Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Shut Up and Sing!

No, I’m not quoting anything Dixie Chicks, however, I do have a few thoughts about destiny, determination and the power of praise.

In ministry, I have found that not only do I, as a woman minister, go through difficult times and periods of sulking, but I can also get downright miserable. When my husband and those I am in relationship with try to encourage me, or “speak the Word” over my situation, it typically makes me want to scream!

I know, I know, that is not the “right” attitude for a tongue talking, Spiritled, fired up woman of God. However, there are times when in the natural, I simply fail to see how a situation could possibly turn for my good. I hate to admit it, but I have been known to wallow a bit.

Although I do have a pity party every now and then, sooner or later, I do wise up and realize that there is no one else who can change my situation. I have to dig up my own determination and faith from within. How do I do this? There are three steps I use backed by the Word of God.

1.) Remember the Promise!
It seems we always begin with the end in mind, but as struggles begin to pop up in our journey, the end result we set out to accomplish becomes an afterthought- or in some cases, never thought of again! Instead we trudge, whine, complain, and forget the promise that set us on course in the first place.

The children of Israel are a perfect example. As we begin reading Exodus, everybody was giving high fives to one another and “raising the roof” when Moses demanded to Pharaoh, “Let my people go!” Just imagine, folks who had been “working for the man,” just waiting to be delivered from their lives of misery and slavery. Cue Moses, and wa-la, God has made a way! However, they failed to read the fine print, God never promised them that it would be a cake walk! So, in the midst of wandering for forty years, a lot of trouble went down. People bucked, rebelled, died, cried, fought, and some gave up. BUT, the ones who remembered the promise, the ones who had that vision in their minds of a land flowing with milk and honey, they were the ones who would see the fulfillment!

I recently heard a pastor talk about points of demarcation, which relates to real estate generally. However, when we are on our journey to our promise, it is important that we establish demarcation points so we remember not only where we’re going but also where we came from. It is imperative when remembering the promise that we also look out our journey to see where we’ve come from.

My own journey has been a wild one. However, I can track my growth process based on my points of demarcation. Things that at mile one would knock me down, at mile three hundred and twelve don’t even cause me to sway. Why? Because my eye is on the promise, and I know I am walking out my destiny. With each step I am driven by my destiny, and with each bump in the road, and every rock in my shoe, I am marking that place as a trophy of His grace because I am still walking toward the promise!

2.) Prepare for the Promise: Pay the Price
I thought my husband was nuts. We had just made a decision to merge our church plant and pursue a new ministry opportunity. We were in agreement, we were praying, however, I knew from experience that these things take time! Before our last transition, we had pursued for close to a year and a half before we moved. However, Craig came home the day after our decision with a vanload of boxes! Day after day, we boxed up the house with no firm decision on where we were going. All we had was a word from God!
Within three weeks of boxing up the house, we received a phone call and we had a “yes” in our spirit from God.

As we venture into our promise, we must prepare for it as well. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who will walk up to you and say, “Hello, my name is Prophet (Apostle, Minister, fill in the blank) So and So>” Then they hand you a card with their name bolded and their “title” plastered somewhere on the cardboard. Generally these are people who have no training, no covering, and no substance and are looking for a leg up because they have “assumed” a position without a promise.

I was working in my office at the church one day when I heard a woman out in the lobby talking to our worship pastor. She had introduced herself as Prophet “Monica,” but was explaining how God was moving her into the office of an Apostle. She went on and on about things that had no substance, no foundation, and definitely no preparation. She desperately wanted to speak to me, or my husband, but Christy was confident and handled the situation with ease.

Individuals like Prophet “Monica” have not paid a price, they had not prepared. I am a firm believer that your gift will make room for you. I am also a huge advocate for accountability. I would never allow someone to speak into my life that was not accountable to a pastor or covering. It is important that we have someone in our life that can bring correction to us and give us guidance. On that same note, we should also remain teachable so we can receive from those we are accountable to. That is part of preparation.

Anything worth having is worth working for. My promise means a lot to me, so instead of squandering what I have to invest into it, I am going to prepare for it by paying the price.

Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

The price I am talking about bears a hefty price tag that is not just relative to finances, although monetary investment is typically necessary. When I mention paying a price, what I really mean is sacrifice. Preparation for your promise will always involve sacrifice. It requires an all or nothing commitment.

At times, my own seasons of preparation have required me to sacrifice many things. At times, when the Lord was calling me to meet with Him in the night hour or early mornings I would have to sacrifice sleep. At times I have fasted food, or television. Another big sacrifice has been my time. Whenever God would send an opportunity my way, no matter how big or small, I’d grab it up! If God sent it, I was going to soak it up! There will always be a price to pay in the preparation for your promise.

My pastor, Bishop Tony Miller has always said something that has become a “beacon” in my life, “The proof of desire is in the pursuit.” Pursuit demands sacrifice. Fulfilled desires demand pursuit! Fulfillment requires preparation and preparation will cost you something.

3.) Shut Up and SING!
One of my favorite Old Testament accounts is in 2 Chronicles 20 when Jehoshaphat was in danger of being attacked by the Moabites and Ammonites. I love it because of how Jehoshaphat responded.

He didn’t freak out. He didn’t hide. Uh-uh, instead, he looked adversity right in the face, he looked right at the enemy that was trying to come between him and his promise and he made a decision. He called Judah together, everybody, from the youngest to the oldest and he began to pour his heart our before God.

(6)"O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. (7) O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? (8) They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, (9) 'If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.'
(10) "But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. (11) See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. 12 O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."

He prayed an honest, heartfelt, bold prayer. Then the entire group did something interesting.

(13) All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD.

The very fact that these folks did not stand their whining, murmuring and complaining tells me a lot about their faith. They simply laid out their petition before the Lord, shut their mouths, and they waited. And God DID respond to them. A prophetic word came forth laying out the plan of the enemy and declared Judah would be victorious.

On the day of the battle, Jehoshaphat assembled them all together, placing the praises in front. He then told them all to sing. So they did.

(22) As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.

We can learn so much from Jehoshaphat! By simply refusing to fuss, cuss and complain they became one step closer to their destiny! And when they could do nothing else, they praised and they won! They overcame their adversary AND they took back spoils!

When our destiny is compromised, think about what the outcome could be if we learned to “Shut Up and Sing!” When our enemies out number us and we’ve prayed the best we know how, there is POWER in being silent before the Lord. When we are silent before Him, we are able to hear Him clearly.

And we you’ve got nothing to fight with fight with your praise! Shabach, travail, dance, shout, declare, and do whatever is necessary to receive your victory!

I pray that these three steps will steer you as you journey into your promise. I believe that we have allowed our own fears, shame and weariness to prevent our going forward. We have a destiny! We have a promise, now shut up and sing! The battle is not yours; it is the Lord’s!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looooved this one! Keep up the awesome writing...Miss you, Christy