“Behold, what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.” -1 John 3:1a
There are so many misunderstandings about what the word love means.
When we hear that God loves us, it can create some problems. The love of God is the most foundational, important thing in understanding all spirituality, all theology, all doctrine. The most important concept to know and to understand is the immeasurable, limitless, and boundless love of God for His sons and daughters.
And not just the love of God for the church as a collective group, but for you – for you the son, the daughter of God, for each one of us to know that God loves us individually just as a parent with many children individually loves his or her children. That the love of God, the boundless, unending, perfect love of God is the source of all great spirituality, of all perfect doctrine, of all growth.
We must understand that God’s love surpasses everything. There’s nothing you can do, even if you hate God, there’s no sin you can commit, no filth you can have in your life, nothing you can do to ever remove God’s adoration and love for you. God’s love is the greatest love of all.
Prayer: Father in heaven, I come to you hurting, broken, wounded, lonely, and sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that you actually love me. But your love abides. Amen.
Devotion: How have you felt God’s love at work in your life?
O Lord, I join my brothers and sisters in one accord and we confess that our hearts are filled with deep sense of undiluted reverence to Your Name and to Your throne for all that You Alone has done for us throughout the Month of Novemeber, we praise You as we worship in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.
O Lord, we pour our hearts to You in praises, worship, exaltation and adoration to Your Holy Name for honouring us with the gift of life and the gift of good health throughout the month, we say indeed we have tasted and we have seen that You are a Loving, Kind and Caring God, we thank You in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.
Great Provider, we praise You for disconnecting us from every forms of lacks throughout the month and we magnify You for connecting us with the heavenly outpouring unstoppable abundance throughout the month, we bless You for all the blessings, favours, empowerments, flourishing, fruitfulness and as many other that You have done, we glorify You as we pray in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.
Great Healer, we adore You for breaking every forms of sickness out of our folds, we exalt You for every healing that You gave unto us throughout this month and we pray that our healings shall continue to be permanent even as we cover them in the Precious Blood of Jesus and we worship You for every freedom You gave us from the works of the enemies and even from self-imprisonment throughout this month, receive all glory, honour and adoration, as we pray in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.
God Of Victory, Lord we humble ourselves before You as we lift Your Name above every other names for every deliverance You gave unto us throughout this month both spiritually and physically, indeed their is no one to compare to You, Our God and we are marvelled by every victories that You gave unto us, throughout this month, in the north, south, east, west, beneath the earth, above the earth, in the sea, in the air, spiritually and physically, we cover each and very of our victories in Jesus Name. Amen and the devil and his agents will continue to be defeated under our feets to the glory of our heavenly Father, we ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen and Amen.
If you will indulge me for a moment, I am about to be quite cliché by writing about giving thanks in the week prior to Thanksgiving. However, if you’ll hang with me, I hope to give us a take on giving thanks that doesn’t necessarily conjure images of Puritans.
As my children grow older, it is fun to think back with them to the funny, insightful, innocent things that they said as small children. When it comes to thanks, I am always reminded of a prayer that our little man offered when he was still parading around in underwear and a Mickey Mouse blanket-turned-cape as “Fooper Jack.”
It is our bedtime habit of saying prayers together and, as is often the case during those days before they learn “prayer-ese,” their conversations with God are brilliantly honest and innocent. One particular evening Jack was on a roll. He had already paraded through his gratitude for a thankfully still-small circle of every person with whom he currently had relations – mom, dad, sisters, extended family, friends, “that kid next door,” and several dearly loved stuffed animals.
Next on his list was thanks for several food groups. With culinary acumen beyond his years, he made his way through each of the day’s meals. When he came to dinner, he offered up this beautiful nugget: “And thank you for the vegetables… even though I don’t like tomatoes very much…” As I stifled a laugh that I tried to pass off as the spiritual grunt of agreement, the candor of his honesty led to a silent prayer on my behalf that God would preserve his infantile innocence. I asked our Father to please nurture Jack’s childlike faith to childlike maturity. I petitioned for a faith in my son that would grow from thanking God for under-appreciated parts of the food pyramid to a one that trusts Him enough to believe that the “all things” which work together for good are not always things we like.
Too often in my own life the things for which I give thanks are the things I perceive as blessings. Things that “went well” or moments of crisis averted. However, as I realize this, I am reminded of an admonition from the apostle Paul as he writes to the church in Ephesus, “…giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:20). And I don’t believe that Paul is speaking idealistically or metaphorically. I believe he is calling the church to believe in the sovereign providence of their God who loves them more than they can comprehend. This trust is one that results in true gratitude in every circumstance that God is using all things to bring the fruit of His Spirit to harvest in your life.
We might call this “hard thanksgiving.” How do we express thanks in hard circumstances? Not simply accepting them, but rather being thankful for them? When my prayers seem to go unanswered, how do I give thanks? When I face a challenge from which I can see no way out, how am I to be grateful? I was challenged recently be a dear friend and prayer partner to seek to present my requests to God in the form of thanks. “Father, thank you that financial difficulty serves to remind me that YOU are my provider” … “Father, thank you that you are my identity rather than my effectiveness” … “Thank you, Lord, that Jesus is my complete righteousness and not my works or lack thereof” … “Father, thank you for difficult people who you are using to bring to bear the fruit of the Spirit in my life.” This is what it looks like to truly give thanks. This is gratitude for tomatoes…
My son had tomatoes on his plate. This was not an oversight by his parents nor was it a punishment. He may not have been a fan of the “fruit,” but his parents who loved him knew that they would be of more benefit to him than he realized. If you are in Christ, you are a child of the Almighty Creator of all things. He loves you with a love that eclipses the greatest love an earthly parent could ever muster. The things on our plate – both the enjoyable and the not-so-enjoyable – are there for a purpose. As you think during this season of the many blessings for which you are thankful, let me encourage you to take time to think on the challenges, disappointments and difficulties as well – and express your gratitude.
Heavenly Father, on Thanksgiving Day
We bow our hearts to You and pray.
We give You thanks for all You’ve done
Especially for the gift of Jesus, Your Son.
For beauty in nature, Your glory we see
For joy and health, friends and family,
For daily provision, Your mercy and care
These are the blessings You graciously share.
So today we offer this response of praise
With a promise to follow You all of our days.
A Thanksgiving Day Prayer
Lord, so often times, as any other day
When we sit down to our meal and pray
We hurry along and make fast the blessing
Thanks, amen. Now please pass the dressing
We’re slaves to the olfactory overload
We must rush our prayer before the food gets cold
But Lord, I’d like to take a few minute more
To really give thanks to what I’m thankful for
For my family, my health, a nice soft bed
My friends, my freedom, a roof over my head
I’m thankful right now to be surrounded by those
Whose lives touch me more than they’ll ever possibly know
Thankful Lord, that You’ve blessed me beyond measure
Thankful that in my heart lives life’s greatest treasure
That You, dear Jesus, reside in that place
And I’m ever so grateful for Your unending grace
So please, heavenly Father, bless this food You’ve provided
And bless each and every person invited
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens his will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing,
Sing praises to his name: He forgets not his own.
Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining his kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, wast at our side, All glory be thine!
We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,
And pray that thou still our defender wilt be.
Let thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!
–Traditional Thanksgiving Hymn
(A translation by Theodore Baker: 1851-1934)
We Give Thanks
Our Father in Heaven,
We give thanks for the pleasure
Of gathering together for this occasion.
We give thanks for this food
Prepared by loving hands.
We give thanks for life,
The freedom to enjoy it all
And all other blessings.
As we partake of this food,
We pray for health and strength
To carry on and try to live as You would have us.
This we ask in the name of Christ,
Our Heavenly Father.
In my leadership as an executive pastor, I’ve been hiring the best staff possible for a long time. I know how tough it is to find those eagles! I’m so grateful every time we bring a great leader onto the team. The same thing is true when inviting volunteers to step up to significant leadership.
Let’s do a quick review from Part 1. Here are three characteristics for both boss and staff member. I added Scripture for just one area—humility—primarily because it sets the stage for nearly all other areas.
1. Love Jesus
Humble spirit (2 Chr. 7:14; Dan. 10:10-12; Ps. 147:6; Prov. 3:34; Matt. 23:12; Luke 14:11; Eph. 4:2-3; James 4:10; 1 Pet. 5:5-7)
Hears God’s voice
2. Growing Leader
3. Strong Character
Lives by the same standards they expect of others
Discipline to do the right thing
What do people want in a great staff member?
(What kind of leader do you want on your team?)
This article is written with a 60 percent or more weighting toward staff than volunteer leaders, but it’s easy to translate to both.
I began by interviewing several bosses with ages ranging from late 20s to early 50s. I asked traits they desire least in any staff member. They all answered with striking similarly. I’m calling the composite “The Foul Four.”
The “Foul Four” traits in staff members:
These need no explanation. As soon as you see the words, you know exactly what they mean and can think of a person that fits each category. Are the “Foul Four” skills or attitudes? They are all attitudes! That is an important insight. The key question is: Will you allow any of this on your team?
The good news, though we are all susceptible to at least one of these, is that we don’t have to live in any of them. I know which one is my weakness, so I watch for it. By being aware, I’m in the game to intentionally not live there. Yes, I might slip, hopefully very briefly, and then quickly rise above.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:15-17).
1. They bring leadership energy to the table. At 12Stone Church we say about a great new staff person, “Someone just showed up.” You don’t have to be in our culture to immediately get a feel for what that means. We all know how wonderful it is when someone else jumps in and brings leadership energy into the room. They help make things happen!
A great staff member is driven with passion for the mission.In the healthy sense of the word, they are driven—or, perhaps better said, they are self-motivated. They take responsibility for their own inner motivation rather than being carried by the efforts of others.
Great staff members understand how to bring leadership intensity without being an intense person. You know when to hit the throttle and you know when to ease up. No one wants to be around an intense person, but leaders must at the right times lead with intensity.
Great staff are proactive. Leadership energy means you take initiative about the right things. Simply being proactive alone isn’t the answer. Anyone can be fast.
It’s being out in front about the right things that makes you good.
2. Their consistent self-leadership results in noticeable maturity.
Great staff are self-aware. One of the best examples of people who are not self aware is every really bad singer that auditions on American Idol. You’ve probably seen some of those horrible moments! Scary, huh? They really can’t see themselves! They so desperately want to be something they are not.
It’s true for all of us; we can’t see what we can’t see. So we all need people who can speak into our lives to help us see ourselves accurately. This helps us embrace the right position with the right attitude.
Great staff manage emotion well. Life and leadership doesn’t always go your way.
You lead in proportion to your faith.
You control in proportion to your fear.
When you are angry, you give up influence. When you’ve lost control of your emotions, you have quit leading. If someone can push your buttons, they can steal your leadership. People like to watch an explosion, but they don’t like to be near one. Emotions are stepping-stones to either spirit or flesh. Be careful!
Great staff are OK when a teammate gets more than they do. They are able to authentically celebrate the blessings of others.
3. They absorb pressure with grace and composure. It’s natural to want to get rid of pressure—or at least make it lighter by taking the matter to your boss. It’s natural to want a feel for what your boss would do. Sometimes you have to. That’s OK. But the best leaders absorb as much pressure on their own as possible. You become absolutely invaluable if you consistently step in, step up and handle the pressure-filled situations, whatever they may be.
Great staff lead well at home. There is something I call “the personal pressure ratio.” If there is too much pressure at home, you can’t lead well at your job. If there is too much pressure at work, it can erode things at home. The goal is to offset your total pressure level enough by keeping pressure low at home. Focus on what you can control, and you can’t always control things at work. It’s just too big. If you pour energy into the priority of a good family life, that will help you lead better at church!
Leaders who don’t lead up have too little fire or too much fear.
Playing it safe or political isn’t smart. It’s not about getting what you want or even just winning your agenda; it’s about the good of the church. That allows you to relax if it doesn’t go your way.
Leading up means lightening your leader’s load.
Do your job. Do it well.
Tell your leader what they need to hear, not what you think they want to hear.
Go the second mile.
Stand up for your boss whenever you can.
Leading up requires that you be prepared every time you take your boss’ time.
Don’t make your boss think for you.
Bring something to the table.
When asked to speak, don’t wing it.
Learn your boss’ communication style.
Give a return on your leader’s investment.
Great staff members solve problems. Leaders solve problems! Do you remember the 1994 movie Speed with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock? They had a problem! There was a bomb on the bus. Once the bus went 50 miles an hour, the bomb got armed. If it dropped below 50, it blew up. There are rules. No one leaves the bus! What do you do?
The incredibly tough problems we face seem like they have no solution. That’s where great leaders step up and rise up. You carry the pressure; you figure it out!
4. They are socially adept. It’s difficult to overemphasize the importance of strong and natural relational abilities. This is especially true in the church, where every situation is relationally driven. The following attributes are simple to understand but tough to live consistently. Leaders who are good with people live them well.
Great staff are encouragers. You are likeable and people want to be around you. You naturally speak with uplifting words that are fully genuine.
Great staff are positive by nature. You avoid gossip at all costs and assume the best about others. You quickly give the benefit of the doubt, and when problems arise you lean into solutions.
Great staff possess a sense of humor. You take God seriously but don’t take yourself too seriously. You smile and laugh easily, and you’re not a “thin-skinned” person.
Great staff members have a personal peace that enables them to pay attention. Great people skills do not require you or me to be a genius. It’s more about common sense and paying attention, but paying attention requires a sense of personal peace. To possess this peace, your walk with God needs to be solid and consistent. If you are off with God, you will likely be “off” with people.
5. They are really good at what they do. We all want to be on a winning team, and winning teams have staff that are gifted at what they do.
Great staff possess talent and skills that are recognized and requested. One sure way to gain confidence in your capability is that an increasing number of people ask you to help lead using the special skill set that you have.
Great staff members see the big picture. Effective leaders not only have great clarity about what they do, but they know why they do it. They see how all the parts work together. This helps prevent tunnel vision that creates silos and poor teamwork.
Great staff members have a competence that leads to greater capacity. To get hired at 12Stone, you need to be good at something—really good. But that’s not what actually makes our staff highly valuable. They become highly valuable to the team when they demonstrate capacity to lead at the next level! That’s true for all of us. We are expected to lead at our current level, but the success of the mission depends on our ability to lead larger.
Like Part 1, this is a lot to master. The good news is you don’t achieve all this overnight. What are the two to three areas you need to begin with? Start there, and keep growing!
Written by Dan Reiland
Dan Reiland is executive pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Ga. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as executive pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as vice president of leadership and church development at INJOY.
Are you worried about a specific relationship or circumstance? This index, derived from Rx for Worryby James P. Gills, M.D., lists some key Bible verses you can use to battle worry and fear. These verses are God‘s promises that He is with us and will be our support and strength. Read them. Believe them. Let His Word become the foundation in your struggles!
Are you worried, anxious, afraid, or troubled? God will give you peace.
In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. … He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. —Psalm 18:6, 19
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.—Psalm 46:1-2
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? —Psalm 56:3-4
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. —Isaiah 26:3
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me . . . Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.—John 14:1, 27
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.—John 16:33
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.—Philippians 4:6-7
Are you worried about the future? God will guide you.
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.—Psalm 25:9
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. —Psalm 32:8
If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.—Psalm 37:23-24
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.—Proverbs 3:5-6
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. —Proverbs 16:3
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. —Isaiah 41:10
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”—Jeremiah 29:11
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.—James 1:5
Are you afraid of feeling alone? God will never leave you.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.—Deuteronomy 31:6
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. —saiah 58:9
The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.—Zephaniah 3:17
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.—John 14:18
Are you worried no one loves you? God loves you. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.—John 3:16
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:38-39
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. —1 John 3:16
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. —1 John 4:10
Are you worried that God could never forgive your sins? God’s salvation overcomes all sins and guilt.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. —Psalm 103:12
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. —1 John 1:9
Do you feel depressed? God will comfort you.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. —Psalm 34:18
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. —Psalm 42:11
Are you worried because you face opposition? God is with you.
If God is for us, who can be against us? —Romans 8:31
Are you worried about physical needs? God will provide.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.—Matthew 6:25-34
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!—Matthew 7:11
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. —Luke 12:6-7
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? —Romans 8:32
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.—2 Corinthians 9:8
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Do you worry about your safety? God will protect you.
I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. —Psalm 4:8
The Lord will keep you from all harm-he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.—Psalm 121:7-8
Do you worry so much that you can’t sleep? God will ease your fears.
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. —Psalm 3:5
I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. -Psalm 4:8
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. —Proverbs 3:24
Are you worried about your appearance? God looks at your heart.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” —1 Samuel 16:7
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. —Ecclesiastes 3:11
Are you worried about your health? God will give you strength.
A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. —Psalm 34:19
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.—Isaiah 58:11
“But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,” declares the Lord, “because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.”—Jeremiah 30:17
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. —James 5:14-15
Are you worried about getting old? God will stay with you.
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.—Psalm 92:12-14
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. —Isaiah 46:4
Are you worried about dying? God offers eternal life.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.—Psalm 23:4
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.—John 3:16
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. —John 10:28
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” . . . Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. —1 Corinthians 15:55, 57
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil-and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. —Hebrews 2:14-15
Gracious God, we thank You for the month of October, we exalt and adore You for Your divine benevolence upon us and towards us through the month of October both in our going out and coming in, we praise and worship You in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.
O Lord, Great is thy faithfulness, morning by morning through this month, it is Your mercy we see, we thank You for forgiving us for our shortcomings throughout this month, we magnify You for it is Your mercy that renders every works of our enemies useless and uneffective and we praise You for it is by Your mercy that we will able to do greater things and shine in the light of Your glory throughout this month, we worship You as we pray in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.
God of Abundance, we lift Your Name above every other names for unleashing Your abundance in an immeasurable manner like never before in every areas of our lives throughout this month to Your glory, Father, “if we are to choose in our next world between You and other gods, we will choose You over them in a million times, for in You we have all in all and in other gods, it is full of scarcity, wickedness and self imprisonment” we are more than proud of having You as our Heavenly Father and we reverence You for giving us the privilege to be Your Own, we pray in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.
Our Proctector, we thank You for saving us from every snares of the fowler, we adore You for protecting us from every evil manipulations of the enemies, we thank You for preserving us from every forms of sickness, the enemies are attacking the world with, we praise You for opening our eyes to every lies of the enemies and to embrace Your truth, we magnify You for vindicating us from every foms of accident throughout this month and for bring us to the end of this month in one piece, we say may all glory, honour, adoration, exaltation and thanksgiving be ascribed unto Your Holy Name in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen and Amen.
Many of us claim that God is first in our lives. But do we live out this reality in our everyday existence—or have we made something else preeminent?
Order, both in nature and in human life, depends upon right relationships; to achieve harmony each thing must be in its proper position relative to each other thing. That’s why it is so essential for God to have His proper place in our lives. When He does not, everything is out of order.
We are right when, and only when, we stand in a right position relative to God, and we are wrong so far and so long as we stand in any other position.
So let us begin with God. Back of all, above all, before all is God; first in sequential order, above in rank and station, exalted in dignity and honor. As the self-existent One He gave being to all things, and all things exist out of Him and for Him. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11, KJV).
Every soul belongs to God and exists by His pleasure. God being who and what He is, and we being who and what we are, the only thinkable relation between us is one of full lordship on His part and complete submission on ours. We owe Him every honor that is in our power to give Him. Our everlasting grief lies in giving Him anything less.
The pursuit of God will embrace the labor of bringing our total personality into conformity to His. I do not here refer to the act of justification by faith in Christ. I speak of a voluntary exalting of God to His proper station over us and a willing surrender of our whole being to the place of worshipful submission that the Creator creature circumstance makes proper.
The moment we make up our minds that we are going on with this determination to exalt God over all, we step out of the world’s parade. We shall find ourselves out of adjustment to the ways of the world and increasingly so as we make progress in the holy way. We shall acquire a new viewpoint; a new psychology will be formed within us; a new power will begin to surprise us by its upsurgings and its outgoings.
Our break with the world will be the direct outcome of our changed relation to God. For the world of fallen men does not honor God. Millions call themselves by His name, it is true, and pay some token respect to Him, but a simple test will show how little He is really honored among them.
Let the average man be put to the proof on the question of who or what is above, and his true position will be exposed. Let him be forced into making a choice between God and money, between God and man, between God and personal ambition, God and self, God and human love, and God will take second place every time. Those other things will be exalted above. However the man may protest, the proof is in the choices he makes day after day throughout his life.
“Be exalted, O Lord” (Ps. 21:13, NKJV) is the language of victorious spiritual experience. It is a little key to unlock the door to great treasures of grace. It is central in the life of God in the soul.
Let the seeking man reach a place where life and lips join to say continually “Be exalted, O Lord,” and a thousand minor problems will be solved at once. His Christian life ceases to be the complicated thing it had been before and becomes the very essence of simplicity. By the exercise of his will he has set his course, and on that course he will stay as if guided by an automatic pilot.
Let no one imagine that he will lose anything of human dignity by this voluntary sell-out of his all to God. His deep disgrace lay in his unnatural usurpation of the place of God. His honor will be proved by restoring again that stolen throne. In exalting God over all he finds his own highest honor upheld.
Anyone who might feel reluctant to surrender his will to the will of another should remember Jesus’ words, “Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34). We must of necessity be servant to someone, either to God or to sin.
The sinner prides himself on his independence, completely overlooking the fact that he is the weak slave of the sins that rule his members. The man who surrenders to Christ exchanges a cruel slave driver for a kind and gentle Master whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light.
I hope it is clear that there is a logic behind God’s claim to preeminence. That place is His by every right in earth or heaven. While we take to ourselves the place that is His, the whole course of our lives is out of joint. Nothing will or can restore order till our hearts make the great decision: God shall be exalted above.
“Those who honor Me I will honor” (1 Sam. 2:30), God said once to a priest of Israel, and that ancient law of the kingdom stands today unchanged by the passing of time or the changes of dispensation. The whole Bible and every page of history proclaim the perpetuation of that law.
“If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor,” (John 12:26), Jesus said, tying in the old with the new and revealing the essential unity of His ways with men.
Sometimes the best way to see a thing is to look at its opposite. Eli and his sons are placed in the priesthood with the stipulation that they honor God in their lives and ministrations. They fail to do this, and God sends Samuel to announce the consequences.
Unknown to Eli, this law of reciprocal honor has been all the while secretly working, and now the time has come for judgment to fall. Hophni and Phineas, the degenerate priests, fall in battle; the wife of Hophni dies in childbirth; Israel flees before her enemies; the ark of God is captured by the Philistines; and the old man Eli falls backward and dies of a broken neck. Thus stark, utter tragedy followed upon Eli’s failure to honor God.
Now over against this set almost any Bible character who honestly tried to glorify God in his earthly walk. See how God winked at weakness and overlooked failures as He poured upon His servants grace and blessing untold. Let it be Abraham, Jacob, David, Daniel, Elijah or whom you will; honor followed honor as harvest the seed.
The man of God set his heart to exalt God above all; God accepted his intention as fact and acted accordingly. Not perfection, but holy intention made the difference.
In our Lord Jesus Christ this law was seen in simple perfection. In His lowly manhood He humbled Himself and gladly gave all glory to His Father in heaven. He sought not His own honor but the honor of God who sent Him.
“If I honor Myself,” He said on one occasion, “My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me” (John 8:54). So far had the Pharisees departed from this law that they could not understand one who honored God at his own expense. “I honor My Father,” Jesus said to them, “and you dishonor Me” (v. 49).
Another saying of Jesus, and a most disturbing one, was put in the form of a question. “How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44). If I understand this correctly, Christ taught here the alarming doctrine that the desire for honor among men made belief impossible.
Is this sin at the root of religious unbelief? I believe it may be. The whole course of life is upset by failure to put God where He belongs. We exalt ourselves instead of God, and the curse follows.
In our desire after God let us keep always in mind that God also has desire, and His desire is toward the sons of men, and more particularly toward those sons of men who will make the once-for-all decision to exalt Him over all. Such as these are precious to God above all treasures of earth or sea.
In them God finds a theater where He can display His exceeding kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. With them God can walk unhindered; toward them He can act like the God He is.
In speaking thus I have one fear: that I may convince the mind before God can win the heart. For this God-above-all position is one not easy to take. The mind may approve it while not having the consent of the will to put it into effect.
Though the imagination races ahead to honor God, the will may lag behind, and the man must make the decision before the heart can know any real satisfaction. God wants the whole person, and He will not rest till He gets us in entirety.
Let us pray over this in detail, throwing ourselves at God’s feet and meaning everything we say. Let’s ask God today to be exalted over our possessions, our friendships, our comforts, our reputations. Let’s ask Him to take His proper place of honor above our ambitions, our likes and dislikes, our family, our health and even life itself.
No one who prays thus in sincerity need wait long for tokens of divine acceptance. God will unveil His glory before His servant’s eyes, and He will place all His treasures at the disposal of such a one, for He knows that His honor is safe in consecrated hands.
Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SPIRITLED WOMAN.
A.W. Tozer(1897-1963) was pastor of Southside Alliance Church in Chicago for 31 years. He also was the author of more than 40 books, including Faith Beyond Reason; Man: The Dwelling Place of God andThe Knowledge of the Holy.
Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth. —Psalm 31:4-5
What does it mean to commit our spirits to the Lord? Our spirit is the part of us that touches our deepest desires and dreams. It is the repository for our greatest passions and hopes for our lives. As He hung on the cross, Jesus was saying, “Father, I commit to You the things I treasure the most. I surrender to Your hand what I have lived for and believed in.” I believe Jesus was declaring the secret of how He lived His entire earthly life. At the end of His life He knew this spiritual principle would again prove reliable and true. God was His source, and God is our source. Committing our spirits to Him means asking the Father to take care of those things that matter most to our hearts. It is recognizing that we can’t make God’s promises come to pass in our own strength. When you commit something into God’s hands, the devil cannot steal it. The only person who could stop the will of God in David‘s life was David. And only you can stop God’s will from happening in your life by disconnecting from communion with God.
Teach me, Lord, that only as I surrender myself completely to You will I discover the secret to fulfilling Your will for my life. Keep me from stopping Your will from happening in my life. I will never disconnect myself from constant communion with You.
When our spirits are hidden in Him, the
enemy can’t lay a finger on them.
Where do you go for comfort when the rug is pulled out from under your feet? I am talking about those surprising events in life where you wake up on a regular day and then you get surprised with something serious. Perhaps even something tragic.
In the last year or so I personally have seen a significant uptick in these types of surprises. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. More likely it is because I live in a broken world and this happens. I have found myself hunkering down in two particular passages of the Bible. They are conveniently located right next to one another, Revelation 4 & 5.
In chapter 4 we read of God the Father enthroned receiving the worship due him by his creation. The exclamation is that God is infinitely holy, eternal, forever worthy of worship. The exclamation is not limited to voices either. We read of this in verses 5 & 6:
5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6 and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.
With rumblings and flashes of fire and light reminiscent of Sinai (Ex. 19.16) this reminds us that God is the law-giver and judge. He overlooks and sees everything on earth. There is nothing that escapes his notice and nothing that will not ultimately intersect with him and his sovereign plan. The Creator sees and sustains this world. He knows. This truth, combined with the thundering chorus of worship, causes me to smile and be reassured amid the uncertainty of this world.
When surprises happen to me the record doesn’t skip in heaven; the bass is still bumping at the infinite decibels.
In chapter 5 we read of another scene. In this one there is a scroll in the hand of the one on the throne. According to chapter 4 this is the Father. He has this scroll which is overflowing with content and sealed. What is this scroll about? Based upon what we see in chapters 6 and following, I would understand this scroll to be the impending judgment of all that opposes God and the final restoration of things. With the opening of this scroll the process whereby the planet is purged of its wickedness and Kingdom of Christ comes in all of its fullness.
If we read chapter 5 we see that there is a slight problem. The angel searches for one who is worthy to open the scroll and declares that there is no one. None in heaven or under heaven that can do this. This grips John and shreds his heart (Rv. 5:4), as he begins crying. Why is he crying? Well, if the scroll cannot be opened then this is the end. No kingdom, no restoration, no hope, no anything. We as Christians are of all people the most to be pitied.
This is not the end. There is one who is worthy; it is Christ! He is the one who has conquered and is worthy to crack the seals and execute its contents!
Christ was slain for our sins, conquered the grave, and is enthonred in heaven. He is willing and able to open the scroll and execute its contents!
When it seems like I am surprised by life’s events I have to remember that there is a King and a Kingdom. He is able to bring it to pass. Christ Jesus is alive and eagerly anticipating his Second Coming. He will bring judgment, salvation and restoration. It is certain.
When we are surprised we need to remember that the record doesn’t skip in heaven! Christ remains enveloped in an incense cloud of his own merit with the praise of angels and saints surrounding him!
At the core I get unsettled because I feel like John, “Oh no! What now? What are we going to do?” The answer is the glory of God in the face of Christ. Read Revelation 4 & 5. Peer into this heavenly portal and see: God reigns. This is good for my soul. Now the heavenly soundtrack is playing in my soul again.