Australia Kneels : Week3 – Day 6

Doing the Will of the Father who sent us – Joh 4:34

Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work. 

The Garden Catalogue For Today

Welcome to the Discipleship and Action Day – Let us go and Draw from the Well of Life, and get filled up so we can pour out the Living Water to others we can bless.

On this day we will have a variety of messages and input from trusted disciplers.

WHAT IS AN EKKLESIA? 

How do we function as part of the Lord Jesus’ Kingdom Ekklesia?

What sort of Prayers do we as intercessors pray together, as a united Assembly to Legislate in the Heavenly Realms, seated with Jesus at the Right hand of the Father?

Dean Briggs is an eminent Bible Teacher, who has written a Book on ‘The Ekklesia Rising’. He speaks around the world on this topic, that needs to be understood for us to be effective for the Kingdom of God to flourish.

Ekklesia Rising: The Authority of Christ in Communities ..

JESUS IS BUILDING SOMETHING FAR GREATER THAN A SUNDAY SERVICE!!

Fill in the blank: “Upon this rock I will build My ________?”

For generations, we have been taught that Jesus promised to build His “church“ in Matthew 16:18, so we’ve dutifully tried to build the church with Him. But there’s a big problem: that’s not the word He used. Instead, He announced something far more potent:

“I will build My ekklesia!”

A motherlode of identity and mission separate church and ekklesia. If Jesus gave His disciples authority and keys to bind and loose, it means we have been put on offense, so why are we stuck on defense? If we are built to soar in heavenly places with real authority in prayer, then why does our mission often feel grounded on the launch pad? In Ekklesia Rising, you’ll learn to soar with:

  • The DNA of ekklesia:how revelation produces dominion
  • The “keys” Christ gives, and how to receive and use them
  • The divine design of mature masculine authority with fervent bridal love
  • The role of the Divine Council in heaven and on earth
  • The inner constitution of contending, covenantal communities
  • The powerful symphony of agreement

Make no mistake, Jesus will build His ekklesia. His Father’s house will be a “House of Prayer for All Nations.” For hundreds of years, we have been the church. Finally, let us become His ruling ekklesia.

Below are some Notes with Scriptures that answer some of these questions. These notes are taken from Dean Briggs speaking in Austin TX USA:

The Humbled and Exalted Christ – In Phil 2:5-11, Christ has been exalted and raised up to be seated at the right hand of the Father:

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Eph 2:5-6 we have been saved by grace and raised up to be seated with Christ:

even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

We need to understand who Jesus is and who He has purposed for us to become as His Ekkleisa, ‘called ones’, who has commissioned, let us meditate on His initial sermon on the Mount about who He calls BlessedMatt 5:3-16

To understand we are part of the Ekklesia we need to think in New Covenant, not old covenant thinking

In the Book of Revelation ch 1,4,5 and 7 when the Apostle John sees the Lord Jesus Christ in the Spirit; the Revelation of Jesus lifted up and seated on His throne in total Glory –and we discover His divine and heavenly perspective. He has called those who overcome the powers of darkness to rise up to rule with Him on His Throne (we see in Dan 7)

Jesus is speaking to the 7 Churches expressing who He is, His commendations, warnings and exhortation to over comers – there are 2 churches where Jesus promises the overcomers will Rule and reign with Him – in  Rev 2:25-29 Thyatira & in Rev 3:21 Laodicea – Seeing Jesus on His throne fulfil the vision received by King David in Ps 89:1-5, 14-17, 27-29, 34-37.

Ps 2 Expresses the reality of God’s Kingdom advancement in the midst of the defiance of nations against Jesus, Yeshua the True King & His Holy city of Jerusalem  – Governments and legislators of the earth opposing the True King, His Word and His Ways, rebel against Him.

Ps 110 is Father God’s plan for willing volunteers to arise from the place of the dawn to legislate with Him over nations

In Rev 3:7 as in Isa 22:22 John writes how Jesus expresses Himself to the persecuted Ekklesia of Philadelphia. These things says “He who is Holy, He who is true, He who has the Key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens:” Jesus has complete authority.

In Rev 1:10, John says ‘I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.” In Rev 4:1 He says: ‘After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me saying; ”Come up here, and I wall show you things which must take place after this.” Immediately I was in the Spirit, and behold a throne was set in heaven. And One sat on the throne.’

– John sees what Jesus said – no man comes to the Father except through Me, I AM the door/ Gate. He’s just declared to you and me, if I open the door it’s not closed. So John says in the Spirit, I have all the access I need. I don’t have to pray wondering if I am heard, wondering how I’m getting up into heaven. Faith arose.

No, instead I am praying from the place where I am right beside the father, I’m already there, I’m not trying to get there. From that place where the Father says with great delight – I want to stretch a rod out over Canberra, over Australia or your city and your nation, as we sit with the Son at the right hand of the father, – He is extending His authority through us His body on earth = His Ekklesia, Watchmen for us to rule and reign in the earth as we hear His Voice and respond to Him in obedience.

We are the Ones enacting that Legislation that comes from the Father. We contend in Prayer and worship with high praises as in Ps 149 until that resistance collapses, and we see heaven kiss earth and darkness falls. We continue in prayer & worship to hold the beachhead.

Prayer:

Father, we are in awe of your incomprehensible ways, you have taken us in our shattered lives and sinful ways, past broken histories, and shame, and You Lord chose to, through the Blood of Jesus and the transfer of His Righteousness, you have and do exalt us to a place of dominion and authority in You. God, what a privilege! Why would we not respond to you? Shift our mindsets, establish us (1 Peter 5:5-11) in you. God give us the right map.   We Bless, we bless all the infrastructure, history and tradition of the church that is so good and that has brought so much life, but God I’m asking for an upgrade in these days, when we feel silenced, sidelined and we’re not sure what to do. I’m believing that you’re loading something up in this sabbath and time period in the Spirit, to break loose upon your people.

And there are ways that we’re going to move forward in the days, months and years to come that is going to cause us to wonder how we ever lived before. Why we tolerated our ineffectiveness, why we limited ourselves in our access to you, when you ripped the door off the hinges, you tore open the veil. (see week 1 I AM the Door) We declare the veil is torn, (Mat 27:51 in temple & from our minds 2 Cor 3:16-18, so that we can behold you and become like you in the realm of the Spirit)

We will not let religion stitch it back up again, or return to our old slavery of sin and forsake the liberty and freedom  you have given us ( Gal 1:5, 3:1 who has bewitched you, Heb 6:4-6)

Eph 2:11-22, Heb 4:16  we are given access to come boldly before your throne of grace and glory. We will come before your throne, even in groups of 2 or 3 and we will take your assignment for our cities wherever we are, and we’re going to see Jesus exalted to above every other God, Phil 2, Eph 1.

We speak to our Capital city of Government ( name your city or town ) and we command change and your shift for Your Kingdom advancement and establishing of your throne and Spirit of Holiness over in this Region and Territory for the glory of Your name Jesus

Why does the Government rage and the Federal, State and Territory Governments, Majors and city council men and women plot in vain? Ps 2:1

The Government Departments and Territory Legislators set themselves together against the Lord and against His anointing, saying let us burst His bonds apart. He who sits in the heaven’s laughs. He will speak to them in His wrath and terrify them in His Fury. As for Me, I have set My King on Zion, My Holy Hill. I will tell of the decree of the Lord;

He said to me –‘ You are My Son, I have begotten You’

Ask of Me and I will make your city and nation a heritage in the earth – you shall break the resistance with a rod of iron. We as an Ekklesia have been led by the Lord, to proclaim His full word of God outside our federal Parliament with Parliamentarians coming out to read over the past 10 years.

Now therefore be warned oh Rulers, serve the Lord with Fear and Trembling, Kiss the son lest He be angry Ps 2:10-12

Blessed are all those who take refuge in HIM.

Lord, we’re asking for salvation to sweep the halls of Government

We are asking for you to move sovereignly in our nation (from the highest to the lowest levels of Government). By Your Spirit, snatch them out of the fire, redeem and restore. God let eyes be opened, even those who hate you the most, let their eyes be opened. Cause them to see you as You are, with Fear and Trembling. Even in dreams in the night, troubled in their sleep, terrified in their agenda. They are coming up against the Lord of the universe.
God we release a Holy Terror upon them. We’re asking for a sovereign agitation. We’re asking that at the Name of Jesus, every knee will bow to you, but remove those who refuse, and replace them with those you have prepared to arise to stand in your righteousness. We’ve asking for your prophetic voice to thunder over our cities.

We’re asking for tremors in the spirit that would literally shake. We’re asking for that anointing that Jeremiah described to tear down that which is evil, so that your structures can be built up (Matt 15:13)Your Kingdom Come, Your will be done Jord Jesus Christ.

We’re not content to see the Capital of our nation yielded for generations drowning in darkness. We’re not content to see through human government, Your calling and end time purpose of our nation and the nations of the earth wither on the vine and slowly erode, with an agenda that is opposed to Your will and Your ways.

We’re not merely holding onto something, we are holding onto You and taking something back in the Spirit

We declare that our city  shall be Your city of Righteousness. We declare the Ekklesia is arising in in our city

We declare that Prayer is abounding in the unity of the Holy Spirit. We declare Dreams are abounding. We declare Revelation Knowledge of Jesus filling the hearts and minds of the people of this city in the Fear of the Lord. We declare the Holy Spirit hovering over your lands of the Holy Spirit preparing your Labourers and Disciples right now

We declare that there is a Government in the Spirit operating above the natural government and Legislative Assembly. We allow ourselves to receive your transfer of anointing, authority and understanding across this city and nation, to those who name the Name of Jesus as their Lord, Saviour and Shepherd King, to wake up and realise that we are that Government.

– We are asking for wicked leaders who are opposing you actively right now – we call you in the Spirit right now:
you have 3 choices:

You either:

  • Repent – we call you to repent – there is mercy, there is grace. Repent and know the Lord or at least
  • be Reformed in your ways,
  • or be Removed in Jesus Name.

We ask now for this city God, we ask You to fill it with who You are, fill it with Salvation, Miracles, Revival, fill it with the Standard of Your Righteousness. Fill it with the Ministry of the Spirit, fill it with your people coming together in unity and love, sharing Your gospel of the Kingdom of God, living in the Spirit.  

We don’t just want evil to be purged, we want the Glory of the Lord of Glory to enter in.

We speak over city, because you’ve given us keys to open up gates: we say, Lift up your heads Oh Ancient doors,

Lift up your heads oh you ancient Doors, let the King of Glory Come in. Come in and fill this city now – in years to come let it be said: This was where there was a turning point for this city in 2024, there was a crossing over to Righteousness – we nearly lost the city, but there was a crossing over to righteousness……God Moved and the Kingdom of God came and His Glory entered in. Ps 24.

Mal 1:11, 14b

For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles;
In every place incense shall be offered to My name…………….,
And a pure offering;
For My name shall be great among the nations,” Says the Lord of hosts.

 

AMEN !

The 3 Roars

By Diane Spicer

Today we look at the last part – Part 3 of the Message by Diane Spicer – which was split into a 3-Part message over 3 days for this week: Day 2, Day 3, and today – Day 6. 

On Monday we looked at the 1st ROAR: The Roar of Babylon, and on Tuesday, we looked at the 2nd ROAR: The Roar of my Soul

So let’s continue now with the 3rd ROAR…and we trust it will bless you, and give you some great insight into Who’s Voice are we listening to.. ??

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THE THIRD ROAR: THE ROAR OF OUR GOD

In the Bible, we find vivid descriptions of God’s power, sovereignty, and majesty. God desires to speak to each one of us in our own unique way. His voice is relational and transformative.

He is the Lord, who made all things, who knit you together in your mother’s womb, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by Himself.

Our God is merciful and gracious, kind, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. His Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, He is full of grace and truth.

The Lord is the everlasting God.  He has defeated the works of the enemy! He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Our God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant He has made. God is LOVE. And HE LOVES YOU! For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face. The Lord is good, a stronghold, an ever-present help in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in him. And He is a strong tower and the righteous run to Him.

I could go on forever!!!

Job 26:14Yet these are just the fringes of His ways [mere samples of His power], the faintest whisper of His voice! Who can contemplate the thunder of His [full] mighty power?”

OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!!!

One of the things I do miss about the Catholic church I grew up in, is the reverence for Omnipotent God!

In Exodus 19:16, “there were thunder-and-lightning flashes, and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.

In Psalms 29 we read that The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic.

In the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Job, there are great descriptions of the God we say we serve!

But when I prayed for a word for this day, the Lord led me to

Job 37 – That chapter paints a picture of God’s voice, roaring like thunder, a sober reminder that when God speaks, things happen!

He spoke into the darkness – “let there be light” and there was light! You know the rest….

His Word NEVER returns void!

Listen to this from Job 37:

At this my heart pounds and leaps from its place. Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.

He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth. After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back.”

Wow! When was the last time you fell on your face because of the majesty of God’s Voice speaking to you? [Sometimes, we can get so… familiar… with the version of God we make, that we forget who we are talking with!]

Job 37 goes on to say, “God’s voice thunders in marvellous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’ So that everyone he has made, may know his work…”

We need to keep the reverence and the fear of God alive just as much as the loving, tender Father that He is. God is LOVE and God is JUST. It’s both and…

Every WORD in the 66 books of the Bible is HIS VOICE… HIS WORD and His Word was made flesh in Jesus and now it is made flesh again in us – His Body! You MUST be in the WORD so you can know the Word, and LIVE the WORD!

YOU CARRY THE VOICE OF GOD WITHIN YOU!!

Jesus, said, My sheep, know My Voice.  Can you tell the difference between the roar of Babylon, the roar of your soul and the roar of God?

The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. John 10:2-4

Hearing God’s roar is foundational to our new life in Christ and pivotal in discovering our purpose and direction for each day.

It says in the Bible, that Jesus did NOTHING unless He HEARD from the Father

John 5:30I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

So, if WE are to be Christlike, shouldn’t we be waiting, and listening for the Father’s Voice? Shouldn’t we be seeking the Father’s will and not our own?

God speaks to us in many ways; visually through visions or inwardly through sudden thoughts, impressions, dreams, He speaks through the prophets and teachers, through conversations with people and any other way He chooses to get your attention! He loves YOU and wants to talk with you. He likes spending time with you!

But what happens when God is silent? What happens when you are praying, seeking Him, and waiting for an answer… and He is silent?

First of all, it doesn’t mean He stopped working.  He loves you and is with you through every circumstance.

His silence could mean:

He already spoke to you & He’s waiting for you to act

It’s time to examine your heart & repent of any turning away on your part

He’s building trust with you

 

Truth is, You have the resurrection power of Jesus Christ in you.   The Lion of JUDAH… is not up there in the clouds, somewhere, waiting for Judgement Day… If you believe the Word of God, it says that YOU ARE ONE IN CHRIST!! YOU are, and together WE ARE SEATED IN HEAVENLY PLACES, IN CHRIST.  WE ARE His BODY here on earth – NOW!

 

So, You can trust God! And even when the enemy (not God) comes to steal, kill, and destroy, you can trust that God is with you and the enemy is already defeated.  God’s power is perfected in our weakness. Yield to His process.  Embrace the journey. GOD’s promises are “yes” and “amen” in Christ and THAT WILL NEVER CHANGE!!

 

I don’t know about you but HIS ROAR in me is growing louder and louder!!  And like Paul, I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection….” – Philippians 3:10

 

I want to live in the Spirit every day – NOT TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY… BUT TO THE BEST OF HIS ABILITY in me!!  Imagine that life??? It would look just like the life of JESUS multiplied by millions!

The choice is now yours. STAY STRONG BROTHERS & SISTERS! STAY STRONG! Let us choose to trust in the God who created the heavens and the earth, AND YOU! the God who is faithful to His promises, and the God who loves us more than we can ever imagine.

Let us choose to listen FOR His roar – WHILE BLOCKING OUT the ROAR OF BABYLON and the ROAR OF OUR SOUL — Let’s live our lives and WORSHIP GOD in SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH so that the world will come to know the real JESUS.

Why not go now and have a time of communion with Him right now? Find a quiet place, by yourself to pray… and to listen… and to journal what He roars to you.

 

All those pressing, urgent, or hurtful things you are carrying today… cast them upon HIM.  He cares for you!  Fix your eyes on HIM, His majesty, His Sovereignty, He is Your Master, Your Lord… and watch those things fade away… Let your Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace, your Provider, your Healer, your Saviour, speak to you. Be still.  Oh.  Be.  Still.

 

The challenge for the days ahead? Which ROAR will you choose to listen to? I’m sure you will HEAR all 3 of these roaring now… but which one will you choose to obey? which will you live out in your everyday life?

The Roar of Babylon? The Roar of Your Soul? Or The Roar of the LION OF JUDAH?

May God bless you & keep you!

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Diane Spicer Coaching / Mentoring / book Unmasked: dianespicer.com

6 Tips on How to Hear from God

By Josh Longanecker

Referring to: Christian Living

Hearing the voice of God is something that everyone, Christian or not, wants to experience. Although we all want to hear God, actually doing it, for most of us, is sort of a mysterious process. We often don’t know how to hear God consistently, if at all. Yet hearing and understanding what God is saying is critical for our spiritual development.

…hearing and understanding what God is saying is critical for our spiritual development.

As we look at people in the Bible who heard from God, Samuel was one of the best. The story of Samuel is found in 1 Samuel 3:1-10.

Samuel, who was just a boy, was living and serving the priest in the temple. We are told that, “the word of the LORD was rare in those days” (v.1 ESV). Not many people were hearing the voice of God, yet this young man was about to experience something many people in the land of Israel had not seen or heard for quite some time; Samuel was about to hear from the LORD.

As we look at this story about Samuel, there are six steps which can take some of the mystery out of hearing the voice of God:

  1. Position yourself close to God

Samuel set his bed up in the temple, “where the ark of God was” (v.3 ESV). Samuel had never heard God speak before, he did not know what to expect, but what he did know was that if he hung around the temple, God would eventually show up. Through personal devotions and regular church attendance, are you putting yourself in a place where God is?

  1. Find a place of regular service to God

In v.1 it says, “Samuel was ministering to the LORD in the presence of Eli” (ESV). If you want to hear the voice of God, you have to be doing the things of God. If you’re not serving, don’t wonder why you’re not hearing the voice of God.

  1. Listen for God’s voice

Eli was “lying down in his usual place” (v.2 NIV), too preoccupied with his own interests to hear God. When God began speaking, he was not listening. Many times to hear what God is saying we have to slow down and take time to get close to God. We have to put aside our interests and lean in to hear what God is saying.

  1. When God calls, respond eagerly

When Samuel heard the voice of the Lord he was immediately up and moving (v.4). If you want to hear the voice of God, you need to be ready to put into action what He tells you!

He wants to give you wisdom to lead your family, at your job, in your church, and in every area of life.

  1. When God speaks, obey Him

Starting in this passage and throughout the rest of his life, Samuel consistently obeyed the Lord. No matter what God told him, Samuel did it. From that point on, “the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground” (1 Samuel 3:19 ESV). For us, the quickest way to turn off God’s voice is to disobey him.

  1. Read and study the Word of God

After God spoke to him in this passage, the Bible tells us, “The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, and there He revealed Himself to Samuel through His Word” (1 Samuel 3:21 NIV). If you want to hear from God, you have to know what the Bible says.

God is speaking. He wants to give you wisdom to lead your family, at your job, in your church, and in every area of life. The question we have to ask ourselves is not is God speaking, but are we listening?

Deny Yourself: My Story of Self-Denial & Abundant Life

Alicia Martin

I still remember the moment I heard the words of Mark 8, grasping their significance for the first time. Sitting amongst peers while at university – I was largely preoccupied by ambition and my pursuit of excellence.

I didn’t know a lot back then about what it means to follow Jesus, but I did know Jesus as the Saviour who pulls little children closer, drowning out harshness with His greatness. His hands had sheltered my heart throughout my youth and brought along gifts of companionship, discipleship, and understanding. I felt cherished by Jesus and it was his inordinate compassion towards me that kept me tethered to Him.

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” –Mark 8:34

Deny – the word sprang out at me, convicting and exposing me.

What did that mean? 

I was well positioned to pursue the American Dream and succeed at it, and denying myself in any way was not really part of the plan. So tangibly struck, I fumbled to respond to those words within our group, finally landing on, “I don’t think I’m doing that”.

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” –Mark 8:35

Oh boy, somehow denying myself was connected to losing my life and that was not anywhere on my to-do list. I was on track for a comfortable life, full of all the perks of a first-world society, with no regard for the reality that no one avoids suffering anyway.

Syncretism in Missions

In missions we often talk about syncretism – the mixing of two different religions or world views. It’s often mentioned in the context of establishing a church in a community that holds tightly to an animistic worldview; it can be difficult for new hearers of the Gospel to fully let go of their traditional beliefs.

But syncretism is not just “out there”; it’s right here amongst us.

The message of live-your-best-life strangely makes its way into our teams and organizations and our so-called self-denial shows up as holier-than-thou interactions, unspoken celebrity status, and “Christian” prestige.

We know how to leave our homes, forgo careers, even put our safety and health at risk. But self-glory is tough to give up.

That word “deny” sank into me, and it didn’t fit well.  I tried hard, but I simply could not squeeze it in right next to my self-protection, self-focus, and self-glory.  And while I desperately wanted to rationalize my selfishness, I could not shake the feeling that I was either going to deny myself or I was going to deny my experience of Christ’s compassion…life itself.

What I’ve Learned about Denying Myself

Over the last 20+ years, I’ve learned a few things about denying myself, and as much as I could sort of figure it out, I’ve at least tried to apply this passage.

I certainly felt like I was denying myself when I left home and a nicely paying job to pursue missions, when I was sweating in the heat of West Africa – killing cockroaches and armies of ants – and while I continued in ministry though much disillusionment, heartache, and grief.     But what I’ve learned the most over the years is that denying myself starts deep within my heart.

Jesus calls me to boldly deny my self-righteousness, my arrogance, my desire to reject those I don’t understand, and my default to hate those who have hurt me.

Actually, denying myself and following Jesus leads me straight towards loving others; it leads me to the compassion of Christ I know so intimately – and not only towards the nations and people at large, but all the more my brothers and sisters in Christ, with whom I am called to work alongside to proclaim the Gospel.

It doesn’t just require me to give up material things, lifestyles, or personal plans. It requires me to deny my sinful mind and proud heart from determining how I will interact with others.

It means that every day, all day, I must make internal choices that value others over myself.

Most of the time, no one even knows the battles I fight.

But Jesus knows.

And He reminds me that it is okay for me to deny myself because my heart is safe with Him.

Self-Denial in Missions Culture

In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul alludes to this concept; in response to believers taking each other to court, Paul says that for the sake of the Gospel it would be better to let ourselves be wronged.  That’s not to say that we condone sin, but as it turns out, being right is not the primary goal, being better than each other is not the goal – proclaiming and demonstrating the radical love of Jesus is.

All of this is hard, certainly because it doesn’t come naturally, but also because our Christian and mission cultures allow for a bit of syncretism – a mixture of the Gospel with the dark side of the American dream.  Without really thinking about it, we allow for self-serving policies to be created, spiritual elitism to be presumed, subtle shaming to be normalized, and competition within ministries to be acceptable. In other words, we’ve made room for the pursuit of self – in leadership, on the frontlines, and everywhere in between.

I wonder sometimes how Paul would respond to the ways we relate to each other through our infrastructures, boardroom meetings, individual conversations, and private emails. As we grapple with differences of perspective, who is in the centre of those discussions? And I wonder if we forget that proclaiming the Gospel starts with rejecting our conceited hearts and embracing the meekness and gentleness of Jesus – bringing Him into every word we speak and attitude we carry.

Self-Denial & Missionary Care

My husband and I have been serving in the ministry of Member Care for about 12 years now.  Together we’ve cared for fellow missionaries through all sorts of formal and informal methods – workshops, debriefing, middle-of-the night texts, and hours of wading into the hardships of others.

But that’s been the easy part.

The hard part has been that it’s forced me to think a lot about how I can genuinely love all of my brothers and sisters in Christ – the ones that think through issues differently than me, the ones that seem to excel more than me, the ones that challenge my thresholds, and even the ones who have offended me – and I find that Jesus draws me back to Mark 8 and to what it means to follow Him.

And he calls me to work hard at understanding, reject my self-righteousness, practice transparency, allow myself to be stretched uncomfortably, actively honor others, rejoice in their victories, and above all, above all, move towards profound humility.

These are the ways we courageously care for each other.  And much to my surprise, these unnatural life-transformations have also been supernaturally life-giving.

Self-Denial & Abundant Life

So, what does self-denial look like?

The answers to that are great, told through the brave stories of men and women whose names I largely don’t know because self-denial does not include making a name for ourselves.

For some of us, it will mean giving up our career, our home, our dreams.

For all of us, it means denying our self-centered hearts and picking up our crosses with bold humility and courageous care.

But what is counterintuitive about it all is that as we focus on magnifying the name of Jesus and stop worrying about our own name – going against the grain of society and our own inclinations – we indeed experience the abundant life that we all long for.

I HEAR THE LORD SAY, “THIS YEAR YOU’LL KNOW ME AS PROVIDER AND SUPPLIER!”

 

“Stop asking for the scraps from under the table,” He said, I want you to know my heart for you in this season regarding your finances and resources. You need to be fully and intimately acquainted with my goodness over your life and know that I not only desire for you to be looked after but I need you to grow in this area so I can grow you into

the territory I have given you.”

 

You can’t keep having a poverty mindset when I’ve called you to the land of milk and honey. There are nations that need to be discipled and cities that need to be reached but if you keep not expecting me to provide for the vision that I gave you, how will the kingdom be released? This is a month that I am going to stretch you to believe beyond what you have before.

 

“I am calling you to ENLARGE and stretch out wider. Your vision has to get much bigger than it has been. I am breaking the survival mentality off the church and healing the wounds of lack of integrity and fear of failure.” 

“This will be a year you know me as provider and supplier. So ask me, what do you need? What does the destiny I have placed in you require? Dream with me again. Go back to the drawing board and believe beyond where you have and don’t stop til what you envision looks impossible. I am serving justice upon the assignments that have come to continually rob your bread and seed and caused my people to retreat. No, you will now advance and plant, move out of lack and into more than enough!”

Who is God, the Son?

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
John 8:12

In the above video, Ciro Bernardo shares his testimony about being faced with his wife suffering from breast cancer. After a friend took him through the prayer of salvation, he suddenly “felt that instant peace. I felt God’s Love.”

It’s vital for us who have a real relationship with God through Jesus. Jesus was a revolutionary – the world changed radically from the time He came among us. And we must be revolutionaries along with Him.

 . . . . . . .

Becoming a Disciple for Jesus

By Tony McLennan

Chapter 5

How Should We Relate to One Another?

There is a great hunger among human beings for love and affection. People will go to great lengths to win the admiration and adulation of others and, very often, they mistake this for love.

Jesus said: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

Introduction

We live in a more mobile society today. There is less chance that people will draw their friendships from the locality in which they live. Add to this the strong tendency towards marriage breakdown and you get a trend towards lack of commitment in relationships and lack of community. The results are isolation from one another leading to loneliness and emotional starvation from lack of love.

Some recent statistics on failed relationships are catastrophic:

  • Approximately 5 out of 10 marriages end in divorce.
  • 1 in 4 children is born outside of marriage.
  • 1 in 3 children grows up without a father.

Any breakdown, or even a small offence to a relationship, causes us to feel unhappy. In 2017 it has been estimated in Australia that 50,000 couples divorce each year. On average this situation affects four times as many people amounting to 200,000 lives impacted negatively each year. 

I. God’s Attitude to Relationships

God refers to us as His people and as His sons and daughters:

  • Leviticus 26:12
  • 2 Corinthians 6:17 -18

God wants, in fact commands, us to love Him.

  • Deuteronomy 6:5
  • Matthew 22:37 – 40 (quoted by Jesus).

The Bible describes God’s nature as love.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:7, 8

  • What type of love are we dealing with here?
  • What does it mean to say God is love?

God wants us to seek Him with all our heart. Jeremiah 29:13

God desires an intimate relationship with those whom He loves and who love Him in return.

When we desire Him above all else; when we put Him before all the distraction of this world, the deceitful glamour of sin and the wrongful desires of our flesh; when we place knowing and loving Him even above legitimate things; and when we cast every idol aside and worship Him with all our hearts, then He comes to us. Then what joy to know Him as our closest friend!

God calls to us. The following extract is an illustration:

I slept but my heart was awake. Listen! My beloved is knocking: ‘Open to me, my darling … my flawless one’.” Song of Songs 5:2

See also Revelation 3:20.

 

II. Jesus – Our Example

Generosity

He came not to be served, but to serve. Mark 10:45

He gave Himself up FOR US. Philippians 2:5 -11

  • Gave up Heaven.
  • Made Himself as nobody.
  • Died a shameful death.

Remember the story of The Good Samaritan – Luke 10:30 -37.

Accepting Others

  • Jesus focused on individuals.
  • The woman in the crowd – Luke 8:43 – 48.
  • The woman at the well – John 4:7 – 30.
  • Zaccheus up the tree – Luke 19:1 – 10.
  • Washed the disciples’ feet – John 13:5.

By contrast, modern worldly society values people by:

• looks
• money
• intelligence
• social position
• background
• education
• race
• performance or ability

We are commanded not to show favouritism – James 2:1 – 4.

We are to accept one another – Romans 15:7.

Forgiveness

Jesus, the Lamb, did not insist on His rights. Jesus said:

Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
Luke 23:34

We need to follow His example.

Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps.1 Peter 2:21

 

III. How We Should Relate To One Another

The New Testament is full of ‘one another’ expressions. As the diagram  below suggests, the closer we are to God, the closer we should be to others.

How are we to relate to one another?

  • Be kind and tender heartedEphesians 4:32.
  • Show courtesy. Good intentions are nowhere near as good as loving
    others. We should:

• notice when someone is in need and try to do something about it;
• pray for one another;
• consider one another;
• be faithful to one another.

  • Avoid discourtesy, such as:

not paying attention when someone is talking to us;
• butting in rather than waiting our turn;
• dressing in a way that flaunts sexuality;
• negative humour;
• poor hygiene;
• not fulfilling promises;
• being dishonest with others;
• listening to or repeating gossip (don’t fire other peoples’ bullets).

  • Give to others as we are led by the Spirit of God. Be wise in this area.
  • Confess our sins and pray for one another.

 

Conclusion:

The Bible talks about the way we used to relate to one another when we were still in darkness.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.” Titus 3:3

But… when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared….
Titus 3:4

What a difference God, our Saviour, has made in our lives!

Memorise this verse:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you; so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35

 . . . . . . .

Love alone is capable of uniting living
beings in such a way as to complete
and fulfil them, for it alone takes them
and joins them by what is deepest
in themselves.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

 . . . . . . .

Becoming a Disciple for Jesus

By Tony McLennan

Chapter 6

How to Handle Money?

Introduction
There is no doubt that money is a key factor in our society. Politics seem to revolve around budgets and taxes: who is and who isn’t getting their share. Families even come to blows over the inheritance left by a deceased relative. The newspapers are loaded with investment talk. There is an obsession with acquiring wealth.

And money is important. Jesus talked about it a lot. He said:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19 -21

What is money?

Why is it so important?

What is God’s will for us in relation to money?

 

I. What Are We To Do With Our Money

Money is a store of value as well as a means of exchange. Our money represents the time, effort and energy we have put into our occupation. We are paid or compensated for this. Sometimes we receive money as a gift or an endowment. In the Bible, wealth can be described in terms of physical increase, like a harvest – eg, Proverbs 3:9 -10.

Issues Concerning Wealth

  • Rich young ruler. (Mark 10:21)
  • Are we to give up all?
  • Were any of Jesus’ disciples wealthy? (Matthew 27:57)

What can we conclude from this?

Is Jesus saying that it is okay to invest? (Matthew 25:27)

What does it mean to provide for one’s immediate family? (1 Timothy 5:8)

Can we enjoy our wealth? What does it mean not to put one’s hope in
wealth? (1 Timothy 6:17 -19)

What should our attitude be to taxation? (Romans 13:6, 7)

II. The Money Trap

What are we not to do with our money?

  • Not to love it (1 Timothy 6:10).
  • Not to put our hope in it (1 Timothy 6:17).
  • Instead, store up true riches (Matthew 6:19, 20).

What does ‘storing up’ mean?

    Money is temporary. A person cannot take his money with him when he dies.

    Money can give the illusion of permanence. It can give us the impression that one is self sufficient. It leads us away from God. Read Luke 12:13 – 21.

    • What did the rich fool think?
    • What did he plan to do?
    • What did God say to him?
    • What does ‘rich toward God’ mean?
    • Do not be like the pagans (Matt 6:31-33).

     

    III. Investing In The Kingdom Of God

    In Matthew 6:20 Jesus spoke of storing up treasures in Heaven. We are invited by Jesus to give to some work or holy enterprise connected to His Kingdom.

    • The rule of the world is buying and selling.
    • The rule of the Kingdom of God is giving and receiving.
    • Imagine what it would be like if everyone gave everything freely and
      received everything freely.

    To whom should we give?

    • To those who sow spiritual seed among you; eg. your church and its leadership (1 Corinthians 9: 7 -12).
    • To the poor (Galatians 2:10).

    The Kingdom of God is an inheritance that will never fade away. It is kept in heaven for you. (1 Peter 1:4).

    IV. Principles Of Giving

    The principle of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:8 -10).

    Giving is not an obligation (Acts 5:4a).

    Even small giving is significant (Luke 21:2 – 4).

    When we give, we reflect God’s nature (Matthew 5:44-48).

    Tithing, giving a tenth of one’s income, is a principle that comes with a wonderful promise (Malachi 3:10).

     

      Conclusion:

        We, through Christ, belong to God. God wants us to put Him first. We wants us to see our relationship with Him as our most precious relationship. He is what St Paul called “the unsearchable riches of Christ.
        (Ephesians 3:8)

        At times, God will test us to see what is in our hearts. No one can outgive God. Whatever we give to Him, He will use as a measure to give back to us.

        Memorise these verses:
        Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to youLuke 6:38

         . . . . . . .

        We will continue next week with the next 2 chapters from the book: Becoming a Disciple of Jesus by Tony McLennan

        For even more information please visit:  The God Revolution  & Australia for Jesus websites.

         . . . . . . .

        Pastor Jeff’s Special Today:  “Borrowing as a life pattern...” 

        This applies to nations as well as individuals. From the beginning Israel was instructed not to borrow, but to lend to other nations; today many nations, especially the USA, are weak from borrowing, robbing from future generations: The LORD will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.” (Deuteronomy 28:12). Proverbs 22:7 states: The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” And the Word is clear for each of us: give, don’t borrow: The wicked borrows and does not repay, but the righteous shows mercy and gives.” (Psalm 37:21).

        Being candid with yourself and the Holy Spirit, is this issue of borrowing as a life pattern something blocking your serving your Almighty Creator today? Is there any remnant of this old pattern needing to be confessed? Do you think this is only applicable to the disciples 2,000 years ago? Do you have any residue of a residue of this issue for such a time as this? Was it connected to your upbringing as a child? Was it a family pattern in any way?

        God bless you as you seek His Holy Spirit Wisdom and Comfort on this issue. May you go forward on His path, “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1).

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        But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.