Your time to arise

Matthew 3:13-17 (NLT)

Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?”
But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him.
After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”

This was Jesus’ moment of change; a defining line in His life. He had spent thirty years in preparation for this day and the days that followed.
This was God’s time to begin to show His glory to the world through the ministry of Jesus. As soon as the dove descended and the Holy Spirit anointed Him, He was ready to enter into His ministry.

Likewise, your time has arrived in which God is propelling you into your field of influence. He has been disciplining and preparing you through this past wilderness season where you have come up against giants and powers far too strong for you.

But all this was required in training you for this moment where the work He has shown you is now upon you.

Just like Jesus, you have now been given the go-ahead to carry out the projects and ministry commission He has prepared you for.

Your dove has landed and your time is here to ‘carry out all that God requires’ (v15)

You are a John the baptist

John 1:20-27 (NLT)

He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.”
“Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?”
“No,” he replied.
“Are you the Prophet we are expecting?”
“Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”
John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“I am a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’”
Then the Pharisees who had been sent asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?”
John told them, “I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize. Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.”

John the Baptist was a very humble man. He clarifies that he is NOT Christ but opening up the doors for His glory. This was the very reason he was born, his very existence and his heart’s desire.

We have been given a role similar to John the Baptist. Our job is to point people to Jesus Christ. We are to set the platform and make way for His coming.

But just how do we set the path for Jesus?
By obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit, God will use His people to show the world who He is, what He is like and His characteristics. He will show us glimpses of what He wants to do so we can help Him get things ready.

In our workplaces, schools and communities, we are being John the Baptists for God. He is setting up miracles in your life and He is using you to prepare the way.

Like John we are here to glorify the name of Jesus and prepare for His coming.

It’s just what you learnt in the field

1 Samuel 17:34-37 NLT

But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”

David spent many years training for what was ahead for him. He had fought off lions and bears, even extracting the lambs from their mouths. Nothing was too big for him out in his field. He had a confidence and authority that went way beyond his size and natural abilities.

David also had a dependence on a God that was sure to deliver him every time without fail. So when it comes to his big moment to shine, his experience in his field along with his faith in his God sends the giant crashing down with a single stone.

God has been training you and preparing you in your field right for this moment. While you have been fighting off enemies and practising your skills, you never would have comprehended how this has equipped you for a time such as this. Your faith has been stretched but your confidence steadily growing.

The field or area you have been developing in is simply the lead up to a great victory that awaits you.

This is the big one. So gather together everything He has taught you in your training time and accurately fire your stone at the forehead of the big fella.

DON’T HOARD (PT 1): Collect only what you need

Exodus 16:4-5 NLT

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.”

After a month of wilderness wandering the camp is overcome with unnecessary complaining and distrust in God. They are hungry and longing for what they left behind. Yet God is faithful and rains down from heaven exactly what they need to feed them for that day only. He tests them to see if they will obey the command.

What a temptation. They have the opportunity to collect a few days worth at least, just in case God doesn’t do it again the next day. The manna before their eyes was just what they asked for and God surely does send it down the next day, and the next. He keeps supplying their needs day after day, so all they need to do is collect enough for one day at a time.

God is testing you to see if you will take only what you need now and not hoarding junk, memories, paperwork, collections, clothes or even food for later on down the track. He doesn’t need baggage weighing you down, being carted around with you for a rainy day that never comes. He is testing you to see if you trust Him to open heaven and pour down exactly what you need for this moment. There is a ‘now’ blessing of manna coming your way.

‘But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed.’ Exodus 16:18

The wind is changing! Hooray!

Mark 6:48-52 NIV

He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.
Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed.

Here the disciples are straining and striving because the wind is against them. They are really doing it tough until Jesus comes to them. He doesn’t come to them in a way that they were expecting but is walking on the water.

The timing was not how they pictured it either. It was the middle of the night, so they assumed He was as a ghost. They got such a fright that they cried out in fear. But Jesus, being the comforter reassures them.

Is the wind against you right now, pulling you in the wrong direction? Maybe you feel like you are out of control and getting dragged out to sea. Are you struggling to stay afloat?

Rest assured Jesus is on the way to assist you. He may not come in the way you think or even the timing that you had expected but He is walking towards you.

He is climbing into your unstable boat and taking control of it for you. Look and be amazed at how the wind is dying down and bringing your tumultuous situation to an end.

Don’t sell your testimony to the devil

Matthew 28:11-15 (NIV)
‘While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, ‘You are to say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.’ So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.’

These soldiers had witnessed for themselves what had occurred since they had sealed the tomb and had been guarding it during the night. They knew in detail the miraculous events that took place with the earthquake, from Jesus’ bodily resurrection to the appearing of the mighty angel who rolled the stone away.

Verse 4 tells us of their reaction saying, ‘they shook and became like dead men’, shocked from the magnitude of their encounter. While they were firsthand witnesses to the dramatic experience, how is it that they were able to take a bribe to make up a story and lie about what really happened? Was it greed, fear of the authorities or simply blatant betrayal of the Messiah?

Who knows the reason for their dishonesty, but nevertheless we must learn from their mistake and not be unfaithful to the testimony and the firsthand witness of what Jesus has done for us.

The miracles that we have encountered must be spoken out in truth. It is easy to keep silent about all that God has done because we fear persecution or perhaps the damaging of our reputation. Don’t settle for selling your precious testimony to the devil. Be bold and speak it out.

Start in your own town

Matthew 10:5-8 (MSG)
‘Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge: “Don’t begin by travelling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighbourhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.’

Why do we insist that we need to travel and go on some sort of mission trip to share the Gospel message? While this might be a good experience, Jesus is advising us here that this is not always necessary and that we would actually do better to begin by reaching the lost right in our very own town. How simple. So uncomplicated in fact, that this sort of concept gets overlooked by many.

You have been divinely positioned and appointed in this generation to impact the community where God has placed you right here, right now.

One key to being relevant to the people you wish to impact is to understand the culture and ideas of that community. What better place to reach with the Gospel of the Kingdom, than the neighbourhood we grew up in or are currently engaged in right now?

People of similar passions and interests, your circle of friends and the connections that are already established in your life are exactly who God is calling you to.

When you understand this the Holy Spirit can capture their attention by giving you key revelations that will enable you to make the gospel relevant to them. So don’t try to be someone else or fit into another culture. Simply engage in your local area with the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit and watch the harvest come your way.

A practice match

Judges 3:1-2 NIV ‘These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience).

Most of the older generation of Israelites had seen God come through and defeat their enemy time and time again.

But this time God deliberately left some nations in the land so that the new descendents of the Israelites could practice their battles and gain experience in spiritual warfare. God knew that they needed exposure to these enemies to prepare them for what was ahead.

God also wants to train us for battle by giving us a rehearsal. By overcoming these spiritual principalities and powers, we are practicing for bigger ones to come.

This preparation is healthy for us and ensures we will trust God in bigger challenges.
Make sure you qualify for stronger invasion, by conquering the ones you face now.

Don’t wait until you’re in trouble

Job 35:9-10 Msg
‘When times get bad, people cry out for help. They cry for relief from being kicked around, But never give God a thought when things go well, when God puts spontaneous songs in their hearts’

It is so easy to cry out to God when you are in a difficult and desperate time or season in your life. Like Job you may be coming up against some seemingly impossible circumstances that you can’t find relief from. When you are being pressed on every side, you reach out to Him in faith because all too often that is your last resort.

But we must also be completely reliant upon Him when all is well and our palace season is ever so sweet. We need to continually praise Him when our finances are in order, the kids play happily and our marriage relationship is blossoming by showing Him that we are grateful for what He has done in our life.

Even if you are in this mountaintop season, remember Him. Expect greater levels of influence for the Kingdom of God and the full release of your heavenly inheritance as the favour of God is poured out in unprecedented levels.

Don’t become independent at this point by ceasing your praise. Are you going to wait for troubled times to hit again? No, this is not the place to stop advancing forward. It is the time to seek His face.

“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 8:10-11

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