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Four themes for encouragement and inspiration
The Discipleship Process - The Divine purpose - The Heavenly perspective - The Priority of His Presence
These four themes are Jim’s ministry emphasis, the focus of his study and the passion of his heart!
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The Priority of His Presence- Understanding why every thing must begin with Him
Samson enjoyed Delilah but while he was asleep in the lap of compromise, he was shorn of his hair; and along with his hair, the strength of anointing that clothed his weakness. We are all weak without Him. We don’t we like weakness and we want to be in control; we don’t want things to be too big for us. We want the walls to be small enough to climb with a ladder if the shout doesn’t work. We don’t want to have to trust God; we want concrete, not water under our feet.
But nothing about being a disciple of Jesus is possible without miracles. It is impossible to live as Christians without supernatural intervention. The task of changing hardened skeptics into people who will die for Jesus Christ, is, of course, impossible, apart from miracles from God and miracles only happen in the circumstance of weakness, need, and impossibility.
Gods plan is to work through weak vessels so he gets the credit. In fact, he even says “My power is made perfect in your weakness.” When Paul understood this he said, “Therefore I will gladly boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Can we say too, that we are more interested in Gods power being released through us, than in our comfort or ease? Trials and troubles pull us to our knees but when there is no pressure, we drift toward the arm of the flesh and our spiritual effectiveness withers. Samson was a man who forgot where his strength lay. (Judges 16:17) Without God, he was as weak as any man.
Friend, it takes the full 7 locks of Gods anointing to fulfill our destiny. The saddest thing is that many of us are happy to live with one or two locks. Let's grow some “hair” in His presence today.
Some people can’t remember the home in which they were raised and no one can remember the room in which they were born. The Saviour probably couldn’t remember the farmyard smell of His lowly birthplace. Jesus did not become humble in order to visit the planet but was already humble before the cross. He only demonstrated His humility on the cross and continues to be as humble after the cross.
Humble people are secure whereas the proud will never be because security doesn’t come from a position but a disposition. Of course, everyone wants to be valuable to somebody but when we don’t gain our sense of value from God we tend to give the approval of people, too much weight. If not from people, maybe we will seek to gain it from our own performance or from a position or title.
Jesus did not grasp His position or glory but He made himself of no reputation and became the servant of others – us. He wasn’t afraid of losing something nor was He trying to keep up appearances or maintain His social standing. He could have stayed among the Angels and bathed in praise but instead, He chose to dwell with us. He got down among the dirty. He walked with crooks and racketeers and sat with the spineless and the spiteful. Jesus had no one to impress so He acted Himself.
The devil’s mistake was thinking that “God likeness” was positional, not dispositional. He thought God’s gloriousness came from the position He held at the pinnacle of the universe, instead of recognizing that God’s glory came from His disposition of perfect and humble holiness. He aspired to God’s “heights” rather than to His heart.
Friend, God has always been humble and continues to associate with those of low degree. That is why we know He is not looking to see if our house or our heart is perfectly clean before He visits.
The Discipleship Process- How Father creates the image of His Son within us
Blind Bart sat on his mat on the side of the busy road out of Jericho. It was just another day, but when he heard the crowd and Jesus coming closer, he knew this was going to be a life changing day for him. He’d heard that lame people and even the blind had gone to Jesus and were healed. (Mat 21:14)
Bart wasn’t lame but he may as well have been; it had been years since he had walked anywhere. When you can’t see, you don’t walk very far, certainly not with confidence. He cried out for mercy over the noise of the merely curious and when Jesus heard the honest cry; he stopped, called Bartimaeus to Him and healed him. When blind Bartimaeus eyes were healed he immediately got up and walked after Jesus on the road.
When God raises followers, He touches the blind eyes of our hearts. God doesn’t start or finish with rules. God doesn’t try to change the way we act or walk, he just heals the eyes of our heart.
When Israel came out of Egypt, they had a change of religion but they never had change of heart. People cant walk differently unless they first see differently. Finally God said I’m going to show you Myself and when some of the Jewish people saw the heart of the Father displayed in the cross of Christ, their hearts were changed followed by their lifestyle. It is always the same. We change by revelation not rules. Our hearts are only changed by seeing the heart of God, in Christ. The way Father changes the way we walk and live, is enabling us to see more of Jesus.
Friend, if your sitting on your mat thinking no one notices you or that no one is listening, your wrong. Cry out in faith because I hear him coming closer to you right now.
What a feast! We enjoyed cakes, videos, hakas, speeches and prayer from all the generations in the congregation. Yesterday was amazing as the leaders of our local church sent us out to begin itinerant ministry. It was a beautiful day and we felt honoured and encouraged.
A number of years ago a man of God prophesied over us, that we were hidden in a quiver as sharp arrows, but there was a time when we would be released from the quiver. That time has come.
But an arrow without a bow is powerless and pointless It is the testimony, the credibility, the prayer backing and the corporate anointing of the local church, that gives flight to the arrow. Yesterday the bow was drawn back and released.
David said that God had enabled him to bend the bow of bronze. “He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great” (Psalms 18:32-35).
David was saying his hands were a weapon and our hands are still the weapon of the church against the dark kingdom. By laying on of hands we cancel sickness, cast out devils and impart life into death and we still need the strong arms of local church leaders to bend the bow and release the arrows of the Lord.
I'm incredulous when I hear a Christian say they don't need a local church. It's like saying we can be a Christian without going to Church. You can become one but you can’t live as one without the local church. That is like saying I can be rugby player without a team. It is delusional for the best rugby player is useless apart from the team, as is a knee joint without the rest of the body or an arrow without a bow.
I love the local church for it is the genius of God and the dwelling place of God. To believe you can worship the Trinity and reject relationships in a local church, misunderstands the nature and the heart of God. He only wants to dwell within a corporate gathering of His people. Only Jesus Christ is enough for God to live in alone. He otherwise needs a nation to dwell in the midst of. He constructed from a thousand parts His one tabernacle. He had a temple constructed out of many thousands of components into a glorious unified house for His habitation. And so it continues that only the whole body of Christ manifested in local churches can contain Him. It is your brothers and sisters that carry Him within. To get closer to God we need to get closer to the Church. Apostle John said that we love God as much as we love His people.
I was converted the day I encountered Christ all alone in a pup tent while goat shooting in the hills of Hunua but from that moment God’s people prayed for me, helped me, encouraged me and visited me. His church discipled me, befriended me, fellow shipped with me, taught me and lead me. They then believed in me, trained me, prophesied over me and released me into ministry. Eventually they listened to me, honoured me followed me, supported me and my family and enabled me to my destiny. Yet all they were doing was being Christs mouth, heart and hands.
Friend, I love Jesus and I love the Church.
I’m so glad He invited me to sit at His table and to “feast” on Him but do I want Church with that? Yes please!
The Divine Purpose - Seeing Fathers passion to form a bride for his Son and mature offspring for His Kingdom
It was midnight when the disciples got down to the edge of the lake. There was a cool breeze blowing and some were wondering if the sea was going to get rough. Once in the boat, they had crossed most of the lake by three in the morning when the storm struck and this time Jesus was not in the boat with them.
They had been rowing with all their strength and were probably disappointed that Jesus seemingly had left them to cope alone and that they were making no progress towards the other side. But as usual Jesus was planning progress in their walk of faith. Their stationary boat represented their life; difficult, uncomfortable and seemingly pointless. They were rowing hard but getting nowhere, representing the best they could do with who they were at the time but Jesus planned to take them further by getting them out of the boat.
Sometimes when God is trying to shift us to something new, the things we used to be able to do, the status quo, just seems to get harder. We wonder why we struggle so much to do what we’re used to doing. We think it must be a phantom but it’s the wind of God and what seems to be the enemy opposing us, is actually Jesus assisting you to a new level of faith and walk in the spirit.
Jesus is always calling us to a new position, to a new perspective and a greater experience of His presence and power. But we can only to get to that new place by getting out of the boat. Maybe you feel that your boat is in a storm, that you are rowing as hard as you can but with seemingly little progress.
Friend, Jesus is drawing near- listen to His voice above the storm and hear His invitation because I have found, that when Jesus wants you to go further than you ever thought possible, you will probably need to get out of the boat.
As the boat slipped effortlessly out into the harbour from the bustling docks at Joppa, Jonah sat down on a coil of rope. He felt pleased that his plan was working but he also felt some foreboding in his heart. Although Jonah was running from the Lord, thankfully God was preparing a great storm and a great fish to help Jonah succeed in his ministry. The storm was beyond his control, uninvited and unpleasant but completely within the control of God, and God used the storm to blow Jonah to his assignment.
Mostly we don’t volunteer to go to the places where growth and the stretching of our faith takes place but Gods faithfully blows us there in His storms. “The LORD is slow to anger and great in power.... The LORD has His way In the whirlwind and in the storm...” (Nahum 1:3) In His storms, people that are against you, like the sailors who threw Jonah overboard, are unwittingly part of Gods plan to help us stay on course. Our difficult circumstances are all conspiring for our success. Most of all, God wants to reveal Himself to us in a way that He never could without the storm. Jonah learned how sovereign and faithful God is and found out how much God loves sinners.
Friends, right now in the midst of your storm, whether people or circumstances, hold on to Him and look to Him, because Father wants to reveal to you something of Himself, that you can only see by going through the storm and He is preparing your “fish” to help you succeed.
The Heavenly Perspective - The power in being able to see our lives from our loving Fathers point of view
The lame man was carried by his friends each day to beg outside the Beautiful gate. It was his routine but one day was different - the day Peter and John saw him on the ground and healed him in the name of Jesus. There seemed nothing different about the day when he sat down on his mat but it was going to be the day that God would make beautiful. The word “beautiful” in Acts 3.2 here doesn't mean beautiful in appearance as we might think but beautiful in timing and effect. The beggar received in that divine moment much more than he asked for or expected. It was a “kairos” moment for the man. The Apostle Paul expected every believer to understand the difference between “kairos” and “chronos”. “But concerning the times (chronos) and the seasons (kairos), brethren, you have no need that I should write to you” ( 1 Thessalonians5:1) “Chronos” is earth time - regular, linear and predictable. “Kairos” is God's moment; the due time, the right time when eternity intersects with “chronos”. It is sometimes unexpected, it's often miraculous and sometimes it even seems to come too late. Think Lazarus.
Joseph's “chronos” was difficult and challenging, including a pit, a promiscuous princess and a prison. It looked bad but God was about to make it beautiful. Gods “chronos” made him a prince with power. He came to see you that “My times are in your hand” (Psalms 31.15)
Zachariah and Elizabeths “chronos”, included 60 years of childless service to God. It looked too late and hopeless but God was about to make it beautiful. Gods “chronos” was a miracle son who would be a forerunner of Jesus Christ. It was more than they could have asked for or expected. “Chronos” can produce the results of human reaping and sowing but “kairos” has an outcome that is beautiful, miraculous, abundant and necessary for destiny!
Friend, in 2019 if you'll stay faithful in your service and even in your suffering, our Father will make all things beautiful in His time.
Abraham might have been walking slowly but his mind was racing as they climbed to the summit. He had strife in his home and now his promised son was to be taken from him. Sometimes ancient deities demanded the offering of a child and that day had come. “After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” (Genesis 22:1-2) The promised and precious was about to be taken away with no warning and no word from God about how it was going to end. Sometimes God wants for us some things that we don’t want for ourselves. We imagine in life that we will ask things from God; not that God may ask something of us. Abram received his son back again but others didn’t.
Tests of faith are costly to us, usually because we lose something from our life. Maybe a loved one or a cherished child that turned away from God. Perhaps mobility was lost as the use of some part of our body permanently disappears. Did we lose a partner through divorce or was it a simple request to remove a headache that went “unanswered.”
Of course, Jesus said to pray and we need to ask but if God answered every prayer as we wished, would we be as god and would He would end up the genie in the bottle. We almost want to be God or at least we want God to do our will. Greater difficulty can come when we think we know His will and He doesn’t seem to act! St. John the divine coined a term called the “dark night of the soul.” which as Pentecostals we prefer not to deal with. We are more comfortable with the bright day of victory yet if we walk longer than a few years with God, we will find the sun does set. These dark nites could be called the test of love and in the darkness, we learn to live with mystery. Our self-revealing God is still unfathomable in many ways. Our redeemed spirit and renewed mind can only know Him a little. We know that He is faithful, that He cannot be unjust and we know He is pleased by faith. Hebrews eleven tells us that it is not receiving the answers to faith that pleases God but keeping the faith through the test. Being people that still love God when there is no answer from God.
Friend, trust Him when you can’t track him. Reward and complete understanding are reserved in heaven for you. You are pleasing to Him. If something is necessary for your destiny God will intervene. Abram walked down the mountain with his son and with a greater love for God. God will again speak to you in your darkness to reveal His greatness and to keep your promise alive.