Archive for September, 2013

So I’ve been listening to and getting a lot of different stuff over the past couple months.  I’ve adding a number of things to what I was starting with and found that I got a little overwhelmed with where I was focused.  Figure it’s a good time to get back to the basics.  I went through and updated my “Journey Steps” page.  It now includes a number of new areas.  Think of it as a condensed list of all the areas of my life that are involved with waiting upon the Lord.  Originally that was the different steps I followed, I sort of turned it into more of an outline of the concepts and steps.  May have to re-do that again later.

But for this post, I’m just thinking about the action items themselves.  Here’s the list of the day-by-day things I feel are so important for me to follow if I’m to keep moving forward here.

  1. Get up early.  Time is my enemy.  My only chance to really find time with the Lord is to get up early, way early.  I really think I can only pull this off through God(original post here).  I’ve found if I cry out to God the night before saying I can only do this through Him, I tend to get the chance to wake up on time, otherwise I’ll probably sleep through my alarm.  I need to make this a habit, I guess starting today since I messed up this morning. =)
  2. Pray my prayer every day, at least twice a day(when I wake up, when I go to sleep).
  3. Start early with praise and worship.  Try to praise until I feel His presence.  In the morning this often takes me 15-20 minutes worth of songs, then I just try to worship a little
  4. Wait upon the Lord, at least for 20 minutes a day.  Wait expectantly, with emotion, and hope.
  5. Meditate on the Word.  Each morning I want a scripture to meditate on during my quiet time, but also through the day.  Either try to memorize, or memorize and quote.  The idea is to at least get one bit of revelation each day.
  6. Holiness is not an option.  If I fail, I repent immediately.  If I choose, I choose God.  Without holiness it’s impossible to see God.  Sin must be thrown off.
  7. Fast – At least once a week fast for at least a meal.  At first I’m focusing on breaking habitual sins, we’ll see where we go from there.
  8. Practice His presence – Consecrate my mind to Him.  Don’t daydream about other things, try to stay in His presence and visualize Him throughout the day.
  9. Pray in tongues – Spend some time in the morning, but also just randomly through the day.  Use to keep in a prayerful state.
  10. Intercession – Take time to intercede, crying out to God for things.  Whether that’s for this journey, or for others.

My Prayer

I’ve taken this prayer initially from the Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj, “Exercise Toward Godliness”, which is primarily a book about fasting.  Best fasting book I’ve ever seen.  Anyway, he actually took the idea from this prayer from a Kenneth Hagin book “Believers Authority”.  Kenneth Hagin said in this book that he began a prayer patterned after passages from Ephesians 1 and 3.  He said he would pray this in his morning prayers, night prayers, and also during the day at points.  I believe he said something like after praying this for over a 1000 times, God began to move in his life.  I need to go back through and read it more.

Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj read this and decided if it worked for Kenneth Hagin, it could work for him.  He wrote down those scriptures, personalized them, and began to pray them in every spare moment he had.  Months, maybe years passed, and suddenly one day God opened his eyes.

Now I believe I heard him preaching one time and saying that he spent so long do this, praying and fasting, when there was a quicker way, which was through meditation and waiting(I think).  I’ve been keeping track of all those, but it of course gets jumbled up in my head.  So I believe he was saying doing what he did wasn’t necessarily the right or fastest way.  Having said that, the prayers from early Ephesians are remarkable.  I’ve never thought to pray them in my life.  Kenneth’s original prayer was from Ephesians 1:17-21 and 3:16-19.  The Sadhu has made the point countless times that you don’t copy someone’s methods, they are different for different people, but you can follow principles.  In this case, the principle was praying these scriptures.  I added in another scripture from John 14:18-19 that means a lot personally to me.  This is what my prayer looks like.

I pray that the God of my Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to me a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.  I pray that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened, so that I will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.  These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 
That He would grant me, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith; and that I, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that I may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
For you will not leave me as an orphan, but you will come to me.  The world may no longer see you, but I will see you; because you live, I will live also.

This is not the way toward walking with God, but I think it to be a very helpful step.  Praying for revelation and wisdom from God can never go wrong.  So I plan to add this to my unfortunately already long list of habits I’m forming. At least some of them are starting to stick more, so it’s not as hard doing them.

The Call

So I’m starting with a disclaimer.  I just want to say I am a nobody.  No seriously, I’m not talking “blessed are the poor in spirit” I’m nobody, but I am literally a nobody.  I am not a missionary, or a pastor, or a teacher, or any number of “valid” ministry professions.  I have not had any big God moments to validate my words.  Signs and wonders do not follow me.  I work as a computer programmer, and have a lot of thoughts and feelings about the Lord.  So, whenever I make any claims on here, or any big points, take it with a grain of salt.  If I were a pastor or teacher, I would say the same thing.  Run it through your spirit, see what that says.  Hold it up to the Word.  If it doesn’t resonate, leave it, but if it burns a fire in you, then take hold like I do.

Disclaimer aside, I want to talk about our call.  We are getting close to the end.  If you listen to any of the real prophets of our time, it’s right upon us.  No longer does it seem to be measure in generators or even decades, but possibly years.  I hear similar messages everywhere I turn, God is about to move, there’s a big harvest coming in.  Personally, I think walking with the Lord is a huge part of this.  God’s end-time army is going to do exploits that eclipse the early apostles(I wouldn’t believe it if it weren’t in scriptures).  The only way I see this done is for them to be so sold out, so completely given over, that they say as Jesus did “I do only what I see the Father doing”.  I believe this will need to walk with Angels, Saints, and the Lord himself.  It’s only in this sort of walk that they can do what needs to be done.   God has kept his remnant of those who walk like this.  I hear mostly from Neville Johnson and Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj, but I’m sure there are hundreds, thousands, perhaps millions of others hidden all over.

What I see is that this new army coming will need to learn this, and quickly.  There are not enough people walking in this, who can teach them, so God is raising up people to prepare for this.  The forerunners and pioneers are already out there, but the next generation to follow their steps is coming in.  That group will then be able to bring even more people to this point, and it will escalate.  That is where we are at.  This is not a statement of self-grandeur, but of opportunity.  Opportunity to get involved in a new level with the Lord, to serve and please Him, to make a difference in this coming battle.

I wonder how much this relates to the eagles in Rick Joyner’s book the Final Quest?  Remember those soldiers who would find the hidden doors and step out of the battle.  They would go down and spend time in the deep places, only to come out of the top of the mountain.  Some as eagles(usually considered prophets), can’t remember if they all were.  I can’t help but think this is the call for some people.  To actually step aside from some of the battle to draw deeper into God.  To seek that relationship and walk with Him that will lead them to find Him always at their side, to find His perfect will and walk only in that.  It’s not a glorious call, at least, not for any given amount of time.  It’s like an intercessor, you spend this time, sacrifice so much, and get no recognition from the world.  In fact, churches will often criticize because they see it as a waste, better to spend your time in their programs than in waiting upon the Lord.  And if my road is a similar road, it’s also devoid of recognition from the spiritual realm for a while as well.  Perhaps this is because the enemy is so against it.  As soon as you start to push, they attack and attempt to block you off.  You find yourself not seeming to make any ground for days,months, or years.

Yet I still feel the call.  The call to wait upon the Lord, to minister to Him.  To come to that place of relationship where I can interact and speak with Him.  It’s not necessarily a call to prophetic, to pastoring, etc.  It’s not a gift or ministry.  It’s a call to servitude, ministry, and perhaps most importantly, friendship.

So I’ve been praying a new prayer, I’ll add it to a post soon, but part of it is from Ephesians 1:18

That the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

As I was praying this, I noticed something: “That I would know the hope of his calling and the riches of his inheritance.”  As I was thinking about this, I realized how helpful really knowing this would be toward evangelism.  To really know the hope of his calling, and not just the knowledge we get from Bible studies.

If I were to say one of my weak points, it’s evangelism.  If someone were to ask, I would tell.  I live my life in a way people know it’s different; yet, I’m not bold.  I have had trouble trying to figure out why.  I pray about this, because I don’t want to stay that way, but I never really change.  So as I was reading the above, asking God to open my eyes to know this, I started to wonder, maybe I’ve been going about this wrong all along.

You see, we’re good at praying and asking God to help us, then going off to try and fix it ourselves.  So I would pray to be bold, and then I would try to work up the courage.  Perhaps that’s not the right way.  Just perhaps, I should ask the Lord for a spirit of boldness, or for a something like that, and then wait on Him.  Perhaps I shouldn’t expect Him to work through my strength but His.  Then ask, and ask more, and keep asking.  As the verse says, “ask and you will receive”.  Daniel prayed to the Lord and fasted, 21 days later an answer returned.  When have I ever been so focused upon an answer?

So I ask you, have we been wrong all along?  Have we been relying upon ourselves rather than waiting upon the Lord?  Do we pray just enough to get a fuzzy feeling, then go off doing it for ourselves, rather than waiting upon the perfect will of God, upon His word to come to us.  Like I mentioned last time, we’re afraid He won’t answer, so we latch on to whatever we can get, call that God, and try to soothe our conscious that we are in His will.

This goes along with my last post on fasting.  I’ve continued to get this impression that our normal Christian lives are anything but normal.  That our doctrines we’ve created to explain how we hear and see God are just things we make up to feel comfortable.  I hear people(including myself) talk about hearing God, and it’s almost like reading tea leaves.  Open this door, close that, give me peace, I feel like, I just feel led, it goes on and on.  So few people can say, “The Lord spoke to me face to face and told me”.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  How to explain.  It’s one of those way-down-deep feelings that I just can’t get into words.

What I do know is that we’re afraid to try.  We’re afraid to bring a question to God and wait for an answer.  Sure we’ll pray for it 5 minutes here or there for a couple weeks, we’ll give a vague impression that something might help(which could also be indigestion from that hot dog at lunch), and move on.  Was that how the apostles seemed to work in Acts?  No.  You see, I think we’re terrified that we may put it on God, and He doesn’t come through.  It’s like praying for healing.  We’re scared cause if it doesn’t happen, we don’t know if our faith will hold up under it.  We scared to actually follow some of the scriptures, not get an answer, and then have to live with the doubts it creates.

Instead, I should take this desire to see God to the Lord day and night.  I should wait upon him every day, I should find any free moment and use it to cry out to Him.  I should get up early and weep from the desire.  I should fast and take time off work to bring it before Him in petition.  I should not let it go silent until an answer comes.  Perhaps the answer is a sin I need to fix.  I fix it, then bring it back.  Perhaps the answer is even no for some reason, but I should not stop until I have that answer.  Until the Lord speaks.  That’s what the scripts say.  Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.  Those verbs are all a tense where it’s really saying something like “ask and keep on asking”, “seek and keep on seeking”, etc.

This is what my spirit seems to be crying out for.  Take my next issue, sin, desire, and assault heaven.  “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force”.  I should bring it to God and continue until He answers.  I have a funny feeling the first couple times may take a long time, because I have a lot of junk to work through.  But I would hope as I clear things up, that I begin to hear the Lord quicker, for I feel like He’s often answering, and I’m just rarely hearing.

Do I have the desire to do this, to throw everything else out for seeking after God?  I just don’t know, but what I do know is that unless it becomes everything, I don’t think it’ll work.  But if it does…. it changes everything.

Ok, so I bought the book “Exercise Toward Godliness” by Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj.  By far, this is the best information on fasting I’ve ever seen.  I never was driven to buy a book on fasting before cause face it, I like food.  But I’m getting desperate.  If you knew me, you would know just how desperate I am to start fasting. 😉

Being fasting, I don’t plan to really write much about what I’m doing since Jesus was pretty clear about when you fast you don’t broadcast it.

Now, being typical Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj, you jump right in and he’s just all out.  He’s not one to give easy, less painful answers.  I finally started learning what a Sadhu is, and it’s even more clear, he’s all in.  He will not stop at anything for the Lord.  He doesn’t take into account comfort or anything.  So I wasn’t really that surprised to come to this list in the first chapter of the book.

Methods of fasting:

1. Full fast – no food and no water.  He talks a lot about this.

2. Partial fast – Liquids and only small amounts of food(like the Daniel fast). He mentions this some.

3. The Fasted life – Giving up different things in your life that you want.  Living a life of constant sacrifice.

Now that I look at this, it’s fairly comprehensive, but I was getting the impression through more of the book that option 1 is what he does and considers to be normal fasting.  Seriously.  The funny thing is, I never even considered fasting without water.  I just always assumed fasting was mainly food.  I saw it in the Bible, but never wanted to do that much.

Now I do.

On top of this, he recommends that when you fast you don’t work.  That way you can focus on God and not other things.  He then later mentions in the book how his ministry team did a 40-day fast and they would meet during meal times to pray, so it’s obviously not an all or nothing thing.  I guess a lot of it is in degrees. You fast for what is a sacrifice you can make.  Unless you’re called you typically don’t want to stop work for days or weeks at a time to fast since that could get you fired, but taking a vacation day is a sacrifice as well.

I’ve read most of the book.  The reasons for fasting he gives are very enlightening.  He put out a scripture that I’m sure I read, but never thought about it I guess.  So crazy that some of this was just right there and I would never even think about it. 

Many chapters are reasons for fasting, here are the ones I really struck home with

  1. Habitual Sins – Not much explanation needed here.  I think I should start here.
  2. Overcoming Problems – Getting through tough situations in life
  3. Revival and Evangelism
  4. Divine Protection
  5. Divine Healing – This is a big one.  when you or another needs healing to also fast for this
  6. Wisdon and Revelation – I think this one is huge.  Goes along with knowing God’s will

So in my life I’m trying to decide how to handle this.  I’ve been thinking of doing short fasts(skip a couple meals) each week to put that time to prayer, but this is making me thing that I need to set aside a day here or there.  That’s really tough when you have a family, especially with a young child.  Hard to explain why you need to do this to a 3 year old, or even to my wife that then has to watch the 3-year-old alone.  Again… sacrifice.  Guess I’ll have to work this out myself.

But it looks like this makes a huge difference.  So often the bible talks about prayer and fasting and we just stick with the prayer part.  I wonder how much i’ve missed because I wasn’t willing to sacrifice food for God.

First I feel I must apologize.  For all my good words, for all my good intent, I feel like not only I’ve let the Lord down but you as well.   For a while I have the drive, I push and push, then I fall away.  I don’t sustain it, and continue my life of almost.  Almost enough to know God, almost enough to see Him move, almost..something, but ends up very little of anything.  As it’s said, almost only cuts it in horse shoes and hand-grenades.

I’ve been spending more time meditating on the beattitudes lately.  One that I got something new from was “blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”  There’s really two parts that hit me here.

1) Righteousness. I think I always read this and just didn’t really think about it.  I see those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and just think it’s searching after God.  It’s not until I spent some time meditating on it that I actually thought about what righteouness meant.  I found this as one of the definitions:

. in the broad sense, the state of him who is such as he ought to be, righteousness ; the condition acceptable to God ;

There it is, acceptable to God.  This isn’t the search for God, but the search for being acceptable to Him. It’s the search for grace, holiness and all things that He desires, of becoming who “we ought to be”.

2) Hunger and thirst.  Why not just hunger, why hunger and thirst.  The only I have is to think of the difference.  Hunger is for food, what gives us energy, sustenance, in a way strength itself.  Without food we grow weak and ineffective.  When we think of thirst we think for water, and water is life.  Without it, we die quickly.  Without it nothing works.

So, not only is that search for being acceptable to God, of becoming what we ought to be what gives us strength, but it’s our very life.  Blessed are those who put their heart and soul into that search.  Who make it their very life to become acceptable, and pleasing unto the Lord.  Who will stop at nothing to stand before Him unashamed.  Blessed are they, for they will be satisfied, they will find the favor they seek.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice!
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus
– Philippians 4:4-7

It’s time I change my attitudes.  I’ve been meditating on the beattitudes a bit, but don’t have much to say there yet, but I do know that I am to subject to mood swings, to anger, bitterness, sadness, etc.  I know that I often step away from God to feel sorry for myself and to the situation take over.  I can do better.  Not from my own strength, but in what God has given me.

Peace. It’s one of the fruits of the spirit, it’s part of the Armor of God.  I heard Neville or Sadhu saying that the enemy doesn’t know what to do when you’re at peace in the midst of trouble. Sometimes I can feel HIs presence, sometimes I can hear His voice, but this only happens when I’m at peace, when I’m able to listen.  Peace sets us apart in a world full of conflict and stress.  Just look at the families around us, so much bitterness and anger.  Peace sets us free to love God.

So where do we find peace, in giving it to God.  As the verse above says, bring all your concerns, you requests to God with thanksgiving and prayer(conversation), then let Him take care of it.  As Jesus said, look at the sparrow and how it’s fed.  Look at how well nature keeps moving, surely God can handle our things.

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you.
– Isaiah 26:3

So first, I must keep my peace by bring everything to God, trusting Him, and then keeping my mind on Him.  We have that promise, that those whose mind is stayed on Him will be in perfect peace.  It’s within my grasp.

Next, I want to be like Jesus.  I want to become holy, because our relationship with God is one of holiness.  The more pure I am, the more I see Him, and that’s my desire.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything
– James 1:2-4

Joy in trials.  I have heard this taught many, many times.  In our small group this last week, we talked over this verse.  We gave nice Christian answers, but nothing that changes hearts.  See, I want to take this to heart.  I want my child to throw a little toddler tantrum in a store, and rather than get angry, find joy in the chance to not only improve my attitudes before the Lord, but to prove my heart toward Him.  That joy comes from knowing that God is in control and God is good, and the joy gives you strength.

for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
– Nehemiah 8:10

We can find strength in seeing what the trials are.  Very similar to a physical workout.  It’s hard, but you push yourself because you know the end result.  You know that given long enough, it makes you better.

When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning.
– Isaiah 4:4

God’s fire comes to burn out the impurities.  As you bring your faults before the Lord, and offer them on the altar continually, one day he will bring the fire, and the fire will burn it out.  But fire is hot.

Who among us can live with the consuming fire?
Who among us can live with continual burning?

– Isaiah 33:14

Can we stand to be cleansed.  Are we willing to give up those sins that secretly we really love.

This is my prayer, this is my walk right now.  I will hold onto peace by holding onto the Lord.  I will find Joy in my troubles, because the bring me closer to my God.  And I will wait for the fire that will cleanse my temple from all the impurities I’ve brought in.