I was recently having a conversation with a friend of mine about pastors teaching, and he said, " so many pastors tell you why but never really teach you the how." I know I need to listen to God but how?
Today I want to share with you the HOW. How do you know that God is giving you a fresh vision for your life? In Acts we see a story of Peter and Cornelius and both had encounters. During Peters vision, he was told to kill an animal but he refused to because he was living under the pretext of old revelation. His words were, "not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean." Under the old way of doing things Peter never should have even spoken with Cornelius. During that vision God set the stage to change Peter's life.
Here is three things about How To Tell if God is communicating something fresh into you.
1. Supernatural Revelation. God expands Peter Horizons during his vision when he tells Peter that what God has cleansed is neither unclean or common. God gave a fresh revelation to Peter. God will give you a fresh revelation that will help to see outside the box. He will give you a new education that will lead you to new conviction. Peter became convicted and convinced to speak as a Jewish man to another man from another country. His conviction allowed him to redefine what is possible, as he was no longer constricted to the rules of the old way. When you receive a fresh revelation about what is possible in your life that is from God.
2. Supernatural Invitation. God sends associates of Cornelius to invite Peter to enter a new scope of ministry to the Gentiles. God will invite you to a new area of ministry by bringing new people into your life. When you begin feeling drawn or connected to the new it may be your supernatural invitation.God is looking to give you a new exposure, with new people, to create a new compassion.
3. Supernatural Conformation. God confirmed this enlarged vision he gave to Peter with a receptive Cornelius and signs following his conversion. God will confirm a new vision in your life by the new experiences that lead you to a new commitment.
When God wants to draw new obedience from His servants, He almost always communicates fresh vision. This is exactly what Peter got.
One of the craziest victories in the bible is the story of Joshua and Jericho. It is the only story where God's military strategy makes no sense! Think about how absurd God's military strategy must have seemed to the real men of war. March around Jericho 13 times in one week, blow some trumpets and that's it. No weapons...no fighting...no plan of attack. I can only imagine the residents of Jericho must have been laughing the entire time seeing Joshua's army marching around. The trumpets were blowing, the men were silent, not a word was spoken, and this went on for six straight days before God handed over Jericho.
Joshua was successful in light of God's rather unorthodox methods because he was willing to do whatever it took to gain the victory. If God said shout, the Joshua would discard his swords and spears and wholeheartedly go with the absurd. It was Joshua extreme obedience to God that led to the victory. Most of us in our own lives find it easy to follow the sane instructions of God, but then take over when God gives us an absurd instruction. We think that somehow God must be out of his mind.
About 15 years ago a friend of mine and her husband were cops in New York City. One night the husband came home to find his house empty. His first thought was that he had been robbed cleaned. He called his wife to break the news to her and to his surprise she already knew about it. Not only did she know about she was the one who gave everything in her house away to those in need. The husband naturally taken back by this asked her, "What were you thinking?" Her response, "God told to me too!"
If God told you to give everything you own to those in greater need than you would you? Or would think God was smoking some holy crack? Can I tell you that my friend today...impacts 10's of thousands of people in need every year. She is responsible for The Big Give in Fishersville, Va. Because of her act of obedience 15 years ago and continuously staying committed to listening to God's instruction, has seen thousands of people come to Christ. She started and run's a ministry that feeds hundreds of people every month on a regularly basis. Her life and her husband's life are radically different today then what they would have been had she not been obedient to God's instruction.
Here is 10 keys to help you with living victoriously.
1. Make obedience your first priority.
2. Never wait to see what the crowds in your life want you to do.
3. Make decisions from an eternal perspective not a temporary one.
4. Learn to act decisively. Delayed obedience is the same as disobedience.
5. You can appreciate the past but don't worship it. Your future will never live up to the standards by which you worship the past.
6. Value the results of your obedience more than you do your image or reputation. (This is a heart issue... you have to decide which reputation is more important to you. Your reputation with God or your friends.)
7. To truly impact others, you have to be willing to stand up and be counted. Even it means you are the only one standing.
8. Never waver from your understanding of what is right, no matter how loud the voice of the crowd is telling you are wrong.
9. Must trust God more than you do the gifts and abilities he has given you.
10. Make glorifying God your ultimate objection. Your personal glory should never outshine the glory of God.
Quality Leaders Are Prepared In The Wilderness
The Holy Spirit led Jesus out into the wilderness right after His baptism by John. Jesus's time in the wilderness was a necessary part of his preparation for ministry. Quality leaders can almost always point to a wilderness experience as part of their leadership preparation. Why? What is so important about the time in the wilderness? Because being alone in the wilderness sucks! However, during this time, our motives get purified, our backbone solidifies, and our calling gets clarified.
So often we want our wilderness experience to be over with as soon as possible. For so many Christians they never move from Glory to Glory and Faith to Faith because they never embrace the necessary wilderness experience. Moses was in the wilderness for 40 years. Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days. The time spent in the wilderness is depended upon our capacity to face temptation. The devil tempted Jesus for 40 days in the wilderness...the temptation by the enemy is a necessary screening process to see WHAT WE WILL GIVE UP and HOW WE WILL TRUST GOD TO PROVIDE.
There are three temptations you will face in the wilderness...each temptation strenghtens you for the next.
1. The temptation to be self-sufficient. (FAITH) Jesus didn't become controlling, even with his legitimate needs. He trusted God. The challenge is really getting past our own glory. When we are self sufficient we are our own GOD. We may recognize that GOD exists but because we are that good...we don't really need him until we face something our own glory can't handle. The enemy will tempt you into thinking that you can control everything. He wants to swell your head, when GOD wants to swell your heart. This temptation tests your commitment to your Faith.
2. The temptation to be spectacular. (GLORY) Jesus refused to become a stunt man. He didn't perform in order to become a celebrity. This world bombards us the temptation to be a celebrity. The worlds joke is having your five minutes of fame. The world literally places celebrity status on a pedestal. Its the ultimate bar to achieve...according the standards of the world. You will never break thru this temptation until you realize that your not your own God (Temptation 1). Jesus focused on God being the celebrity and spectacular, not himself....because he knew that God provided for all his needs. The enemy will tempt you into thinking that the you deserve the spotlight. This temptation tests your response to Glory. Is your heart focued on God's Glory or is your head focused on your Glory.
3. The temptation to be powerful. (TRUST) Jesus wouldn't take a shortcut to gain power or worship. The power of the world was offered to Jesus on a silver plate and he refused. He trusted God and God's plan for his life. This final temptation is all about how you TRUST God. When the easy road is presented to you, will you take it.....or will trust God and the road he wants for you. Trust is the single hardest issue Christians faces when it comes to God. They can have faith and even want the name of God to be elevated...but when it comes to trusting God...they fall off the wagon. In your heart... do you really... really trust God with your life? Do you truely trust his will to be done? And that his will to be done is better than your will to be done.
The reason why so many are in the wilderness and never get out...is because they never get past themselves. Their focus is all about them and not about God. Usually...God gets the blame for our wilderness expereince because we don't embrace the importance of our time in the wilderness. If you find yourself in the wilderness look for the temptations and how you can glorify God by how you respond. How you respond in faith, glory and trust will determine your next level of supernatural promotion.