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Character…And Your Name

Jonathan Perry

By Jonathan R. Perry

 

Weeks, months and years went by before the man finally achieved his goal of discovery. Now it was perfected and the perfect invention brought him great wealth, but joy did not accompany that wealth. Every time his invention was put to use, it brought great destruction to someone somewhere.

His invention was the bomb. His name was Mr. Nobel.

Trying to make the wrongs right, he donated all his riches to a trust. Each year men and women who strive for peace receive what we know as the “Nobel Peace Prize.” Mr. Nobel wanted his name to be remembered for peace rather than destruction.

The wise man Solomon gave us a great truth when he told us, “a good name is better than great riches” (Proverbs 22:1). To be an individual with character is greater than all the riches in the world.

I look around and see a world motivated by money, greed, power, and position. The sports world, the singing stars, the movie actors and actresses always seeking for more and more, yet never finding happiness. It bothers me more to realize that these are the people our children and youth are following after.

“A GOOD NAME IS BETTER THAN GREAT RICHES” PROVERBS 22:1

We cannot allow ourselves to sit passively by while our children and youth model after men and women with little or no character. As parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, and pastors, we need to set such an example of character that our children will choose to follow us.

This is precisely why we need the Word of God. The Bible is full of history, wisdom, wars, loves and even death. Character is the one attribute that can be found in each and every book of the Bible. I have no doubt that God was trying to get something through to us; showing us what matters.

OLD TESTAMENT:

Genesis – Noah lived right in a mixed world.

Exodus – Joshua and Caleb were courageous in believing God while others doubted.

Leviticus – The laws were written to simply build and reinforce character in the lives of Israel.

Numbers – Joshua does not overthrow Moses but rises to leadership in the timing of God.

Deuteronomy – The Ten Commandments are found here.

Joshua – Achan is destroyed for a lack of character.

Judges – Gideon fights a great battle with integrity in spite of it’s size.

Ruth – Ruth chose to remain loyal to Naomi. I, II Samuel- Here we find David, a man after
God’s own heart.

I, II Kings- Elijah, a mighty man of God, who connected divinity with humanity.

I, II Chronicles – Josiah brought the people back to God.

Ezra – The story of a priest with Godly character.

Nehemiah – Built up that which was torn down in the face of adversity.

Esther – In spite of persecution, Mordicai stood firm.

Job – He loved God in the good and the bad.

Psalms – David always found a reason to praise God.

Proverbs – A book filled with character building wisdom.

Ecclesiastes – The truth about vanity.

Song of Solomon – The strengths and weaknesses of love.

Isaiah – A man who preached with long suffering.

Jeremiah – Beaten and humiliated, yet he continued to preached what, “Thus saith the Lord.”

Lamentations – Jeremiah is crying out for those who harmed him.

Ezekiel – A prophet who tirelessly reached for Israel.

Daniel – Along with three others, he stood firm Displaying great character while the crowd bowed to worship an image.

Hosea – Called for repentance of the people.

From Joel to Malachi — Numerous men proclaimed righteousness and truth.

NEW TESTAMENT:

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – Men who left the temporal to follow after that which was eternal.

Acts – Stephen prayed for those stoning him.

Romans – Subjection is the subject.

I & II Corinthians – Instruction on living a life of character.

Galatians – Paul warns the people again sin.

Ephesians – Unity is encouraged.

Philippians -Thankfulness if promoted.

Colossians- We are admonished to walk in wisdom.

I & II Thessalonians – Prayer

I & II Timothy – Wise counsel to young ministers.

Titus – Paul tells him to be a man of good works.

Philemon- Acknowledgment of Christian Character.

Hebrews – Better yourselves.

James – Don’t be double minded.

I & II Peter – We are exhorted to live in humility.

I, II & III John – Truth, Hospitality, and Character.

Jude – Warning against corruption.

Revelation – John entered into the Spirit and heard the voice of the Lord in the midst of tribulation.

This is the book that was used as a template by the forefathers of our country. Men of great character, who willing sold all, gave up their wealth and fought for the freedom we now enjoy. George Washington, John Hancock, and Thomas Jefferson obviously believed in what they were doing and based it upon the best thing they had — the Word of God.

Why is it that our politicians now feel at ease while eliminating the Bible from our schools? The character of the school system has been thrown out the door right along with the Bible. The principles of the Word of God do not change. Truth is consistently a straight line. It has not and will not change.

Look at any man or woman being sworn into office today and you will see them place their hand on a Bible. I only wish they would display the character found in that book.

Character is not something you can possess in a day, week or year. Character is a lifetime process. The reward is only merited after a considerable amount of hard work.

Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:12 there are two things we ought to practice; 1) doing good, and 2) rejoicing, or being happy. The reason I used the word “practice” is because we do not automatically do anything good. Therefore we must practice. No matter what life deals us, there should be a desire in our hearts to do good. If you will practice doing good, the reward will cause rejoicing.

Anyone who says they believe in Jesus should strive for impeccable character. I do not think we will accomplish it every day because we continually battle inwardly with the carnal nature and outwardly with our environment. The goal is to work toward being a person of character every day.

Jesus was a man without character flaws because He was all man as well as all God. Knowing our character was all man, weaknesses, He came to earth and died on a cross to give us the ultimate gift. He came to gift of the Holy Ghost, which is Power, which is followed by the fruit followed by of the Spirit. . The fruit of the Spirit consists of the perfect ingredients for flawless character.

The fruit of the spirit is, Love, Joy, Peace, Long-suffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness and Temperance. We cannot achieve such a lofty goal within our own abilities. We must have Christ in our lives. I know that we humans will never reach a perfected life on this earth, but realizing this should not hinder us from trying, reaching, striving and pursuing that perfection. That is what Character is all about.

Character will cause you to try and try again. The failure is not the person who tries and fails but rather the person who never tries. We should practice allowing these positive attributes to shine forth from our lives every day. As you make “practicing” these things a daily habit, character your life. As character forms, will begin to build in you will find strength and courage as never before.

You can divide the attributes of the Fruit of the Spirit into three categories. The first is the character of your inward state. This is manifest in the fruit; LOVE, JOY, and PEACE. If you want to build the inner man, you should work on these three.

The second category deals with your attitude toward others and consists of LONG SUFFERING, GENTLENESS, and GOODNESS. If you are having problems in your personal relationships, these are the fruits you will want to fertilize and produce in your life.

The final area targets our attitude toward Godliness and deals with FAITH, MEEKNESS, and TEMPERANCE. If you are seeking direction in your walk with God, you should use these elements as a prayer guide.

Just as natural fruit requires cultivation and work, your character must also be nurtured and watered. This must be done if we wish to produce the attributes of the Fruit of the Spirit.

2 Peter 1:10 tells me that if I will do some things I will never fail. This may sound a little farfetched, but look at it with me.

2 Pet 1:5-10
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,
6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,
7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ
9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; (NKJ)

Preceding the promise is the plan. (How often I find we want the promise but not the plan.) In these verses we find the building blocks of character. It is not just one thing or another, but rather a combination of things that brings about strong character.

In this writing, Peter is encouraging us to continue to work on building character. Using the positive materials of Godly principles, you and I can have a great life without all the stumbling. This may still sound impossible… but read on.

Every good thing begins in the mind. Paul understood this and wrote what we now see as a pattern for positive and spiritual thinking. Before character can ever be produced in your actions, it must first be planted in your mind. You must think it before you can do it.

Prov 16:32
32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. (NKJ)

Character is all about ruling your spirit. The natural, carnal flesh does not want to be ruled. Solomon told us that if a man can rule his spirit he is stronger than the one who takes a city.

A king had two sons and the father asked, “Is a gentleman born or made?” The one son said, “A gentleman is born.” The other disagreed by saying, “A gentleman is made.”

The King looked at the young men and laid out a challenge for them. They had one week to prove their point.

During the next week the one who said a gentleman is made went into a restaurant. A cat walked up to the table and took his food order, served the prince his meal, and gave him the bill. The young man knew this would surely prove his point so he bought the cat and took it home.

The other son heard about the cat, yet still had nothing to prove his point. Only hours before he was to go before his father and brother, he was walking down the street when he looked in a window and saw what he needed. He went in, purchased it, put it in a box and took it home.

As the two sons met before their father, the son with the cat opened his box and took out the cat. The cat was all dressed up with a coat and hat, carrying a tray. The cat walked up to the king on its hind legs and served him chocolates. All that witnessed this were truly amazed at such a feat. Without a doubt this boy thought he was right.

Then the other son opened his box and out came two mice. The cat immediately dropped the tray and ran after the mice. The point was well make; you can dress it up, give it a tray and teach it a few tricks — but a cat is a cat. It is the same with you and me. We are carnal, human beings. We dress up, look the part, act the part and think we have it all together. The truth is, without a transformation, a cat is a cat.

Too often people try to change the outside appearance, thinking the inside will change as well.

What we need is an over-hauling on the inside and we will then see the outside change.

As the wise man said, we must first “rule the spirit.” After this is accomplished, there is nothing we cannot do through the power of the God.

The above article, “Character…and Your Name” is written by Jonathan R. Perry. The article was excerpted from chapter 5 of Perry’s book Character: The Real Thing.

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

Posted in AIS CD - Apostolic Books, AIS CD - Featured Stories1 Comment

Knocked No Lower Than My Knees

By John Crist

1 Tim 2:8
8 “I will therefore that men pray every where,  lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” (KJV)

1 Tim 2:8
8 “Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.” (NAS)

1 Tim 2:8
8 “I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.” (NIV)

1 Tim 2:8
8 “So I want men everywhere to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from sin and anger and resentment.”  (TLB)

Most Christian men pray like wimps and brag like warriors. The truth is that real warriors are men who pray. Prayer is the most neglected and under-used resource in the kingdom of God. It is a secret weapon that Satan has hidden from men.

Prayer can be a special challenge to men because of their tendency toward nonverbal communication. Prayer requires us to express our need, articulate our pain, and describe our desire. We men avoid vocalizing our desire because we fear disappointment. We say, “Well, I didn’t want it anyway.” Prayer makes us confess desire.

When God made us in His likeness, He planted in our nature a need to be admired. We flourish when we are praised. One of the best-kept secrets about us men is how much we enjoy being complimented. Our Maker loves to be praised, and He is responsive to the praiser. We men shine when we are praised by our wives, parents, bosses, or coaches, and we gravitate to them for more. We love affirmations that suggest we are doing well.

As a man that occasionally has men working for me, I am shocked to discover, as you are also, that many men respond better to praises than to raises or other nonverbal rewards. Every time that I have ever acknowledged a job well done with a personal comment, I was in turn rewarded with an immediate smile and eagerness to receive more praise!

On the other hand, as a minister, I have noticed that nearly every man who comes to me for marital counseling brings up his wife’s words: “Pastor, she nags me; she complains all the time. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to please her.” These complaints are so serious that many times the man is ready to end his marriage in frustration.

Prayer is a struggle for people who need public affirmation. The praisers of men are not excited about prayer warriors. They love great preachers, but they don’t acknowledge great men of prayer. My friend, this should not matter. It is more important to move God than it is to move men! Great prayer only comes forth after we have been weaned from the accolades of others. Deep prayer cannot be done in public, for it concerns private issues that should not be overheard by casual ears.

1 Sam 16:7
7 “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”

Don’t avoid prayer because you think you are not articulate or expressive. God is not moved by vocabulary, enunciation, or articulation. He is only moved by the sincere longings of an open heart that “spills” the burdens of the day across the altar, baring every pain to the power of a God Who can! “Can what?” Can do whatever you have faith enough to believe Him for and whatever you have courage enough to beseech Him for!

The stumbling, bumbling words of a tear-stained heart ring out louder in the spirit realm than the finest resonating voice of an orator whose vocal risings and swellings have been rehearsed for the listening ears of men. When you pray about the real issues of life, your concern is not that others hear but that you have God’s ear!

PRAY WITH PASSION

We desperately need to come to God with the vital issues that plague us! These usually aren’t the things we want played on a loudspeaker. Often they are too private even for our wife or children to hear. Do you hear a grinding noise? It is the sound of rusted rudders being held on course by the fervent prayer of men who refuse to lose their way because they encounter the wind and surge of contrary waves!

Our greatest tragedy is that we left the praying to the women and the intercessors while we went off into “other areas of interest.” Those interests later drained us, and we wonder why we feel so depleted. What did we expect? Since we have abandoned the prayer closet, everything is “going out” and nothing is “coming back.” Prayer builds back what life has depleted. It is neither religious nor rehearsed. True prayers are spontaneous appeals by faith-filled men to a mighty God Who hears and answers.

My faith is not in my mouth’s ability to speak; it is in God’s uncanny ability to hear and understand my every prayer. He already knows what I am trying to say, even as I grope blindly through my inabilities looking for words that seem to evade me. Prayer is a spiritual act, and my communication is oiled by the fact that I know how well He understands.

The hymnist so aptly said, “In season of distress and grief, my soul has often found relief, and oft escaped the tempter’s snare, by thy return, sweet hour of prayer.” My brothers, if we fail to learn the healing art of prayer, we will practice the hideous habit of worry! If we don’t learn to kneel in prayer, we will stand in frustration. Our angry ranting and raving is only a telltale sign of how long it has been since we have had fervent prayer! True prayer is not bossy, domineering, or manipulative. True prayer brings domineering men to a place of submission.

Prayer is a confession that we are still limited men, and with that confession comes the same relief a woman finds in the arms of a strong man. No, this isn’t weakness. It is the wonderful privilege of turning our humanity to a higher authority.

Many men who have tried to continue the farce of rebellious independence from God are about to collapse because their strength has come to the end of the line. Everyone dumps their garbage on them, and they have no place to release it.

Beneath their religious facade, most men are overwhelmed and stressed. Many are secretly depressed and disenchanted. They have become their own god, so they must assume responsibility for the outcome of all issues. Praying men know they are not sovereign, so even as they pray, they are joyously releasing their stresses and confessing confidence in the God Who can!

Prayer is a compliment to God. It is an admission that we believe in His competence to deal with the issues.

GOD IS ABLE

On the natural plane, you never ask someone for something you don’t think he has. If you do ask, it is only because you believe he is able to deliver what you need. God is flattered and blessed when you pray. The heart of your boss is in His hand. The government is in His hand. The surgery you dread is in His hand. He is well able to intervene in everything you or your family will face, but you must learn to ask!

Heb 11:12
“Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.”
You can discuss everything from impotence to emptiness with God. He healed Abraham of impotence when his body was “as good as dead.” God healed him without struggle with a promise that stirred his heart and revived his loins. God’s miracle in Abraham was so powerful that even after he had fathered Isaac, the after-effects stayed with him when Sarah died! Abraham married again and fathered an entirely new family!; His body had weakened, but not his faith. He was old, but he still had vision and hope.

Many men stop living as they age. they lose life and potency, and the gleam goes out of their eyes. Sometimes bitterness creeps into their hearts, or they just become bored and aloof. Nothing is really wrong medically; they just lose interest in life and living. Secretly depressed, they hide their inner death beneath work and business and other distractions. they go through the motions, but the thrill is gone. They can’t remember when it left them, by they have resigned from life. The flame has gone out in their emotions, their sexual drives, and even in their spirits Only the shells of the men remain. The hearts beat and the lungs still breathe, fooling the doctor’s clinical tools.

The book of Proverbs has the accurate diagnosis: “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity, but a wounded spirit who can bear?” (Proverbs 18:14). This man’s enthusiasm for life itself has been beaten down by stress, emptiness, frustration, and loneliness.

If you need a revival of your passion, your excitement, and your intensity, then you need to pray for a revival. No, I’m not talking about the kind of “revival” that is just a date on a calendar or a meeting time at the church. You say, “But I can’t talk to God about that!” You can talk to God about everything. In the Bible, even old men kept living, giving, and feeling passion! they did it because they were men of prayer. Prayer increases passion. It is raw expectation that causes the heart to say each day, “Today either something is going to happen to me, or I am going to make it happen!”

Gen. 24:67-25:2
67 “And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.”

Gen. 25:1-2
1 “Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.”
2 “And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.”

Six more children were locked up in Abraham’s “dead loins.” God quickened him and brought him back to life. the is just what God wants, fervent men. He wants men who are alive. Yes, we will feel pain and suffer the loss of strength, of youth, and of loved ones, but by God’s grace, we will not lose our life, our vitality.

If you are not dead, then live! “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much…” (James 5:16) If the prayer of an impotent man can produce a nation of descendants, then you should know that the prayer you offer in your emptiness will produce a world of abundance and joy!

The spirit of depression and emptiness feeds on fatigue! You can’t assume responsibility for the decisions of other people. The truth is that you are weary from self-enthronement. Any time you spend time worrying about things you can’t change, you will fail to enjoy the gift of life. You have to stop “playing God.” You are all worn out from your do-it-yourself godhead. Turn over your life, your family, and your future to God. Do it in prayer and give God the praise! He is able to lift that yoke from your shoulders and give you power over the enemy who binds you It doesn’t matter what or who the enemy is; only the answer matters. Prayer is better than counseling or therapy. Prayer is life changing!

THE PRIEST OF YOUR HOUSE

Most of the things we seek counseling for are areas in need of prayer. We used to be people of prayer, but now we seek the voice of a counselor instead of the voice of “the Counselor.” We have returned to Egypt. We want counselor-priests to hear God for us because we don’t think we can hear His voice ourselves. We must know Him for ourselves! We need men who will pray!

You are the New Covenant priest of your home. (I didn’t say, boss, I said priest.) You need to teach your children about their father’s God. they will learn when they see you bow your knees to Him. Your greatest message to your son is the one he sees, not the one he hears. Noah’s prayer life as a father saved his entire family when God warned him about the Great Flood.

Heb 11:7
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”

Do you live close enough to God to hear His warning of pending danger? Are you close enough to your family for them to have confidence in what God has spoken to you? You can’t make people believe in you. Respect is not commanded or inherited, it must be earned. You can earn respect by becoming a man of prayer. You can literally change the direction of your whole family, without argument or discussion, simply through old-fashioned prayer!

Your family needs to be sheltered under the covering of your fatherly prayer life. No wonder the disciple of the Jesus cried out, “Lord, teach us to pray!” The man didn’t ask the Lord to teach them “how” to pray; he wanted to learn “to” pray. The “why” of prayer and the urgency of prayer are more important than the mechanics.

Luke 11:1
“And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

We are emotionally overwhelmed and spiritually depleted because we have not learned the power of prayer. lack of prayer has left us carnal and worldly, and we blindly make decisions in business, ministry, and marriage without guidance and revelation. We can never prepare an ark in time without a warning from God. The rain is pelting us because we have not sought the direction of the Lord. Mere human weakness should never stop us from praying. In fact, it makes us pray harder when we make a manly commitment to stop running from God and start running to God!

Our epidemic lack of prayer has caused a rise in stress, hypertension, and affliction. We stubbornly insist on bearing our crosses alone! Why do angry husbands take out their wrath on their innocent families? If we will humble ourselves and pray, God has promised to heal the very things we are raging about! Anger and wrath do not heal anything or anyone. Man of God, I dare you to kneel down and pray! Don’t ask God to fix them; ask Him to fix you, and He will heal the land.

2 Chr 7:14-16
14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
15 “Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.”
16 “For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.”

God promised to heal the land as a result of prayer. He promised to heal the land, the situations, and the things that pertain to the man who prays. In this passage, He specifically answered Solomon’s concerns about all the things that were beyond his power and authority as king. God made it clear that nothing is beyond His divine power and authority!

PURSUE GOD IN PRAYER

2 Chr 7:17-18
17 “And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments;”
18 “Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel.”

God taught Solomon about the value of being a man of prayer at the same time He spoke to him about morality and character.

Would God like to speak to you about the way you live? Is it possible that God wants to release another level of blessing to you, but He cannot because of your prayerless walk with Him? You may struggle more with procrastination and “busyness” than with rank sin. Are you so overwhelmed in pursuing things that you fail to pursue God? Perhaps you are so problem-conscious and self-conscious that you fail to be God- conscious. Have you allowed the reality of God’s ever-present glory to manifest in your life? Do you live as though He doesn’t exist? God forbid!

Character is one of the greatest assets a man can have to “accessorize” his prayer life. His godly holiness creates a barrier that hell cannot hurdle. A man’s holiness honors his commitment to God. It is a form of worship and an expression of preference. It is a lifestyle that openly demonstrates a “living sacrifice” to God. Anything less amounts to empty words and miserable failure.

Do you remember the prophet Samuel’s’ solemn warning to the disobedient and deceptive King Saul? Saul failed to destroy what God said to destroy. Instead, he told Samuel that he was “saving” the sheep and oxen so he could offer them to God as a sacrifice. Samuel, being a wise man of prayer, told Saul, “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams!” (I Samuel 15:22)

My friend, obedience is the highest form of praise to God! You can dance and shout, sing and raise your hands all day every day, but you have no real offering for God until you learn to conquer your flesh and obey Him! the greatest offering you can bring God as a praying man is your muffled passions that have been burned on the altar of sacrifice. god honors the man who esteems Him more important than his own selfish human need!

Rom 12:1-2
1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

It feels good to live above reproach When I fail, I feel miserable and ashamed. How about you? I have failed miserably many times. But along the way, I learned how to make holiness my objective. Some men have ceased to aim for holiness. they have obtained “written permission slips” for themselves; excuses to be weak, visas to fail, and a whole list of “reasons” to justify disappointing themselves and their God. The truth is that many have become weary in the fight for righteousness. It is a long, ongoing fight, but it can be won!

James 5:16
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

I confess to you that I am made of clay that has been hardened, misshapen, and so flawed it should have been thrown away. But God, Who is rich in mercy, recycled what everyone else would have discarded! God will reach you and me how to live above our past, our fears, and our incapacity’s if we will confess our faults and pray for one another!

Has your masculinity been scarred and your confidence wounded by the painful circumstances you’ve just come through? Are you still feeling pain? Have you confessed your faults, or are you still confessing your opponent’s? Whoever was at fault in the problem, you can never be healed confessing the faults of others! Confess your faults, and God will heal you. The enemy knows that the most effective prayers come from the man who is fervent and honest!

One of the first things we men need to recover from the devil’s thieving grip is our position in our homes. God wants us to step back into position in our families to perform three important biblical functions. Only prayer can help us develop true strength in these areas:
1. We are to guide.
2. We are to cover or gird.
3. We are to guard.

WE ARE TO GUIDE

We should be men of vision who have a God-ordained agenda! Women often take the dominant role in marriages because their husbands do not present the family with a God-ordained agenda. Men have been in “neutral” for so long that women have filled the leadership void. Now they run the whole house. Tragically, this has made men even more insecure and women, even more, stressed, depressed, and embittered. We will all be happier if the men of God will pay attention to Habakkuk the prophet:

Hab 2:2(KJV)
“And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.”

Hab 2:2-3(TLB)
2 “And the Lord said to me, “Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell the others.”
3 “But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!”

True masculine guidance under God’s authority always respects the often keen insight of feminine perception. To be the “head of the house” does not mean to be domineering and authoritarian. It simply means that men are responsible for setting progressive agendas and being firm enough to hold their families to the track. First, godly men must be prayerful enough to hear from God. then they must clearly communicate the vision. Write the vision and make it plain!

Once you know you have heard from God, then you must be strong enough to stand by the plan. Abraham experienced struggle, but he continued toward the vision. He and Sarah made mistakes, but they didn’t deviate from the goal. Sarah is recognized for giving birth to Isaac, but Abraham is remembered for moving the family away from the known toward an unknown land of promise by faith.

You and I need to move our families forward. I can’t allow stagnancy because I have been conditioned to expect progress. I believe that because I am in the house, the house should be affected. God is progressive, and He is always moving, so you and I should expect perpetual progression in our lives and homes.

Gen 2:18(NAS)
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

Gen 2:18(TLB)
And the Lord God said, “It isn’t good for man to be alone; I will make a companion for him, a helper suited to his needs.”

Helpers are only supplied to productive people. What can a helper do if the one being helped has no plan or activity? Women have literally helped build churches, run offices, manage businesses, and much more. They are anointed to help. They have been abused because it is their nature to assist. Tragedies occur when the men that women were designed to assist haven’t fulfilled their function as guides and visionaries in the homes.

Guidance includes setting standards for children and enforcing those guidelines. My wife may help, but I must set the standards. Guidance also includes being a counselor and a friend. I am the shoulder they cry on when things are tough. I am my wife’s resting post and my children’s compass. If I do not affect my family in a positive way, then my presence in the home is a disgrace to God!

We all want to be appreciated, but some men who hear this are married to thankless spouses and rebellious children. You may need massive renovation and repair, but you won’t help the problem in your home by getting out of place in bitterness. Get on your knees if you want to see change in your home and feel joy in your heart!

WE ARE TO COVER OR GIRD

When Ruth came to the bed of Boaz, he covered her with the skirts of his robe as a sign that he assumed responsibility for her well-being. It was the act of a guardian. He was promising Ruth provision and redemption. When Boaz covered Ruth, she must have felt warm and safe. She knew that he was a hard-working, compassionate, and successful man who was well able to cover her and care for her.

Why would you come into a pastor’s office with an intended bride and not be able to cover her? It will be your responsibility to clothe her and provide for her and any children you may have together. She may “help” you, but it is still your responsibility to provide. Be sure you have a job before you set a date for the wedding! Even if the job you find is substandard, it is important that you fight with all your might to maintain your role as the “girder” or provider in the family.

It is a tribute to me when my wife looks good and my children are dressed well. It announces to everyone, “This woman is covered. She lacks nothing. There is someone in her life who loves her, cares for her, and girds her!” I want to set a standard of excellence that is so high I won’t be afraid for my daughter to marry “someone like their father.” No matter what condition that woman is in when you meet her, if she is yours, you should make it better. Your presence should affect her for good.

Ezek 16:8-14
8 “Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine.”
9 “Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil.”
10 “I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers’ skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk.”
11 “I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck.”
12 “And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.”
13 “Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.”
14 “And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD.”
(KJV)

If you want to know how to treat your wife, then take a lesson from God’s Book. god describes how He treated His “wife,” Israel. It is not wrong, but right to be good to your wife. Other men have polluted us. they have made us think we were wrong to love our wives. Giving is a statement about the giver of the gift.

“Girding” goes far beyond the provision of clothing. We should “gird” our families with all legitimate life needs. Girding means covering their needs, whatever those needs may be. It means we must cover our family’s future needs as well as the present. I know it is a huge job, but don’t run from it. Do it to the best of your ability. Aspire to accomplish it through God!

Many of our children never completed their childhood because they were rushed to adulthood prematurely. They didn’t have the “safe feeling” that comes only from a father’s secure covering. They developed a hard-shell approach to life just to survive. The power of a praying father can protect his children and family from facing the chilling and destructive winds of life without protection and provision.

It is a challenge to attempt to be everyone’s hero. Turn the work over to God and make yourself available to Him! He is your unlimited Source for impossible tasks. Your extremity is God’s opportunity. But God won’t begin to work for you until you have exhausted your own resources. Get started. God will give you miracle after miracle if you are a praying man with a goal, an agenda, and faith in His name!

You and I are called to be effectual. We may not be able to change everything, but we should certainly affect it. I wouldn’t want to be on a job I didn’t affect. I wouldn’t want to belong to a church that couldn’t sense a change after I joined it. I am powerful enough to effect anything I am a part of. Aren’t you? Of course you are. When you get to be a part of the Church, both its income and its influence should be affected!

WE ARE TO GUARD

As a father, you are the defender who must personally stop every predator who tries to attack your home. Whether the attacker is spirit, man, or beast, to gain entrance it must face the awesome power and authority of the man of God at the gate. There are no guarantees that an adversary will not come. Sometimes, despite all that we do, challenging situations still arise but it is foolish not to take every precaution to make it as difficult as possible for a thief to break in.

Many men are ready to defend their family from physical assailants, but few men are prepared to defend their family against spiritual attacks. Although they have fought off thieves and criminals, they are still plagued by inner guilt, private perversion, and moral problems. They are poorly equipped to build defenses against depression, suicide, child abuse, or other spirits that may target their home. We can’t kill these things with guns, but we can stop them cold with prayer!

The devil hates to see prayer break out among men because he knows we guard our homes through intercession. We stand in the position of impregnable authority in our home when we cover our wives and children with prayer!

Man of God, you and I are not helpless! Even when we war against spiritual forces in high places, we come to the battle with unstoppable force and unbeatable weapons.

Stand guard over your loved ones with prayer. Let your children see you ministering through prayer. Prayer is a mighty tool to protect those you love. When you pray, God often gives direction and instruction to help you safeguard your family from attack. He did it for Noah and for Joseph and Mary, and He will do it for you.

There is a difference between a good idea and a “God idea.” The “God idea” is conceived and nurtured in the womb of prayer. It is not a venture or an attempt. Its birth comes by simply acting out the plan God gives you through prayer.

Once you know you have a “God idea,” refuse to allow anyone to intimidate you with earthly wisdom. when you have received God’s counsel on an issue, that settles it. don’t let the plans of the Lord be contaminated by well-wishers who may not have the mind of the Lord for that particular situation. Don’t be confused by the manipulation of others. Some men are so indecisive that they are difficult to follow. Men who never make definite decisions allow the enemy to shift God’s agenda right out of their lives!

James 1:5-7
5 “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it.”
6 “But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to tell you, for a doubtful mind will be as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind;”
7 “and every decision you then make will be uncertain, as you turn first this way and then that. If you don’t ask with faith, don’t expect the Lord to give you any solid answer.”
(TLB)

A godly man guards his plans, his wisdom, and his family from spiritual attack. He also guards the Word of God and the godly traditions he has passed down to his family. Train your children early to understand how to walk with your God. Teach them that you serve God, not some force of energy. You don’t merely “believe in some higher power” because your perception may be off-centered. Stand guard over spiritual truth! Teach your children the importance of faith. “Faith in faith” is a cheap disguise for humanism, which is man worshipping his own will. Your faith is not “disconnected energy looking for some object to attach itself to and alter.” Your faith is in God, and He has a name! He is reality!

Jude 3
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

A man of God tends to have strong powers of persuasion, even a shy, stammering man like Moses. People will sometimes follow what you teach simply because you teach it.

Make sure your message is solid and right. Many have neutralized their witness for God by saying, “Whatever you want to believe, it doesn’t matter.” How ridiculous! Give every man and woman, every boy and girl, a clear understanding of truth. You cannot make them believe, but you can make sure you clearly understand the faith yourself, and that you clearly communicate it to others.

A praying man collects a rich heritage. It is the accumulation of all the things he has learned about God. The special things a praying father does for his family ought to be passed through the curtain into the next generation as part of a godly inheritance! This kind of wisdom puts God in the very roots of a child’s being. He will not be easily shaken.

Do you have a spiritual heritage? Are there any miracles in your life? Are there any things you know God did for you? Guard this heritage of God’s faithfulness and preserve it by passing it on to your sons. It may save them from needless mistakes and sorrow. They will know what you know without having to suffer what you suffered!

Josh 4:21-24
21 “And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?”
22 “Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.”
23 “For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:”
24 “That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.”
(KJV)

Finally, my brother, guard your heart. The enemy wants to embitter and corrupt you. Guard your heart against contamination by lust and loneliness, bigotry and arrogance, and everything in between. Your enemies may even hide in good deeds done for evil motives. Only you can mount this guard because no other man can discern your motives and intentions.

If Samson had guarded his heart, Delilah wouldn’t have weakened him. Had Samson guarded his heart with the breastplate of righteousness that Paul talked about, he would have continued to be productive in Israel. But in the heat of his passion and the weariness of his life, Samson “told her all his heart” (Judges 16:17). What a tragedy! Samson’s weakness caused him to pollute his heart with lust and loneliness, and he gave it to someone other than God.

There are some things you give to no one but God!

Many men have given their hearts to people, to careers, and to ideals (not a god idea). They were shocked when these persons or things betrayed their heartfelt investment. Always reserve the deepest and innermost portion of your heart and trust for God. To go beyond borders on idolatry, will produce a pagan’s reward of failure.

God wants your heart for Himself. It was the basis of your original union with Him. God didn’t appeal to your intellect; He asked for faith. The enemy despises your heart because it is with your heart that you believe unto righteousness.

Rom 10:10
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
(KJV)

Divine peace is one of the greatest security systems you can use to guard your heart. This peace is born out of prayer. It causes you to trust what you cannot trace. It leads you to rely on the character of God. A character cannot be proven; it must be believed. Nothing you read, or no one you hear, will replace the personal experience that evolves from prayer and praise, and from time spent learning to know the god your heart has believed. There is a realm of faith that supersedes believing, and that is the realm of knowing.

2 Tim 1:12
“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
(KJV)

You believe with your heart, and the process begins. Finally, your faith graduates through life’s experience into a confidence called knowing. Satan wants to stop the process because he knows that the people who know their God will be strong and do exploits! Guard your heart because there may be a Samson in you that the enemy wants to destroy!

When you lose your peace and become anxious and worried, you may make radical decisions that open up the door for demonic attack and turmoil! This allows the enemy to suggest threats of impending danger and leave you terrified and shaken, causing you to lose the guard that would preserve you in a storm. Don’t give up the peace of God! Peace empowers you to go through a test without the test going through you! You may lose things, but if you keep your peace, you can regain them again. If you are going to be a praying man, don’t give up the peace.

Phil 4:6-7
6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

The word “keep” is better translated as “guard.” God’s peace will guard your heart and mind. It will cause you to pick out what thoughts you will entertain. Samson entertained Delilah, and she infiltrated his heart and took his secrets. Avoid entertaining thoughts that will destroy your peace. Whenever I catch myself rehearsing problems over and over, I know I am entertaining those problems. They will “cut my hair of anointing” if I don’t abort them! How can a thought be “aborted”?

Phil 4:8-9
8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
9 “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

If life has dealt you some tough cards, don’t give up. You may be down, but bless God, you are not out. Strengthen the things that remain and go on. You will never survive the challenges of life if you make the decisions without consultation. God wants to teach you the significance and power of daily communion with Him.

You are in the ring with a formidable opponent who wants to take you out right now! Your enemy knows that God has predestined you, through your obedience to His plan, for greatness. He would love to destroy you with a single blow. But he doesn’t have the power to take out a man who really prays.

Make a commitment to stand in God’s strength, regardless of the challenges or questions life brings, and regardless of how hard you are hit. You may feel the sting of the devil’s blows, and you may even wince in pain, but give him a clear message with fire in your eyes. There will be no towel-throwing in this fight! I now have a revelation of who I am. I, among other things am not a quitter! I will not, by the grace of God, give up! I will not shrink from my duty! I am a God-called man, and I will be no less!

That snake isn’t fighting a limp-wristed, emasculated coward of a man who has no stamina. You’ve been to hell’s door and back again for yourself, for your family, and maybe even for lost souls! You have been created and trained in the likeness and image of his worst nightmare! You are a resurrected man! You have been renewed in your faith, and you are firm in your conviction. Tell the enemy, “I am a man of prayer. I will be knocked no lower than my knees!”

Posted in AIS File Library, BS - Bible Studies, BSRP - Prayer0 Comments

Sing, O Barren, Thou That Didst Not Bear

By John Crist

Isaiah 54:1-6

Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.

Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;

For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.

Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.

For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.

Our God has a method to the madness of the times in which we live. We pray for the end result of the promises, we ask him for oak trees, but He answers with acorns! God is a God that would seed and He knows that in the acorn is the oak tree! You must be persistent enough to understand when He has answered you. Words are powerful! Peter said, “The words that you speak unto us, they are spirit and they are life.” If Word goes out, it will produce something. Everyone in here is a result of the Word. Whether you are moving toward positive things, or whether you are still pressed with old issues. If you are wounded today, you are wounded with words. Things that have been said, stated and spoken, attitudes and dispositions of people we respect, have left us scarred and fragmented emotionally. People who are wrestling with issues in their lives are wrestling with the children that are born from these spoken words. A harsh word, spoken to a child, planted in the womb of their mind, produces an adult with no self esteem!

And so, in our character, we are dealing with the children and the embryos that have been birthed through words that have been spoken in the past. So when God gets ready to break the pattern, and recycle us, He has chosen the foolishness of preaching, the utter foolishness of a message: Here you are, your life is in shambles, your finances are wrecked, your confidence is destroyed, you are confused, you are going through all types of things, and then finally when nothing else helps, God uses some man or woman, standing up with a microphone in their hand. They don’t have to touch you, they don’t have to push you, they don’t have to inject you with any kind of medicine, but by the foolishness of preaching, just somebody telling you that you can be more that you are, can give you the tenacity to get up from where you have been! Just somebody speaking to you and saying, “There is life beyond the break,” can give you the force and the fortitude to overcome secret issues in your life. The foolishness of preaching can deliver the drug-addict from his drug addiction, clean their blood up, take crack and cocaine out of their system, and relieve their mind without any other therapy, just an act of God. His Words are absolutely awesome. God’s Word is seed and whenever He gets ready to reproduce, He does it by the power of His Word! He is not impotent, He is omnipotent! If He speaks a Word, whatever He speaks to will be changed forever! Whether He said, “Let there be light…,” or “Lazarus come forth..,” if He speaks the word, there will be divine change, He is a powerful God! If His Word ever gets in you, you’re going to come up printing it. It might come around you and you might get away; it can get on you and you might get loose; but if His word ever gets in you, you might deviate, you might fall, you might falter, you might get into something that you should not have, but if His word ever gets in you, you can’t get away from it! It’ll follow you to the ends of the earth! Just His Word! You can’t get drunk enough to abort what He puts in you! He is absolutely awesome!

They didn’t mind Jesus coming into cities, they just didn’t want Him to preach in the city. If He got in the city and started preaching, He would turn the place upside down. Nobody else but Jesus could stand on the seashore and preach in a desert place, until five thousand men, not counting women and children, would rather faint than miss His message. Nobody else but Jesus could preach to possibly fifteen thousand people without a microphone and they would rather pass out than to miss something that He said. He was awesome! If He got up in a house, everybody would be packed up in the house, in the closets, sitting in the windows, so much so that one sick man, in desperation was carried up to the rooftop and let down through a hole in the roof, dropped down into the presence of Jesus! If He preached they couldn’t do anything with man. And whatever He said was going to happen, it would surely come to pass!

Martin Luther King made a statement some years ago. He said, “Truth, smashed down to the ground, will rise again undaunted!” When God has spoken something in your spirit, it may be smashed all the way to the ground, but just wait on it, It will rise back up again undaunted! It will surely come to pass! It is going to happen! Look at someone and tell them, “It is going to happen!” I don’t what your IT is, but whatever IT is, IT’S going to happen! That thing that He spoke that gave you the power to get up out of the mess you were in, it is still going to happen! That thing, that train of thought, that idea that kept you alive when the devil was trying to kill you, God has not changed His mind! It is still going to happen!

God told Abram, that man of faith, “Get up from your tent, let’s go for a walk…” You are going for a walk with God. Every now and then I go for a drive with the Lord. We just cruise a little bit. Abram didn’t have a car, so God said, “Let’s go for a walk!” So He and Abram went for a stroll, and while they were strolling, God told him, “Look down. What do you see?” He said, “I see the sands of the earth.” God said, “So shall thy seed be. Look up and what do you see there?” Abram said, “I see the stars of heaven.” God said, “So shall thy seed be!” “I am going to give you as much seed as you have sand or stars!” The sand is symbolic of Israel, the natural covenant, the earthly people who stood in covenant relationship, born out of the loins of Abram; and the stars are the church, the exalted ones who are of the seed of Abram by the faith of Jesus Christ who has made us to sit together in heavenly places with Christ Jesus!

God was talking to Abram about a multiplicity of blessing before he had his first child. God calls those things that be not as though they were! God is serious about seed and He talks kind of crazy. Because you always want to talk about what is, but God talks about what shall be! Sometimes you have a communication problem because you spent all evening complaining about what it is, and God was spending all morning telling you about what shall be! God knows that nothing that is will be able to stop what shall be! So He will talk to you about sands of seed and stars of seed before you have your first baby because He knows the potency and the power of His word!

God will talk those kind of things that will absolutely blow your mind! Let me tell you how serious God is about seed. The Bible says that God is so serious about seed that He gave Levi credit, book-keeping, accounting credit for paying tithes to Melchizedek while he was still in the loins of Abraham! Levi hadn’t even been born yet, but God was already keeping books on his tithing record while he was still in the loins of Abraham! God is looking at where you are going before you ever get there! He is already keeping record on your unborn promises! “So shall thy seed be!”

When God got ready to fulfill His word, He waited until everything in Abraham had shut down. Completely, factory demolished! No water in the radiator, no gas in the engine! When Abraham could not produce a seed, God gave him a seed! I know it was God’s seed because when it hit Sarah’s dead womb, it quickened it and brought it back to life again.

Our culture limits us in understanding the text, because the text is written to women who want to be pregnant, and we live in a society of women who don’t want to be pregnant! Your culture limits you from understanding how fervently every Israelite woman wanted to have a baby. You see, women who were pregnant in the Bible, were proud because every time a woman had a baby, she felt like she was helping the miracle come to pass! “This is one of the sands of the earth in my womb!” “This is one of the stars of heaven in my womb!” “I’m helping to bring it to pass!” They wanted to be pregnant. They were not trying to pass legislation so that they could kill babies. They wanted to be pregnant! So much so, that if a woman wasn’t pregnant, she would lay on the altar like Rachel, who said, “Lord, give me a child else I die!” We need in the church today, people who are so thirsty to produce the promise of God that we say, “Lord, give me the promise lest I die!” I will not be satisfied just to go to church and sit around and clap my hands and sing and go back home. I want something to pass through my womb that is greater than me, is everlasting and eternal, I want to do something with my life! Give me a child lest I die! There’s a promise in me, a dream in me, a hope in me, a calling, a gift, a ministry, a work, a job in me, and whatever I got to go through, I’m willing to go through it for God to produce life!

People don’t understand you when you get like that. Now if you want to fit in with people, You ought to tiptoe out now! You got just enough time to get out of here before you get messed up! If you are worried about who likes you and doesn’t like you, understands you and doesn’t understand you, you better leave while you can, because God is raising up a group of people who don’t care what anybody else says, we want the promise! We want it now! He is raising up a group of people who will not shut up! Look at somebody and say, “I’m not about to shut up!”

I know there is something in me and I’ve got to get it out! I know I’m called and I’ve got to produce! I know there’s power in me, I will not shut up! I’ve been cut, hit, rebuked, scorned, but it is still in me! There is a seed that can be so strongly implanted in your spirit, that nothing that you go through will make it fall away! Have you still got it? Is it still in you? In spite of everything that you been through, do you still have hope? An expectation? A dream? A vision? The devil is mad at you right now! He did everything he could to make you have an abortion, but he is a liar! It has been written, “When Zion travails, sons and daughters shall be born…!” It is going to happen! Nothing that you have been through will deter what God has spoken in you. It will shortly come to past! I am preaching to somebody, it may be just one person, but whoever you are, nothing that you have been through has been able to kill out what God has put in you, and it is still going to come to past!

Every woman that produced a child, felt like she was joining hands with the creator in the process of creation, carrying a miracle in her body, giving her strength to her dream! Eating for two, expecting the promise! I’ve got to stay strong because there is too much in me to die! One preacher while in a fight with the devil one night, told him, “I’m not important, and you could kill me, but what I’m carrying, is to important for you to take me out!” “I’m too anointed to die!” “I’m too appointed to die!” “the promise in me is to predestined to die!” “The seed in me is too much God to die!”

Hannah ran to the altar, fell before God, and began to wail like a drunk woman. She said, “Lord, I want to have a baby!” Let me tell you something: If you get something from God, you can’t be cute. You can’t be to cute! Hannah’s womb was closed up, and if you are going to get something closed to open, if you are going to get God to open up a door, there comes a time in your life that you can’t worry about the way you look, your dress, your suit, your tie, or your hat, you just got to let it happen! Hannah cried out! She staggered like a drunk woman! She fell on the altar like she had been drinking! It shocked the church because the church is not used to people who are drunk with a hope a dream and a calling! Touch somebody and tell them, “I’m drunk!” That’s why I don’t walk like you, talk like you, act like you, because I’m drunk! There’s too much in me to act right! She staggered on the altar, fell before God!

Eli hadn’t seen anybody who wanted something in so long, that he didn’t know what to think about somebody who knew how to pray! Hannah was willing to be different, to get what God had for her! How bad do you want it? Do you want it bad enough to be criticized? Bad enough to be talked about? Bad enough to have somebody make fun of you? How bad do you want your healing? How bad do you want your miracle? How bad do you want your prophecy? Hannah was saying, “Whatever it takes..!”

You don’t see that in the church anymore! I remember when folks used to pray until they would stagger under the power of God! Somebody would have to drive them home because they were so anointed that they couldn’t tell the yellow line from the white line! How bad do you want it?

She lay on the altar until she made a deal with God, and He gave her the baby. It’s going to happen! She had to go through some changes, but it happened! She had to break some rules, but it happened! She had to stagger on the altar, but it happened! She had to endure some criticism, even amongst some saints, but it happened! She had to suffer rejection even among people that were supposed to understand her, but it still happened! It happened anyway!

When she had her baby, she got happy and began to sing! Let me tell you something: When you come through a whole lot, and God blesses you, it is impossible for you not to praise Him! That’s why I don’t let nobody make me feel bad about praising God! Maybe you can sit there and act proud, maybe you didn’t go through what I went through to get where I am, but I get joy when I think about what the Lord has done for me! He’s been good to me! He blessed me when they said it wouldn’t and couldn’t be done!

She began to praise her God! Lean over and touch your neighbor and say, “I’m happy and I don’t care who knows it!” She went into a “thank you” and a “glory” and a “Hallelujah,” she said, “My horn is exalted…” I am lifted up, I am excited, I am going to create a song! Every now and then, you just make up a song! Make up a praise! Every now and then you just create a song, when you look back and remember where He brought you from!

Hannah, when she saw how God had blessed her, went into praise! One of the first things that I can ever remember being taught in early childhood, was when somebody gave you something, you said: “Thank you!” Some church folk don’t have any manners at all! When God gives you something, and you know it wasn’t by might, nor by power, but by His spirit, not by your education, your degree, but when God gives you something, the least you could do was to say, “Thank you!” I know you got a fine car, I know you live in a fine home, I know you are important, but the least you could do is to say, “Thank you!” I know you got on a name brand suit, a name brand dress, but the least you could do would be to say, “Thank you!” “God, I thank you!” I don’t know about you, but I got so much to thank the Lord for!

Hannah is holding this baby, tears running down her face, a “Thank you Lord” in her mouth, a “Hallelujah” in her heart, “Glory to God” in her mind, saying, “Look what the Lord has done…..,” and I can see why she should sing a song unto the Lord, because He had blessed her. But that doesn’t go with my text, cause anybody can say, “Thank you” after you get the blessing, but my text is not saying, “once your arms are full, to give Him the praise,” my text is asking empty arms, broken dreams, financial disasters, destroyed homes, deserted children and parents; it is asking the barren to sing! The person who is overworked and underpaid, the person whose marriage is not ready for any exhibition to say the least, the person who hasn’t received what they have believed; He is asking the barren church, He says, “I want you to sing!” Wait a minute Lord, my arms are empty! “Sing anyway!” Lord, I don’t have any sign of pregnancy! “Sing anyway!” Lord, I’m not even sure that you are listening to me! “Sing anyway!” Lord, things are getting worse instead of better! But He said, “Sing anyway!” I don’t want to hear the married wife, I don’t want the full arms to praise Me, I want empty arms to praise Me! “Sing, thou barren…!” “Sing when all hell is breaking loose!” “Sing when trouble is everywhere!” You have been crying, complaining, murmuring, but let me tell you something baby, it’s not going to work! You are going to have to have to sing right in the middle of trouble!

Thou that didst, not travail, I want you to sing anyway! I don’t want you to be like Hannah, I want you to be like Mary! You do remember Mary, don’t you? When the angel appeared unto Mary, and said, “You shall bring forth a son and his name shall be called Jesus, and he shall save his people from their sins,” the first thing she did was to deal with her relationship with people! She said, “How can these things be, seeing I know not a man?” Some of you think you are not going to get it because your natural situation doesn’t line up! How can this be, with the job I got? With all of these children? As old as I am now? When didn’t I finish my degree? But Mary said, “Nevertheless! In spite of the evidence, the circumstance, the situation, be it unto me according to thy word!” She was saying, “In spite of all the evidence, if You said it, I believe it?” So what Mary did, she didn’t wait until her baby was born to start her singing, She started her song before the baby ever came. And when she started singing, with no sign but a word, with nothing but the testimony of heaven, with nothing but a declaration from God, The Holy Ghost came upon her, and she was with child! She sang her way into swollen ankles! Into stretch marks! Into pregnancy! So God says to us tonight, “You are going to have to make the first move, I want you to act like you got it before you get it, so I can give it to you!” “If you act like it is before it is, it shall be!” “I want you to get everything ready for it before you got it, so I can give it to you!” “If you don’t have any food, and you are believing me for a meal, get all the pots out, set the table, get out the silver, the fine china and the crystal, prepare everything that you have got, you can’t help what you don’t have, but prepare everything that you do have, I am going to bless people who act like I am going to bless them!” “When you praise me like you believe me, then I am going to bring it to pass!”

For lack of a better subject, I just say tonight, “Get in the birth position!” Tell someone that, will you!

Praise is the birth position! Some of you didn’t even understand yourself, what’s been going on with you lately! You have been happy and you didn’t even know what you been happy about! Anybody going through what you were going through, would have lost their mind and gone crazy, but some kind of way you were happy anyway! You were getting in the birth position! Touch somebody and tell them, “Excuse me tonight, I’ve got to get in the birth position!” You need to go to praising God like you lost your mind! Praise Him like it is already done! Like you already got your blessing! Your miracle! Anyway! Anyhow! In spite of! Praise Him! It’s going to happen! Get in the birth position!

Posted in AIS File Library, BS - Bible Studies, BSRP - Prayer0 Comments

The Ten Most Wanted Men

The Ten Most Wanted Men

1. The man who tries to bet he right example.
2. The man who has a passion for souls.
3. The man who is willing to say, “I was wrong. I’m sorry.”
4. The man who will look squarely at temptation and say, “NO!”
5 The man who puts God’s business first.
6. The man who has a ready smile and a cheery “Hello.”
7. The man who brings his children to church instead of sending them.
8. The man who gives his time, money, and talent without thought of return.
9. The man who can see his own faults and confess them.
10. The man who will go the second mile without grumbling.

Author Unknown

Posted in AIS File Library, IN - Inspirational Stories and Illustrations, INGE - General0 Comments

Hiring Church Staff

BY PAUL D. MOONEY

So you are getting ready to hire some one to help you in your church. That moment has come when you need to increase the staff and ease the Ministry load. Exciting? Yes. But there are important things you should know. And what you may not know about the person you are getting ready to add to your ministry team could turn out to be your biggest nightmare ever.

Because of my association with Indiana Bible College, I watch the hiring process of young students with a great deal of shock and dismay… Young talented students eager to get into the Ministry are searching for opportunities. Pastors and churches that need youth ministers, choir directors, outreach directors or children’s pastors are looking over the crop. What is shocking is the often careless manner that some pastors display as they approach this process. I hope some will read closely what I am going to write here, because it may save you a lot of heartache. Let me offer a few bottom line suggestions that will help make this whole thing a lot more pleasant and more ethical.

First, why would anyone want to hire someone that they know nothing about? To bring an outsider into your church for the purposes of ministry that you have not carefully screened is next to insanity. With today’s high rate of immorality (including homosexuality) one must take this thing seriously. I wish that these horrible sins did not touch our beautiful Holy Ghost young people, but they do. Further, some among us who claim to be filled with the Spirit have actually just been around a long while and they have adopted the manners and style of the church without really being in the church. Perhaps to spare themselves embarrassment, they have just blended in, never having received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. They are unwilling to admit this and so they live a lie. Never underestimate the power of peer pressure. Some even go into the ministry to please mom and dad or their egos, and there is no anointing or calling on their lives. Pastors, you have got to run references. You must inquire about their history and their character.

Neither should churches seeking new staff forget that young people have pastors. They have home churches. In the case of Indiana Bible College, we do not presume to replace the Pastors of our students. This is by written policy. We provide guidance, education, counsel, and training. We do this, however, only after the Pastor has signed the student’s application and thereby given his approval for our interaction with them. This is a sacred trust. Along the way, we keep the pastors informed, involve them in all major decisions, and heavily involve them in any disciplinary actions. I am amazed when some who seek to hire a staff person seem to think that involving the applicant’s Pastor is no big deal. It is a big deal. And I’m pretty sure that some who ignore this well accepted ethical standard would scream foul if the shoe were on the other foot and someone were soliciting one of their own.

May I stress here that hiring someone for a paid position is a professional matter. The employer should have a specific task or job in mind. This involves compensation and designated authority. Merely asking someone to come to your church to help you, in cases that do not involve a position or employment, is recruiting membership and not hiring staff. Big difference.

What questions should churches ask? No big secret here. Pastors or hiring committees should want to know about the prospect’s faithfulness, morals, commitment, attitude, relationship with home church, relationship with college, financial history, attitude, and so forth. It is my view that a prospective hire should be checked out, so to speak, before any contact is made. Calling the school and pastor before one even talks to the prospect the very first time is right and may save the potential employer embarrassment while also providing an easy out before anyone is hurt.

I am not dealing here with hiring seasoned ministers or ‘bringing on’ a person who is already a full-time evangelist, pastor, missionary and so forth. In those cases, open and free contact is fully expected and acceptable. Although I would interject that the outright solicitation of persons who are already employed by another church or ministry without the proper contact of their present employer is unethical. Even if first contacted by a person who is seeking employment, there are ethical guidelines that should be followed. Using third persons and loopholes, duplicities, double speak, and cute comments are not proper substitutions for the right ethical procedures. Anyway, what I am referring to here, for the most part, is the hiring of young students or young people who are not members of your church.

Aside from the employer’s need to know about a hire’s spiritual life and lifestyle, there is another aspect of this process which deserves at least a word. When someone who is hired to fill a job as youth leader, outreach minister, music director or so forth, and is rewarded that position against the backdrop of an inconsistent life, it sends a negative message. Jesus taught that stewards should be found faithful. This is a commandment not to be ignored. When we do ignore it, it not only sets the church up for trouble and heartache but it undermines faithfulness itself. The young persons that have lived a clean life, paid their bills, obeyed their parents, heeded the counsel of their pastors, listened to their advisors, prayed, fasted, studied, worked outreach programs, helped in all ways and in all things been ‘faithful’ have earned respect. They should be respected. When churches hire the unfaithful, the rebellious, and the undisciplined, they hurt the cause of faithfulness. Young people draw the conclusion that it does not matter. Talent or personality wins out over righteousness. This ought not to be. Respect the faithful. Hire the faithful and righteous. Send the unfaithful and inconsistent back to the prayer room by not hiring them until their talents are surrendered to the authority of holiness, purity and leadership.

In a word, it you are getting ready to hire, do it right. Be ethnical. Demand the best behavior not the most talent. Check references. Listen to what you hear. Respect home churches. Go show.
You don’t want to end up praying for discord. It can happen.

THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE INDIANA APOSTOLIC TRUMPET, MARCH 2002, PAGES 3, 6. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.

Posted in AIS File Library, CM - Church Management, CMCB - Church Business & LTBU Church Business Issues0 Comments


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