Saturday, December 22, 2018

Commandments & Traditions

I heard from the Lord this morning about the commandments of God and the traditions of men. They're not always opposites. Traditions can be useful in helping us develop habits to remember the commandments of God. In communion we remember Jesus. There is Joshua and the memorial stones (Joshua 4). Priestly traditions were developed out of obedience to God to help them remember them and in so doing honoring Him.

Even though traditions are meant to help us, we have to revisit God and His Word regularly, so our traditions don't get off track. Traditions can help us or hurt us. If we stray away from the original Word or command of God that the tradition was meant to remind us of, adding, adjusting, etc. then we move away from the intentions of His commands. Traditions done out of supposed obedience to God, without knowing Him is not going to do any good and may even be dangerous. We read what Jesus said about this in Mark 7:
1 The Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered around Him when they had come from Jerusalem, 2 and had seen that some of His disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders; 4 and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots.) 5 The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?” 6 And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
7 ‘But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’
8 Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”
9 He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, is to be put to death’; 11 but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),12 you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; 13 thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.” Mark 7:1-13
Jesus gave this example to show that they were taking one part of the Word--that you should give offerings to God--and violating another part which says to honor your father and mother. They had a tradition which caused people to feel so compelled to give offerings that anything extra they had couldn't be used to help their parents. They would have to tell them, "Mom, Dad, sorry I can't help you out because any extra I have I need to give to God." Jesus wasn't happy with the traditions replacing the commandments of God.

Traditions are not meant as a replacement to the commands of God. If we don't stay close to the heart of God, knowing Him, and remembering Him, then we'll get away from His desires and our traditions will eventually replace His commands.

Father God, this time of year is a time of great traditions. I pray that everyone here in this community remembers the birth of Your Son Jesus during this Christmas season and all that it means. That they are not too busy to remember this. I pray that their family or church traditions are not meaningless, not something that takes them away from Your heart, Your Word, or commands. I pray that all of Your people, Your churches, who are celebrating the birth of Your Son, that their traditions are based out of wanting to honor You and stay close to You. That they draw close to Your heart and press in to know You and Your commands so they can keep them. So their traditions don't cause them to violate Your Word. 

Move upon Your people in this community and beyond. Let them remember You and draw close to You, maintain a desire to honor you, and not just be stuck in habits and traditions with no meaning. I pray they draw close to You the entire season--You who are the reason for the season. Let it begin now and continue throughout the year. Move upon Your people to examine their hearts, fill them with a desire to want to see where they've fallen into traditions, ruts, and habits that have side-tracked them from You. So they ask themselves, "Why am I doing this?" Lord, we want to remember Your commands, draw close to You, seek Your face, know Your Word, and obey it from the heart without getting sidetracked by traditions which have been ordained and modified by man, taking all the life out of Your Word.

Lord as people partake of communion, remind them of the purpose of it--to remember You and honor You. May we examine ourselves and draw close to You, thank and worship you. We desire to identify where we are in the body--Your body--and find our place in You and among Your people. Let communion come alive and become real to Your people. So it doesn't become routine or a ritual without meaning.

The priests had a certain way they would break the bread. I heard a Jewish person once say they did three pieces in a certain order. They represented Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He always wondered why poor Isaac, the second one, was always getting ripped in half. Then, he became a Christian and realized that it was the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and it was Jesus who was ripped in half for us. This tradition actually held a meaning that revealed the gospel of Jesus Christ. Traditions can be established on God-given patterns that serve a purpose and give a revelation.

The memorial stones were set up so that when the next generation asked why they were there, they would be used as an opportunity to teach. Traditions and memorials are not bad, its just not to replace a relationship with God, or the Word of God. We need both the written and spoken word of God. We need to know His Word and keep it, as well as be able to hear His voice fresh every day.

Lord, draw people close to You, to Your spoken Word and Your voice. We don't want to just honor You with our lips or actions, but want our heart to be close to You. We don't want to worship You in vain, or teach as doctrine the precepts of men. We don't want to neglect Your commands in order to hold on to our tradition. We want to keep Your Word and honor you in everything we feel, say, and do.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Guarding the Land, Clearing the Air--Waterford Come Alive!

A call is going out to God's people to not grow weary or faint in their well doing. The Lord wants His people to be encouraged so they won't get tired or discouraged in doing what's right. 
9: Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Galatians 6:9
But we also need to know our place, our fight, and our task. Like when soldiers go out to battle, everyone knows their task--whether its communications, medics, or various weapons--they work as a team. They cover each other, yet each one performs their own assignment.

As believers, we need to remain focused on our mission. We shouldn't try to do everything ourselves, but just the thing the Lord has commissioned us to do. We will grow weary if we try to go outside our assignment. Of course we can grow weary staying within our call too so we do need to make sure we are getting the times of rest and refreshment that we need. But we especially need to remain alert so we stay within our assignment and stick to the mission God has given us. So what is our mission? We each have our own, but there are some things we are all called to. Let's look at a few.

Guarding the borders.
As watchmen for this community, we are to guard the various types of borders that give entrance:
  • The physical borders of the township. We call upon God to send His heavenly host to guard the physical borders of the township. We pray for our law enforcement. 
  • The borders of your land--your home, where you occupy.
  • The borders of the womb. The womb is an entrance path into the township. We want to allow access to the innocent babies called to this community, so we want to stand against abortion. We pray that the ones called to be here are allowed to enter safely and placed in homes where they will be raised up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, trained in the specific gift and call they have. Proverbs 22:6 tells us to train up a child in the way he should go. Each child has a way, a path, they are to go. We want each one trained so they can find their path and travel it. 
  • The spiritual borders. We call upon God to send His heavenly host to guard the spiritual borders of the township. We ourselves stand against the demonic forces that would try and influence our land and the people in it.
We proclaim:
  • Clear the air!
  • Sanctify the land!
  • Send the wind!
  • Send the rain!
  • Purify the waters!
  • Let the rocks cry out!
  • Let the trees clap!
  • Let Waterford come alive!
Having the rocks cry out like Jesus said in Luke 19:40 is not necessarily a good thing. If its happening its because God's people aren't praising the Lord. Yet, creation can worship the Lord too, so let's both do it--creation and the people crying out in worship to the Lord!
12 “For you will go out with joyAnd be led forth with peace;The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.13 “Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up,And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up,And it will be a memorial to the Lord,For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.” Isaiah 55:12-13
Let the hills, and the terrain of this community break out in shouts of joy! Let the trees clap their hands. Waterford, come alive! I see it coming alive and moving. Singing, joyful, lively, down to the blades of grass.

Shrewd and Innocent
The people of God are not to be naive, but wise and harmless.
16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. Matthew 10:16
Shrewd means to have sharp powers of judgement, and to be astute. Astute is the ability to accurately assess situations or people and use it to your advantage. We want to have proper and sharp discernment, wisdom, to be able to look at situations, people groups, or individuals, and accurately discern what's going on. What is the spiritual force behind this? What is going on mentally, emotionally, or intellectually? Use this knowledge to the advantage of the kingdom of God. God's advantage. If it's to God's advantage then its also for the people's advantage--the people who live righteously. These are the ones we want to have advantage in the earth--the righteous people of God.

This is the kind of wisdom we need to have, to be able to look at a situation and see what's really going on. So we know how to pray, speak destiny into the community, and as the ekklesia bind the enemy from what he is trying to do.

We are told to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
The devil is called the prince of the power of the air.
1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.Ephesians 2:1-2
So there are things that go in in the air, what we call the second heaven. There is the internet, television, radio, cell phones, wireless data, digital communication. These are words, thoughts, and images that fill the airways. The spiritual world communicates through these things. Of course spiritual communication still comes directly through the thoughts and words of people, through music, dreams, visions etc. But now its those things and more. So we want to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. We want to clear the air so people can be free from demonic influence of all types. So they can hear, see and know the truth. So their minds are free and no longer blinded.
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4
We clear the airways over Waterford so the people can clearly hear from heaven! Listen. Hear him. Clearly see the truth and what God, your Creator, wants to say to you. We want each person to find their gifts, fulfill their destiny, and enjoy fellowship with Him and each other. Remember, when the devil is locked up for 1000 years what will we do? We won't have him to fight. we will be in fellowship with the Lord and each other. Helping one another in love.

Vacant Land, Occupied Land, Come out from among them
In the beginning God made the land first. He made the garden and then put people in it.
28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”Genesis 1:28
Father God, give the land of Waterford to those who will honor you, those who will do what's right with it. We pray for the land to be purchased, given, maintained and occupied by those who will live righteously and do what is right with it, honoring You with this land. That Waterford is owned and occupied by people who will do what is right with the land in Jesus' name. That the enemy has no hold on the property or land. The land is loosed from his grip in Jesus' name. May the angelic host of heaven be sent to bring this to pass. This includes the residential, commercial, and governmental plots of land. The waterways, etc. Owned, occupied, and inhabited by those who do righteously. Be fruitful and multiply in this land. Send the people here and fill this land with righteousness.

Now when Israel was established, the Lord sent Abram to a land that was already occupied. God didn't give him a vacant land like Adam and Eve were put in. (Even though the devil was there so it wasn't completely vacant, but there were no other people there in the beginning).
1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives, And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; 2 And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; Genesis 12:1-2
So people were already living in the Promised Land. The family of Abram grew into a nation outside of the land they were called to. The twelve sons of Israel grew into twelve tribes that  eventually came into the Promised Land, but they had to fight their way in. The Lord was with them. So in this case, the people of God had to conquer the land that was promised to them. 

Then Jesus came into the world.
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16
He called a people to Himself from all nations--both Jew and Gentile. He gathered them to Himself. He prayed to the Father:
15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. John 17:15
His people are now gathered from among the people of the world. We're in the world but not of it. We are to come out from among the world and be separate from them.
14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,

“I will dwell in them and walk among them;
And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
17 “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.
“And do not touch what is unclean;
And I will welcome you.
18 “And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
So God is calling us out of the world. He's calling us to be a people to Himself. Jesus said "Follow Me." He said to go into the world and make disciples of all nations. We want to be that people. We are to be separate while in the midst of this world. Not just physically living in a "promised land", but desiring the city of God in our heart. Not loving the world, but loving the ways of His kingdom.
16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:16
15 Do not love the world nor the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15
I keep seeing a gathering together of some kind of substance, which I think represents God's people, I see them scattered and separate but that they are being drawn to come together. As they come together they will be strengthened. In the early church they were persecuted and scattered. That scattering spread the gospel. But I feel like now there is a gathering He wants to do to strengthen us.

So we pray for God's people to:
  • Be encouraged
  • Not grow weary
  • Know their place
  • Know their call
  •  Don't try to do everything
  • Guard their borders--the physical borders of the township, their homes and the womb, the spiritual borders
Let their be...
A clearing of the airways!
A sanctifying of the land!
All of creation, God's people included, praising the Lord!

Waterford come alive!

We pray that:
  • God's people are wise and shrewd, not naive
  • Have sharp powers of discernment
  • Are astute-accurately assess all things and use this ability to God's kingdom advantage
  • All the airways--words, thoughts, images--be brought captive to obedience of Christ
  • The air is cleared so the devil doesn't cloud minds of people any longer
  • The light of glorious gospel of Christ shine in the hearts of people so they believe and be saved
  • That believers become disciples and fulfill that they are called, ordained and commissioned to do
Father send the angelic host to clear the airways so people hear and see clearly, and follow You, behold You. So the people of this land are fruitful, multiply, replenish, and conquer what needs to be conquered. That they live as disciples, called out from unbelievers unto You. Your pure bride. We're like Adam, Abram, and Jesus. We fill the land, conquer, and gather unto You. I know Waterford is on Your heart. Move upon the hearts of the people. Let the influence of enemy be gone so people can hear and see and follow You as disciples in Jesus' Name.

Fill the hearts of Your people of this community, and beyond, with an encouragement, a strength, and a determination to fulfill their commission. We pray for the children and for the parents, that they guard the borders of their home, raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. As babies are brought into this community we pray they are placed in a godly environment. Bring godly influence over all the children of this community. Whether they live in Christian homes or not. Whether they are in public school, private school, or homeschooled. Bring at least one or two godly people to connect to the children. People they can look up to and respect. Mentors, whether family, teachers, neighbors, or whoever, those who will represent You to them, and they will look up to them and respect them, and want to know Jesus like they do. Flood the communities and homes so every child has someone they can follow who will lead them to Jesus who leads them to the Father.

Waterford come alive!

Put on the hearts of your people those things that will bring in the harvest and disciple the people. That they begin to think about, desire, and learn how to bring in the harvest and disciple the believers. We are called to be the innkeepers and heal the wounded. Lord, I pray that we be true innkeepers.