Anticipating Resurrection

Knight Kneeling

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” (John 9:3)

I lived the first 32 years of my life with a substantial amount of spiritual oppression. In 2007, Father miraculously set me free.

As I have helped people deal with long-term spiritual oppression in their lives, I have seen the truth of John 9:3 play out — the work of God is displayed in their lives.

Again and again, I have seen Father miraculously transform the deadened spaces of their hearts and lives — that used to be thwarted and emasculated (to deprive of strength or vigor, weaken) into bridges of freedom and healing that in turn open up a new and greater capacity to minister to others in ways that they weren’t capable of as long as the enemy was exerting the weight and pressure of spiritual oppression on their lives.

As they are freed, a sort of resurrection of the deadened parts of their spirit and heart takes place. During the 40 day journey of prayer I go through with couples in ministry, my favorite excerpt from the daily guide we use is below:

Anticipating Resurrection

How do you anticipate well?

Unlike Lazarus, you are not physically dead
Unlike the paralyzed man on his mat who didn’t know of his resurrection until the moment Jesus told him to get up, pick up his mat, and walk (John 5:8-9)
Unlike Daniel, you know beforehand that the “lions” will be definitively slayed and sent forever away
Unlike Saul/Paul, you see the more your heart has always known there was and your spirit’s eyes will see your Father as He truly is . . . up until now your ears have only heard about (Job 42:5)

So how will you prepare?
Jesus knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He would be resurrected
What kind of faith and what kind of perspective will honor and worship your Father and King as you prepare for Him to resurrect the deadened parts of your spirit and heart?
It will be a holy moment between you and Him.

No one will see grave wrappings falling off
No visible mat will be tossed aside
No one will pull you out of the lions’ den
Ananias won’t come and lay his hands on your eyes . . . Father will.

He rescues me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me. Psalm 55:18

Excerpt taken from 40 Day Prayer Focus Guide, originally written in April 2010

For More:

40 Day Prayer Focuses for Churches and Ministries: Targeting Spiritual Warfare

He Overcomes! . . . The Promise of Luke 10:19

Does Your Calling Compel You to Live with Urgency

Pastors, Has the Enemy Come in Like a Flood?

10 Ways to Keep Going When You’re Taking Spiritual Ground

photo credit: Tididi via photopin cc

10 Reasons to Take The Ultimate Journey

The Ultimate Journey logoFreedom . . . it’s something we long for at the very core of our being. We long to be free from the emotional, spiritual, mental and physical weights that beset us.

In my 30+ years of walking with Jesus, I’ve found going through The Ultimate Journey experience to be one of the most transforming, life-altering, paradigm-shifting experiences I’ve had. Hundreds of others have had the same experience.

So why take The Ultimate Journey?

Life Changing

Biblical: The Ultimate Journey isn’t some newfangled philosophy. It’s based on biblical beliefs and the biblical experience of the Israelites journeying from the bondage of Egypt to the freedom of the Promised Land.

Freedom Bringing: it’s a powerful tool God has used again and again to free His beloved children of the emotional, spiritual, and mental weights that weight them down.

Paradigm-Shifting: so many of us are muddling through life with faulty paradigms or belief systems that trip us up again and again. The Ultimate Journey helps you define and discover your faulty paradigms and then replace them with paradigms based on the freeing truths of the Bible.

Hope Infusing: there are few things more weighty on the heart than feeling like you’ll never be able to get past something that’s hindering your life and relationships. The Ultimate Journey helps you work through and push through those seemingly impossible obstacles.

Healing and Wholeness: whenever Jesus touches our hearts and lives bringing His healing and wholeness to our brokenness . . . it’s amazing. The Ultimate Journey is a tool Jesus uses to bring His beloved children His healing and wholeness.

Dynamic Church Experience: Church bodies from all over the U.S. have small groups going through The Ultimate Journey. As they do, they witness God bringing dynamic wholeness and healing to their church body both individually and corporately. For Pastors: A Few Ways The Ultimate Journey Will Help Transform Your Congregation

Affordable: If there are no churches in your area that offer The Ultimate Journey as 13 week phases, you can go through each phase in 2-3 day turbos at The Ultimate Journey headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa.

On-Going: As the name suggests, going through The Ultimate Journey is a journey rather than a destination. As you continue your journey, there are ways to keep connected, growing, and actively working through the things life brings your way.

Forward Moving: As I’ve talked with believers about going through The Ultimate Journey, the most common objection I hear is that God tells us not to live our lives focused on the past. This is very true.

Yet, until we deal with our past no matter how hard we try we will continue dwelling on it consciously or subconsciously — Is. 43:18-19. When we’ve dealt with and faced our past, is when we will be able to truly see and experience the new thing God is doing in our lives.

So when will you be taking The Ultimate Journey?

He Overcomes! . . . The Promise of Luke 1019

soldiers in a prayer circleOften when I pass out my ministry card to people they ask, “What’s the 1019 stand for?”

I respond with Luke 10:19 where Jesus says to His disciples,

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (NIV)

It’s a truth that is central to our faith yet seemingly known by few and lived out by fewer.

I run into believer after believer, ministry leader after ministry leader, and church after church who are more comfortable with explaining away or misdiagnosing spiritual oppression in their life and in the life of their church body rather than calling it for what it is and biblically dealing with it through a long season of prayer, typically 40 days.

I’m not talking about looking for a demon behind every rock nor am I seeking to simplify the complex spiritual attacks which often beset us.

I am challenging us as believers to take the example given us in Mark 9:14-29 where Jesus explains to His disciples concerning the demonic spirit that they couldn’t drive out of a boy,

And He said to them,“This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” Mark 9:29

When we’re unwilling to deal with spiritual oppression through a long season of prayer, we spiritually limp around beset by fierce spiritual attack the remains undealt with.

Is the enemy coming against your church body with a flood of spiritual warfare and attack? Is. 59:19

If so, then it is possible that the enemy has established a stronghold or a series of strongholds that can be dealt with through a 40-day prayer focus.

Are you a pastor or ministry leader who is silently struggling with:

  • heavy depression
  • weighty and unexplainable emotional struggle
  • repetitive and persisting spiritual attacks
  • unexplainable delays in personal and spiritual progress

Prayerfully consider if spiritual oppression is a hidden reason behind these things (Mark 4:22). Consider a 40-day prayer focus.

We follow a Leader and Guide who wears the victor’s crown! He has overcome and has given us authority to overcome all the power of the enemy!

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For More: Does Your Calling Compel You to Live with Urgency

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Living Out Your Calling Wherever…Whenever

Intercession handsAt times in our lives, we go through several simultaneous transitions in our location, employment, relationships, and ministry. Transitions can have a tumultuous effect on our lives and even our calling.

Early on in my calling as a prophetic intercessor, a friend gave me large praying hands. At the time I was simultaneously working on a church staff and spending 100’s of hours of intercession praying through some significant attacks that were coming against us individually and corporately.

During those years when the attacks were especially fierce, I would put my hands over those praying hands and picture myself joining hands with Jesus, the Ultimate Intercessor (Heb 7:25), in prayer.

When I first received those praying hands, they seemed a little large and unattractive. Yet, they have become an abiding symbol that is one of the first to be unpacked and displayed in our home to remind me of my calling to intercede wherever Father brings us, whenever He brings us there.

In each time and place, the terrain and opportunities may look a little different, but the calling remains the same.

What about you?

What is your anchor point visually and heart-wise that helps you to refocus regardless of how the circumstances and situations around you change?

Some helpful things to keep in mind:

  • Make a covenant with Jesus that you will live out your calling wherever He brings you and whenever He moves you on to another place
  • Keep a journal to remind you of the victories and defeats and how He has faithfully brought you through that you can look back on when you’re starting to lose focus
  • Make one of the first things you do when you move to a new place is to establish an anchor point visually and heart-wise that helps you to keep your focus on living out your calling

Let us not allow a change in our location, employment, relationships, or ministry to douse the flame on our calling. Instead let us fan it into flame wherever Father brings us, whenever He brings us there.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 2 Tim 1:6

For More: Greater by Steven Furtick

Pastors, Has the Enemy Come In Like a Flood?

WRR mudslideWhen the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. — Is. 59:19 (KJV)

I had the privilege of interceding over a pastors’ conference at Wind River Ranch in Estes Park, Colorado during the rain and flooding of early September.

When I arrived at the ranch on Monday prior to the arrival of the pastors and their wives, Father directed me to intercede several times up and down the main road that ran through ranch. Father continued to have me do this daily. By Thursday morning the road was becoming a steadily moving stream. By Thursday afternoon, the road I had walked became a raging river and the first mudslide roared down the mountain into the ranch.

As the ranch staff, pastors and their wives used shovels, a tractor, and a bulldozer to shore up the land on either side of the road to prevent further erosion and more extensive flooding, Father had me continue to intercede on whatever dry land I could find, praying His promises found in Isaiah 59:19 and 1 Kings 18:37.

Thursday night at 11:15 PM a second mud/landslide of a three-to-four foot wall of water and thousands of pine trees raced down the mountainside. The roads and land sustained a great deal of damage, yet none of the 70 staff and guests were injured nor were the ranch’s buildings or cabins damaged.

As I think back on what God accomplished in our midst, I wonder how many of us are praying for, looking for and expectantly anticipating God to raise up a standard against the Enemy when he comes in like a flood.

Is the Enemy coming against your church body with a flood of spiritual warfare and attack?

If so, then it is possible that the Enemy has established a stronghold or a series of strongholds that can be dealt with through a 40-day prayer focus.

Crossing the Finish Line In a Season of Ministry [Called series]

Finish LineIn a race, the finish line is clearly marked. How you end the race is clear: cross the finish line. Crossing the finish line in a season of ministry is less clear for it is a journey of faith.

Often our finish in a season of ministry will not seem victorious to others or maybe even to ourselves. In finishing a season of ministry, the thing that matters most is this: being in step with God. “What God originates, He orchestrates.”

God shapes a season of ministry to accomplish His purposes and plans. The end of that season will often appear or even feel far from a flourishing finish in the human sense. Seek  to have one focus: to keep your eyes on Jesus, follow His lead, and obey and please Him. Know that as you seek to do so, the Enemy will seek to  try make you feel as if you:

  • Failed
  • Stopped short
  • Floundered
  • Didn’t cut it

When these attacks come, take comfort in the promise of Isaiah 55:8-9:

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” “For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (NLT)

As you finish, make the words of Paul your mark of vision in your heart and mind: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – 2 Timothy 4:7 (ESV)

For in each season of ministry, Father gives us a fight to fight, a race to finish, and a faith to keep.

It matters not whether others approve or understand why God’s moving you on. You live for an audience of One (Gal 1:10). No matter how short or how long the season of ministry you’re in is, may you fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith.

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10 ways to Keep Going When You’re Taking Spiritual Ground [Called Series]

knight kneelingYou know you’re committed when you don’t turn back when the spiritual backlash comes with fiendish ferocity while you’re taking spiritual ground.

Some years ago, I was teaching at a Christian school. During one of the daily staff devotional times, I heard the Enemy menacingly say in my ear five times,

“I will silence you.”

What followed in the next year was the most ugly betrayal and fiercest personal and spiritual attack I have experienced in my Christian walk of 30+ years. Several times I was tempted to give in and be silent.

Being a part of taking spiritual ground is a sure way to experience fierce spiritual attack to the point that you will be tempted to be silent. A common way spiritual attack will come is through personal attacks from people who know and love us, often who are dear Christian brothers and sisters.

If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it;
if a foe were rising against me, I could hide.

But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers. – Psalm 55:12-14 (NIV)

As He was taking spiritual ground, Jesus experienced the fierce spiritual attack. Judas, one of His beloved disciples, who had co-labored by His side day in, day out for three years betrayed him (Luke 22:1-5, 47-53). People who He had taught, healed, and loved turned back and no longer followed Him (John 6:60-70).

So how do you continue on when you’re experiencing the inevitable spiritual attack that comes with taking spiritual ground?

  • Surround yourself with truth
  • Receive support from your foxhole friends
  • Battle with praise
  • Focus your gaze on what is unseen (2 Cor 4:16-18)
  • Pray Scripture
  • Let the Healer bandage your battle wounds
  • Fix your eyes on what God has called you to (Does Your Calling Consume You?)
  • Remember those who have battled before you (Heb 12:1-3)
  • Fight from victory not for victory – The Invisible War, Chip Ingram
  • Give grace when others don’t understand or minimize what you’re going through

Read More: Finishing (Adventures in Faith series)

photo credit: Tididi via photopin cc

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