Denise’s 28-Day Journey
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…I shall be anointed with fresh oil. — Psalm 92:10How would you like to receive a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit on your life today? If your answer is yes, why don’t you go before the Great Anointer and allow Him to give you that fresh anointing? This is precisely what David was referring to when he said, “…I shall be anointed with fresh oil” (Psalm 92:10). The word “anoint” that is used primarily in the Old Testament Septuagint and the Greek New Testament comes from the Greek word chrio. This word originally denoted the smearing or rubbing of oil or perfume upon an individual. For example, if a patient came to see his physician because he had sore muscles, the physician would pour oil upon his own hands; then he would begin to deeply rub that oil into the sore muscles of his patient. That penetrating application of oil would be denoted by the Greek word chrio. So technically speaking, the word “anoint” has to do with the rubbing or smearing of oil upon someone else. When I hear the word “anoint,” I immediately think not only of the oil, but of the hands of the Anointer! Oil was very expensive in biblical times; therefore, rather than tip the bottle of oil downward and freely pour it upon the recipient, a person would first pour the oil into his hands and then apply it to the other person. For this reason, I refer to the anointing as a “hands-on” situation. It took someone’s hands to apply the oil. Let’s consider this concept in the context of God anointing our lives. God Himself — the Great Anointer — filled His hands with the essence of the Spirit and then laid His mighty hands upon our lives, pressing the Spirit’s power and anointing ever deeper into us. So when we speak of a person who is anointed, we are actually acknowledging that the hand of God is on that person. The strong presence of the anointing that we see or feel is a signal to let us know that God’s hand is personally resting on that individual’s life. Therefore, if you would like a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit upon your life, you must come before the Great Anointer! He alone can give you what you need. Open your heart to God, and allow Him to lay His hand upon your life in a new way. I guarantee you, a strong anointing will follow!
My Prayer for TodayLord, I am asking You to lay Your hand upon me in a brand-new way today. Rub the oil of Your Spirit deep into my life — and let the powerful fragrance of the anointing be felt, sensed, and seen by others who are near me. I want to carry Your power and demonstrate the aroma of Your Presence, so please lay Your hand on me today and let the anointing deeply penetrate me!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that God’s hand is on my life. Because of this, the Spirit of the Lord rests mightily upon me. Just as He anointed Jesus, I am also anointed to preach the Gospel to the poor; to heal the brokenhearted; to preach deliverance to the captives; to give recovery of sight to the blind; and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. I carry the power of Jesus Christ, and I give off the aroma of God’s Presence!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. Can you recall a moment when you really knew the hand of God came upon you? When that happened, what were the immediate results? 2. How long has it been since you experienced a fresh anointing of the Spirit? Where were you when God’s hand last came upon you in a dramatic and spectacular fashion? 3. If someone were to ask you to explain the anointing to them, what would you say? After thinking about this, try to write your answer down so you’ll be better prepared the next time someone asks you this question.
So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. — 1 Thessalonians 2:8One common failure among ministers is to teach people the Word yet neglect to model the principles so the people will know how to live it in their personal lives. But true discipleship is not complete until there is an example to follow. When people receive the Word only as an intellectual exercise, their heads may become filled with knowledge, but that knowledge won’t become workable in their lives until they have access to someone who models the message before them. For example, Jesus modeled His message before His disciples. He lived with them, walked with them, worked with them, traveled with them, and spent nearly every minute of three whole years with them. As a result of working with Jesus so closely, the disciples not only received Jesus’ message, but they also saw the way He lived it as He modeled an example before them. We know that modeling the Word was also a part of Paul’s teaching style. In First Thessalonians 2:8, the apostle Paul wrote, “…We were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls….” In this statement, Paul gave us the dynamic, life-changing principle that we must teach the Word and use our lives to model the message! Certainly Paul taught publicly — and there was probably no better teacher than he in New Testament times. He was the “crème-de-la-crème” of New Testament theologians. Paul could have lectured for multiple hours from the vast wealth of information and revelation stored up in his incredible intellect — and I’m sure that from time to time he did this. But Paul didn’t just lecture and preach. He gave the people not only the Gospel, but also his own soul. His “soul” was his life, his emotions, his view of things, his lifestyle. He lived so openly before the Church that he was able to model his message before them. Paul even told the Thessalonians, “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us…” (2 Thessalonians 3:7). The words “ye ought” are taken from the Greek word dei — a strong word indicating the Thessalonians understood that Paul was giving them compelling advice they should obey. In other words, Paul’s readers understood that even though the apostle did not directly command them to obey, they were to strictly follow the advice he was giving them. Paul continues to tell the Thessalonians, “…Ye ought to follow us.…” The word “follow” is the Greek word mimeomai, an old Greek word for an actor or a mimic. Therefore, Paul’s command to “follow” isn’t referring to a casual type of following; rather, it implies an intentional study of the life, deeds, actions, and thoughts of another person in an attempt to fully understand that person and then to replicate his attributes in one’s own life. This type of following enables one to think like his subject, walk like his subject, mimic his subject’s movements, make the vocal intonations of his subject, and to act like his subject in a masterful way. However, this can only be achieved by those seriously committed to the act of replication. Mimicking, replicating, and acting like another person are the results of true discipleship.
When you put all these words together, Second Thessalonians 3:7 could be translated:
“It would behoove you to follow our example — to imitate and mimic us with the goal of replicating what you observe in our lives….”Paul was committed to sharing not only the Word, but his life with those to whom he ministered. He told the elders from Ephesus, “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house” (Acts 20:20). From his testimony in this verse, we know that Paul publicly taught the Word; however, he also showed the people he taught how to live the Word! He gave them the entire package, which was the Word and his life combined together! When the Word is packaged with a personal, living example, it is powerful! Nothing is more powerful than a message backed up by a person who applies that message to his daily life. There is an unfortunate alarm among Christian leaders that if their followers become too familiar with them, the people will lose respect for them and their anointing. However, Jesus’ disciples were very familiar with His lifestyle, and it didn’t hurt their respect or honor for Him at all. Quite the contrary, Jesus’ life became the greatest message He ever preached to His disciples! Paul also wasn’t fearful that the Thessalonians would lose respect by knowing him too well. Quite the contrary, he urged them to follow him and his lifestyle so closely that they would be able to duplicate his life themselves. The personal example of his own life showed them that they could walk in the power of the Word just as he was doing. Watching the Word work in Paul’s life only made the message that much more powerful to the Thessalonians. As you work with new believers or people who are under your spiritual influence, be sure to let them get close enough to see that the Word you preach really works. It’s great to give them Bible lessons, but they need an example they can follow. If you are concerned that allowing people to get close to you will affect their respect for you, then you need to be honest about those areas of your life that you fear may discredit you in their eyes! Ask the Holy Spirit to help you walk in the reality of what you preach and teach. Ask Him to give you the boldness, confidence, and grace to let the key leaders under your authority get close enough to see how the Word works in your own life. If you’re really walking in the reality of what you preach, allowing people to get close to you will only demonstrate that you are the real thing — and that will increase their level of respect for you!
My Prayer for TodayLord, I thank You for placing me under people who helped me grow when I was a young Christian. Their influence was important in my spiritual development, so I thank You for them right now — for their patience, their love, their kindness, and their willingness to let me get close enough to really learn how to walk with You. Now it’s time for me to do this for someone else, so please lead me to a young disciple whom I can begin to show how to walk in the power and authority of Your Word.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that I am a good example to other believers. Because I walk in the truth of what I preach, my life makes the message even stronger. People need a good example they can follow, and that means they need me! The Holy Spirit empowers me to preach, to teach, and to boldly model my life before others with confidence and grace!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. When you first came to the Lord, who had the greatest personal impact on your spiritual development? What kind of access did you have to these individuals, and why was their influence so important to your growth? 2. Is there anyone you are helping by giving him or her this kind of access to your life right now? Since it was so effective for you, don’t you think you ought to return the favor by letting God use you this same way in someone else’s life? 3. Be honest! Is there any area of your life that you are afraid for people to know about? Does that out-of-order area cause you to keep people from getting too close to you?
This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. — 1 Timothy 3:1One of the greatest frustrations I’ve experienced through the years is working with people who have great potential but are apathetic about life. It’s even more frustrating when these people grew up in Christian homes and should therefore have been taught to pursue a higher standard for life. But many people weren’t raised according to a high standard of excellence as my parents raised me. Therefore, they don’t possess a deep desire to be excellent in everything they do. They grew up in an environment where low-level thinking was viewed as normal, so that’s the standard they’ve accepted for their own lives. However, a person who comes from a low-level background hurts only himself when he uses that as an excuse for staying mediocre. It’s so frustrating when you give people the opportunity to learn, to adapt, and to better themselves, but they don’t take advantage of these opportunities and therefore never experience needed change. You can send them to school, educate them, and even pay for them to fly halfway around the world in order to learn new and better techniques. But if they don’t possess the inner drive to become better and more professional, it doesn’t matter how much time or money you throw at them. It’s all a waste unless they have desire. This is the reason the apostle Paul put “desire” at the top of the list when he wrote to Timothy and instructed him on how to choose leaders for his church in Ephesus. In First Timothy 3:1, Paul said, “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.” According to this verse, desire is not only an important quality to possess, it is a requirement for any believer who wants to fulfill God’s plan for his or her life! The word “desire” comes from the Greek word orego, which means to stretch forward or to reach toward. It denotes the longing, cravings, urge, burning desire, or yearning ambition to achieve something or to become something. It portrays a person so fixed on the object of his desire that his whole being is stretched forward to take hold of that goal or object. In other words, this word doesn’t portray a person who just “thinks” about becoming something; this is a person who is determined to become something! He has put his whole heart, soul, and body into his dream, and he won’t take no for an answer! He will do whatever is required; he will change anything in his character that needs to be changed and do anything he must do to achieve his goal. It takes only a few personal experiences with desireless people to make it perfectly clear why Paul put this quality at the top of the list of character requirements for leaders. There is nothing more dreadful or irritating than to work with someone who is gifted and talented but who doesn’t even possess enough initiative to get up and do his job! As I said, one of my greatest frustrations — and this is true of every leader — is in trying to help, nurture, and develop people who have great potential but are apathetic about life. Desireless people stroll through life at their own pace, accepting standards and practices that would never be accepted in the business or secular world. They are like dead people! You push, shove, beg, plead, and pray for people that fit this description to get involved. Finally, they respond to your constant requests to do something at work or in the church. They even do it for a while — at least until they feel a little opposition or are just too tired! At that point, they give up. These people don’t have enough desire to make it through the obstacles they face along the way. This is another reason a potential leader must demonstrate this quality of strong inward desire. Obstacles will come as you grow in the Lord. From time to time, hindrances will try to knock you out of your spiritual race. If you don’t have a strong desire to be used by God and to become someone important in the work of His Kingdom, it won’t take too many of these obstacles and hindrances to make you give up and back out of your commitments. That’s why it’s essential to develop an inner desire strong enough to overcome the forces that come against you along the way. You need to know that even though every person has a dream for success, that doesn’t mean every person will attain it. It takes great effort and hard work to achieve success in any realm of life. Many people who dream of success will never experience it because they don’t desire it enough; therefore, they aren’t willing to put forth the effort to make it happen. As a result, a large portion of the lost world looks at the Church as a pathetic entity made up of a bunch of nincompoops who aren’t serious about what they do or say. This lack of desire is the reason why so much of what is done in the Christian world is of such inferior quality. A person who is satisfied with little will never achieve much. On the other hand, a person who is full of desire for excellence will never be satisfied with a low-level performance in his or her life. But how about you? Do you have enough desire to get up and do something with your life? Do your actions demonstrate that you are fixed on a goal God has given you? How much time do you waste watching television when you could be reading, studying, working, and developing yourself into someone better? You’ll never become someone great or achieve anything special by doing what everyone else does. If you want to stand above the rest of the crowd, you’ll have to do more than what others do. If you don’t have desire, you’ll never make it! So ask the Holy Spirit to stir up strong desire in your heart to become all that God has called you to be and fulfill all that He has told you to do. Keep developing your desire until it’s strong enough to overcome the forces that come against you along the way. Stretch forward with your whole being and take hold of your goal!
My Prayer for TodayLord, thank You for speaking to me so strongly today about my personal level of desire. For me to be what You have called me to be, I know that I have to develop a stronger inner desire than I am demonstrating in my life at this moment. Holy Spirit, please stir my heart so fiercely that I won’t be satisfied with my current level of life. Please give me a godly discontentment with the level I’ve already achieved so I’ll be motivated to keep reaching for higher levels in my personal life!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that I am filled with desire! I am fixed on the goal God has given me to achieve, and my actions demonstrate that I am committed to achieving God’s plan for my life. I read, study, work, and develop myself regularly so I can become better and achieve higher results. Because I will never become someone great or achieve anything special by doing what everyone else does, I do more than what others do. Because I have desire, I will make it!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. What are you doing to develop yourself so you can reach the goal God has given you? Are you studying, reading, or serving and learning at the side of someone who is already doing what you want to do? 2. What will be required of you in order for you to see your dream come to pass? 3. If you keep doing exactly what you’re doing right now, what will be your status in life two years from now?
For every man shall bear his own burden. — Galatians 6:5When Denise and I were first married and were just getting started in the ministry, our heart desire was to help people who were in need. Word of our efforts to help people soon spread throughout our city, and it seemed like there was always a long line of people approaching us to request help for all kinds of needs. Some of the needs were serious and legitimate, but soon we recognized that some people just wanted to take advantage of our goodwill. That latter category included those who didn’t want to get a job. These people had myriads of excuses for why they couldn’t go to work, and they came up with fantastic reasons to explain why everyone else should be paying their bills. At first, Denise and I didn’t realize that we were the newest gullible victims they had discovered to help them freeload. But after a while we looked at each other and said, “Wait a minute! These people aren’t serious. They’re just looking for someone to pay their bills so they can get a free ride in life.” Most needs you become aware of will be legitimate needs. However, there is a category of people who live like leeches on the goodwill of others. Helping people like this with financial assistance really doesn’t help them at all. You are simply helping to prolong the way they are living and empowering them to keep being irresponsible. Why should they get a job if they can keep getting someone to pay their bills and relieve them of their responsibilities? In Galatians 6:5, Paul makes a statement which at first sounds like a contradiction to Galatians 6:2 (see May 23). It says, “For every man shall bear his own burden.” What about this verse? Is it in conflict with Galatians 6:2? Are we supposed to help bear each other’s burdens, or is each person supposed to bear his or her own burdens? Do these verses contradict each other? The word “burden” in Galatians 6:5 is completely different from the one in Galatians 6:2. In Galatians 6:2, the word is baros, but in Galatians 6:5 it is the Greek word phortion. These words are completely unrelated to each other and don’t even look the same! The second word, phortion, is a military term that was used to indicate the expected amount of weight that every soldier was expected to carry in his bag, kit, or backpack. In the secular world, it was used to denote the normal responsibility that every man must carry for himself. Because it is a load we are expected to carry, it really is the idea of a person’s individual responsibility in life. You see, there is a certain amount of responsibility we are required to carry by ourselves. For instance, no one can do our work for us, and no one can make our decisions for us. Our bills are our responsibility to pay; our children are ours to raise; our dog is ours to feed; our yard is ours to mow; and our kitchen is ours to clean. If you haven’t discovered it yet, let me inform you that there are many freeloaders in the Body of Christ who would love to shirk these responsibilities and find someone else to do everything for them. These are the people Paul was referring to when he said, “For every man shall bear his own burden.”
In Galatians 6:5, the Greek expresses the following idea:
“For every man is accountable for a certain level of personal responsibility in life, and he cannot look to anyone else to free him of these obligations that are his to take care of himself.”So when Paul addresses these two kind of burdens in Galatians 6:2 and Galatians 6:5, he is describing: 1) a crushing burden that is too much for you to bear by yourself and that necessitates the help of someone else; and 2) the daily duties and obligations you must bear by yourself as a responsible adult. If you know someone who shirks responsibilities, it’s time for you to start helping that person accept responsibility for his own life! If you know someone who is freeloading on the goodwill of others, God may want to use you to tell him to stop it! People like that need to grow up and act like adults! So make sure that you don’t empower and prolong their irresponsible existence by giving them everything they ask for. Saying no may be hard for you to do, but doing it a couple of times will help them realize they have lost their free ride, awaken them to reality, and thus put them on a right track! It is very important that you think soberly about these things. Your actions are so important because your response will either help or hurt people. If they have sincere needs that they cannot overcome alone, you need to pray about what God wants you to do to help them. But if your analysis of the situation reveals that they are needy because they won’t do what is necessary to fix the problem, it may be God’s will that you tell them no. If you seek the help of the Lord, He will show you what to do in every situation. So ask the Holy Spirit today to give you the mind of Christ for every situation that is presented to you. If you will listen carefully, God’s Spirit will advise you about what you should do.
My Prayer for TodayLord, what I have read today is very hard for me personally. I know some people who need to grow up and start taking on more of the responsibilities of life. I must admit that I’ve gone to their rescue too many times and that I’ve probably enabled them to continue their wrong behavior and inappropriate lifestyle. Saying no is so hard for me to do, but I am asking You to help me stop empowering them to keep living irresponsibly as they have been doing. Holy Spirit, please give me Your mind and Your power, and help me to do what is right on this issue.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that I have the mind of Christ to help me know when I am to help and when I am to say no. The Holy Spirit speaks to my heart and shows me what to do in every situation. God’s Spirit advises me about what I should do. I am obedient to Him and am NOT led by my emotions.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!