Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An Appointed Time For Change

Every season has an appointed time for change. Opportunities for change present themselves by situations in our lives making us aware of a need to make a change, and a choice.

When God wants to change our nature, He presents a struggle. These “struggles” often appear with personality conflicts, power struggles and other situations. It could be within a family, on the job, a place where “politics” arise in the community, at the PTA, or in the church. Far too many people succumb to trying to please others and in the process, wrestle with dominion issues. This is a no-win situation for everyone concerned. T  The question is, “How long does it need to continue?” and “What do I do about it?”

God allows people to learn from oppressive or uncomfortable environments in order to perfect their character. He allows them to encounter people and situations that challenge them personally so as to reveal their true character. Often these encounters occur in places that we can't easily escape from, such as on the job, in our church family or even within our own family.  Tests evaluate a person’s character, inspects their morals, and tests their integrity. Sometimes the changes that take place are more of an internal restlessness. You might experience dissatisfaction, frustration and a yearning to break free into something new, even if you do not yet understand what that "new" thing is. God puts that restlessness there so that people will be ready for change when He is ready to produce it! When the door finally opens sometimes it is comfortable and other times not, but people have to be ready to move when that appointed time arrives. At some point, the season becomes ripe for change and decisions must be made that will affect the direction of the person’s future and set the course ahead. If you seek Him, He will let you know step by step what you should do as your response, and He will help extract you from where you're sitting between a rock and a hard place (Smile!) - when it is time. It may get messy and it may get uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t Him in the middle of your situation. He opens doors and He closes doors as He sees fit. Even though some of our life events may seem random or unexpected at times, God is all about making things happen in "at the appointed time!"

It is interesting how quite unexpectedly a situation can suddenly elevate into a crisis mode where people are called to make difficult choices. Freedom is rarely ever achieved by doing nothing at all. Waiting it out or hoping things will change may be optimistic but that hope is misplaced if a person thinks that it will happen without making some sort of a decision and taking action. Faith requires action, and action requires confidence towards God.

With every test, God has an appointed time for it to come to an end. God increases discernment, prophetic gifting and spiritual strength through the process of wrestling and struggle. Sometimes the decisions that we must make involve employment, where we are going to live, or other practical decisions. At other times, the tests and decisions we encounter deal more with integrity, character and moral decisions. Stay true to what you know is GOD's heart and His will. If you aren't sure, ask Him to show You in His word, but don't get caught up in allowing other people to manipulate you with negative things such as guilt, condemnation, and manipulation When others try to yoke you with intimidation, inferiority, fear and insecurity…the person must wrestle with all of these things until they make a decision for change.

Jacob wrestled with his brother to break the yoke of domination, but he wrestled with God until his nature was changed. God changed his nature and revelation began to flow. (Read Genesis 28).

Rachel wrestled with her sister in order to become fruitful.

Joseph wrestled with his brothers, with slavery and with oppression in order to keep a dream alive.

Sampson wrestled with lions, with his wife (Delilah), and with the harness put on him by the Philistines - until he broke free. Although Sampson was responsible for his choices and some of his choices weakened his strength, it was while he was bound and harnessed that his spiritual sight was restored and his strength grew back. Think of it! Sampson became blind in the natural as a result of his sin, but in the process recovered his ability to see his problem with spiritual clarity. That clarity produced a righteous desire to pull down the house of the enemy! God granted the desires of his heart!

In every person’s life they will inevitably encounter someone that wants to strip them of spiritual strength and vitality. People wonder why some relationships are such a struggle. It might just be that certain relationships are not ordained for your life. If a relationship drains you of spiritual strength and vitality, it's time to let go! Those that place yokes of oppression, guilt, condemnation or manipulation on others do so in order to pull others down into their own narrow perspective, and yoke them to their own beliefs, values or ideals. This is a harness God never asks us to wear if it also harnesses our faith, ability to love or walk in freedom. False yokes only produce bitterness, resentment, unbelief, and irritation. If you're weary of wearing the false yoke, take it off. It’s the enemy’s plan to remove your garments of authority and royalty and replace them with reproach. Reproach comes when people submit to wearing false yokes that God did not place on them, and the longer people wear those false yokes, the more they succumb to re-writing their belief system and identity in Christ. The testing, the wrestling, and the struggle to be truly free of oppression is what God uses to change a person's nature.

When you are changed to the point where your loyalties can’t be bought, bribed, manipulated or yoked to the wrong influences, that’s when you become a person God can use for His greater purposes. He will always present a test, and with that test, a choice. Will we fear man, or God? Who is really on the Lord’s side? Where you place your loyalties, and who is allowed to be a voice of influence in your life determines much more about our future course than one might stop to think about.

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” (2 Chron. 16:9)

When kings of men oppress the servants of the Lord it is an attempt to reproach the living God, and He will allow the stage to be set that causes the proud and arrogant person to fall by their own sword. (See 2 Kings 19:7 and also the story of King Saul in 1 Sam. 31:4).

God causes the occasion for defeat. (See 2 Chron. 22:6,7).

God causes people to meddle with trouble so that they fall. (See 2 Kings 14:10).

God will harden people’s heart in their own sin, so that their pride and arrogance causes them to think they are unable to be defeated. (Exodus 14:17,18).

People may try to hide their true motives for what they do, but God sees through every disguise. (See 2 Chron. 18:29-19:2).

God is able to help or to overthrow as He sees fit. (See 2 Chron. 25:8).

The reality is, when the struggle has produced a new nature inside of a person, a situation will suddenly arise that escalates into a confrontation. God knows just the right button to push that hits a person deep in their convictions. The enemy seeks more and more control, always trying to bring people close enough to throw another yoke on them, but God uses that “hot button” to cause something inside of the person to rise up and say, “Enough.” “ I have tried to accomodate you in everything else, but that thing you are asking now I just can’t go along with.” This is where the oppressor gets hit hard in their blind spot, and pride causes them to lose the battle. They felt unable to be defeated, and God saw every motive for the things they have done. In that instant, the yoke gets broken, for greater is the God inside of a person than the oppression of the enemy around them. The anointing breaks the yoke!  That situation that may feel so overwhelming and uncomfortable is designed to bring issues to a tipping point. Decisions must be made. A course of action must be decided. Put your trust in the Lord. The presence of the Lord is there to lead people out into freedom. Some, of course, could make the choice to be free but fear keeps them immobilized and a slave to an oppressive environment. Oppression will either make slaves or drive you out of the land of oppression. God leaves the choice up to us whom we will serve.

"And it shall come to pass, when you become restless, that you shall break his yoke from your neck." Gen. 27:40

The same God who set Israel free is in your midst to give you that same choice. Angel's stand by awaiting instructions. It’s a time of decision making. It’s a time of God's mercy. Jesus gives every person the opportunity to say, "Today is the day of salvation," to remember that Jesus came to release to all who would seek Him - the power to have their sins forgiven and partake of the power of His resurrection. A time to set a new course or stay the old one. Let God arise and His enemies be scattered, I declare over you today, the yoke is BROKEN in Jesus name!

When God changes the nature of his servant, He also changes their wineskin. He cannot put new wine in an old wineskin. It just won’t hold it. He looks for those who are willing to be changed, radically overhauled so that they fear no man yet walk humbly in a spirit of grace and love. A person’s belief system must be changed; their faith must be purified to challenge what they truly believe, and to choose who will be Lord of their life. When the person is changed from within, they are given a new heart and a new message. God is changing His people radically and bringing them out of the chains of slavery and raising them up as deliverers. He is putting a new message of liberty within them! He is putting His cry of deliverance to come forth from those that hate to see His people oppressed. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah is roaring for His people to come out and be separate from those that seek to make prey of them!

Father God,

I thank You for showing me the reasons why I have encountered opposition. I thank You for truly bringing about my freedom. Holy Spirit, take things out of my hands so that I don’t try to control things out of fear or insecurity, or even a lack of understanding of your purpose. Do what You know needs to be done. Give me strength to make difficult choices if and when they arise, but help me make the right choices with integrity, demonstrating honor and respect towards others. Override my natural responses and give me Yours, Lord, so that whatever I say or do is full of grace, love and a humble yet firm response. Help me speak truth in love and not be double minded. Help me to stand firm in what I know to be right. Give me Your conviction so that I will not be persuaded by fear, reason or manipulation. I thank You for opening new doors and opportunities and granting me Your favor in every circumstance of my life. Let Your favor lead me into divine connections, give me appointments with people of influence and grant me favor with others. Bring me into the place you have already prepared for me. In Jesus name, amen.



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