A Prayer for Israel’s Salvation

Hosea 3:4

It’s the Christian’s responsibility to pray for the Jews and the nation of Israel. They’ve given us the Messiah, and we in turn must pray they’ll receive the Messiah they’ve given us. Join with me in prayer as we pray for the salvation of the Jewish people.

Prayer

Thank You that You are the God of prophecy.  We pray for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people.  They have gone ages without kings, sacrifice, sacred stones, ephod or idols.  You promised in the last days they would seek the Lord and David their King.  We pray they will commit to King Jesus who holds the key of David, and they will make Him the King of their life and nation. Their repentance will come with fear and trembling, but Your response to this repentance will be a God-sized blessing.

Hosea 3:4

This shows that Israel will go a long time without a king or prince, and without sacrifices, sacred pillars, priests, or even idols!

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A Prayer of Thanksgiving for Forgiveness

Hosea 3:1-3

The Lord is so faithful to forgive.  Sometimes we just need to tell Him Thank You!” Pray this short prayer with me offering the Lord thanksgiving for His grace and mercy.

Prayer

Thank You for redeeming me even in the midst of my continual backsliding.  You redeem my heart over and over again.  I rejoice in your faithfulness and grieve over my propensity to wander.  Speak to the deep parts of my inner man and say, “You are to live in My manifest presence for the rest of your life.”

Hosea 3:1-3

The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.”

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Please share this pray with a praying friend, then share it on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

If you enjoy prayer and intercession, then there are three series you want to check out.  Each series leads one on a journey of pray throughout the books of Joel, Habakkuk and Jonah just click on Praying the Scriptures.

Also if you enjoyed this article, check out the series from the beginning on “Moving From Survival To Kingdom Living.”

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A Prayer Acknowledging God’s Work in Ones Life

Hosea 2:19-23

Sometimes we try too hard. Unfortunately, the majority of the time our striving doesn’t accomplish anything. Our feeble attempts to get closer to God, transform our character, and expand our ministry, business or organization falls flat. Many times the cure to this dilemma is to acknowledge, honor, accept and cooperate with what the Holy Spirit is already doing. He is at work and we must observe what He’s doing and bless it. This is the spirit in which Hosea wrote this passage and the same spirit I’m attempting to capture through this prayer.  Why don’t you pray this prayer and agree with what the Holy Spirit is already doing in your life?

Prayer

You are my keeper. You have married me. You faithfully uphold Your covenant with me.  You relate to me in Your covenant with righteousness and justice.  Covering me in relational love-covenant mercy and due to Your faithfulness; I cannot help but to acknowledge You. I gladly bear Your name and as I respond to Your faithfulness You respond in even greater ways! You change the atmosphere over my life and around my life, and everything in the Earth and in my dominion comes alive with Your blessing.  This blessing will be obvious in a harvest of disciples, joy in the Holy Spirit, and Your power in my life.  Everyone will know this process started with You. They will know You planted this in my heart.  You are turning everything right side up in my life. Everything is backwards from the way it started.  You have changed my name and my whole identity.  I own up to Your process and give You glory.  I commit to acknowledge that’s the kind God you are! Hallelujah!!!

Hosea 2:19-23

I will betroth you to me forever;I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord“In that day I will respond,” declares the Lord—“I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, and they will respond to Jezreel. I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”

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Please share this pray with a praying friend, then share it on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

If you enjoy prayer and intercession, then there are three series you want to check out.  Each series leads one on a journey of pray throughout the books of Joel, Habakkuk and Jonah just click on Praying the Scriptures.

Also if you enjoyed this article, check out the series from the beginning on “Moving From Survival To Kingdom Living.”

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Moving From Survival to Kingdom Living

Part 10-To Keep It, Work It

 

For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them (Matthew 25:29).

 

In a life where our most basic subconscious instinct is survival, it is logical to protect the things that are necessary for our survival. Yet the strategy of the hoarders may differ from people to people and culture to culture.

In a materialistic setting the strategy is hoarding. Hoarding provides an imaginary form of protection from an unsure future. Keeping things safe by not using them makes sense. Keeping others from using them is even better. Saving the resources one has insures they will have them in the future. This protective attitude says my stuff is for me, but it is also larger than this. My talents are for me! My time is for me! My potential is for me! It is all for me! This means every resource is utilized for one’s own comfort, protection, and needs. This strategy builds signs around our life that say, Please don’t touch! Keep back! No one needs to use this, but me! This mindset gives the survivalist a false sense of security, but it does offer them some rest from the never-ending work of survival.

Another survival strategy is to only survive moment by moment. These hand-to-mouthers don’t take care of anything. If they happen to have extra, they let it rot and spoil. This self-sabotaging keeps them in survival mode, but is also a form of ingratitude that holds in contempt the sacred charge of possessions. These people attempt to rebel against the reality of survival by refusing to take responsibility for their lives. This mindset ensures dependency.

The play-it-safe game plan is another philosophy used by many. These fearful ones seek security. They play it safe on every level of life. Many times these people don’t maximize their potential, gifts, and talents because they won’t take risks. They don’t want to be at the top of the food chain; there’s too much pressure to stay there and too large a target on their backs. They just want to hide from predators. This is also a form of ingratitude that neglects the possibilities given to humanity by the Creator.

Once again, Jesus comes to the hordes of survivalists with His mind-spinning new perspective that affirms a new paradox that pushes one off the banks of survival and into the river of life. Jesus does not affirm hoarding or protecting the things that we feel are necessary for survival. Nor does He affirm that we recklessly misuse them. Jesus said in essence, “You use it or you lose it.”

The best possible way to protect the necessary and important things in life is not to keep them out of reach, but to use them. Use them consistently. Use them thoughtfully. Use them intentionally. Use them for bigger and larger purposes. Our feeble efforts in protecting the things we hold dear only endangers our survival. We have to use it, but we also have to use it well. Jesus taught a great deal on this topic: stewardship.

Another word for stewardship is management. If you don’t manage it well, then you don’t deserve to have it. If one doesn’t keep their car clean, then they don’t deserve a nicer car. Yet keeping the car in a showroom might protect it from the basic elements, but there is no guarantee the showroom will not burn down or have a tornado plow through it. Everything that one has in life is a tool or an opportunity. These tools and opportunities are to be used to expand our garden and expand God’s Kingdom.

God truly does have a sense of humor. He calls us to expand our garden and the resources we have to expand that garden are metaphorically called our “seed.” Our seed can be our: energy, possessions, finances, talents, time, gifts, relationships, attitudes, or actions. The best way we protect and multiply our seed is not by hoarding it in some “seed vault” in some dark but dry mountain. The best way to protect your seed is to sow your seed. The best insurance for your seed is to use your seed. Planting one’s seed produces more seed. The best way to have seed in the future is to plant the seed you have now.

Yet seed has to be managed with common sense and spiritual insight. One cannot sow seed in the dark of winter and expect a return on it. They must sow their seed in the right season, and in the correct “soil.” Soil speaks of context. One can sow into the soil of sin, wickedness, and selfishness. They can sow into the soil of small living and minuscule dreams. The other option is to sow into God’s Crazy Kingdom which leads to righteousness, peace and joy (Romans 14:17). The Crazy Kingdom flows with true life, big dreams, bigger giving, heart-living and audacious loving. When you sow into this context, the soil is very fertile.

Anytime you sow, there is a risk. Not every seed comes up. Even in good soil. Nevertheless, most seeds come up. Whenever a seed produces fruit, then it is multiplied. Naturally, when one plants a tomato seed, a tomato plant grows from the seed. The plant with the right care, context and conditions will be loaded with tomatoes. A large tomato will have more than fifty seeds in it. A fiftyfold return on one’s investment is good management. This is just from one tomato!

Most people don’t need to worry about how they are going to manage their abundance of resources. The better question is how they are going to manage the little resources. The prophet Zechariah told us, “Who dares despise the day of small things…” (Zechariah 4:10a). The problem with managing our small resources is quitting too soon. When one only possesses a little, giving feels like a great sacrifice. Many people start sowing, but they lose patience as they wait for the harvest of their sacrifice. Most people give up trying to improve professionally, paying off debt, saving money, investing, growing spiritually or losing weight. They attempt these things. They make small gains, but it takes tons of effort and creates large amounts of discomfort. Most people see their small return and give up because they feel it’s not worth the effort. But what they don’t understand is these small gains begin to add up over time. One day these small gains reach a tipping point. It takes much time and effort to reach a tipping point, but when one reaches it, everything begins to change. The momentum begins to shift, and gains begin to speed up.

It’s like when you played Monopoly when you were little. On your first go around the board you landed on Tennessee Ave. and you bought it. Then someone landed on your patch of land and they paid you fifteen dollars. It felt like it would take forever to get a set of properties of one color. No, a decade. But then you finally bought all the property that went with Tennessee Avenue: Saint James Place, and New York Avenue. Next you put a house on each of them, then you got four houses, and eventually you put hotels on them. This seemed like it took an eternity, but if you have ever stuck through a game of monopoly you know that when this starts happening, the game starts speeding up. Now when an opponent lands on Tennessee Ave, they pay you $250.00. You’ve worked hard and now have a hotel there, after all! You have now reached a tipping point. All the small progress you made begins to pay off.

The same thing is true in life. You have to fight and scratch to make small gains. If you persist, you reach a tipping point. And when you reach this tipping point, the small gains begin to pay larger dividends.

The more you use your energy, possessions, finances, talents, time, gifts, relationships, attitudes, or actions (the more seed one sows), the better you get at sowing seed. Your skills as a farmer/manager begin to increase. Practice increases your productivity. The greater the productivity, the faster you get to a tipping point. This increase in skill also leads to more advantages and opportunities which accelerates progress even faster.

This process starts a positive cycle in one’s life. Small amounts of seed sown in the right context brings small gains. Nevertheless, the process of sowing increases one’s skill at sowing, which also increases productivity. This adds to an accumulating net of small gains. This increase of skill leads to more advantages and opportunities. Minuscule gains turn into moderate gains. The accumulating net of moderate gains begins to snowball, reaching another tipping point. Now small gains begin to multiply into something bigger and better than anyone would have ever imagined.

This process will prove true in fixing marriages, saving and investing money, paying off debt, growing spiritually, increasing your maximum weight on the bench press, training to run a 5K, growing your small group, or building a ministry. Hopefully people will strive for balance in the seed they sow into differing parts of their lives, and hopefully their lives will hit multiple tipping points at the same time. This creates a tidal wave of synergy that has resulted from sacrificial giving, continually acquiring skills, utilizing advantages, and maximizing opportunities in every area of life, resulting in a life that has reached multiple tipping points for the positive in one’s marriage, finances, spiritual life, career, and health all at the same time.

Sadly, if one does not use what one has, to make progress, even though progress is slow, then they begin to lose what they have. Marriages fail, bankruptcies are filed, vocations lose meaning, and the body begins to break down. This reality will prove true no matter if people are merely attempting to survive in this brutal world or truly seeking to live in the Crazy Kingdom. You are either growing or dying. You are either gaining or losing. You are getting stronger or getting weaker. You are either for Christ or against Him.

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A Prayer Seeking Personal Revival

Hosea 2:14-18

Most of us would agree our nation needs awakening and our church needs revival.  I believe the Holy Spirit is gazing upon each one of us.  He’s looking to see if we will allow Him to start that revival within us. Rather than looking for this revival to arrive from outside of ourselves, why don’t we start building the altar within our own heart?  If this is your desire, then pray this prayer with me.

Prayer

Lord, woo my heart. Draw me to You.  Speak to me. Return Your blessing to me. Resurrect my heart; like when I first fell in love with You. Restore my youthful zeal. I return to You my first love!  I don’t want to respond to You in positional duty, but in relational love. I commit my words to You. Cleanse my mouth of words dominated by sin and mental idols. Remove all demon-talk from my lips.  Thank You for Your covenant of peace.  Your grace removes striving, arguing, and strife from my life. I receive Your peace.  May this be done in the power of Your name!

Hosea 2:14-18

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards,and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. “In that day,” declares the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’ I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked. In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land,so that all may lie down in safety.

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Please share this pray with a praying friend, then share it on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

If you enjoy prayer and intercession, then there are three series you want to check out.  Each series leads one on a journey of pray throughout the books of Joel, Habakkuk and Jonah just click on Praying the Scriptures.

Also if you enjoyed this article, check out the series from the beginning on “Moving From Survival To Kingdom Living.”

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Moving From Survival to Kingdom Living

Part 9 - To Live It on the Outside, Live It On the Inside

 

“Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.” ~Matthew 15:16-20

In a world cursed by an obsession with survival, this paradigm will have natural assumptions.  One of the most logical assumptions from this perspective is the concept of “survival of the fittest.”  This concept was not created out of a science of naturalism.  Darwin put words to the dominate thought imprinted upon the human psyche.  This evolving idea burns within human hearts ever since the curse of imminent death was given to our great grandparents in the garden.

If the fittest survive, then where one finds themselves in the pecking order is a pressing concern.  Yet one common denominator these groups have is that ones place in the pecking order “success” is determined by external factors. How one moves up the pecking order can be diverse and sophisticated or simple and crude, and can depend on culture, geographic need or new trends in an ever evolving society. This ladder climbing can result from sheer force, the guile of manipulation, the fear of witchcraft, political cunning, the weapons at ones command, or the possessions one owns.  Every culture defines what the top of the pecking order looks like.  This is the definition of success in that culture-external prominence.  This external prominence, or failure, becomes the label placed upon members of that culture, and when this label is conferred and accepted, it becomes ones identity.  Therefore the world’s view of identity and success is rooted in external realities.

Ones resources at hand determine their place in the pecking order.  Their location within the pecking order determines the label conferred on them, and if this label is accepted it becomes ones identity.  When this worldview is unchallenged within our psyche, then it is natural to come to the same conclusions that modern culture has about success. You are successful if you; drive a nice car, live in a big house, have good looking men or women by ones side, having lots of money in the bank. If you have these things, then you are thriving not surviving.  You are a success!  The more success you have, then the higher you sit on the totem pole.

The prevalence of such a view still does not protect it from John the Baptist and Jesus’ calls of repentance.  This call to live within another kingdom. A call to live in a Crazy Kingdom. This mind spinning, psyche uprooting repentance calls humanity from the “survival of the fittest” to true life.  Our identity and our success do not come from the outside in.  It comes from the inside out.

In the passage listed at the beginning of this chapter Jesus is saying the identity of “sinner” does not come from consumed food.  What comes from the outside does not determine ones identity or limit ones personal power.  The label of “sinner” and the behavior of sin comes from the inside out. The message of the gospel is that Jesus provides power to change our internal state, and that new internal state creates a new reality for us on the outside.  When one accepts the gospel they are taking upon themselves a new identity and a new heart.  This changes ones reality.

In light of this, the external indicators that determine ones place in cultures pecking order does not make one successful.  Much of the context of scripture deals with this reality within the context of dealing with sin. Nevertheless, this Kingdom principle still holds true across the spectrum of ideas and context, but the application is much larger.

The larger application is your internal reality determines your external reality not vice versa. One must experience it internally before they can experience it externally.  The wisdom of Proverbs states, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”   The kingdom does not come from the outside in.  The kingdom erupts from the inside out.  The atmosphere within you creates the atmosphere around you.  You will prosper as your soul prospers.  In a free society your internal state will create an external context that will recreate your internal state.  The applications are huge. If you are stressed on the inside, you will create circumstances that will create more stress for you.  The circumstances do not create stress.  They just reveal stress in our heart.  When trying circumstances come, they will be dealt with orderly thus recreating the internal state of peace or they will be amplified into greater stress creating a mirror image of your internal state.  The same is true for fear.  If you are fearful, you will create circumstances that reinforce fear in your life.  One of two reactions will occur when truly fearful circumstance arise, you will start defusing the fear from these circumstances or you will start amplifying the fear.  The same with lust, greed, pride, so on and so forth.

You will become who you see yourself as.  If you see yourself as a person who has little value, then you create circumstances that reinforce that belief.  An example is if a lady sees herself as cheep and dispensable, then she will never be able to say, “no” to “Mr. Wrong.”   She will never have enough will power to overcome her identity because it is impossible for her to act outside of her identity.  Mr. Wrong reinforces the belief she has little value.  She must hear Jesus say, “You’re valuable…You’re precious…You’re significant…You’re important… You’re so important that I died for you.” When she believes this her internal identity changes and her external reality can change, and she can then say, “no” to Mr. Wrong and then in converse say, “yes” to Mr. Right.  Her identity and her internal reality is everything.  Self-control has little relevance to the issue.  So when she believes this, and makes the next step integrating the teaching of Jesus into her identity, then it becomes easy to say “no” to Mr. “looser” Wrong.  Why?  He does not confirm the value of her significance.

This is a two edged sword that works for good as well as the bad.  If you have an excellent state internally, then you will create a context that reinforces excellence in your life. A life that now produces excellent products, services and results.  If you see yourself as successful internally, then you will create a context that lends itself toward success.  If we see ourselves as pure, then we will start to live a morally pure life.  This is why the Bible calls us saints before we act like saints.  If you can buy into that identity, then it will change your behavior. Our inner life becomes our reality.

This is true no matter what mistakes you have made, abuse that has been unjustly heaped upon you, a ridiculously long history of failure, or location in the pecking order of your society.  To live it on the outside, you must live it on the inside.  This is how the Crazy Kingdom works.

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Also if you enjoyed this article, check out the series from the beginning on “Moving From Survival To Kingdom Living.”  Just click on each link to read part 1, part 2,  part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8.

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A Prayer For Holiness

Hosea 2:3-13

In this toxic world, we need holiness like never before.  Join with me as we cry out to God for purity, holiness and godliness.

Prayer

Strip me before You. Strip me of my pride, self-reliance, self-rule, and sin seeking.  Make me thirsty for You. Just as a desert is thirsty for water, make my heart, mind, soul, spirit and will thirsty for Your Spirit.  Please don’t prosper the fruits of idolatry in my life.  The things born of sin. Block the pathways to sin and idolatry. Hedge me in with thorn bushes. Keep me close to You.  Though I chase after sin don’t allow me to catch it. May sin stay out of my reach.  Create in me the desire to always return to You.  Remind me of Your benefits. Your spiritual and physical nourishment that You continually lavish on me.  Any blessing from You I have leveraged for sin take it away, then please return it as I acknowledge you.

Hosea 2:3-13

Otherwise I will strip her naked and make her as bare as on the day she was born; I will make her like a desert, turn her into a parched land, and slay her with thirst. I will not show my love to her children, because they are the children of adultery. Their mother has been unfaithful and has conceived them in disgrace. She said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my olive oil and my drink.’ Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.’ She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,
who lavished on her the silver and gold—which they used for Baal. “Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine when it is ready. I will take back my wool and my linen, intended to cover her naked body. So now I will expose her lewdness before the eyes of her lovers; no one will take her out of my hands.I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath days—all her appointed festivals. I will ruin her vines and her fig trees, which she said were her pay from her lovers;I will make them a thicket, and wild animals will devour them.I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers,but me she forgot,” declares the Lord.

Help Us Get Our the Message

Please share this pray with a praying friend, then share it on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

If you enjoy prayer and intercession, then there are three series you want to check out.  Each series leads one on a journey of pray throughout the books of Joel, Habakkuk and Jonah just click on Praying the Scriptures.

Also if you enjoyed this article, check out the series from the beginning on “Moving From Survival To Kingdom Living.”

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A Prayer for Faithfulness

Hosea 2:2

 

This super short prayer of repentance has the ability to build faithfulness within us.  Why don’t we pray this together?

Prayer

Remove faithlessness from me. I don’t want to be your adulterous bride. I want to be faithful to You. Grace me with the ability to obey.

Hosea 2:2

“Rebuke your mother, rebuke her, for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts.”

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UpDate

My apologies for not posting in a while.  I’ve been preaching in Poland.  We have some videos and pics on our Facebook page.  I also have a group called Cameron King Missions on Facebook feel free to join as well.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/216956048722479/

 

A Prayer for Healthy Relationships in the Church

Hosea 2:1

If there has ever been a time for the church to demonstrate unity, then it’s now! We can set an example for our nation and the world in this opportune moment. Why don’t you pray this short prayer with me for unity in the church.

Prayer

Lord, help me to speak well of my brothers and sisters in the faith. May I always be willing to fellowship and connect with them.  Let my unity of mind and heart not be in words only but also in practice.  Let this unity manifest in healthy relationships among Your people. We pray this in Your name and for Your glory, amen.

Hosea 2:1

Say of your brothers, ‘My people,’ and of your sisters, ‘My loved one.’

Help Us Get Our the Message

Please share this pray with a praying friend, then share it on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

If you enjoy prayer and intercession, then there are three series you want to check out.  Each series leads one on a journey of pray throughout the books of Joel, Habakkuk and Jonah just click on Praying the Scriptures.

Also if you enjoyed this article, check out the series from the beginning on “Moving From Survival To Kingdom Living.”

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Moving From Survival to Kingdom Living

Part 8-To be Seen Do It In Secret

 

 

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.                                  

 Matthew 5:14-16

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.                                    

 Matthew 6:1-4

Lets start off by reconciling these two scriptures.  One scripture boldly proclaims, “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  To summarize this scripture it could be paraphrased as “when people see you doing good works, then they glorify God.  The logical conclusion is that the more good works people see done, the more they glorify God.  This scripture certainly encourages public ministry.  Your good works serve as public relations for God.  The terminology of a “Town built on a hill” could easily be paraphrased as a ministry with a platform and influence. A ministry that cannot be hidden.

The second scripture tells us plainly, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.”  This scripture appears to discourage public ministry opting for secret service.  Actually, Jesus is building on the same point in the same sermon.  One could summarize this passage as saying, “Make sure your motivation for good works is not your own public relations.”  Love for God and love for others still needs to be the primary motivation not self promotion.

Notice Jesus assumed his followers were going to do good works. Therefore he instructs His followers that when they do good works there is no need to announce it.  There’s no need to attempt to get credit from others for ones good works.  God knows and the person served knows and that is all that really need to know.  Jesus was clear. Good works are not the currency for recognition.  If you want to be seen by God, then do it in secret.  The more secret, the purer the motive, and the more God takes note and the more the He rewards.

Yet because of the previous passage we know that God wants his followers to have a platform.  If there is no platform visible or a light on a stand in the dark, then larger groups of people will not see the hand of God at work through his people.

These two scriptures lay out a spiritual process that occurs in Spiritual formation, but also cuts across the survivalist mindset.  First, a person starts serving privately and/or secretly.  As they work privately in service to God a few things occur: 1) God uses service of people to purify their heart for service.  2) Their skills in serving and ministry are developed and refined. Everyone starts at the level of incompetence and grows from that point. 3) God allows their motives and skills to be tested.  When this process is complete the Father pulls away the veil that has hidden this secret servant.  He gives them a platform.  Now everyone in the secret servant’s new exalted platform sees a picture of a right person, doing rights things, the right way, for the right reasons.  The observers get to see a testimony of the heart of the Father.

There are two things about this process we humans don’t like, especially if we are still in survival mode.  One, this process takes time.  Most humans want to shoot to the top as fast as possible.  That might include rising to the top of a corporation, making all-stars in recreation baseball, being first chair in high school band, or growing that ministry super big super fast.  There is a race to the top, however most of the people who get to the top the fastest usually don’t stay there.  I heard one preacher say it like this, “There are no microwaves in heaven, just crockpots.” The time of secret service appears to transform us and that’s the point. The survivalist instinct desires to rise to leader of the pack as fast as possible.  Being the top dog ensures our survival.

Secondly, is God built this process into all of humanity.  Humans didn’t feel the pressure of this before the fall into survivalism.  Humanity was going to live forever.  You know, “What’s the rush?”  Yet because humanity fell under the curse of death and the curse of survival, everyone instinctively races against the clock.  God is not in a hurry and there is no panic in heaven.  No survival instinct there.  God takes his time.  He is excruciatingly patient.  This process has been build into all of creation so you might as well embrace it.

You might as well understand the practical ramifications of this painful process.  God graciously allows you to practice in secret.  This saves us a lot of embarrassment and pain.  God is gracious to us; this process is a gift.  This process can be summarized in the word “preparation.”

No one sees preparation. A movie might take 2 hours to watch, but the production of that movie took three years.  The reward of secret preparation is the movie itself, much less the success of it. People observe the results of high achievers, and they say, “Boy, they’re lucky.”  They did not see the valedictorian studying for some exam on some lonely Friday night when everyone else was out playing.  The Olympian receives the gold on the platform to the cheers of the crowd, but the crowd doesn’t see the hours of training, coaching and practice.

The crowd sees a happy functional family, while they don’t understand the effort it took to create that family dynamic.  The crowd was not there before this couple was married, when they were single and they refused to date any loser that came along; when the selection process looked hopeless, and when the lonely weekends had no end in sight.  They don’t see all the effort put into communication, working out problems, dealing with differences.  Many people say, “They are so lucky to find a spouse like that.”  Luck had nothing to do with it.  If it is seen as a success in public, then it has been practiced long and hard in secret.

If you want to be seen… If you want to have influence… If you want a platform… then you must do it in secret.  People are not going to see the light of success and be able to keep it until God says they are ready.

God is not going to pull back the curtain until you are the right person, doing the right things, the right way, with the right motive.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers: The Story of Success he studies people who are hugely successful in life.  People who are bigger than life due to their unprecedented success.  Naturally, there are countless variables that lead to huge success.  Yet one of the biggest variables is what Gladwell calls the 10,000 hour rule.  Research confirms that people at this level of success are very rare. So rare they are tabulated as outliers.  To personalize his research Gladwell presents the examples of professional athletes and musicians, the Beatles, Bill Gates and many other interesting things and people.   Yet one common denominator among them all is they have practiced a minimum of 10,000 hours.  When a person has prepared and practiced for 10,000 hours, then odds are they are prepared for their once in a lifetime opportunity.

To be seen, you must do it in secret.  There are no short cuts.  Short cuts become long detours. Embrace the process.  Practice it with patience.  Purify your motives.  Develop your skills. Make the pain of the process worth it. This is how you embrace the Crazy Kingdom.  This is how you will inherit a crazy reward.

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