“Consider the heights from which you fallen, and do the things you did at first…” Revelation 2:5
Part II to Pastor Dave’s sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer. With God’s “Big Three” in mind (Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done), how does Jesus teach us to pray for our Deepest Needs?
The first in Pastor Dave’s two part series on the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6. Before Jesus teaches us how to ask for our daily bread, He first lets us in on what is most important to the Father. God’s Big Three.
Pastor Seth delievers a message about what True Worship means…
Joshua Chapter 7
The story is a sad one. Somehow, Achan wasn’t fully prepared to be consecrated. It cost him and his family their fortunes, their standing with God, and their lives. Ironically, their desire to better their life in their own way, conflicted with God’s command to do it His way. It often does.
God’s way was to burn to destruction everything that they had found in Jericho. But the faith of the people of Isreal faltered due, in part, to the sin of stealing that which had been devoted to destruction. Clearly, Achan could see no reason to destroy perfectly good items from Jericho. God on the other hand, calls this “a violation of covenant.” The results? Defeat in battle, the removal of God’s blessing, and the fearful lack of faith.
Consecration is the word that is used here to describe these devoted things; they are God’s. To do with them, in a way that violates God’s purpose for them, is destruction for you and I. We must honor the Lord with what He has laid claim to. How can I ask God to bless my spending if I refuse to obey His commands for my finances? How can I ask God to bless my weekend, if I choose to spend it without regard to the worship of God? How can I ask God to bless my body when I engage in sexuality outside my marriage?
To be consecrated, is to be under obligation to God’s way. The world would tell us that these are not big deals, these little disobediences. Even some in the church would declare God as a God of grace and mercy, and somehow forget what He feels in Joshua 7. Achan found out the hard way.
The Consecrated Soul is a life that invites the blessing of God. It is a living challenge to God’s blessing and it is the kind of life that God loves to bless. Here we are God, consecrating ourselves to Your Purpose, Your Plan, Your Way. We will follow You. Give us victory over our enemies, and confidence in the face of the fight, for we are Your people.
“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua
There is a little secret that takes a while to learn. Everyone serves someone. The Rich Oil Barren must serve his estate to preserve the wealth from the greedy clutches of thieves, hangers on, taxes, etc. The poor indigent migrant serves his employer and thus, provides for himself a meager wage. So it is in the spirit realm as well. Those who refuse to consecrate themselves to God are, in fact, making a choice. In so limiting their dedication to God they are limiting their blessing. God cannot bless us beyond our dedication. He has unlimited blessings for you, but your devotion and consecration are the bottleneck.
Joshua cannot make the decision for the people he is leading. He can challenge them to a lifestyle of consecration; he can prod and point, chastise and counsel, but each individual must make his own decision to consecrate themselves. Devotion to the Lord is a choice.
Yet, the leader of Israel is also a leader of his own home. He has made a decision that he will free himself from the bondage to false idols by cleaning his house and exercising his spiritual authority over the home. For Joshua, this no doubt, involved his wife and children, but it also involved the servants and guards in his employ. Joshua’s consecration was a contagion that would spread through the household.
When the Consecrated Soul stands before the invisible forces of darkness and light and declares that this house will serve God alone, he is making a declaration to Heaven and earth. The Consecrated Soul is declaring that God’s blessing is enough for him, that his ways will conform to God’s ways and that there is an exclusivity to the relationships in his home. Have you prayed, even declared over your home and family, the devotion and consecration of all that God has blessed you with?
Today, anoint the doorposts of your home with oil, lay hands upon your children and your children’s children, and stand in the role of your authority in Christ, to declare it…”as for me, and my House…”
“Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” Exodus
Each of us is in possession of something. We hold it in our hand. Often it has become so familiar to us that we don’t notice it. For some of us it has become who we are. It is good for God Himself to ask us what it is that we are in possession of. We have many things which we are holding that the Lord would use. There are motivational giftings (Rom 12.3-8), spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12.7-11), and time, talents and treasure (Mt. 25.14ff) that the consecrated person must first recognize as having been given to him or her for the Kingdoms use.
After recognizing the source of the gift entrusted to us, we must surrender it to the Lord. Here is where so many have faltered. They believe that God’s blessing is for them and their families. There is a temptation to think in terms of being the recipient of the blessing only. But we are God’s workmen. The Consecrated Soul sees these blessings, gifts, talents and treasures as merely passing through our hands on to others. We limit God’s purposes if we become the terminal end of God’s blessing, rather than being yet another link in the pipeline of God’s grace. For the Consecrated, the gifts are for sharing.
There are many sobering verses that warn us regarding our accountability for the treasures in our hands. How we apply them will indeed, be judged (1 Cor. 3.13). But the Consecrated Soul, while aware of this truth, is not at all bothered by the dedication of what is in their hand, for they know that it is their great privilege to be used as a channel of God’s blessing. There is personal blessing to be the first hand witness of God’s miraculous presence, His outstanding healings, His divine provisions, and a hundred other testimonies that the Consecrated Soul sees first hand. This glory is incomparable and remains unknown to those who refuse the Spirit’s invitation to draw nearer to God in consecration.
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:15
Consecration is an act of surrender. Past, present, and future; all are surrendered into the hands of the Almighty for the consecrated man or woman. It is the recognition that “our life is not our own.” In so saying, we are giving all that lies ahead of us to God and His divine providence, but we are also giving all our past, as well. In this act of consecrationed surrender we are healed from what we once were. We are never required to carry it along, like so much rotten garbage, and we are free to pursue the future.
Each day we begin with praise and worship. This is the “sacrifice of praise.” To be sure, some days it is more of a sacrifice than others, nevertheless, it is the willful act of giving thanks to Him “who holds the key” for our present and future. Scripture prescribes that the praise be continual. Oh, that God would free our minds and loose our tongues to be continually in praise; there is no one more deserving of our praise!
So what does the Consecrated Soul praise God for? We praise Him for His tender way of leading us into a deeper walk; and we praise Him who is perfect for receiving our imperfection; and we praise His Good Purpose, which is our privilege to both live out and minister to others. We Praise and thank Him for these and a thousand other things. All this is a part of our surrender to the King of our Lives. Have you praised Him today?
I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there. 1 Samuel 1.27-28
The story of Hannah’s miracle baby is a glorious one. She had been barren, unable to have a child on her own. After crying out before the Lord, she miraculously conceived a child, successfully delivered the baby, and nurtured the child through the weaning process (about three years). She named him Samuel-“heard of God”.
I can only imagine that now as she presents the child to the Lord’s service, to live and dwell in the temple as a child of the High Priest Eli that it must have torn at her heart to give up the answer to her fervently prayed prayers. It seems that God does this frequently. Abraham was challenged to put his Son on the altar on Mt. Moriah. He, too, was forced to find the faith to look beyond the discomfort of totally surrendering his child to God. Here, Hannah has committed her son to God’s service. Samuel will never be like all the other children, he is a servant of the Lord. He is consecrated.
As a result of this consecration, he hears the voice of God, he sees God answer prayers miraculously, and foretells events which only Heaven could orchestrate, and, eventually, becomes the prophet of whom it is testified “not one word of his mouth fell to the ground.” In other words, Samuel’s prophecies were fulfilled- every one of them, every time, in every circumstance. This is said of no other man or woman of God!
While Samuel’s mother initially was the source of the consecration, Samuel had to continue in the consecrated life, in order to grow into the man of God that would be held in a high estimation, by both man and God. This year we are revisiting our standing before the Lord. If we want more from Him, it will demand more consistency from us. Let us consecrate ourselves in 2018 to the service of God, and let us recognize here, at the beginning of the year, that many have made a start down the road of consecration, but fewer follow through to the end.