path, the way he should choose.
I want to use another illustration today to demonstrate the idea of partnering with God in our lives. This partnership means that we are neither exercising our own might and power nor sitting on our hands waiting for God to drop everything in our lives.
Last week I was praying over a house. I was asking the Father to abide in the property and beseeching the Holy Spirit to saturate every molecule of the house with his presence. As I prayed I kept hearing the words “abide” and “saturate” repeating in my head. Well, isn’t that what I just prayed? Then I realized that the words were not coming from me but from Father God. He was telling me to abide in the space I was praying over. “Set up a desk here and work in this space. Reside here, abide. Next, if you want the Holy Spirit to saturate this space then you saturate it with prayer and anointed music. Sit here and pray. Let your prayers saturate the walls.” As I received this message I remembered some of the old churches I have been in. As soon as you walk into them you can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. Westminster Abbey was the most amazing in this respect but I remember going into an old country church and feeling that anointing. I remember thinking that one could feel the generations of prayers which had been offered in that building. The prayers of the saints had saturated the walls and the pews.

The point, though, is that through prayer, through connecting with God, He told me what to do for that property. You see, I prayed and then He told me what to do. He has a part to do and I have a part to do. When we begin our days, projects and work with Christ, then we will walk in the way we should. He will direct our paths. This is how we work in harness with Jesus, this is the way of partnership.

Shipping is Free

2 Samuel 22: 31                NLT

“God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
I want to look, this week, at how we walk in the blessings of God. If God has blessed us, if the Word is true then why don’t our lives look more blessed than they sometimes do? This question has plagued me personally and professionally for years but I believe I am beginning to have a revelation into the answer. I would like to use a couple of personal illustrations to demonstrate how we can live in the promises of God and even how a blessed person can miss them.
Last week I was fortunate to get to go bike riding several days. On Saturday I went for a fairly long ride over new territory. I was psyched to go to this new place and spent time Friday getting my water, food and clothes ready for a long day of cycling. I missed one preparation step though and I paid for it. I forgot to pray.
Now, how does a minister of the gospel forget to pray? I have my own theories on that but it is really bad. You see, God has made me many promises. In fact, every single promise that He ever made to anyone is mine if I choose because God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10: 34) which means that He does not show favoritism. What He has ever done for anyone else He will also do for me or for you. Therefore, every promise in the Bible is mine.
Now then, today’s verse, along with many others, tells us that God is a shield for all who look to Him for protection. His promise has been tested and proven true. How can it be, then, that I fell on my Saturday ride and scraped up my elbow? Where was my protection from God? Why did my bubble of protection not keep me unscathed? As I am sure you have discerned, the protection never settled on me because I never prayed. I never received that promise. Today’s verse says that, “God is a shield for all who look to him for protection.” Well duh, I never looked to Him for protection. I just jumped on my bike and took off in the power of my might. What an idiot! Don’t copy me. Cover yourself, clothe yourself every day in God’s protective power. 
 
God isn’t assumptive or controlling. He has given you and me authority and decision making power. He says, “Okay, here is a protective shield. Put it on if you choose.” We have autonomy. That autonomy has a price though. We have decision making power, and that is great, but it also means that His promises are not automatic. They are all activated by our choices. This is how a friend of mine explains it, “We wait for something to happen, or be handed to us, rather than working hard and reaching for things ourselves. It’s like lying on the sofa, asking for someone to bring us a drink. IT’S IN THE KITCHEN, GET UP AND GET IT!!!!! God’s blessing are there, within our power to have, we are just too lazy to get them.” I think this friend has a revelation. God has already stocked the refrigerator with all the drinks we could ever want or need. We have only to go open the door and take what we want.

All of God’s promises are yea and Amen (2 Corinthians 1: 20) which means that He has already said “Yes.” However, we have a role to play. We must appropriate these blessings for ourselves. The warehouse is stocked; it is full. Now just write out your requisition form and have what you need and want shipped to you. Shipping is free.

Couch Potato

Exodus 14: 15

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. And as for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.”

I have been having an interesting conversation with a friend of mine this week. The gist of it is that as Christians, we sometimes wait around for God to do things for us when He has already provided everything we need. We live a very passive Christianity when God has in mind a partnership. Perhaps we do not cognitively think that we can be idle and God will do everything for us but our behaviors indicate that we may believe this is the case.

Moses and the Israelites certainly had that mentality. They were backed up to the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army was closing in. Can you imagine the wailing and caterwauling that must have been going on? God said, “Why are you crying out to me?” In other words, “You have and the sons of Israel have all you need for this situation. Stretch out your hand and part the sea.” Wow! Isn’t that something? “You lift up your hand”, God says.

But now, wait a minute. Haven’t we been taught that we are not supposed to be working in the power of our might? Absolutely! But do you really think Moses parted the Red Sea in the power of his might? Of course not. This is called moving in the power of God’s might, using your authority in Christ. This is the secret. We don’t sit on our hands and wait for God to drop things in our lap because He has given us His name and His authority. Likewise, we don’t move in our power or wisdom but rather in His. We are partners with God through Christ Jesus.

I see so many ineffective, powerless Christians and this just ought not be. Our Father is the big guy, the creator, Yahweh but we go around like orphans. Look, if you were the child of Queen Elizabeth would you go around like you had no authority? Of course not but one key is that you would need to understand your authority.

This is a really big deal. We need to learn to walk in the power of God. We must learn to work with the Holy Spirit and live in the blessing of our Lord Jesus. This is a life of balance, neither relying on our strength nor resigning ourselves to the couch awaiting miracles to fall upon us. I encourage you to ponder this subject and send us your thoughts. Perhaps we can have a good dialogue about how this actually works out in real life.