Last week, an interesting analogy came to my mind concerning a jackhammer.
At Christmas last year, we hired my brother-in-law to operate a jackhammer that we had rented to break open our concrete floor in our basement.
We hired my brother-in-law because he is a big man and has the required strength and weight to operate such a powerful tool. He also has previous experience, operating a jackhammer.
My memory might not be correct, but I remember that it’s recommended that a jackhammer operator should weigh around 250 pounds. Why? Because the jackhammer is extremely powerful and heavy. It can easily break apart concrete and macadam roads.
With such a powerful tool, it’s even more important to have immense strength to operate the tool.
We often become enamored by powerful tools. If it’s not a tool, it’s the IQ of a really intelligent person or other powerful gifts that someone might have.
The jackhammer is a sharp object lesson of how an instrument can bring great danger or can be used for much good, depending on its operator.
A less-seasoned or trained operator might not have the strength and skill to control the jackhammer. A jackhammer’s power can quickly cause it to become uncontrollable and endanger the life of the operator and anyone else standing nearby.
It actually takes a huge amount of strength and skill to keep the jackhammer under control. The functionality of the jackhammer is completely dependent on its operator. The operator keeps the power of the machine under control so it’s effective instead of endangering lives.
In the same way, self-control and meekness represent the strength of a skilled jackhammer operator. They help gifts to be effective without endangering an inexperienced operator and people within close contact.
We all admire powerful gifts, but many of us forget that the greater strength is that which hones the “machine” and helps it to fulfill its purpose.
Powerful gifts and passions must have self-control and meekness at the helm as their experienced “operators.”
Before seeking to operate a powerful tool or gift, it’s better to build resistance, build spiritual muscles, and learn how to bring passions under control.
“Meekness is not weakness. It’s strength under control.” (author unknown)
We talk so often about the Promised Land, but as I wrote about it this morning, it struck me. Isn’t Jesus our Promised Land? Isn’t He really the promises for our future and our hope?
Why is it sometimes so difficult to enter into intimacy with God — to really hear His voice, to forget about everyone and everything else but just to simply know Him?
Are the things that keep us from knowing Him and entering into that depth of intimacy with Him, the “giants” that so often overwhelm us?
In the Bible, there is a record when Moses sent 12 men to spy out the “Promised Land” before the Israelites would go in and take possession of the land that God had promised to them.
Of those 12 men, ten came back with reports of the size of the giants. In fact, the Bible said, “That they became as grasshoppers…” This was not the actual size difference. This was the perception that the ten men had when they allowed their fear to rule their minds.
Two of the men, Joshua and Caleb, came back with good reports. Their reports were about the fertility and prosperity of the land.
It’s amazing how people can view the same circumstances so differently, depending on their outlook and depending on the report to which they listen!
Those who listened to the fearful report never got to see the Promised Land. Their report came “true” in their lives. They lived in fear, wandering, and experienced perpetual loss. They died, never experiencing the Promised Land.
Those who listened to the hopeful report lived beyond everyone else in their generation and were able to see and experience the Promised Land.
The Bible says that there is life and death in the power of the tongue. There are many reports floating through cyberspace and filling our airwaves. The question is though, “What is your source of truth?” Who ultimately rules your life?
Are you listening to the media, to Facebook, to YouTube, to Instagram? Are you listening to political parties or movements?
As a Christian, I would encourage you to turn off your TV, turn off the internet, and open your Bible. Listen to worship music. Go deep into His Presence, allowing yourself to be “stilled” and to know that He is God. Let His peace overwhelm your soul in a good way.
What are you allowing to speak into your life and to influence it? Are you allowing the “giants” of your circumstances or raging voices of those around you to influence you? Are those “giants” keeping you from entering into the fullness that you are promised in Christ Jesus?
As Believers, Jesus is our “Promised Land.” He is the fullness of joy, peace, love, hope, and life. He is your inheritance!
A lot of my friends have been posting this very verse on their Facebook pages:
Psalm 100:4-5: “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.”
The above verse made me think of this verse:
Isaiah 60:18: “Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, Neither [a]wasting nor destruction within your borders; But you shall call your walls Salvation, And your gates Praise.”
There is so much significance to both of these verses! Jesus came through the tribe of Judah. The name Judah means “Praise.”
So, how do we enter into His gates and into a sanctuary where the walls are salvation? We enter through the gate “Praise.” Whom does this gate represent? Jesus! It is through the Gate “Praise” (Jesus) that we find a sanctuary of salvation.
There is more meaning to this as well. Does not this “sanctuary” represent Jesus Himself — what He is and offers? It is through praise that we enter into the sanctuary of His Presence. Praise is a gateway into the inner “sanctuary” of God’s Presence. This is where intimacy with God is found.
Why praise? Why is praise so significant for entering into this sanctuary of God’s Presence?
Praise is none other than us acknowledging the character (goodness) of God, the truth of Who He is, and His faithfulness. As we acknowledge the truth of Who God is, our wills become surrendered to Him, we become aligned with the truth (rather than the false messages of our circumstances), and God is “revealed” to us in a greater measure through “seeing” Him for Who He is.
You can’t see God for who He is when you are believing lies about Him. The work of praise is that it begins to bring our thoughts, hearts, and wills into alignment with the reality of Who God is. It causes all else to submit to the truth of God.
Let praise be our gateway into the heart of God today!
Something our family has really appreciated during the whole Covid thing is taking communion together.
What is it about communion that makes it so special for Christians?
This is what Scripture says when communion was first established by Jesus Himself:
Matthew 26:26-28 —
26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
A few questions:
Are Christians weirdly obsessed with blood — particularly the blood of Jesus, or is there a reason why they focus on Jesus’ blood?
Why did Jesus want us to remember the shedding of His blood?
Heb. 9:22 says, “And without shedding of blood is no remission (forgiveness)…”
Ephesians 2:13 says, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
The necessity for the shedding of Jesus’ blood started back in Genesis when humanity first chose to accept the lie of the enemy of their souls. They were tempted to doubt God’s complete goodness and to accept another way. They were told that they didn’t know good and evil and that God had purposefully withheld this knowledge from them.
The implication was that they weren’t enough though they were created in the image of God. The implication was that God wasn’t good enough because He withheld something (good) from them.
There’s another discussion regarding this for another time… Such as, they were not created to know evil.
They believed the lie and ate from the enemy’s hand and began to know “good” and evil apart from God.
Note that both the knowledge of good and the knowledge of evil came from the same tree, and both are rooted in self and a lie.
“Good” apart from God is religion, and it leaves us shamed, condemned, judged, proud, and fearful. “Good” apart from God is a twisting or perversion of good because it isn’t righteousness. It is self-produced and only the best of what the flesh or humanity can produce in themselves. It is rooted in self and thus selfish at its core. This is why we see that the human version of “love” is always very selfish. We “love” others so they will like us. We “love” those whom we like, those who like us, those who are kind to us. We don’t “love” our enemies. We don’t love for the sake of simply love. We don’t “love” those we don’t like. We don’t “love those who don’t like us. That’s the nature of human love.
Religion is a servant’s mindset. A servant mindset views themselves as working for God. They hope if they do enough good, God won’t look too closely at their hearts.
They are afraid of a close relationship with God because they don’t trust God fully.
Religion is about self-preservation because it’s fear-motivated. Religion still sees God as far off. It prefers a distant relationship with God because God is still viewed as a God who is withholding good from us. Religion is our means of keeping God at a distance: working and serving to appease a God we still view as distant, not quite good, and withholding affection from us.
Note what happened after eating the lie, Adam & Eve hid themselves. Religion will always cause us to feel shame and to desire to hide from God. We hide in many ways, behind “good works…”
Religion has the appearance of good. It knows a human version of “good.” It does good without God. It tries to be “good enough” to appease God. It doesn’t see a need for relationship with God, and at its heart, fears relationship with God.
It never credits God with its “goodness” because it’s always “good” apart from God.
One of the biggest fears of religion is vulnerability. Why? Because vulnerability is where we are exposed. Religion fears exposure because it actually doesn’t intimately know the God it professes and therefore fears Him without loving Him.
So how did trying to be good apart from God produce a need for Jesus to shed His blood?
Because the answer is simple: God is the only Being truly righteous. Man’s attempts are self and fear-based “goodness.”
Righteousness is another whole level. Righteousness stems from pure love, which is why I Cor. 13 says that love is the source of everything that is truly selfless.
In the OT, Moses asked God to reveal His glory, and Scripture tells us that as God passed by Moses that it was His goodness that passed by. God’s glory is revealed through His righteousness, and His righteousness is none other than perfect love.
Perfect love was demonstrated at the cross when Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus was dying for the very ones who hated Him. He gave completely emptied of Himself. He died in order that sinners might be made righteous. He died that we might have life eternal. He died that we might be rescued from the clutches of the enemy of our souls. He died that we might receive His inheritance as beloved sons and daughters of the Most High God.
There is so much more to His blood than what I am sharing now, but His blood represents His very life — the essence of Jesus being poured out so that we can have that very righteous life alive in our own hearts.
Rom. 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
His righteousness produces life. This is why He arose from the dead! Sin produces death within us, but His righteousness produces life within us.
The OT also says that the life of the flesh is in the blood. This is true scientifically, but it’s also true spiritually. It’s the blood of Jesus that gave us life.
This is why we have been made righteous! It’s His righteousness!
Religion tries to earn this apart from God to be good enough. The sad thing is it will never be good enough.
Relationship with Jesus means that we are in Christ, covered by [His blood], made righteous because of His righteousness, and as such, we have authority over sin and Satan.
As Christians, we are no longer condemned, judged, shamed, or under the stronghold of fear. We are righteous, victorious, beloved sons and daughters, with a spiritual inheritance, and worthy.
Communion is a significant reminder of all that we have in Christ. It is also a reminder that keeps us grateful and humble and recognizing the Source of our authority and victory. Apart from Him, we can do nothing that truly has eternal significance.
The night is dark. Into the stillness of the night, figures emerge. They emerge from basement steps, from closets, from attic rooms, from bed chambers — present but unseen.
A flash of light illuminates them.
Light beams reflect off the swords and shields of an army of soldiers.
This is an army of prayer warriors, merging out of the inner chambers where God has been teaching them how to listen and how to hear His heart.
These are warriors unleashed and ready to battle.
Their battle is not with physical forces. Their battle is with forces unseen.
The weapons of their warfare are not to draw physical blood nor to engage in contests of physical strength, endurance, or swordsmanship.
Their greatest battle is to see the unseen enemy and to fight his lies within themselves and others.
Their enemy uses sabotage, intimidation, deception, mind-games, their own fleshly weaknesses, false names, past hurts and wounds, false identities, shame, unforgiveness, offenses, and their own strengths to try to defeat them.
He tries to separate the soldiers from each other. He spreads malicious rumors. He incites fear because fear will always produce division, speculation, self-protection, anger, control, shame, and betrayal.
He whispers vile lies, connecting past hurts and sins with wrong identities to shame them into submission.
He uses false soldiers to spread false commands to bring confusion to their ranks.
He tempts them with illusions of success and god-likeness through their own abilities.
He causes betrayal between parents and children, pastors and congregations, and friends among friends to cause them to distrust one another, imagining the worst and trusting no one fully but themselves.
He makes them completely dependent on systems but not on God.
Yet, these soldiers have been learning how to be victorious over every tactic of the enemy. They have learned victory within the inner chambers of their prayer rooms.
They have learned how to warrior in prayer — not by shouting words at their Commander but by learning the heart of the One Who leads them. It has come through personal relationship with this One, learning to recognize His voice, learning to trust His voice, learning to obey His voice, and learning to receive His love.
These are not just soldiers on a battlefield. These are friends — beloved friends — of the One they follow.
This mysterious One is none other than their Heavenly Father. They implicitly obey Him — not because they fear Him but because they love Him!
They know that He is for them. They know that He has planned only good things for them. They know that He is fiercely protective of them. They know that they are beloved, chosen, pursued, cherished, and redeemed.
They are not just soldiers. They are most of all sons and daughters — beloved sons and daughters.
Each piece of their armor comes with a special power from their Heavenly Father because each part is something that comes from Who He is.
It is His righteousness that protects their hearts. It is His truth that protects the other pieces of their armor and keeps them from slipping. It’s His peace that prepares their steps. It’s His salvation that protects their thinking. It’s His faithfulness that is their front line of defense. It is His Word that is their weapon of offense.
It is their prayers in the Spirit that is a bugle cry for heaven’s powers to be released on earth.
These are warriors that topple a kingdom of lies and generational iniquities.
They do it through worship, through sounding the bugles as watchman, through interceding on the behalf of others, and through defeating wickedness in spiritual realms.
These are the warriors who make possible the toppling of earthly kingdoms and wicked rulers. These are the warriors who send the demons of disease fleeing. These are the warriors who cast off intimidation and deception, along with their companions: fear, shame, bondage, vices, addictions, death, and hatred.
These are the warriors who see the true enemies: demons and who rescue every human victim.
These are prayer intercessors!
Today, God is raising up a new generation of prayer warriors who will worship, sound bugles upon the walls, spend time listening to their Heavenly Father’s heart, and who will not rest until victory is manifested within their own “realms of influence” and calling.
Prayer intercessors, this is your season. Feel the weight of authority and responsibility that is your inheritance as beloved sons and daughters.
It is time to hear and declare the Father’s heart and will here on Earth!