It’s been said, that history belongs to those who pray. I couldn’t agree more with this, because it is those who pray that hear the strategies, plans, and blueprints of heaven for earth here and now.
A WORD FOR SAINTS
God usually gives me His Word for the year through a prophetic teaching that can help us be positioned and prepared to receive and break into what He is promising for us.
As I was in prayer one morning, meditating on the written word of God, I heard His Voice speak out of the scriptures I was reading. He highlighted two scriptures that I believe we are to pray and believe to be part of our inheritance for this next year.
SCRIPTURES FOR 2018
This is a year to enter through the Gates of Promise as Acts 3:1-10, but this will require a Hebrews 12:1-2 of laying aside of every weight and sin that prevents us from truly entering in.
This word is vital to saints, as well as leaders but I felt from the Lord that this word would help saints understand why some have not seen the progress they have been promised and why some feel like they are not even moving in any direction in their life.
Hebrews 12:1-2 – Are you being slowed down (weight) or are you paralyzed (sin)?
“let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,”
The phrase Let us lay aside means to stop a state – take off
In this Scripture, God calls us to take two specific actions in our life. We are to stop our continual state of sin and take off any weight that hinders us.
Weight – impediment – bulk
The Logos Bible Sense Lexicon says that weight here means “Something that interferes with or delays action or progress.”
Weight speaks to things that are causing delays and progress in our life. Things such as unhealthy relationships, unhealthy habits, character flaws like heart attitudes that hinder us from kingdom relationships, community, lack of self-discipline, diligence, perseverance, persistence, lack of a devotional life, prayer, etc…
David Guzik says:
Sin can hold us back. But there are also things that may not be sin (every weight) but are merely hindrances that can keep us from running effectively the race God has for us.
Vernon McGee says:
I remember years ago when Gil Dodds, a very fine Christian, was a famous runner in this country. Some of us went out to the track at the University of Southern California, to watch him run. He ran around the track a couple of times with tennis shoes on. Then he stopped and changed into some other shoes. One of the fellows there asked why he needed to change shoes. He took one of the tennis shoes and one of the lighter pair of shoes and tossed them both to the man who had asked the question. Believe me, there was not much difference in the weight of the shoes, but just enough, he said, to cause him to lose the race.
In the Christian life there are a lot of things that are not wrong in and of themselves, but Christians should not be carrying those weights around. Why? Because you won’t win the race.
This is a Year to Excel in your Race and Pick up the Pace
God has called us to excel in the race He has set before us. But we are unable to excel if we are weighed down by things that may not be sinful but are causing us to slow down or hinder progress in our spiritual walk and race.
Identify the weights and begin to set them aside. It’s time to pick up the pace this year in your race before God.
A critical area that might have some weights that we might need to begin to lay aside.
Our Time: We live in a culture driven and connected by technology and social media communication on 24 hours/7 days a week, 365 days of the year.
Our most valuable commodity in life is time. The Apostle Paul said to those in Ephesus: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15–16, ESV)
What is your daily life filled with? An area that needs careful attention, time and focus is your family. Most Christians are running their race with conflict, lack of peace and unity in their homes. The pace of their race is extremely slow, because they are not living under God’s design for their family.
Think for a moment. We usually spend eight hours a day working. At the same time there is a statistic that this year alone people spent about two hours and twenty-six minutes on social media daily (not work or job related), not to mention TV which is estimated to be about five plus hours per day!
That comes to 15 plus hours of our 24 hours available. Of the 15 hours, 8 are important to sustain, cloth and support our families, but what about the other almost 8 hours? Those were spent disconnected from our spouse and children, community, friends and relationships that are valuable in the Kingdom.
No wonder our spouses are desperately crying out for attention and our children are unhappy and feeling neglected. Our Church members feel disconnected, and they don’t fit into their local community. It’s time to trim down your daily schedule and prioritize with wisdom. However, do not quit your job, or disconnect from the world completely.
Dr. Kathy Tolleson, author of Staying Fresh, says, “Nothing can cause problems any more quickly than misplaced priorities.” She goes on to explain what causes Unhealthy Priorities:
“Here are a number of things I have observed over the years: First, some of it is just plain, old human ambition. This especially attacks young ministers or those just starting out but if it’s not corrected it can continue to drive people for a lifetime. Ambition can cause us to keep working long past what the Lord is requiring of us. Pride is like a fuel additive on an ambition. When you combine the two, people keep striving and striving. For God to truly use a life, he will kill ambition and human zeal, as demonstrated in the lives of so many of His servants. Some of it is human nature that must be exchanged for Christ-like nature. Others have deeper issues that come from wounded childhood. They are still trying to prove that they can “amount to something” or that they aren’t “stupid.” Driven by the fear of becoming the mess of their childhood, they are unable to set healthy priorities until they receive healing from the past.”
This is a year to lay aside the weights that have constricted our time with God and family. You’ll be surprised what you are spending your time on when you begin to intentionally evaluate your actions.
A final quote from June Hunt, author of Biblical Counseling Keys on Time Management: Maximizing Your Minutes, writes, “The underlying root cause of poor time management is the failure to choose to manage time. You can choose to manage your schedule, or you can choose (by default) to allow your schedule to manage you.”
There are other areas we could examine and ask the Lord to show us if we are being weighed down by lack of revelation of His design for us:
Relationships: It may not be the weight that you are carrying that slows you down, but it may be that the weight others are. It does not mean you cannot be a light to them. However, if it has begun to slow you down and cause you to stumble, it’s time to lay it aside.
Activities, Habits, Money….
Besetting Sin – sin (act)
The Logos Bible Sense Lexicon says that sin here means “an act or feeling that transgresses something forbidden or ignores something required by God’s law or character; whether in thought, feeling, speech, or action.”
It also says the phrase which clings so closely means “besetting adj. — skillfully encircling on all sides (to attack, assail, or inhibit action).”
There is a clear difference between sin and weight. While weight can slow you down, it does not paralyze and immobilize you like sin can. Sin speaks to things that we know miss the mark of God’s image and character imprinted in our lives. These are the things that distort our true identity and image after Him.
This is a year to break the grip of Guilt and Shame (SIN)
Some saints have lived a life filled with guilt and shame. They are Christians that were saved at the moment they confessed their sins, repented and made the decision to live for Christ, but along the way, sin ensnared them and paralyzed them. They have only known to survive instead of destroying the works of Satan, so they can thrive in their spiritual life.
This is the year for you to break the grip of the guilt of your sins and the shame that has caused you to give into a life of survival. Many people live a lifestyle of sin, because it medicates their pain from past traumas. I heard the Lord say to me, “many of my children are dealing with a crisis of addiction to sin.” It has disabled many saints. Confess, seek help from leaders, and look “to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2, MEV)
Exhortation about Repentance and Confession
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:13–16, ESV)
Repentance is a powerful action that releases us from the grip of sin and Confession renders powerless the fruit of sin in our life, it kills the poison and seeds that lay dormant in hiddenness. I want to exhort you not only to repent before God, but to also seek to confess your sins to a mature brother or sister in the Lord, and if you really want to experience the joy of complete freedom, come clean with your loved ones and your leadership.
We all have sins we rather not ever tell anyone about. Unfortunately, the enemy has deceived us into thinking that those sins disqualify us from ever being whole and holy again, I’m here to tell you that is a lie from the enemy. This does not ignore the destructive power of sin, which is very real, your family and your eternal life is at state and you cannot ignore it. Secret Sins are the number one silent spiritual killer to saints, families, and ministries. The enemy will fight you with shame, fear and guilt to paralyze you and keep you from seeking the help you truly need to receive your complete freedom.
God may have forgiven you when you repented, but there is that nagging sense of shame and embarrassment you can carry forever in your conscious that can only be cleansed and wiped clean by confession. Confession will shut the door completely to the opportunity to continue in a cycle of hidden sin.
I declare over your life: Shame, guilt, and fear will no longer determine your freedom. You will grab hold of the throne of grace and as you repent and confess you will experience the joy of freedom!
Acts 3:1-10 – The right season but asking for the wrong thing.
In Acts 3 we read the story of a man who was lame from birth that was carried and laid daily at the temple’s gate called Beautiful Gate. In this testimony given by the Holy Spirit in Acts, we find out that Peter and John are going up to the temple at the hour of prayer. As they go up they suddenly find themselves with this man that from the moment he could talk and have an understanding of his condition from birth, he was taught to ask for alms of those entering the temple.
Beautiful Gate is defined by the BDAG (a New Testament & Early Christian Literature Lexicon) as “an opportune point of time, happening/coming at the right time, timely”
The LSJ, a lexicon that focuses on non-Christian Greek literature says that the Greek word “horaios” (Beautiful Gate) was used to mean “produced at the right season”
No one is exempt from things that can cripple us in some area of our life, whether it’s by the experiences of life, character flaws or sin. Can you imagine being placed in front of a door so promising, but you cannot walk through it? A constant reminder of your destiny, born in the right season, but unable to walk because you are lame. A timely place of time and you always arrive at the right time; however, you cannot receive what you really need for your life. Do not think only about the physical, I’m talking about our soul? Our mind? Our families? Our marriages?
Let’s take a closer look at the scene this man finds himself in:
- From the earliest recollection of his memory, he was taught: You are lame, you will be brought here every day and ask for money.
- You will sit at the Gate that Promises an opportune time, that says you are coming at the right time, that says you were born for such a time like this, but all you can do is ask for money.
- By the way, you can’t walk through it, because you are crippled and your job is to survive.
It was at this moment that I heard the Lord speak to me and say, “Religion will keep you at the door of promise, begging for what seems to be your greatest need, but without healing what paralyzes your life.”
This man had to make a decision when the Apostles passed him. He could remain obsessed with what he grew up believing was his greatest need (money) or receive what would heal him to walk through the promised door of destiny.
I hope you are catching this. You may have grown up that the greatest need you have is money, but what you may need is freedom from the poverty that plagued your childhood. You may have grown up believing that only you can protect yourself from rejection, but you may need healing, forgiveness, and freedom from those who abused you. It’s time to go deeper into why we believe our greatest need is a certain thing, yet it has not brought about a complete freedom in our life.
2018 is a year for those that have felt sluggish and unable to see greater progress pick up the pace and catch up as you lay aside everything that has weighed down your life, causing delays and hindrances in your progress.
2018 is the year for those who have been paralyzed and immobilized by sin or traumatic life experiences, you will be like the man in Acts 3 were you identify the real need you have, not what helps you survive but what will help you overcome so you can enter, walk and run through the door of fulfillment for you and your family.
Our Real Needs vs the Lies of the Enemy
Satan is a master deceiver and manipulator. He will keep you bound to his lies and deception so long as you continue to rely on his assessment of what is best for you rather than what God says is the best for you.
Satan will keep you begging, barely making it in life, numbing you, and enslaving you for as long as he can. When Peter and John saw this man, they saw that money could not fix his problems. Money had only fed him and allowed him to survive. It had not allowed him to live a life of fulfillment and joy before God. Only a true miracle could correct and bring him back to his true promises and identity in Christ.
“Peter, gazing at him with John, said, “Look at us.” So, he paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” He took him by the right hand and raised him up. Immediately his feet and ankles were strengthened. Jumping up, he stood and walked and entered the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God. They knew that it was he who sat for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what happened to him.” (Acts 3:4–10, MEV)
Are you ready to shed all the weight that slows you down this year? Are you ready to break the grip of what has been paralyzing you and making you immobile?
Like Peter and John, I declare to you today: I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up, be free, pick up the pace, and run through the gates of promise today!
Pray this prayer with me:
Father, I thank you because this is the year I will walk through the Beautiful Gate of Promise in my life. I ask that as I enter into 2018, that you would show me what weight I need to lay aside and what disabling sins I need to confess, seek help and embrace journey to wholeness so I may thrive and live a life of wholeness. Amen.