Week of April 15, 2012
“May the peoples praise You, O God; may all the peoples praise You. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for You rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise You, O God; may all the peoples praise You. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us.” -Psalm 67:3-6
Recently in the news, a local resident walked through a construction zone and accidentally stepped into mud so deep he needed rescuers to pull him out. One might ask, “Why was he there in the first place?”
Well, perhaps if his heart had been sensitive to the Holy Spirit, He would have heard a forewarning. I don’t know whether this man knew the Lord. But certainly there were obvious signs all around the danger zone. Even so, the enemy tries to lure us into bondage through deception. Thankfully, nothing is too difficult for Jesus, our rescuer.
This story reminded me of The Solid Rock lyrics: “On Christ, the solid Rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.”
God’s direction implies sensitivity of heart, hearing, vision, authority, obedience, order and honor. And moving forward in anything—whether personal or professional—should not be done without a firm foundation in Christ. 1 Peter 2:4 tells us, “You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God's temple. He was rejected by people, but He was chosen by God for great honor.”
Nothing replicates a solid foundation. And, like that local resident stuck in mud, if you find yourself sinking and stuck, God may be trying to get your attention to return to your solid rock foundation.
If it seems as though God is not providing for you, it could be because He's trying to awaken you to something you forgot: To maintain the foundation.
It’s not enough to build the foundation (our relationship with Jesus) and then move on. It’s not enough to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior and then put Him on a shelf and go about our day. Oh we will have our fire insurance, but there’s so much more to a life lived for Him.
What we focus on determines the condition of our heart. It’s important to not be so forward thinking that we forget about the foundation we have built previously, a kind of “I’ve got it from here” mentality. When we do that, there will be no fruit going forward. Forgetting our foundation makes way for the terrorist—our enemy—to destroy that which God tries to build through us. And we will eventually sink.
God wants to be first. And whatever we give priority to will be magnified and multiplied. Whatever is nurtured will grow. It’s wise to check the condition of our hearts. If we are spending much time working to build projects and little dedicated time with God, we will eventually hit a wall, a blockage. And our lack is the enemy’s gain.
If you’ve been there and done that, here’s a recovery strategy:
Root it out: Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what issue is at the root. The root can usually be traced to some form of disobedience. And the disobedience could have been initiated by a wound to the heart or a lure from the enemy. There’s an old adage, “What God reveals, He heals.” God does us a favor when He exposes the enemy’s deception. In this way, God sets us up for repentance. Thank Him.
Redirect through Repentance: “Lord, I repent of idolatry (putting myself and the project before God) and neglect of the foundation. I forgive others in this situation. Please forgive me and restore me to sensitivity towards You.”
The very nature of repentance is to switch directions, as in a 180 degree turn. Once we repent, Father God sees our sins no more, as the blood of His Son Jesus covers us. So it’s important to also forgive ourselves. Don’t let the enemy get a hook of false guilt in you. Once you are forgiven, you are forgiven. And remember, God forgives us as we forgive others. So forgive others if you want to be forgiven (Matthew 6:12).
Rebuke: Tell the enemy to get lost.
Re-invite: The Holy Spirit to re-set us in His righteous right order. Choose to re-trust Him and His ways (over your own) along the journey. Don't be driven by success. Be led by the Holy Spirit. Jesus was (Matthew 4:1).
Refocus: On God. Anything we put before God is idolatry. We should not make the projects and programs God gives us into idols by default. We should not be so focused on them that we decide that God can wait and then never get back to Him. When we take dedicated time to worship Him, He will work on our behalf in extraordinary ways. One of the biggest lies of the enemy is that we don’t have enough time for God.
Rescue: God wants to replace the limitations of our idols and our ways with His unlimited love, glory, power and purpose. God wants to replace the heavy load we have taken on with His light yoke. God wants to resurface (smooth out) our jagged edges. God wants to re-fire (re-ignite) our joy (strength). God wants to re-fortify (nourish and protect) us by having us make Him our God and King in all areas of our lives. God wants to have us rethink like He does, with the mind of Christ. God wants to rekindle His love in us for Him and others and restore kindness to us and through us to others. God wants to re-gift us so that we can be more of a gift to others. God wants to replenish us with mercy and grace and splendor, with His beauty and magnitude. He wants to re-sensitize our hearts to Him.
Return: To basics. Find the foundation. Unearth it. Clean it up. Embrace it. Carry it with you going forward. Stand upon it, and watch the hand of God move on your behalf.
Reprioritize: Priority is life, and whatever we give life to will overtake. Let’s commit to making God our first priority.
Restore and be Restored: As we restore God as the priority in our life and work, He will restore us to the priority He desires us to have, according to His plan.
Rejoice: Praise comes before increase. And pride comes before the fall. That’s God’s economy. Our praise is our seed.
Reap Reward: When the increase comes, continue to give back to God and to others. In this way, you will build up His kingdom, His disciples. As you honor God, He will honor you. It’s a continual choice going forward.
Anytime God calls us to do a new thing or great exploits, they should be built upon God’s solid rock principles. If we step into the “unknown” without God, we will find that God will not meet us there to give us continued direction. Instead, He will expect us to return to Him first.
Where the enemy came to sift, God will re-sift us from the enemy's residue when we repent. In this way, God refines us further, increasing His character in us. He re-sets us on high, above the low things. He will cause us to re-do things His way, to restructure. Repentance will revert the repossession that the enemy initiated.
The biggest lie of the enemy is that we don't have time for God. God is the most important person in our lives. Without Him, we will lose; we are left to our own devices, led astray. Sit and sup with God, and watch Him work on your behalf in ways you cannot imagine. Invite Him back. God is worthy of our respect, of time spent with Him, of dignity. Invite Him in. God wants to re-sort and re-wire us, ridding us of any addictions and idols. He wants to re-circuit our brains, renew our minds and re-make our hearts anew. Are you ready?
Prayer: Lord, I relent my heart to You once again. Please remove everything from within me that is not of You. I rededicate my position, my projects, and my places to You this day. Come and have your way. I lay down my agendas. My position is Your position, my projects are Your projects. Come and re-prioritize, re-project, re-plan, re-place everything in my life that does not please You and align with Your will. I rededicate the foundation to You, the building plan to you, the people to You. God, I invite You to revisit the places and re-dig the wells that have dried up as a result of my sin. Restore the free flowing waters. Reignite my passion for You and the things of You. Restore the resources. Redeem the lost time. Redeem the opportunities. Re-open the doors. God, restore my intimacy with You. There is no better place to be than with You, oh Lord. God, restore the foundation so that we may build properly, and our building can stand. Restore the territory You gave me. Place me in right position with You. God, reposition me to a higher level of understanding, glory and authority. God, give me fresh insight and direction. Thank You for rescuing me. Thank You for resurrecting the foundation. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Forward This Message to a Friend