Last Sunday at church I went up to give my weekly word to the congregation. Usually I get what I'm going to release in my morning prayer time or during worship, so I go up in front of the people prepared. This past Sunday, however, I had no idea what I was going to say.
As I received the mic and made my way to the center of the stage, a boldness rose up in me and words just started to flow out. I declared that this week there was coming restoration and abundance. That God was beginning to pour out the fruit that had been waiting all winter to be released. That this Spring was significant, for this year is significant. I implored the people to keep their eyes open for what was coming, and to celebrate even the small breakthroughs. For often we get the acorn that, when stewarded correctly, becomes a mighty oak of blessing.
I released the word and made my way out, electric with the buzz of adrenaline, and hoping that I hadn't just made all that up!
Then, two days ago, we received this in the mail:
It was a notice offering us money owed to us from over 4 years ago. I had no idea this was even owed to me!
Then today this word was released by Lana Vawser. What she says is very similar to what I was stirred to speak out.
Also today I just found out that someone in our congregation just got their inheritance released to them. It had been in limbo for some time. Another person in the office just got a substantial check. And yet another person just had a breakthrough in their family that they had been praying into! The reports just keep coming in!
In prayer time this morning I heard "Psalm 147". I went to read it and came across this:
He blankets the earth with glistening snow;
painting the landscape with frost.
Sleet and hail fall from the sky,
causing waters to freeze before winter's icy blast.
Then he speaks his word and it all melts away;
as the warm spring winds blow, the streams begin to flow. (Psalm 147:16-18. Emphasis added)
Every year Spring is about abundance. It's when things warm back up, allowing the earth to take in the life-giving rain and sunshine. In the cold of winter the seeds dig deep, taking root beneath the cold surface, biding their time and growing in preparation to sprout and blossom. The seasons are purposeful, designed by God to bring abundance. In winter we are reminded that old things must die to produce more.
Let me make this clear: A single grain of wheat will never be more than a single grain of wheat unless it drops into the ground and dies. Because then it sprouts and produces a great harvest of wheat -- all because one grain died. - John 12:24
This past winter lasted longer than usual for many. But it had to. Last year, 2017, was declared a Year of Breakthrough, and oh, did the breakthrough come for many! Person after person entered new levels last year. I've had it confirmed to me by several, as well as multiple instances in my own life.
With such great breakthroughs a time of taking root was needed. There needed to be a time of allowing old things, things unable to pass into the new seasons of our lives, to die. So the past few months have been trying for many. As a result it left some wondering, "did I really get my breakthrough?" Some have wanted to give up
But now the perseverance is paying off! Spring is here, and God is releasing the abundance that was promised! Wrongs from the past are being restored. The new land that was taken is starting to bear fruit. It's time to rejoice!
As we enter this season we can expect renewal and refreshment. God is building us back up after the long winter, the long fight. He is making all things new as we move from glory to glory!
It is imperative that as we move forward in this we resist any temptation to dig up the former things that were allowed to die. As we enjoy this new season, as we grow in strength, we must continue to look forward. The breakthrough, the entering of your "Promised Land" also requires you to keep moving ahead and taking ground. God doesn't pour out His blessing and favor for us to squalor it or to selfishly fatten ourselves (metaphorically speaking). He does so that we can steward and grow it further, and then pour out that blessing onto those around us. This is a season of equipping and strengthening His children so that we can build up those around us.
The greatest revival in history is at our doorstep! We must be healthy in order to rebuild the broken, to give them a safe place to be restored. We all once knew that place of brokenness ourselves, but God would not have us stay there!
So enjoy this season! Enjoy the abundance coming from our Almighty Father! Thank Him every day and count your numerous blessings. Celebrate them all, large and small, that He might pour out more!
And prepare yourself for stewardship. The storehouses are being filled. God is building up His church. He is restoring us to our identity and destiny. To be the healthiest, most joyful, safest, most blessed, and most loving people on earth! He is inviting us back to exuding excellence and providing the means to do so.
Rejoice! Winter is over and Spring is here! Embrace the blessings of the Father, the fruit of your toil. Steward it well and generously pour it out upon others.
I believe wholeheartedly that these next few months are going to open up the doors for many to enter into a place of abundance where they will never know lack again. The responsibility is to recognize this season, and begin to prepare plans of stewardship. Last year the Lord told me to sit down and put together a Wealth Plan. So I put into writing a strategy for growing and maintaining whatever was released to my family. With the Lord's help I determined a Biblical plan of sowing generously, investing for the future, and living excellently. While I haven't yet received what I need to put this plan into action I have made sure I'm ready for when it comes.
Blessing is pouring out almost everywhere I look. Be ready, for your turn is coming!
The season of abundance, of fruitfulness, is here! Hallelujah!
There are facts, there is logic and reason, and there is Truth.
More often than not, they all line up. In fact, over time I've found that they always line up once everything is brought to light. As well they should, for Truth transcends the limits of the others. Yet facts, logic and reason will eventually always end up at Truth.
Your choice is to take the slow road or the fast lane.
I get to see the limits of facts, logic and reason every day. I'm a pastor, and I counsel several people regularly. These people are hurting, they are looking for answers, and they are bravely seeking help. Something inside them knows something is off, that there has to be something better.
Some of these people are sex addicts. Some are drug addicts. Some are upstanding citizens who can't connect with their spouse. Some are afraid of their own shadow. All of them are tired of the destructive cycles in their lives.
And every single one of them that doesn't give up finds freedom. Every. Single. One.
It amazes even me, but I've seen it happen enough now that I confidently believe it. No one has to stay stuck.
We are spiritual beings, first and foremost. When the Bible says that we were created in the image of God (male and female) it means spiritually. You look just like your Daddy! God is a person, and He's a spirit. Those things aren't mutually exclusive. Your spirit is who you are. It's the purest, most real version of you.
When we receive salvation, in that instant, our spirits are reborn. They are made pure and perfect. From that moment on our body and soul are simply playing catch-up. But the hard part, the impossible part, is already done. The rest is just the process of renewal. It's what the Bible calls sanctification.
We need to be sanctified from all the facts, logic and reason that accumulated living apart from God.
In Romans 12:2 the apostle Paul wrote that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This is the same guy that writes over and over again that we died and are now new creatures. So if we're new, why do we need to be transformed still?
Let's have some fun and get weird, shall we?
God is Three-in-One, One-in-Three. Every Christian with basest theology (correct theology, I should say) knows this. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Well guess who else He decided to make like Him? (Hint: I already gave you the answer)
Just like God, we're three parts. We're our physical body, our soul (mind, will, emotions), and our spirit. If you've said yes to Jesus, your spirit is now new and perfect and seated in a heavenly place. Your soul and body, on the other hand, still need some tuning up. The good news is that our spirit and the Holy Spirit give us a direct pipeline to Truth. Every answer we've ever wanted or needed we now have access to.
The other good news is that when we accept and believe Truth we will grow in soul and body.
Unfortunately, too many of us are doing things backwards. We witness or experience something physically, our souls agree with those things, and we ignore our spirit. We ignore Truth in favor of facts, logic and reason. In doing so we allow a whole lot of mess into our lives.
Almost every single person I counsel had a traumatic childhood. They were abused or neglected. They were taught they are insignificant, ugly, worthless, stupid, etc... Some of the things I've heard from people couldn't be written in books or put in movies, because it would seem too horrible to be true. These people, broken and bruised from a young age, often go on to do horrible things themselves. You can't do what I do unless you partner with God to love everyone. To see past the mistakes and abuse and see who God made them to be.
These people have witnessed and experienced a whole lot of facts processed through human logic and reason. What they've arrived at is misery, hopelessness, anger, fear, and addiction. It's heartbreaking.
And yet, I've never seen someone too far gone to not find joy, peace, love, and hope again. All I do is introduce them to Truth.
As we sit and pray together, God meets them. He takes them to the places they were hurt the most, and they forgive. He exposes lies they believe based on their facts, logic and reason, and He gives them Truth instead. I watch as they light up, hearing the voice of the Lord. I watch as darkness leaves their eyes as they let go and find out that they are loved, they are valued, they are beautiful. Tears fall as they feel anger and fear leave, replaced by peace and boldness. Several times even physical healings have manifested as the Truth saturates their souls!
Such is the power of Truth. Such is the power of perspective.
I'm writing this today because this morning I read multiple stories about sex-trafficking. They just happened to be in the news today. There are few subjects that hurt my heart as much, and it's easy to feel hopeless for the millions around the globe being abused in this horrific industry. I'm especially moved by the stories of children, and I cry out to God on their behalf. Thinking of those little ones breaks my heart, and I want justice. For I know the pain even the rescued ones are still going to have to process. I know because I've met them before.
The facts are terrible, and it would be so easy to apply my own logic and reason and come out hopeless. It would be so easy for me to start cursing this world for being a terrible place. It would be so easy for me to take those terrible facts and make the conclusion that everything is getting worse.
Or I can partner with Truth.
Truth says that there is an answer to sex-trafficking, there is a solution. Truth says that I need to be glorifying that it is finally being exposed on a national and international level. That governments are finally strategizing about how to save these victims and bring justice to their abusers. Truth says to keep fighting, and we will bring them freedom and end it, once and for all. Truth says not to give up, not to give in to hopelessness. Do we need to do more? ABSOLUTELY! We must NOT give up. Thankfully, God knows this and already is working.
I could easily lose my perspective. I could lose the forest of Truth for the trees of fact. But I won't.
As Christians, as the powerful children of God in the world, the triumphant siblings of Jesus, we must keep our perspective. Our perspective is that if we persevere and keep fighting injustice with Godly strategy, we will see things like sex-trafficking and abortion come to an end.
Our perspective is that there is no end to the spread of His government. Our perspective is to be encouraged that the world is, in fact, getting better by almost every global metric. The Truth says that far more good happens every day than bad. The facts, the broader perspective, line up with Truth. It always does.
As Christians we do not ignore facts, we acknowledge them. But we process them through Truth.
The Truth says that we are beautiful and amazing. Truth says that no one is beyond redemption. The Truth says that God has a purpose for each and everyone of us, making us all valuable. Truth says that the world will always get better as we work together to change it.
Truth acknowledges our pain, our failures, our hard circumstances, but it does not allow them power. It denies them influence.
The Truth says we are over-comers, and it says we're never alone. The maker of all things, the one who is Love, the all-powerful one is on our side. And He is more interested in our success, growth, and fullness of life than we ever could be.
I'd say that's a pretty good perspective.
Justin Carpenter has a passion for Christ and His body. Justin longs to see the body of Christ be equipped and sent out into all the world preaching the gospel of the kingdom with authority and power.