Posted by: mamaamy | March 30, 2008

Ready for the Season?

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Today we had tea at my home with the ladies I know here in Albuquerque area. I felt like I was to speak on these things in particular at the gathering. These are the notes from that talk:

Ready for the Season?

Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

By God’s grace He has given us visionaries—those that look toward the future and prepare us. Those that we know that are looking toward the future—our visionaries—are speaking. Here are some of the words that they are using:

“Crisis” – (Charlie R.) meaning: the decisive moment (turning point for radical change of status-change for better or worse)

“Shift” – (Mary Margaret A.) meaning: a change in direction, a change in emphasis

”Repent” – (Sam S.) meaning: turn from one direction and go another

I have felt on the brink of something for the past year at least, and I know others have felt this similar anxiousness and excitement…something is about to happen.

And what are the visionaries saying to us? “We are on the brink of a new season.” (Is. 42:9 “Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”)

When MM was here she spoke about Esther and I sent out an email following that talked about how I felt that we could prepare to become women of impact in this time…it was not a word about doing something to gain our standing with God, or anything to do with our position in Christ—it was about preparation so that if He sees fit to use us in this new season, we are ready!! I don’t feel that I am to talk about the new season. What I feel that I am to talk on today is how to be prepared for this new season—how to get ourselves ready.

There are a couple of things that I feel I am to share about in regard to this preparation time:

1.) What do we do with the old?

2.) How do we become ready for the new?

What do we do with the old?

Isaiah 28:9-10 says, “Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.”

With my kids, I taught the little nursing ones bit by bit, and as they grew older it was precept upon precept. As they matured those early precepts never left them, but I taught them deeper things, things that were dependent on whether or not their maturity could handle them.

I believe that the Lord desires for us to remember the precepts—the important foundational things, but I believe we must not dwell there. We are no longer babies needing mama’s milk. The precepts have been laid and now we can stand on those without fear of forgetting them. We must walk forward into this new season on the foundation of these precepts. We are free to move forward in maturity. Yet, if we cling to any one of these precepts we may not perceive the new thing that He is doing.

At the last meeting, Sam spoke of several major moves of the Lord in recent history: the Pentecostal movement and the Charismatic movement. I was considering some of the precepts that have been lain down since I have been walking with the Lord here in Albuquerque. Sam and others have labored in these fields over the past 20 years.

1.) Faith/Rest- repentance from dead works…they don’t gain you points with God…rest in who you are in Christ…He does the saving…you don’t work for it…

2.) Spiritual Gifts- Holy Spirit is in us and we can hear God…we can each walk in the gifts of the Spirit…

3.) 5 fold Ministry- we can receive all the offices…prophets, apostles, evangelists, pastors, teachers…

4.) The Body of Christ- receive the whole Body…no denominations…we are one Body with Christ as the head…we don’t need a traditional church setting, we are the ecclesia…

5.) The Kingdom of God- we are sons, not slaves…heirs to the Kingdom…joint heirs with Christ…

6.) (specifically with women) Submission- Ephesians 5…submit to one another out of reverence for Christ…

What I have been seeing is that if we stop at any one of the precepts, it becomes religion.

Examples that Sam brought up: Pentecostal- holiness became religion. Charismatic- became religion when ministry became based on doing gifts…gifts become the teller of “maturity.”

My own testimony: For Mitch and I, when we “got” the Body of Christ teaching, we really believed that home churches were the only way…we needed to do what the early church did…eventually this idea became religion to us because we didn’t want to go on from that precept. Eventually it became unfulfilling and unfruitful within our home church and the small gatherings of believers, and we began to ask, “Is this all there is?” The Lord spoke to us directly and said, “NO.” “Doing “church” in a small home group wasn’t what the early church set as an example—following the Spirit of God was the example. We are free to fellowship in the Body of Christ as He shows us.

Another testimony: As I have been working with young women, submission to their husbands was a major precept that these women needed to hear coming out of school and Universities teaching them independence and rebellion against authority. I could see, though that eventually we began to dwell in that place and the women were beginning to get frustrated. They also began to ask, “Is this all there is to being a woman?” The obvious answer was, “NO.” Esther was under submission, but a true woman of impact.

I believe that all of these precepts are great and necessary teachings, but God in His mercy won’t let us build an altar around one precept and make a religion out of it if we are truly seeking Him. It’s precept upon precept, line upon line. This is what moves us into maturity.

So what do we do with the old? We receive the old, we are grateful for the layer upon layer of foundational things, and we walk upon them into to the new season without fear that we will lose them or forget about them. We walk in the fat of the milk that we received, but move on to the meat. We become so familiar with the precepts that we naturally walk in them as a matter of course: We rest in our faith, walk in the Spirit and operate in our gifts as the Spirit leads, receive the apostles, prophets, etc., we fellowship freely with the Body in any setting, operate as though we know who we are as sons of God, submitting to one another in love. These are the foundations—we don’t have to keep going back and saying, “well, what about speaking in tongues”…or “this sounds like works”…or “she’s out there doing things for God, but is she submitted?” Let us know that we are mature…we understand these things…let’s dwell on them no longer…let’s move into to the new knowing that we all have a solid foundation.

What are we going to do in this new season, this crisis, this shift? Are we going to “repent” and follow the pillar of cloud and the column of fire? What has God given us the precepts for, except that we grow up in them and stand on them in maturity?

How do we become ready for the new?

We become women of shift. Esther was a woman of shift. Mary Margaret spoke in depth about Esther and her ability to shift from an orphan to a queen. She also challenged us to look again at our time, our talents, and our treasure. Are we ready to fully let God do as He wishes with them? She encouraged us to engage in what God is doing and no longer just be a spectator. She also spoke about our measure of faith and encouraged us to walk in our measure of rule. Let us ask, “What is our measure of rule in this new season?” We must perceive it. Look for it. Seek. Be ready. Sam said, “Repent.” Turn from the old and look to the new. MM said, “”Circumcise your heart.” When Joshua stood on the brink of the “promised land” at Gilgal, God required that they circumcise the men and wait for healing before they went in to take the land. They hadn’t had to do this while they wandered the desert, but before they went in, this was required to set them apart. We have the same opportunity to circumcise our hearts and heal, and become strong and ready.) Are we able to shift?

Esther was a woman able to shift. Ruth was also a woman able to shift. The story of Ruth is well known, but I really felt it was one pertinent to the times. Naomi and her husband went to Moab to live because of a famine in Israel. While there, her husband died. She had 2 sons, both married to Moabite women, and the sons died also. Naomi was left with her 2 daughters-in-law. They endured horrible circumstances. Eventually, it was known that the famine had ended in Jordan and Naomi was to return to her people. The daughters went with Naomi for part of the journey, and then Naomi decided it was time to send them back to their father’s homes to “find rest.” After entreating them for a while, one of the daughters- in-law went back to Moab, but it says that Ruth clave unto Naomi. The famous lines, “Wherever thou goest, I will go” are spoken. Here are the highlights of the remainder of the story:

It says that Ruth:

1. was steadfastly minded to go with Naomi and finally Naomi gave off talking about it and let her go along.

2. Ruth was willing to labor in the fields for food for them (she volunteered).

3. Ruth asked permission of the authority.(Boaz gave her the freedom of a family member and allowed her to drink free with the others. She asked why he was so gracious to her and he said because her character had been fully shown to him. Her reputation had preceded her—all of her kindness, and faithfulness (she had been faithful in the little things.)Ruth 2:12 is Boaz’s blessing. He said to Ruth, “The Lord recompense thy work and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.” He fed her with his reapers.)

4. Ruth labored in the work—she gleaned until evening, and then beat out all that she had gleaned. She did this until the end of the harvest.

5. Ruth was obedient. Ruth 3:5 Naomi tells her exactly what to do. Ruth says, “All that thou sayest unto me I will do.”

6. Ruth didn’t follow after popularity or riches. Boaz recognizes that she would be an incredible “catch,” that she could easily go after the young men or a wealthy man.

7. Ruth was a virtuous woman (Prov. 31).

8. Ruth was redeemed. (Naomi’s name means “pleasant” but as she returned home she told everyone to call her Mara meaning “bitter.” But after Boaz redeemed Ruth, the women said of Ruth that she is better to Naomi than seven sons. Ruth bore Obed the grandfather of David.

What can we find in that may encourage us in this time of shift? Ruth’s moment where her desire to shift is evident is when she is at her own “crisis”—the decisive moment (turning point for radical change of status-change for better or worse). She is on the road between her homeland and Naomi’s homeland. Naomi says that she is free to go back and find rest. But Ruth is “steadfastly minded” to go forward. This is her point of shift.

In our time of preparation for what is ahead:

1.) Are we steadfastly minded to make the shift and move forward? Or are we ready to find rest and stay comfortable?

2.) Are we willing to do the work? Are we looking for the opportunities that God places before us?

3.) Have we sought the Lord’s authority to labor in a field? Are we on board with what He is doing? Then let us, like Ruth, do the labor and not grow weary of well (complete) doing. Let us be obedient in all that is said for us to do. Let us not follow after what looks good to our eyes (youth, wealth). May we become virtuous women of impact.

Prayer: Gives us eyes to look beyond our present circumstances and situations, to the new season that you are bringing us to. Help us to be on board with what you are doing. “Thy will be done on earth even as it is being done in heaven.”

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