Discernment

Expectation versus Expectancy

ExpectancyEvery believer will need to sort out the difference between expectation and expectancy during their lifetime. The way that leads to life in this world is often narrow and requires balance to avoid the ditch on either side. This is similar to the distinction we need to make when we discern the difference between Self-Sacrifice and Sacrifice of Self.

In a nutshell, when we have a certain “expectation” it may come from a sermon or teaching that arouses our faith or we have a great need to believe God for something specific. This is when our circumstances require us to believe that God is going to do something. However the potential for a setback and an offended heart lies at the door of this scenario. It’s because we often imagine how God will do this miracle and we inadvertently put our faith in the “thing” we imagined more than in God Himself and His will in the situation. This is called putting our faith in our faith. It also reminds us why God didn’t want us to make any graven “images” of Him in the Ten Commandments. Images carved in stone or carved into our minds almost always keeps us away from Him Who is the eternal, uncontainable Spirit. There is a big difference between serving the God we want and serving the God Who is.

This wrong focus often happens when we use the Bible selfishly as a “utilitarian tool” instead of a love letter that leads us to the heart of God. We see countless disillusioned believers who put their faith in what they believe God is going to do versus putting their faith in Who the miracle worker is. There is a difference between believing in healing and believing in the Healer; believing in salvation and believing in the Savior. Disillusionment is a good thing in some cases because we need to be removed from some of our illusions.

We initially don’t recognize there is a difference between expectation and expectancy until we don’t get what we are praying and believing for after an extended period of time. This brings us to a fork in the road where we must choose between our belief in the thing we want to happen and our belief in the Lord Himself.

How do I know the difference? One sure way to recognize if your faith is in the wrong thing is to inventory your thoughts when the thing you are believing for doesn’t come to pass. Are you insulted or offended? Are you bitter or resentful? Have you secretly disengaged from the fight? Are you just going through the motions? Do you have a secret accusation against God?

An Idol of Expectation. I remember several occasions being so angry with God about my circumstances not changing. I thought I was faithful; I was living right and I was standing in faith yet with no results. I didn’t recognize I was secretly offended and was developing a cold heart. I also didn’t realize the source of my offense was because I placed my faith in the scenarios I constructed in my mind in the first place. I even thought I was being so generous to God. After all, I even gave God 3 or 4 different scenarios that He could use to answer my prayer. Wasn’t that so benevolent of me? I was so proud of how humble I was. Yet God is His wisdom and mercy had to let me experience the death of my expectations so I would be free from putting my faith in my “image” of answered prayer; in my ability to intellectually devise a scenario for God to work.

An Attitude of Expectancy. I am learning to keep and attitude of expectancy in my life. When I do, I am more peaceful and relaxed as I am more willing to go with the pace of grace. My faith is in the goodness of God, as I remember He always has my best interest at heart (see Jeremiah 29:11). I now know God is always good and has an agenda of abundant life planned for me. I am beginning to appreciate the “journey as the destination” with God. He could make everything we need appear instantly but He has predestined us to be “conformed” to the image of Jesus. Sometimes delay isn’t denial, it’s just God’s wisdom at work. Besides, regardless of whatever I am believing for, it is always a lessor thing compared to the glorious relationship we have with Him as we travel on this journey. This realization becomes real after our imposed deadline for what we are expecting passes or our faith expires. Then we often see God turning circumstances around in way that had nothing to do with the scenarios we imagined in the first place.

In our early years it seems almost impossible not to construct some idea of what it will look like to believe God in a particular area of our lives. We all try to imagine how a particular answer to prayer might turn out. It’s not easy telling a young person that the latest thing or boyfriend they want so badly isn’t really going to make them happy in the end, because it’s what they “imagine” will make them happy. We only come to appreciate this when we don’t get what we want and God gives us what is best for us. He reminded Israel of this in the book of Isaiah.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8, 9

It is a painful lesson to be circumcised or pruned from our way of thinking but the result is a more intimate relationship with the Lord. So if you are not receiving from God what you are expecting remember what Garth Brooks said in one of his songs… “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers”.

We can keep an attitude of expectancy with God because He is faithful to His word and He loves us enough to sacrifice His own Son for us.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Jesus Wore a Crown of Thorns and So Will We

CrownIf this is the first time for a believer to go through a crushing period it can be very disconcerting. Often it causes them to doubt the validity of Christianity. Up to this point the Christian has only known the academics of the Faith; but once the actual process of testing begins it can be overwhelming. Since the spiritual diet in many Churches in America is mostly focused on the “sweet parts” of the Bible, the average believer is unprepared to face the trials all of God’s servants encountered in the Bible.

Can you imagine the mind games David must have battled as he was running from Saul’s attacks? Where was God during this time? Did David wonder if the prophet Samuel misheard God when he prophesied he would be the next king? What about young Joseph when he was languishing in an Egyptian prison; didn’t God show him something different in his dreams? What about Paul being regularly beaten and imprisoned for simply preaching great sermons? The mental anguish they faced must have been immeasurable.

This is where our “intellectual veil” is torn and greater access to spiritual perception and authority opens up to us. Up to this point our Christianity has been more about the adherence to the Christian religion. Now we become truly desperate for the person of God. When our formulas and memorized Scriptures don’t alleviate the torment, all we have left is God. This isn’t a loss for the believer; it is sweet deliverance from the “exalted intellect” we were cursed with during the Fall of Man. Yes this is painful, but it is God’s way of setting us free from dependence on our soul’s ability to figure things out. Through death of self we are set free.

Remember, Jesus wore a crown of thorns and so must you and I if we are going to take up our cross and follow His will for our lives. The Bible says that the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on Jesus’ head. When we are breaking out of our dead religion or lifeless rituals, the battle to keep us in a form of godliness yet denying the power will be intense. As we wear our crown of thorns, many painful and sharp thoughts will “jab” into our head, our mind as well.

These fearful thoughts will also be twisted around other legitimate thoughts making it difficult to separate them in order to make sense of them. Internal arguments arise such as; “Is this God’s will for me? Why is this stuff happening? Is this a lack of faith on my part? Should I have done something different? Do I have sin in my life? Maybe I missed God? Should I be rebuking the devil or submitting to this process?” These thoughts are so twisted together that it is difficult to unravel them to see which ones are valid and apply to your situation.

We know the mental anguish Jesus suffered must have been unbearable because He actually sweat blood. We remember that Jesus was crucified at the place called “The Skull”… and this is where the battle of our lives takes place as well. The good news is Jesus wore His crown of thorns to enable us to overcome the flesh and the mind games the devil throws at us as we wear ours. This is where we identify with Christ in the fellowship of His sufferings.

It is awesome to realize how deep and strong Jesus’ love for God and for us truly is. His love enabled Him to keep His mind subject to the will of God even during the anguish of the garden and the horror of crucifixion. We must not forget the Lord Jesus stated plainly that if we are going to follow Him, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross (the instrument and circumstances of our death) and then follow Him. This is serious business for the follower of Christ!

Over the last several years I’ve met many Christians who were going through this breaking. When they went to their bishop, apostle, pastor or elder for support they often discovered that these leaders had no idea what they were going through. There are many in Christian ministry today who rule by their own ability and political maneuvering who simply don’t understand this process. They are really no different from the person on Wall Street or Madison Avenue trying to get ahead at any cost. When a “budding” David or a young Joseph with vision asks for help from someone in leadership, they are often misunderstood, ridiculed or even rebuked, instead of offered any encouragement.

When God is taking us through Roadkill Seminary, those in positions of authority who dropped out of God’s School will see us as strange or even a threat. Get ready to duck, because there is a good chance a spear is headed our way, or watch out, our brothers might be ready to throw us into a pit! Be of good cheer, they are also part of the curriculum.

Excerpt from “Roadkill Seminary”

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Self Sacrifice VS Sacrifice of Self

Pic 1A very important distinction is discovered when someone takes classes at RKS, and that is the difference between Self Sacrifice and Sacrifice of Self. We are often ignorant of this difference until one is met with the cold shoulder of heaven. Just as Cain and Abel both sacrificed to God, one offering was acceptable and the other was not. Abel’s sacrifice received some kind of validation; Cain’s did not. Why did God favor one but not the other. What is God trying to tell us in this story in the very beginning of the Bible? Remember, this is the first act of worship or ministry recorded in the Bible. This is also where the first murder is recorded, which was over how to properly worship God. This is an extremely important foundational truth for us to understand. Abel’s offering was a forward-looking type of Christ’s shed blood. This story points to a right and wrong way of thinking about how we worship or serve God.

We can begin to see the difference between the right and wrong way by discerning the difference between self-sacrifice and sacrifice of self. Self Sacrifice is when we give up the things we want to give up, the way we want to give them up, when we want to give them up. We are in control during the entire process. This is nothing more than the works of the flesh disguised as religious sacrifice. Sacrifice of Self is when we put our entire being on the altar of God; we allow Him to show us what He wants us to sacrifice, the way He wants us to do it, when He wants us to do it. We are dead to our choice in the matter. Instead of offering things to God we are actually offering ourselves, our very souls to Him, and we are what He is after. We often fall into the religious delusion that God wants us to sacrifice stuff, when He actually wants us to sacrifice self. It usually takes years before the typical believer discerns the difference. One results in dead religion, the other in life-giving Christianity. Oswald Chambers wrote along this line:

“It is easier to serve or work for God without a vision and without a call or a word from God, because then you are not bothered by what He requires. Common sense covered with a layer of Christian emotion, becomes your guide.”

Excerpt from “Roadkill Seminary”

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Do You Offer Your Skill or Your Soul to the Lord?

Clip 22We should take note of the two kinds of people in your ministry as you read this. This will help you understand why there always seem to be “conflict in the camp” and casualties from friendly-fire. There is a huge difference between a person who is offering their very soul to the Lord as Moses was and people who followed and only offer their skills or service to the Lord. It’s kind of like the pig and the chicken who wanted to make breakfast for the farmer. The chicken said he would make the eggs and the pig should make the bacon. The pig said, “You would be making a contribution; I would be making a total commitment”. Where do you see your commitment level to the things of God?

Another important distinction every believer needs to make is the difference between self sacrifice and sacrifice of self. This is what determines if you are going to be like Abel or Cain…somebody whose offering to the Lord is received or rejected. (See Self Sacrifice VS Sacrifice of Self).

Excerpt from “What In Hell… Is Going On?”

Overcoming “Anointed” Self-Deception

DeceptionOne of the most common reasons why Christians may divide into different camps even within their own ministry networks or denominations is how they perceive what God is doing in their lives and ministries. Believers can have tunnel vision, where they only see their perspective. For example, when a Gospel minister operates under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, God Himself is flowing through them to preach, teach, or heal. When we minister like this it can be exhilarating to know that a mere mortal, can be used by Omnipotence to affect another person’s life for eternity. This anointing allows us to experience real results as we operate under the influence and power of the Holy Spirit.

There is no mistaking what is flowing through you now; you know this is God and the people’s response seems to validate it. Not only has this touch of God blessed those you were ministering to, but it also greatly affected your life as well. Fresh in your mind is the new contrast between the “normal you” and the “empowered, anointed you.” Suddenly this contrast exposes weeks, months, even years of un-anointed preaching or teaching in your ministry. Now you are really sure you know what is God and what isn’t God. This is like your first teenage crush; often the emotions are so overwhelming you aren’t even aware of how you are acting.

This “anointed” endorsement convinces you that this fresh view of God certainly must be the ultimate one. This often results in the strong human desire to start building something, by trying to package what you’ve seen and heard or even by starting a new ministry. Read Matthew 17:4:

Then Peter answered and said to Jesus “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

Here we see Peter beholding the transfiguration of Jesus, plus Elijah and Moses. “This is really anointed!” Yet Peter’s desire to build a monument (or a ministry) to this revelation wasn’t the “anointed” thing to do. Peter’s excitement blinded him to the whole purpose of what God was doing. This is “anointed self-deception” and it occurs to all of us at one time. Anointed self-deception is when you are so amazed, even intoxicated by what God is showing you that you are convinced you have the whole picture. You think your understanding of God’s ways is now the way. Our human nature easily gets these things messed up. This can be especially true if you and I have been rejected in the past and are longing for some kind of affirmation or validation. Most of us need to be delivered from hidden psychological wounds and issues before we can successfully minister at higher levels. Even the great apostle John, upon seeing the most amazing revelations from God, missed it in Revelation 19:10:

And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!”

John almost worshiped a man instead of God. He probably would have been convinced he was right to do so. After, all, he had seen all these marvelous revelations from God Himself; surely he wouldn’t be wrong. Oh yes he would be wrong! John even blows it a second time in Revelation 22:9. Even things God has clearly given to us can become stumbling blocks or idols such as the “bronze serpent” fashioned by Moses in Numbers 21:4-9. It was a symbol of healing in his day, but in 2 Kings 18:4 it had to be destroyed because it became an idol.

If you are a believer, a pastor, teacher, prophet, an apostle or evangelist and you have given yourself to the Lord to minister to others, He has no doubt at times anointed you to minister to His precious Body. You must remember that you are only seeing a part of what God is doing — not the part. The Bible says now we know in part.

Excerpt from “Working Together For Jesus”

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Who Are Controllers?

PuppetA controller can be a child, a parent, a grandparent, a spouse, a brother, a sister, a best friend, a church/ministry leader or anybody close to us. The controllers that affect us most are rarely strangers. We should remember that some of the people we are close to and respect right now might not continue to go on following the Lord at the same level we are. If you and I are not confident in the Lord, they might try to influence us to keep us in their comfort zone. They can also feel threatened by us growing in the Lord and may actually feel empowered by controlling or keeping us under their own influence.

Controllers are often obsessed with supervising the behavior of others. They are wrapped up in what others are doing in light of their own personal needs. Controllers can be very self-centered. Although outwardly they may appear confident, a person with a controlling spirit usually has low self-esteem, and many times is suffering from a spirit of rejection. This fear often causes them to try to control their environment and just about everyone in it. This is where Satan takes advantage of them by manipulating them to do his work through their own controlling behavior. In other words, demonic spirits use their behavior to get to you in an attempt to trick you out of the will of God for your life. Do you remember Peter in Matthew 16 trying to get Jesus to stop talking about the crucified like? Satan is always near when people try to control others.

We should note that all of us have some human tendency to control our environment and those close to us in some way. One minister noted that when we say “I Do” on our wedding day that even the best of us are actually saying; “I promise to manipulate you as painlessly as possible in order to get all my needs met”. That is why RKS is so necessary for every believer. Dead men have no needs for Satan to take advantage of. Remember, Jesus said that Satan had nothing “in” Him in John 14:30.           

How Do They Control Others?

Emotional Control ‑ A controlling spirit may use a person who will over react or under react in order to keep their victim suspended and second-guessing how they should respond. They will use tears, anger, rage, threats, outbursts, moodiness, sulking, silence and even illness as instruments to manipulate others to do what they want. Getting and keeping the attention of others is a priority of controllers. By controlling the attention and actions of others they feel secure or that they are important and in control of their own destiny.

Spiritual Control ‑ A religious spirit in a leader will often try to control or dominate the people of God to make the believers in their ministry totally dependent on them and not the Lord. Using guilt or legalism, some leaders will keep God’s people insecure and dependant on them. True spiritual authority should make believers less dependent on them and more reliant on Jesus. Mature leaders hold all their people with open hands. Insecure leaders are often great oppressors (Proverbs 28:16). See 23 Ways Leaders can Dominate Their People.

This also happens from individuals within a ministry. Insecure Christians, in an effort to fulfill their personal needs in their life, will purposely or ignorantly pray or prophesy over people in an attempt to fulfill God’s will according to their understanding. To the young and unsuspecting Christian, these “soulish” Christians may appear loving and sincere at first. But they can mother (or smother) us so they can feel important and fulfilled. It’s difficult to recognize what they are doing at first because they appear to be so mature and concerned about our well-being. Sometimes we are just thrilled someone is taking an interest in us. See Creating Your Leader in Your Image.

Recognizing You Are Under Attack

If we desire to serve God, we can expect this demonic power will attack us at one time or another. We know we are under attack when we are suffering from depression, loss of vision and despair beyond our ability to explain. We may also experience a frequent infirmity or sickness. We can experience mental fatigue and suicidal thoughts along with fear and anxiety so thick it paralyzes us. We may also struggle with powerful and shameful, lustful thoughts. However, when we really know who we are in Christ and recognize we are being attacked, these powers will easily fall under our feet where they belong.

Excerpt from “Roadkill Seminary”

We Don’t Need a Power Encounter We Need a Truth Encounter

Pic 10Dr. Neil Anderson’s writings are some of the best there are on the subject of victorious living. You will do yourself a big favor by reading “Victory Over Darkness” and “Bondage Breaker” as well as his other books. Remember, you don’t need a power encounter; you need a truth encounter to walk in freedom. It’s not what someone does for you but what you BELIEVE Jesus has already done for you that makes you free.

We don’t need a powerful person to pray for us; we need to believe and confess what the Bible says about who we are in Christ. You don’t “out muscle” or “out shout” the devil; you “out truth” him. We need to say the Scriptures out loud! Yes we need to believe, declare and act on the word of God; the devil is not obligated to obey our thoughts. When we truly assume the responsibility for our own life and believe the truth regardless of our sad emotions, we will find freedom.

When someone says, “I want to believe God but I just can’t believe,” they are being deceived. Of course we can believe God, because it is something we choose to do. Faith is something we decide to do, not something we feel like doing. Pay close attention to that statement. Faith is something we decide to do – it is a deliberate choice to choose God’s way, God’s will and God’s Word. The disposition of faith is one of surrender and yieldedness.

Don’t focus on not sinning. Abstinence from sin is an incomplete goal; we don’t abstain from sin in order to get right with God. We get right with God in order to abstain from sin. Our relationship to the one and only true God comes before any attempts at trying to be holy or good. That happens after we come to Him… in every area, every time.

We Are Saints Who Sometimes Sin, Not Sinners Who Sometimes “Saint” 

We need to stop trying to be perfect Christians. As believers, we are not trying to be saints; we are saints who are becoming like Christ. Remember the writers of the New Testament address their letters to the saints, not the sinners, of a particular city. If God said it, it is true, whether we believe it or not. 2+2=4, whether we believe it or not. Our lack of believing it doesn’t make it untrue. The Bible says we are in Christ ten times more often than it says Christ is in us. We are secure in His hands.

The fruitfulness of our entire Christian walk will be determined by how close we believe we are to God, and how close we believe He is to us. This is the abundant life that Jesus said we could have now; not when we die and go to heaven (John 10:10). Remember, eternal life isn’t something we are going to experience when we die; we have it now because of our union with God through Christ. Freedom is not the absence of something, it is the presence of Someone…Christ. Tap into His life. Who the Son sets free is free indeed.

Excerpt from You Can Be Free

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Friendly Fire – Creating Your Leader In Your Image

FriendAnother subtle type of control that wears on ministry leaders is from so-called “friendly fire” which comes from well meaning compliments. This is when the senior minister receives little comments or notes from certain people who will compliment the behavior they want them to display. When they preach hard and with conviction, certain people will praise them for being the prophet they always wished for. When they teach long comprehensive expository sermons, certain people will praise them for being the teacher they always wanted them to be. Then when they are passionately reaching the lost in relevant ways, certain people will praise them for being the fiery evangelist they believe every preacher should be. Then if they visit someone at the hospital, they will praise them for being the pastor they always wanted them to be.

When praise comes from a pure heart, it is beautiful and edifying. But unbeknownst to some believers is the subtle spirit of control they operate in as they try to make their ministry leader into their ministry ideal, instead of accepting them for who God made them to be. Like many things in life, it all seems innocent until you are on the receiving end of it.

Excerpt from “What In Hell… Is Going On?”

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The Power of Critical Words

CriticalUnaware that critical words are being used by “evil spirits” with pinpoint accuracy to hit the leader’s heart and mind, we sometimes unknowingly provide the natural vehicles for demonic forces to move about in the earthly realms of our organizations. It is sadly like giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Discerning leaders can actually tell when people in their ministry are speaking against them by the level of demonic attacks on their mind.

Often the Lord reveals by a “word of knowledge” what persons in the organization are causing the division. Just like a parent’s sixth sense, God gives His leaders the ability to know what each of their spiritual kids are up to. The enemy may have planted a selfish idea in their minds about what they think the ministry should do. Yet the minister has to love them, even as they are glaring at them with the “skunk eye” while he or she is teaching the Word of God.

Parents Beware

One pastor recalled a service where he greeted one of the teenage girls in his church as she was getting a drink from the water fountain. As she turned to see him, her face lit up with joy as she said “Hi Pastor Bob”, but then she instantly turned away and looked down and walked away; almost with the look of, “I’m not allowed to like you”. The Spirit of the Lord spoke to him and said, “She loves and respects you, but her parents, particularly her mother, has been speaking negative things about you and the church because mom is immature and controlling”.

Parents have no idea how much damage they can cause their own children when they are openly critical of God’s leadership. These parents have sowed the seeds of rebellion in their children that will manifest shortly in their lives. This teenage girl was receiving the anointing from this leader’s ministry gift as well as from others on the ministry team, but because her parents were critical, she was confused. This can abort the Godly spiritual transfer of what God had for her. That poor girl loved her spiritual leaders, but was also confused by her parent’s remarks.

What usually happens next is the teenager suddenly finds fault with everything at her church. She experiences unexplained conflict with the youth leader and the other kids in the youth group. She ends up going from youth group to youth group or she may stop going to church all together. She may not even realize that she has also been programmed to not submit to godly leaders by her own parent’s critical comments. Sadly this criticism can lead to a directionless and promiscuous life. Most of us are unaware of why we are so critical of authority until we examine our developmental years honestly. So much of what we do in our developing years is often self-centered and tainted by our sin-nature. That is why Jesus said we must all take up our cross in order to kill the part of us that is dangerous to us and to others. Many Christians do not truly realize how often they are used to pray selfish and even demonic prayers as they succumb to “charismatic witchcraft”. In their insecurity they often try to control others and the direction of those around them. They may attempt to push or influence some personal agenda while covering it in religious jargon (James 3:13-18).

They often fail to recognize that even if their spiritual leaders only have the I.Q. of a “speed bump”, they are still required to respect their office and authority from God. To not do so is extremely dangerous for the church and their spiritual condition. Their innuendos breed seeds of rebellion that seem harmless at first, but later reap chaos and hardships for all in the ministry. God will not hold those guiltless who speak against His leaders (Numbers 12:1-16). The Bible says things go well for us when we obey and are submissive to His leaders in our lives.

Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. Hebrews 13:7

Excerpt from “What In Hell… Is Going On?”

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God Doesn’t Come to Take Sides, He Comes to Take Over

sidesThere is a Need for All of Us, Especially Christians, To Be Free from the Sin of Presumption

Remember that God doesn’t come to take sides. He comes to take over! (See Joshua 5:13-15). The story in Joshua is one of the most astounding examples in the entire Bible of why none of us should dare presume or take for granted that God is on our side. Here we see the children of Israel had just crossed the Jordan River outside of Jericho under “God’s direction”. Joshua was appointed by God as Moses’ successor to lead God’s chosen people, the Jews, into the Promised Land. God had been leading His people for 40 years through the wilderness to come to the edge of the Promised Land to take possession of it. They were commanded to dispossess these morally depraved nations who were killing their own children in religious sacrifices.

This is the crowning moment of over 400 years of  planning to fulfill the promise God personally made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that their descendants would possess this land. Right after all the males circumcised themselves to prove how committed they were to keeping God’s commands and ordinances. Their leader, Joshua found himself confronted by the appearance of the Lord with His sword drawn. We know it’s the Lord Himself because Joshua was told to take his sandals off (it was holy ground) which was something only God would say. Let’s take a look at Joshua 5:13-15 in the New Living Translation:

When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?” “Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the LORD’s army.” At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said. “What do you want your servant to do?” The commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did as he was told. 

Joshua looked at this heavenly figure with the sword and asked the question of the ages, “Whose side are You on; Ours or theirs?” The divine response is “Neither”. How in the world could God not be on Joshua’s and on Israel’s side? They are Abraham’s children. God Himself powerfully delivered them from Egypt through signs and wonders. They were led by God through the wilderness. God divided the Red Sea and the Jordan River for them to cross. There has never been a surer group of people on earth with the supposed endorsement of God. Yet we see God reminding us and them that we should never presume God is automatically on anybody’s side.

This Puts the Axe to the Root of Presumption

It’s not your way or my way, it’s YAHWEH! I pray this Scripture makes us consider that no matter how right any of us truly think we are, we should always pause and acknowledge our need for God’s grace to save us from ourselves. I hope at the very least we will learn a few things in the following pages as we join the camp that the Lord is in.

Excerpt from A Better Way To Govern

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God’s Ministry Assembly Line

assemblyNow that we understand the progressive nature of the maturing process we will also begin to understand and appreciate why certain ministers, churches and ministries operate the way they do. The proof of our spiritual growth is played out in the context of Christian ministry where we live. This material helps us understand the “maturity milestones” believers must attain to effectively minister side by side; it’s a maturity/character thing. Our book “Working Together for Jesus” helps us understand why so many elders, deacons, bishops, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers often struggle to get along with each other. It’s a ministry context thing.

Our hope is that we will begin to look at different Christian leaders who we thought were out of order in a different light. We will realize that certain ministers are positioned by the Lord to help believers move along the Ministry Assembly Line, the maturing process according to their gifting. Here we see the division of ministry (those who Defend the Faith and those who Extend the Faith) as God ordained. There are fathering and mothering aspects to bringing Christians to maturity. However Satan and his religious spirits work continually to cause friction and persistent misunderstandings between these two styles of discipleship so he can divide and conquer the Church.

To help understand this division of ministry we should review Hebrew culture. The patriarchal (father) and matriarchal (mother) roles reveal why the Church of Jesus Christ emphasizes two different roles. When a woman had a baby in ancient Israel the father and the mother would often give the baby to a “wet nurse” so the mother would stop lactating to better enable her to conceive again.

Evidently the new mother’s body doesn’t allow her to conceive easily when she is nursing. In the Jewish mind, the more children they had the more they were obeying God’s command to be fruitful and multiply. Wealth was measured by how many sheep and cattle and children they had.

After the child was weaned they would hand the child over to a tutor (“pedagogue” in Greek) until such time as the child would have their bar mitzvah. Then the father would, in a sense officially adopt his own child into his care, his training and his family business. That is why we read about Jesus at around 12 years of age saying “He must be about his Father’s business” when He was in the temple (Luke 2:49).

The Bible says that Israel was kept under guard by this “pedagogue” this tutor, which was the Law.

But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.  Galatians 3:23-25

This is the Way This Plays Out in Our Christian World

The first part of your Christian walk you are brought into a church/ministry family where you are regularly fed and nurtured by a tutor, a church family, and a pastor or home group leader. These loving and caring people along with teachers change your spiritual diapers and feed you with the milk of God’s Word. Some even call the Outer Court the “utter court” because it represents a new believer’s need for milk.

We are given consistent and regular routines and programs to help us more easily understand and assimilate the Bible’s basic doctrines. Providing peace and predictability are essential when we are young. We become committed to our local church or denomination because it is the house we grew up in, the yard we played in and the first bedroom we hung our posters in.

This is the safe and soft place of the Church known as your mother or matriarchal ministry. This is the place of peace and predictability that is so necessary for all young believers. You can click here for a visual chart on how this looks in your church. However, sadly the religious spirit can enter here in almost every ministry and where Satan plans to keep Christians stuck in perpetual immaturity. What was valid and appropriate ministry can become smothering and emasculating. Egypt was a place of provision for Israel but years later it became a place of slavery to man’s egotistical monuments. This environment de-motivates believers to move on to maturity.

Have you ever seen an unemployed 30-year-old man who sleeps in late, watches TV all day and still lives at his mother’s house because there is no father is in the house to straighten him out? The same is true for believers in America. It is so sad to see the great tragedy of wasted spiritual potential for the kingdom of God. What is even more incredible is the fact that most Christians have never had their Christian experience described like this before. They have never been exposed to the anointing and authority of the Apostolic and Prophetic ministries that uncovers the fact that they have been stuck in perpetual immaturity. The following diagram helps us see God’s intentions hidden in the Tabernacle.

AssemblyThe Reason Why So Many Backslide and Fall Away

Some church experts believe that there are as many as 20 million Christians who no longer go to church? Click here to better understand 12 reasons why some believers no longer attend church. If we are to grow up beyond typical church attendance. we must understand why we need all 5 of the ministry graces Jesus gave to His Church. That’s what we address is in the following.

The Inner Journey

Working Together for Jesus