Archive by Author

Christian Success: Where Are The Role Models?

One of the ways we are motivated is by wanting to be like someone we admire. We recognize someone’s positive traits or that they have achieved certain goals that are appealing to us. So we reason that if we can do what they do we can also achieve similar goals or traits. This is a normal expectation; Christians should be able to identify role models that exemplify dependence on the Father. This is one of the reasons Jesus came in the flesh, and dwelt among us. And Paul encouraged his readers to follow him as he followed Christ; to examine his life, to see where he was depending on his God.

Unfortunately, in many, if not most cases, Christian role models in leadership positions or public ministry are either not exemplifying dependence on the Father, or they have isolated themselves from the people in such a way that we really don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors. It’s interesting that it took Jesus 30 years to learn and practice being dependent on His Father in private in order to minister publicly for three and a half years.

As we truly learn how to depend on the Father, we want to also be aware that there will likely come a time when we will be used as a role model in some capacity. We just don’t want a public ministry to be our measure of success.

When you recognize the peace, rest and confidence that comes from dependence on the Father, don’t be shy about asking how to do it. If a person is truly depending on God, His nature is flowing to and through him. Since God’s nature is, basically, to give, anyone depending on Him will be willing to mentor and instruct on how to enjoy the freedom that comes with this relationship.

Another way to test true character, especially of those in public positions of religious authority, is to check with those closest to them. Do their family, friends and co-workers feel unconditionally accepted? Loved? Valued by that person? The successfully dependent Christian will be freely giving of him or herself to those around them, according to spirit, and allow them the freedom to be who and where God has them at any given moment. (This does not mean all behavior is accepted.)

Remember though that we only truly live the Christian life as we depend on God. It is only Spirit character, flowing to and through that person’s spirit, teaching that individual on a moment by moment basis, that is to be emulated. Remembering this keeps us from putting others on a pedestal, and frees them to make mistakes as well.

[Hedz Up!] “Rope-A-Dope” & “Secession”

Earlier this week, I was thinking about our present turmoil, both nationally and globally. I heard two phrases from the Lord, “Rope-A-Dope” & “Secession”. When I asked what He meant, here’s what He said:

“Rope-A-Dope”

“Rope-A-Dope” refers to a tactic in which one party feigns, or pretends weakness in order to throw their opponent off-balance and to wear him out, making him more likely to make a mistake. In the movie, “The Patriot,” the revolutionary militia was known for breaking ranks and running from the battle field when things got rough. This known fault was used to their advantage, as a tactic, to lure the British into following their retreat into an ambush which included not only the militia but the ‘standing army’ as well. The subsequent defeat of the British Army, in the movie, turned the tide of the war.

I believe the Lord has feigned weakness and drawn the enemy onto the battlefield of His choosing, where he is being ambushed, exposed and defeated. Everything is perfectly orchestrated and under His control, though it may seem like we are losing battle after battle. Yes, the Lord has a Day of Judgment planned, but it will be for our good, not for our punishment. Judgment exposes BOTH the Good AND the Bad.

So many Christians are stressed out over temporary circumstances (yes, whatever situation you are in, it is temporary, even if it is ‘life and death’). The more you are able to hear the Lord’s voice clearly and specifically in the coming months, the more you will be able to enjoy our victory over the enemies of freedom, truth and justice. Peace comes from hearing His Voice, His direction to you.

“Secession”
There was a time, not too long ago, when it was considered inappropriate for Christians to be involved in politics, that they should only be interested in the heavenly realm, and effect change only through prayer and intercession. Over time, political decisions began to directly affect a Christian’s freedom to practice Christianity; religious leaders rose to speak for them (i.e., Moral Majority and others), and the pendulum swung the other way, inadvertently training Christians to become dependent on earthly organizations to effect change.

The Lord is presently asking us as individuals to find the balance, to “secede” from dependence  on these organizations, ceasing from relying on them for direction, guidance and motivation, even while maintaining involvement in the natural, political fight. This is not an ‘either/or’ situation. We depend on the Lord for direction and opportunity to fight the supernatural fight, even while engaging in the natural conflict. We must do both, though it will take effort to remove ourselves from depending on the government (i.e., tax-exempt status for non-profit groups will likely be revoked soon), societal movements, individual leaders, political parties, etc. and develop our own ability to hear and act in all these areas.

The natural strongholds will not be conquerable until the supernatural strongholds have been overcome. When they have been brought down ‘in the heavenlies’, we will have to know when and how to exploit our advantage ‘in the earthlies’.

Bottom Line: DON’T DEPEND on a political party or movement to change laws, grow the economy, etc. DEPEND on God, He will train you to engage in supernatural warfare, even as you are naturally involved in a political party or movement.

P.S. I was also reminded that the State Constitution of Texas includes the right to secede from the Union.

How Can We Recognize Success?

Because of the nature of Christian success, it is often hard to recognize. So our motivation should not be derived from how we’re doing, how we’re measuring up. But measuring our success IS one way God encourages us; we just need to know what His standards are (again, His standards will be based on bringing us into dependence on Himself).

First of all, the Kingdom of God is entered, not built. His work is complete. Our spiritual walk and work is complete in Him. So where is the activity and change? In the soulical realm, with the physical following after. Our goal is to enter into His rest, not to become more productive, build His Kingdom, or even to make disciples of all nations (remember Jesus didn’t send out everyone, only those who had first come to Him, and had learned dependence on His Father).

So recognizing success will be a private thing, centering around a restful dependence. That’s not to say that a successful Christian walk is passive; far from it. It’s just active in a different way. Jesus’s walk on earth was the perfect example of a dependent life, yet the last thing we would say was that He was passive. But His motivation to act, His ability, His power all came through His depending on His Father.

This dependence must be experienced to be truly understood, and as we cooperate with the Lord we can be confident that He is working it into us, but a common example of dependence is the vine and the branch. All the branch has to do is be still and receive the life coming through the vine. In its season, fruit is borne, effortlessly, though through the branch. It is the vine that produces the fruit, the branch simply receives the life. As the life passes through its being, what was already there is en-livened and creates after its own kind. So we as the branches needn’t be concerned with how, or how much is being produced through us by His life flowing through us, unless the Lord specifically brings it to our attention.

Here’s an example the Lord gave me to remind me to rest on a regular basis: On my sliding glass door I’ve got a birdfeeder that’s held on by a couple of suction cups. The birdfeeder keeps the birds from hitting the glass, as well as feeding them up-close and personal so I can enjoy them. But what makes it work is the suction between the glass and the suction cup. All the suction cup needs to do is nothing; its purposes are being fulfilled without it doing a thing but being what it was meant to be. It just hangs in there! (You may want to ask the Lord to make this concept real to you; He’s a personal God, and knows what has meaning for you!)

What Does Success Look Like?

For the world, success will be outwardly measurable. For the Christian, it will be more subtle. In some ways, it will be a very private thing, between each individual and God. In familiar terms, the outward evidence of a successful Christian walk will be love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. But what these look like will vary from person to person, often depending on what particular circumstance God has placed a person in at a particular time, and what is being dealt with. So a person could appear to be depressed, anxious, angry or may have just failed at a job and yet be successful — because he is not relying on his own strength to deal with these things, but on the Lord. This is an incredible mind-shift for many of us, but one that needs to be made, since our basis for success often drives us away from the very thing that provides true success, thus making us vulnerable to manipulation from leaders, vulnerable to attack from the enemy, and at the mercy of our flesh. We need to be careful when judging either ourselves or others as to what success looks like.

Having said this, we can look at the example of Jesus Himself to see what His success looked like to others. Somehow He stirred an entire nation with His words and His actions. What did it look like? Jesus said that if they had seen Him, they had seen His Father. What did it sound like? Jesus said that He spoke only those things that He had received of His Father. So what is the standard of success we want to look for? Do our actions and words reflect our Father, His Nature? Do our actions and words reflect contentment, wholeness and dependence on our Father alone? What this specifically will look like will need to be determined on a case-by-case basis, but as our soulical senses are tuned, we will learn to recognize those who are walking in this dependence, as well as recognize it in ourselves. Those that have eyes and ears quickened by the Lord Himself will see and hear.

For Christians, What is Success?

For many of us this is a pivotal question, since our motivation is often based on how we think we’re doing in terms of how successful we are. We want to know how we compare, if we’re meeting some standard. Worldly success is measured in terms of what is produced or accomplished: achieving great things, like the Nobel Peace Prize or earning great wealth or letters after our name. Worldly success can also be measured in terms of recognition; such as climbing Mount Everest or winning gold in the Olympics. Or even achieving and maintaining certain personal goals, such as being a good parent, spouse, or even a good Christian, according to whatever standards are accepted.

But as in so many areas, true Christian success is measured in radically different terms. For Christians, success is simply actively depending on God to live His life in and through us, on His terms. Success is our true nature working its way out into our soul and body in His time. Success is not about our spiritual relationship with God, which is completed already, but about our soulical and natural walk for our time here on earth. It is not about spiritual attainment, but about soulical and physical dependence and wholeness.

“With Malice Toward None” by Ray Prinzing

“Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. (I Corinthians 14:20)

Totally unexpected, while walking across the room one morning, the Spirit spoke these words within me, “with malice toward none.” What challenge lies therein! The Dictionary defines the word “malice” as enmity of heart, ill will. The Greek word here is “kakia” meaning evil, badness.

If every expression that proceeded from our being were pure, holy, and governed by love, obviously there would be no malice. It is hard for the natural mind to conceive of such a state of being, for the flesh seeks to protect itself, and generates an ill feeling towards anyone or anything which would affect it adversely. “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,” (I Peter 2:1). It takes a mighty inworking of the grace of God so that all of our actions are totally without any ill feeling towards another!

Study the emotions that stir us to action. When we are of a benevolent disposition, we tolerantly let a lot of things “slide by”, but when our disposition changes, and we have an ill feeling, we strike out in self-defense. Purgings are needed until we are made “pure, as He is pure”.

O flesh so arrogant and proud,
Self-centered ways that clamor loud,
Your days are numbered, fading fast,
Your vaunted image cannot last.

The cross shall deal its deathly blow,
Humiliation lay thee low,
Till Christ alone shall be revealed,
The inner man, so long concealed.

And then true grace and mercy give,
Forgiveness births a hope to live,
With neither malice nor ill will,
But joy and peace the earth to fill.

Practical Christianity is Customized

Practical Christianity is clear and specific for each of us as individuals at a particular time and place. One of the ways we can recognize religious manipulation is when we are instructed, whether by something we read, hear or think, to do something that does not have clear boundaries. Here are some “Red Flags” that signal that something deserves greater questioning:

* Vague: “you need more faith,” or “just be in the will of God and you’ll never be in the dark.”

* Unending: “you’re just not trying hard enough.”

* Religious: “Pursue your sanctification with righteous justification and humility and wisdom will be yours with the fear of the Lord.” We don’t have to learn a whole new language to live the Christian life.

* The burden of the doing is on the individual: “You can’t steer a parked car”; “God is waiting for you to tithe before He can bless you financially.”

* Dependent on something that can’t be changed (age, gender, nationality): “God is doing something special with the youth…”

* Motivated by idolatry of the will: “If you really wanted to, you could accomplish great things for God.”

* Rigid: “only those who speak in tongues are truly baptized by the Holy Spirit”; “there is only one way to serve God.” Practical Christianity is flexible.

* Motivated by fear or pressure of any kind: “If you don’t do this, believe this, feel this way, God won’t ___________.”

* Speaking for God / authoritarianism; “Because I said so”; “I’m the leader, so God is holding me accountable for your growth”; “God has given me the vision for this church.”

* Over-generalization: This is especially prevalent in our own thinking. Look out for terms like everyone, always, should, must. For instance, “God always blesses us when we give out of our need.” “Since this works for eveyone else, if it’s not working for me I must be doing something wrong, or there’s something wrong with me.”

Then What?

When we recognize that check from Him, how do we respond? Simply, “Lord, is this true? What does this mean for me? Is this something you want me to be paying attention to? How do You want me to respond?” He is faithful to answer these questions, often by bringing some circumstance to our mind and showing us how it fits, if the teaching is indeed grace-based. The more we depend on Him for His leading and direction, the more rest we will enjoy and the more flesh He will consume. If He doesn’t respond, it probably wasn’t from Him, it wasn’t for you, or the timing wasn’t right.

[Hedz Up!] Indulge

This week let the Lord comfort, encourage and strengthen you.

You are being much harder on yourself than He could or would ever desire to be.

Financial pressures are easing, and soon you will be looking back at the hard times. Shake them off, and prepare to get back to building. You will need your strength, so indulge in His Present Strength.

Working Vacation.

[Hedz Up!] Heads Up!

When I was young I took horseback riding lessons. My first lesson, the instructor was constantly telling me: “Look where you’re going.” Round and round the ring, “Look where you’re going!” I got so frustrated, cuz I thought I was doing the right thing already. Finally, the instructor asked me, “Dianne, where are you looking?”

I answered, “I’m looking where I’m going.”

She said, “No, you’re looking where your horse is going – you need to look where you’re telling him to go. Look between his ears – that’s where you’re going!”

Instead of looking down, watching my horse’s feet fall in the dirt, I raised my eyes to look between his ears. It was a simple adjustment, but suddenly my posture changed, the horse’s gait changed, and everything was so much easier. I got it. And I fell in love with horseback riding.

Ever since then, every once in a while Daddy reminds me to “Look” where I’m going. My head comes up and I look at the big picture, where we’re going, together. My posture changes, my gait changes, and everything is easier. Many of the obstacles fall away, I find my focus again, and I re-fall in love with His purpose and plan for me today.

Ask Daddy if there’s any area you’re looking down instead of looking ahead. If necessary, let Him raise your head. Over time, you’ll get it, and you’ll find He provides whatever may be lacking. He knows what you need now. And He loves you. It will become easier.

Whoops!

We’re having some technical difficulties with the feedburner feed. We hope to have it corrected promptly.

*PLEASE NOTE: We will be migrating our subscriber list from feedburner in the next couple of weeks. This will give us greater control and fewer subscription issues, so we can focus on developing content and new resources.

Thank you for your patience!