Pay Attention To The Anointing

The anointing of God takes the ordinary and transforms it into the extraordinary. Human flesh along with human abilities are the ordinary. But any ordinary person, place or thing anointed of God becomes extraordinary. The very best of human flesh cannot cause humanity to rise above its own natural abilities. But the touch of God makes the difference! The touch of God (the anointing) launches the natural into the realm of the supernatural - far above natural ability. The anointing enables us natural beings to operate in the supernatural realm of God Almighty!

The anointing is crucial for any servant of God - no matter what the occupation. If you do anything for Jesus, you must be anointed to be effective. Without the anointing, whatever you do is just ordinary. Without God's touch, your service is totally, humanly natural. It is limited strictly to human ability. Pay attention to the anointing. Is it there? Is it on you? How do you know it is there? Here is the best answer I can give: You just know it is there! The anointing cannot be denied. It cannot be hidden. You know it is there!

Recently I was watching a video of a young female worship leader. I had heard the song, but only a time or two before. I was drawn into God's presence. I began to weep in God's presence in just a matter of seconds. What was going on? She was powerfully anointed as a worship leader. But something else was going on. The song she had written and was singing was powerfully anointed by God. Worship leaders, when prayerfully selecting songs for your set list, pay attention to the anointing! It truly makes the difference.

The significance of the anointing goes far beyond making us cry. But for me, that is one of its indications. Like I said before, when something is anointed, You just know it is anointed. You cannot ignore the touch of God. We should earnestly desire God's anointing, but we must trust Him to accomplish His work through the anointing. Remember, it is supernatural just as He is.

The anointing is not in how large the worship team is. It is not in how large or small the church is. The anointing is not in how well-polished the music is. It is not in how cool one dresses. It is not in the key or the tempo of the music. It is not in the style of preaching. The anointing is not in how current the songs selected are. Without the anointing, all of the preceding (and more) at the very best is just human flesh. So pay attention to the anointing.

How does one become anointed? The anointing is applied through the Holy Spirit. James said, "Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you." (James 4:10) The Holy Spirit is God's presence in the earth. And to be exalted by God is to be anointed by His Spirit. Simply stated, the more we are in His presence, the more anointed we become. If God's Spirit imparts the anointing, being with Him is the way we receive it. As a worship leader, I would spend hours every week (alone with God) simply worshiping God on my instrument and with my voice. This is how the anointing comes. Spending lots of time with Him, no matter what your calling is, is how you receive the anointing.

God's people are also anointed to do specific things. But time and space will not permit me to go there in this post. So "serve on" fellow servant of Christ, and please...pay attention to the anointing!


The Virtue of Hope

We live in a day and time when things aren't looking so rosy. The "American Dream" has turned into the American nightmare! The economy (contrary to media reports) is suffering greatly. The jobless rate is higher than it has been in many years. I'm not talking about the percentages being reported by the news media. The ones I'm referring to include all human beings that are without a job. Some are desperately looking while others are taking the government for a free ride. Many folks have lost not only their jobs, but their homes as well. Most Americans have never experienced the level of challenge as presented to us now.

Have things been worse? Of course they have. But not to most of the generations now living. For decades we've lived comfortably with hardly a care in our world. In fact, we've been so comfortable we haven't had a clue as to how the rest of the world lives, and how they struggle. All of that is changing however. We Americans are learning that being American does not exempt us from the challenges the rest of the world is experiencing. We've always looked to our government, our military, and our national leaders to "handle it", but that has changed.

As negative as this may sound, there is hope! But our hope must be in God. God is the "God of hope". He owns hope. When we hope in God, we hope in His way, not ours. Hope is not faith. Hope precedes faith. In order to trust in God (have faith in) we must first put our hope in Him.

Listen to the difference between hope and faith. Faith says, "God can. God will." Hope says, "Perhaps God can. Maybe, just maybe he can." Hope precedes faith. Hope is the virtue that leads many people to trust in Jesus. However, when all hope is lost, the ability to believe is lost. The opposite of hope is hopelessness. Hopelessness says, "What's the use. It's over. I give up." Again, hope says, "Perhaps God can." And again, hope precedes faith.

It seems many people in our county have lost all hope for a brighter future. Hopelessness is growing, even among Christ-followers. The ONLY solution to hopelessness is an encounter with the "God of hope". “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13) To encounter God is to abound in hope by the power of His Spirit. When one abounds in hope, the stage is set to believe God for just about anything!

"For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11) According to this verse, hope is connected to God. Hope always deals with our future. God has a future for you! I hope you realize that...and that He knows what is best for you!

You must seek God to put your hope in Him. One who resolves to seek God will eventually find it quite easy to hope in God. One who hopes in God will find it easy to trust God. There will always be opportunities for you and me to drift toward hopelessness. But we must be aware of it and do like David. David spoke to his soul. "Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence." (Psalm 42:5)

Are you in the pit of hopelessness? Have you lost hope? There is hope! Put your hope in the God of hope. He owns hope. He has a future and a hope for you! It doesn't matter what is going on in the world around us. God is still the God He has always been. He will never leave or forsake you. Put your hope in Him and watch your faith rise!

First Things First

I make this post at the risk of sounding undignified and a little overbearing. I risk the possibility of sounding too procedural and technical. It is worth the risk! Read on.

The most exciting part of my day is the very beginning. Often I lose sleep due to anticipation of being with Jesus the very first thing. Of course I can have my time with Jesus any time of the day (or night). And yes, His presence is with me 24 X 7. But He and I have something extremely special...very early in the morning. I know that when I awake and enter the Most Holy Place...He's waiting eagerly for me. He's kept me through the night for the very purpose of my simply being with Him in the morning. This sets my day for me. Being with Jesus first thing in the morning causes me to be more aware of His presence throughout the entire day. The truth is I just can't put it off.

Listen to the words of the David, the Psalmist:  "Awake, my glory! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn." (Psalm 57:8) Here the Psalmist tells himself to wake up. He tells his musical instruments (the ones with which he worships God) to wake up. Then he says that with himself and his musical instruments of worship, he will wake up the dawn! When the sun finally breaks over the horizon, he has already entered the presence of God and has been there awhile! Wow! What a blessing! David says it again in the 108th Psalm, "Awake, harp and lyre; I will awaken the dawn!" (Vs. 2)

Why is the early morning so special for me? No one else is up. This (for me) enhances the intimacy I experience with Him. It's not that I cannot get alone with Jesus any other time of the day. (I do that too!) But I simply wake up longing for Him. Another reason is seeking Jesus the VERY first thing gives Him the proper priority, and thus gives me the proper perspective of Him. He is my everything, my life, my Lord, and preeminent in everything. And frankly being with Him early simply lifts me up. That's the best way to start the day in which I desperately need Him...all day long...every day.

You may be thinking, "What do you do with Him so early in the morning?" I simply do the same things I do whenever I meet with Him. I worship Him! I just "be" with Him! "How do you do that?" For me I enter into His presence with praise and worship music. I hold my Bible. I often open my Bible and see what He is speaking to me. I pray in the Spirit. I pray in English. I worship in the Spirit. I worship in English. My entire being is focused on Him. Sometimes I meditate on His Word. Sometimes I say nothing. The greatest part about it all is that there is no set pattern! The only requirement is to desire to be with Him. Believe me, it will change your life!

How would you like to experience MORE of Jesus? How would you like to dispel the complacency in your relationship with Him? There is no doubt about it...you can! But you must do what is necessary. What is that? Desire it. Desire more! Desire to be "on fire" for Him. Then you make your time with Him (similar to what I've explained above.) Put Him first. Awaken the dawn as David did in pursuit of His heart. Make it your conviction to seek Him until you find Him in a greater way! True fact: God desires to spend intimate time with you. He waits for you to draw closer to Him. He wants you to come to Him with a resolute heart that will not relent until you find Him. Once you do...you won't want to relent!

I challenge you....do it!  There is more for you. Jesus is waiting! I'd love to hear from you on this one!


The Treasure

I want to start this post by asking you some pointed questions. Perhaps you cannot answer these questions immediately and exactly. But perhaps you will ponder them until you can directly answer them...to yourself. Here we go. First, I want you to think about ALL you are involved in today. Think about ALL that you are attempting to accomplish. Think about your current aspirations that take you into your future, and what you want to accomplish with your life.

Now...here's the first question: How much of what you do, are involved in, preparing for, and attempting to accomplish will have any significance whatsoever after you leave this life. I'm not saying that anything you are involved in has no significance. I am just asking you to determine that in light of eternity and in your call as a Christ-follower. Next question: How much of what you are doing today will cause treasures to be laid up for you in heaven? Think about your schedule each day: How much of your day is in preparation to meet Jesus? And how much of that will carry over into eternity for you to enjoy forever? And how much of what you do is in living wholly for Jesus?

Jesus uses a parable in Matthew 13:44 that has touched my heart. Let me share it with you. "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." This one-sentence parable is used by Jesus to illustrate the nature of the kingdom of God. Jesus said God's kingdom is like a treasure, hidden in a field. A man somehow found this treasure and became extremely excited about it and hid it again! But there was one problem. He didn't own the field. He was so filled was joy that he sold everything he had and bought the field.

Think about this, the price of the field (not including the treasure) was the price of everything he owned. Why would anyone sell all they had in order to purchase a piece of property? You could live on the property with nothing! No house, no clothes, no food, no nothing! Remember he sold everything! Here is the key. The man saw the infinite value of the treasure, hidden in the field. If this treasure became the man's, he would never lack again. As a matter of fact, the man's children, and his grandchildren, and his great grandchildren, and his great, great, grandchildren, etc., would never lack anything financially or materially!

Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is like that treasure. To many people it is hidden. Even to followers of Christ. Why? Because of our own acquired or inherited treasures. We look to our earthly treasures, accomplishments, and acquisitions for our peace and security. We are actually blinded to the treasure of the kingdom by the earthly treasures we possess. The result is that many never see the infinite value of God's heavenly kingdom, and its vast supply for those who give up everything in this life...for Him.

In Mark 10: 17 - 23, Jesus illustrates the same truth. A rich, young ruler comes to Jesus and asks Him, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus explains to him that he must keep the commandments of the Law. The young man says that he has from his youth. Listen to what Jesus says. "One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." The young rich man left saddened, why? Because he owned much property. Apparently he didn't want to turn it loose. He could not see the infinite value of the heavenly treasure as the man did who purchased the field. By holding tightly to his own treasure, the rich, young ruler forfeited heaven's treasure which was offered to him.

Most of us studied about the California gold rush that took place in the mid 1800's. Many, many folks sold all they had so they could travel to California, purchase a small piece of property, and dig for gold. Many folks struck it rich, and many folks lost everything they had. But to everyone it was worth it! Why? Because they ALL saw the value in discovering the treasure of gold!

If you and I could just see the value of the treasure of God's kingdom! Even as believers in Jesus we would give up all and follow hard after Jesus.

Let me close with something Paul writes that reaches deep into my soul. "More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ." (Phil. 3:8)