An Overcomer Lives in Their First Love

 

Greetings,

Learning to overcome is part of the process of becoming a mature son or daughter in Christ. This process involves being able to overcome in this world. Overcoming is a testimony of God’s grace at work in our lives. Mercy is enough to show us that God loves us, but God’s grace empowers us to demonstrate our love for Him. This is a testimony of overcoming!

Little children know God’s love, growing sons and daughters embrace becoming a testimony of God’s character, and fathers give their lives to see children embrace the process of overcoming to become sons and daughters in the character and inheritance of Christ. Learning to overcome is part of the process of becoming a mature son or daughter in Christ. Leaders must aspire to become fathers and mothers who can inspire children to want to be like Christ when they grow up. That growth is a process of increasing maturity. This means those children will emulate what they know to be the character of Christ in their family environment. This can only reveal Christ if the family tree is the Tree of Life and not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – right and wrong.

1 John 2:12-14 I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.

Fathers empower their children to overcome by the grace of God at work in their hearts. Fathers have been there and the demonstrate a testimony that can be embraced and walked out in the lives of growing children. Maturing family members must overcome to constantly live in a place of loving God first in all things. Intimacy with God is more important than being right. For this to be the character of our lives requires an overcoming so little children can become maturing sons and daughters in Christ.

 

Revelation 2:1 “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’

The overcoming promise of this letter to the church of Ephesus is to eat of the tree of life in the midst of the Paradise of God. This is not a verse for some faraway place in heaven. This is a testimony of grace at work in our lives. Father’s empower young men and women to embrace the power of God’s grace and become a testimony of God’s grace at work in their lives. The grace of the Spirit of the Lord empowers us to become a testimony of one who knows the love of God. This is revealed in this first of seven letters in the book of Revelation.

This first letter was to the Church of Ephesus. The word Ephesus means, pleasure or delight. This letter depicts the language of God in the beginning of Adam and God in the Garden of Eden. The word Eden means desirable, in synonymous terms to the meaning of Ephesus. In this letter Jesus is seen as “the one who holds the seven stars in His right hand”. He is seen as Lord, because He is the one who loves us. His love holds us in all things!

I believe the angel of the Church of Ephesus refers to the Spirit of the Lord, one of seven aspects of the Holy Spirit (Isa. 11:2; Zech. 4:10). Like all seven churches, the angel is an aspect of the Holy Spirit, but the message of the angel is to each aspect of the Church that is, that was, and that will be, thus it applies to the growing maturity of each and every believer in Christ. This first angel carries the message that is the antidote to dry places, spiritual warfare, and a loss of paradise (the desirable place). The Spirit of the Lord is the antidote to the dry places of our hearts that had us bound to the spiritual warfare of the temptation to seek other life sources. Humanity was bound to the curse of looking for love in all the wrong places! That quest for love was constantly disrupted by what seemed like lifeless dead-end alleys bound to the knowledge of good and evil. Offenses and judgments were obstacles in the dimly lit passages of our search.

The language of this letter to the Church of Ephesus is that of the Garden of Eden with terms like “works”, “labor”, “patience”, and the knowledge of hating “evil”. These are garden tending terms (Gen. 2:15; Jam. 5:7; Gal. 6:8, 9). In this letter Jesus comes as the one “who walks in the midst”, as He walked in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:8). Those in Ephesus had done well at knowing who were true apostles and who were false. They had the knowledge of good and evil, but they had left their first love. They were missing the purpose of the garden as a place of knowing an intimate walk of love with God. This was the sin of the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve left their first love in exchange for the knowledge of good and evil. The knowledge of Ephesus had given them a hatred for evil, but left them with a loss of intimacy with God in Christ. Their hatred of the Nicolaitans was a value held by God as well, but God wanted their trust in Him to outweigh their demand for being right. The Nicolaitans were a people of compromise and were willing to confess more than one lord in the name of God. Jesus simply wants our hearts so that we will not be motivated to seek other lords in our lives. The overcoming promise of this letter to Ephesus was a restoration of the Paradise of God through the eating of the tree of life. The antidote to the dry places in which the false lords of the world live is found in knowing one Lord through intimacy with God in Christ. When God grants us repentance unto life the dry areas of our hearts become watered gardens of His love and presence. What a wonderful letter revealing an exegetical truth for the first century, a syntactical witness of the past, and a living principle by which we can all live in Christ in the generations to come. All New Covenant believers have been born again! They have been born again to the Paradise of God in Christ! They have been granted repentance from dead works in Christ and have been restored in a personal relationship with Him in their hearts (Heb. 6:1; Rom. 5:1-4; Eph. 2:11-22).

Young men and women must learn to embrace the grace of the Spirit of the Lord that empowers them to live in the place of knowing a personal relationship with God that reveals a walk in life that testifies of a relationship with God. This will involve a test and testimony of grace. Like all measures of grace, it involves standing strong in the midst of resistance. It includes a cheerful endurance in the midst of testing. The cheerful endurance of those who stand releases a testimony of the character of Christ within them. This is the overcoming power of grace that reveals the hope of change, the glory of Christ within. Returning to your first love and living in and from that place in life is a testimony of God’s grace working in the life of one who overcomes.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Food For Thought,

 

Ted J. Hanson

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Overcomes Are Responders First

Greetings;

We are not known as the people of God merely by how much God loves us. We are known as the people of God by how much we love those we can see. When we become forgiving, merciful, gracious, kind, and givers of life to those who are still stuck in the thinking process of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we are growing in the process of becoming manifested children of God that overcome in all things. Offenses come, but we are never to take an offense. Life is not fair, thus we must each embrace our own testimony of victory in Christ without comparing our lives with the lives of others. Fatherless societies seek to protect themselves from offenses, but a father led culture seeks to empower the family to not take offense when offenses come. This is called ‘growing up’ in the nature of Christ.

As a father I write to you all today to say it is time we become the people of God and not merely little children who depend upon Him to be the God of the people. We should have little children among us and we should all keep the attitude of a little child, but we must also grow in our ability to overcome in all things, be strong in all things, and be grafted in the word of God within us in all things.

1 John 5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Doing what God says is part of the process of growing up. Acting like God is part of becoming a mature son or daughter of the inheritance of Christ. Faith comes by hearing God speak to our hearts and it is the first step to being able to respond to all that God says to us. Unless we hear and respond to His voice we cannot complain when the circumstances of life cause our houses to collapse. Unless we learn to do what God says we cannot remain strong in our relationship with God in the midst of the storms of life. Fathers don’t say everything is ok when it is not, they simply inspire the family to know how to let God work things out and how to be strong in doing things that are sometimes hard. Digging is much harder than simply camping on the beach.

Luke 6:46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”

There is a key phrase in this Scripture that reveals a secret to understanding the secret to growing in maturity in Christ. The phrase is ‘Lord, Lord’. This phrase was found in God’s encounter with Moses on Mount Sinai (Ex. 34:6). In the Stone’s edition of the modern Torah, the rabbinical commentaries state that this act of stating ‘Lord, Lord’ is a Hebrew idiom that implies two things. The first Lord implies that God is the one who forgives us for our sins before we sin, knowing the full extent of all of the sin we will ever do. The second ‘Lord’ implies that God is the one who forgives us after we sin knowing the full extent of all of the sin we have ever done. This is the very first expression of God experienced by Moses in his request to see the glory of God. I believe that this phrase is also key ingredient in our own journey of progressively becoming the house of God. It is not what we believe about God that changes our lives. It is our revelation of God that inspires us to truly believe all that He says. It is based fully upon a revelation of His love! When we see Scriptures that address this double ‘Lord’ it is an implication of this Hebrew idiom.

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

The issue is one of intimacy and trust. Jesus is saying, “Why is it that I am the one who forgives you before you sin knowing the full extent of every sin you will ever do and I am the one who forgives you after you sin knowing the full extent of everything you have ever done, yet you still don’t do what I say.” The true issue of obedience to God is a revelation of His love for us.

In this story of two houses, both houses were built in the same geographical location. Both may have been the same design of house and even the same size of house. Perhaps they both were drawn with the same architectural floor plan. Both houses are likened unto people who God was speaking to and who were hearing what He had to say. The difference is that one responded by acting upon the words he heard while the other did not. Jesus says that the one who heard and responded to the words was like one who digs down to the rock and establishes a foundation for his house. The one who merely heard is like someone who built his house without any foundation at all. The response of acting upon what God was saying is a testimony to the process of setting a foundation for the house. Both houses were faced with the violent storms of life, but only the house with the foundation set upon the rock was able to stand. This is the testimony of true ‘belief’. Our beliefs don’t change by hearing God; they change by responding to what God says to us. This is the process of setting our lives upon the foundation of Christ. I believe that the basis for our ability to respond to what God says to us is based upon a revelation of God’s love. When we know how much He loves us we will respond to all that He says. It is a revelation of who He is that empowers us to do all that He says. It is a matter of love!

God speaks to all people and anyone can hear Him. He loves all people and everyone is a beneficiary of His love. God’s presence is with all people, but not everyone seeks to give their presence to Him. When we know He loves us we respond by loving Him. We become willing to do what He says, even when it is hard. Living in a justice system of love is more demanding than living in a justice system of right and wrong. Sometimes we want to be so righteous we fail to do what is right. It may not be right to forgive the unforgivable, but it is the right thing to do. It may not be right to receive the flawed vessels God sends into our lives, but in love it is the right thing to do.

More to come,

Ted J. Hanson

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Children, Sons, and Fathers

Greetings,

I believe that God desires to raise up fathers in the earth that will turn their hearts to the children and empower the children to turn their hearts to the fathers. By this, the curse of the earth is broken. A multigenerational inheritance of life comes into the earth when the head of a family recognizes the importance of the things of the future and the things of the past.

Matthew 13: 52 Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

As leaders we must embrace being fathers and mothers who teach the church to be strong and overcome in order to see the things that God has yet to bring come to pass and to see the ancient things of destiny advanced in the generations of today.

In many ways the church has become weak, because the nations of the world are weak. We all come from fatherless societies and our ability to become fathers and mothers of inheritance has been weakened and diminished by self-focused people who believe that life is more about entitlements than about empowerments. This entitlement mentality has infiltrated the fabric of the church. Little is known about overcoming, but a true father has overcome many things and can therefore empower their children to become strong in the overcoming grace of Christ. Being a child is a wonderful thing! The focus of a child is knowing how much they are loved. This is a great thing and should never be lost in our thinking, but we must move beyond simply knowing we are loved to become those who are willing to do whatever it takes to demonstrate our love for God and for others. A child knows their sins are forgiven and that they are loved by the father. This has become a major sound in the body of Christ. I hear it everywhere! He loves us! He forgives us! He is our daddy! These are all wonderful truths, but it is the testimony of little children.

As a father in the faith I want to first express that I am constantly growing in my understanding of God’s love, forgiveness, and His presence in my life. I also want to confirm that I have also grown in seeing to it that my presence is in God’s life. I have learned to overcome in my 43+ years of knowing Him. Overcoming is the process of becoming a responsible head of a household and it is to be the testimony of the maturing body of Christ – men and women who live to love God and love others. These are men and women who are more concerned with taking responsibility for who they are in Christ than what they can get from Him.

1 John 2:12-14 I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children,

because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.

We must overcome the wicked one. We must be strong and allow the word of God to abide in us. That word that abides in us is not just the freshly spoken rhema word of God in our hearts. It is the logos word, the words that God has spoken. An overcomer knows how to stand on what God has said even if they don’t feel the freshness of His word within them. They know how to constantly hear God and how to stand fast on what He has said. This includes doing due diligence to study God’s written word and to know the kind of things God says so we will not fall for covenant breaking, character compromising thoughts and words that come from other sources. The cares of the world, offenses of the flesh, plans of the devil, and many other things want to keep us as mere children who know that God loves us, forgives us, and is present in our lives. God comes into our lives to reveal that He loves us, but that doesn’t mean that He approves of everything we are doing or even the present character of our being. We were born naturally in societies of compromise, but we have been born again to become who we were meant to be as the people of God in Christ. God wants us to move into His world and become like Him. To do this we must understand that empowerment is more valuable than entitlements. Giving life to others is greater than simply receiving the life that God gives to us. It is not about what God can do for us, it is about becoming like Him in all things!

We must know how to test the spirits. We must know the difference between a word that promises blessings and a word that reveals the testimony of Christ within us. We must know the difference between words that are self-empowering and words that are Christ empowering! We must all learn to depend upon the One within us who is greater than the world. He is greater than our worldly attitudes, thoughts, desires, and actions. We must grow in maturity to embrace the overcoming power of Christ within us. No man has the answers to our problems. No pastor has the ability to bring to us the testimony that God desires each of us to have. Only God can do this and it is by the power of Christ within each of us. We must all grow in maturity and not merely blame our circumstances and situations upon what others do to us or some character way of the world. We were of the world, but now we are children of God!

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

The test is confirmed by the testimony of Christ in each of us. We must grow in maturity in recognizing the witness of Christ within us. It is not the testimony of external blessings, but of internal convictions. As leaders we must grow in this process. As fathers we must seek to empower a maturing family to do the same.

Food For Thought,

 

Ted J. Hanson

 

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A Father Led Church

Greetings;

I believe that we are in the midst of a grassroots revolution. There is a war on authority and the eternity within the hearts of men and women is crying out for a restoration of fathers in the church. The world is filled with fatherless societies and the authority of fathers has been replaced with the control and the manipulation of people and leaders who grasp for power but understand little about the life-giving nature of true authority.

I believe that the one thing that qualifies God as God is the fact that He is the Father of all flesh. He is the creator of the universes, but He is the Father of all people. He is the one and only true Father of every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. He is the source of identity and inheritance for everyone. We were created in His likeness and His image; and in Christ we are born in Him for the destiny of His name! He is not God because He is powerful; He is God because He is the source of all life. He can be sovereign, but I believe His goodness overrides His sovereignty. I believe that religion demands the sovereignty of God, but relationship depends upon the goodness of God. He is good, because of who He is and He is our Father. Because He is a good, even what the enemy intends for evil God can turn for our good. I believe this is the true source of belief and life for everyone. This is what sets the testimony of Christ in us apart from every religion in the world. God is the source and we are the fruit of Him.

It is time that that we adjust our thinking as the Church. We have little understanding of a true Father, because we have been bound to a system of abusive, absent, and apathetic father figures. This is due to a lack of revelation as to who God really is. It is for the lack of fathers that the Church has been left as a single parent home. Mothers have led much of the Church and women have had to take the role of both the spiritual fathers and mothers in the family of God. This has left a perverted view of the Church and I believe it is time for the Church to become a Father and mother led reality of humanity in the earth.

Before we can fully embrace change in the Church we have to see the reality of that change. What do we see? What we see we will get. We must frame a world by faith. The pile of rubble in our lives is nothing less than the building material to shape our tomorrows (Heb. 11:1-3). The opposite of faith is natural sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Natural sight can often propagate an environment that embraces fear and it is natural sight that hinders the forming of anything that is different than we can naturally see. When I say natural sight I am talking about natural experiences. It includes the seeing of our eyes, the hearing of our ears, and the thoughts of our minds that are formed by the experiences or lack of experiences in our past. We have to be able to see things as they are in heaven in order to create a culture in the earth that is heavenly. This is the wisdom of God. It is based upon things we have never seen, heard, or thought before. What we see, God will give us.

If we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we’ve always gotten. Our vision must be more than one of healed wounds. It must be a vision of a future and a hope. It must include a kingdom. If our main focus is the healing of wounds, it is only dealing with the pain of the past. If we only fix the past, we will live in the past. Surely we must see the healing of wounds in people’s lives. It is essentially important, but it is only part of a healthy family environment. A single parent Church has left the Church with a focus of healing wounds, a boss or business led Church has left the Church with a focus of being successful, but God wants the Church to be made of people who are significant to the nations and the generations of mankind. It is time to fix the foundation and build the house new!

Mothers seek to heal wounds, while fathers seek to cross finish lines. Fathers seek release, while mothers seek comfort.  A comforting Church only, will not fulfill destiny. The Church must raise up a generation of people who will press on toward the mark! We must create an unfolding generation who will be willing to compete for the prize! We are not on this earth to escape its trials and tests. We are here to finish the race!

Men are designed to seek the glory of God!  A man must seek to make his wife his glory! It starts there (1 Cor. 11:7). A man’s true glory is to see his wife fully alive in Christ. A dominated and controlled woman is a woman who is less than fully alive. A man’s role is to activate, facilitate, and release his wife to the greatness of who she is meant to be in life. The Church is the Bride of Christ and she must also be activated, facilitated, and released to the greatness of all that she is in Him.

Who will fight for the glory of his wife? Who will fight for the glory of the Church? Men must see the blessing of God as more important than their fears in order to find their true identity as men. I am not talking about receiving the blessing; I am talking about becoming resources of the blessing. We must see the expression of fathers and of bishops restored in the Church. These are men who release an inheritance for the unfolding generations of Christ. We must also see ourselves with successors.

Where is the greatness in the Church? The message of God’s kingdom is a message for fathers. We must have the Father’s presence in His house. The testimony of a Father led Church is one that looks forward, thinks big, plans long, connects people to God as Father, fills gaps by presenting the true God, raises hedges by purifying themselves, and prepares a people to stand in the garments of the life of God in the earth! This is a Father led Church.

We must become the true house of God in the earth (Gen. 35:1-7). Children are born, families are nurtured, peoples are gathered, cities are built, regions are settled, cultures are made, nations are governed, and generations are produced. We can only do this by each of us deciding to live life, take responsibility for life, join with others in life, work with others for life, influence others with life, identify with others in this life, server others for life, and live for others as the testimony of life.

The future of the Church is in the home. What we do in our daily lives, and how we reach out to others in our daily lives, is going to be what will set the course for our future and the future of the Church. Let’s be a father and mother led Church with a restored and renewed expression of fathers and mothers working together for the purpose of God in the earth!

Food For Thought,

Ted J. Hanson

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A Single Parent Church

Greetings,

One year ago today I posted a blog on the Single Parent Church. I felt the need to repost that blog today in light of what I believe to be a war upon authority. This word is so relevant to what God is saying to His people. I felt it essential to post this word again!

We live in societies and cultures that have been for a large degree become fatherless. There is a curse in the earth for lack of fathers. The prophet Malachi declared that God would come to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers to remove the curse in the earth. The apostle Paul wrote that the earth is groaning for the manifestation of the sons of God who know that God is their Father. This is what will liberate the earth from its futility.

Romans 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.  20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

As leaders in the church we are faced with leading to transform people from a fatherless society to a kingdom culture that knows God as the Father of each and every man or woman. Because the church is made of people who come from the societies and cultures of the world, we often take on the attributes of the world. We must become the church that transforms the world. We are sent by God to submerge nations into the identity of Christ and to disciple nations.

The fatherless societies of the world have for a great measure affected the church and the church has functioned as a single parent home. When we hear the word “father” we often think of someone who meets our needs, but this is the mindset of mothers. Mothers are nurtures, but fathers are overcomers. What do we see? The vision of true fathers is a vision that extends to the generations. Just as God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Israel, the vision of a father extends to the third and the fourth generation. This is why Paul told his spiritual son Timothy to commit what had been given to him to faithful men who would be able to teach others also. Father’s look to the future; because their hearts are set on inheritance, destiny, and legacy. They know that there is a purpose before them and it is attached to accomplishing something in the earth.

2 Timothy 2:1, 2 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Adam was formed from the dust of the earth and therefore His purpose was attached to accomplishing something in the earth. Eve came from the rib of Adam and therefore women are concerned with making sure everything is healthy in the body. We need a healthy body that strives to accomplish great things in the earth! It is not an either/or reality. The church must be a healthy family unit, fulfilling destiny in the earth. We are not here for our will to be done. We are here for the will of the Father to be done. We were born as nobility in Christ!

Our vision must be more than one of healed wounds. It must be a vision of a future and a hope. Mothers are concerned with the wounds, the needs, and the environment of the family. This is good, but it is a vision of mothers. There must be a marriage of the spirit of the mother and the spirit of the father in the church in order to see a healthy family that lives for purposes of God in the earth for the future generations. We must have a kingdom vision. If our main focus is the healing of wounds, it is only dealing with the pain of the past. If we only fix the past, we will live in the past. It is time to fix the foundation and build a new house!

Mothers seek to heal wounds, while fathers seek to cross finish lines. A father knows that sometimes it is necessary to strive for the finish even if we are hurt. In sports, the team that is filled with players who are willing to play hurt wins the game. The role of the church is not meant to be easy, it is meant to cross finish lines. We are to press on toward the goal set for us in Christ.

Philippians 3:11-15 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.

Fathers seek release, while mothers seek comfort.  A comforting church only, will not fulfill destiny. We must press on toward the mark given to us in Christ! We must compete for the prize set before us in Christ! We must finish the race! Christianity is often soft and is not much different than the fatherless cultures of the world. It is time to rise up and become a people who know the comfort of mothers while running the race set before them by fathers in the faith.

Food For Thought,

Ted J. Hanson

July 25, 2016 – Prophecy by Ted J. Hanson

I hear God saying, “Will you hear what My Spirit is saying? That I have come with a kingly authority, but my kingly authority is not like the kingdoms of the world. That I am not a King who seeks to control. I am not a King who seeks to lord. I am a King who seeks to give out the substance of all that I am. I am a King that does not just give out the things that I have to those who come looking. I am a King who looks for children who also will become those of nobility. For I desire to bring forth a people who will be passionate and compassionate. A people who will recognize that they can partner with the world in unusual partnerships as they recognize My speaking through the kings of the world. Though those kings do not know Me, My people know Me and they recognize the voice within them. They recognize that My favor is here to turn the purposes of men to serve the purposes of God. And again in the midst of this revolution I will do revolutionary things, even in the natural. I will cause the inventions and discoveries to serve My purposes. Don’t be distracted by the things that pull your attentions towards the hunger in the hearts of man’s own agenda and don’t let that spirit come into your body.”

For the Lord says, “This is a time when I am raising up a pure authority and that authority is an authority of community. It’s an authority of love. It’s an authority of life. Yes, it’s an authority that’s transparent, but it is also an authority that’s translucent. It’s not just transparent to show the vulnerable places, but it’s translucent to show the glory of transformations. For there is a confidence and there is a conviction to reveal who I am to the nations. And I am not afraid to make My decisions, says God. But I make My decisions based upon the passion and compassion of My heart. And when I remove things that need to be removed I remove them because it is the best interest of that which will be life forevermore. And when I bring forth a furtherance of things that are I bring forth a furtherance of things that are because it’s in the best interest of bringing forth the increasing glory of My name. Will you be my people? Will you be a generation that rises up and embraces another generation? Will you be those who reject the headships of legalism and promiscuity and receive the headship of the King of glory, the King of king? And will you become the bread and the wine that doesn’t serve the purposes of just mere soulish fellowship but serves the purposes of that which is bread for the nations and life for its people? Will you become the fruit that can be eaten? Will you become the substance that can be digested? Will you be the people that change the world?”

The Spirit of God says, “Leaders I am putting upon you a mantle of fathering, but it’s not just fathering as you have known in the past. For this is a father’s womb. There are going to be things that are birthed as a mother would birth, but they’re going to be birthed as a father would birth them. For which is birthed will be overcoming and you will raise up a people who will not just how to embrace the joyful things of the Lord, but they will rejoice and joyfully embrace the suffering things so they can become the substance that transforms the nations they find themselves within. And God says, I am turning my hand in favor towards that internal place of the heart. And so, Watch and see, be a wake and expect it – for this is a time for the grassroots revolution to gain momentum. What’s at hand is a war on authority, but authority gives life. So walk in this anointing and receive the speech of the Lord. Recognize the speaking of the Lord and become the speaking of the word of the Lord. And be the children of the kingdom. Be the place of oil that touches the earth. Be the place of dew that touches Zion. Be the place that’s known as, ‘Wow, that is life forevermore!’ Be the place of diversity that reveals unity and let those who are in the wars of the world only serve the purposes of those coming to the place that ends all wars, the internal kingdom of life.”

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A War on Authority

Greetings;

There is a war in the nations. What is that war? It is a war against authority. Only authority gives life. Power alone will always produce some form of dysfunction and death. True authority doesn’t contain measures of control or manipulation. It only contains measures of life. True authority is seen with fathers living for their children and children living for their fathers. True authority is a testimony of nobility, where everyone lives for the purpose of God’s kingdom and the wellbeing of others. This even happens unknowingly when people embrace the life-giving, life-empowering, and life-protecting boundaries of authority. It is not bound to or limited to people who know God in their hearts.

Authority is a measure of a substance of life given and received for the sake of others. It is never something taken from another, but it is a freewill exchange of the heart. That life can be life sowing, life growing, life maturing, life protecting, and life expanding. Anything without true authority lacks the ability to do these things and thus any system propagated by them results in developing a culture that seeks to take things from others for their own survival. This is nothing less than a cancerous culture of death. A cancerous culture puts its own needs above the destiny of the generations and thus life is cut short. It lacks a multigenerational plan and it lives for the self-needs, self-gratifications, and self-expectations of individuals who seek to band together based upon common interests and goals that meet their own personal needs. When we exchange life-giving authority for self-gratifying power we embrace a way of living that dishonors others. Only a culture of life-giving authority and exhibit the true attributes of a culture of honor. Any culture that exalts men above women exhibits a war against authority. Any culture that exalts women above men is a war against authority. Any culture that values adults above children defies the authority of life. When sex becomes more important than love that produces the fruit of life there is an authority problem. Authority contains a willingness to accept the responsibility aiding the lives of others.

We don’t get our identity from our authority. We get our identity from who God created us to be as His children. Authority is a measure of responsibility given by God to bring life to the world. Everyone has an authority. We need to learn to be who we are and we need to learn to live in the measure of authority given to us by God. Who one is determines their identity and who one is determines their ability to be given measures of authority. In this sense, Identity is connected to authority. In truth, our authority measures our doing and our authority can empower us to do many things. Where authority is missing true identity is missing too, because true identity is a foundation for walking in true authority. Authority is a testimony of inheritance. It is connected to where we come from. Inheritance is a measure of identity and it is something given and received. When it is despised and rejected something less than inheritance is spawned.

I have known for the past sixteen years that we are in a move of God’s grace. That move of grace is being empowered by the Spirit of Knowing (Knowledge – as in intimacy). The Spirit of Knowing is one of seven expressions of Holy Spirit’s perfecting work in our lives and in the earth. I have known that this present move is about love. It is about community. It is about communion and life. It is about the breaking of bread, the giving of life to one another. It is about the drinking of wine, the receiving of the heavenly testimony of the life of the Holy Spirit in our midst. I have known this move to be one of love, but I am coming to understand that true love is a testimony of true authority. It is not mere empathy for the needs of men. It is an honor for the Creator and His children so the earth can be liberated into a greater freedom and liberty of life.

This present war against authority pretends to be powerful in its presentation. Men motivated by this anti-life spirit execute others by removing their heads. They mutilate and disfigure the human forms of men, women, and children. This is a defiance of authority. When cultures disfigure the forms of human lives and treat them as something less than the dust of the earth, that culture is in danger of extinction. It is not the Creator that makes it extinct, but creation. Creation cries out for manifested authority, but when power alone prevails the groans and travails of the earth expel the rooting of the perverted generations of men.

This war upon authority is not just present in the legalistic, controlling cultures of the world. It is also at work in the liberal, promiscuous cultures of the world. These cultures are bound to the administration of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and thus they lack the ability to bring the true substance of authority to the peoples of the world.

Where are the princes of nobility? Where are the warriors of authority? Authority is the true measure of love. It doesn’t just empathize with our needs. True authority brings solutions to the needs of men. True authority empowers life. Power alone seeks to take life from others in the form of entitlements, while authority is a measure of substance given that can empower others to propagate life. We must be leaders in the testimony of authority and not mere power. True leaders empowered by the internal kingdom of God are life sowing, life growing, life maturing, life protecting, and life expanding in their measures of rule.

Food For Thought,

 

Ted J. Hanson

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Authority Empowers us to Become

Greetings;

There are many people who desire a measure of power, but few people really want authority. You can have power without having authority, but you cannot have authority without having power. The devil has power, but he can only have authority when someone gives their authority to him. Power alone seeks to take something from others, but true authority seeks to give live to others. Authority is not a matter of control. It is a measure of life given to someone for the sake of others. Authority always gives life! Authority is who someone is for the sake of others, but sometimes those in authority cross the line of authority into mere power. Power alone is trying to be something you are not. It involves taking something, but authority is something that is given and received. A good definition of authority is truth. It is what it is! You are who you are! This is why the ultimate authority, God, simply says; ‘I am who I am!

The ultimate authority in our lives is the manifest presence of Holy Spirit in our hearts. Holy Spirit empowers us to become changed by the life of Christ within us. That life is a testimony of God’s supernatural grace at work within us that brings about life-transforming change. God also sends individuals to us that assist us in being intimate with God from within our hearts. They do not merely tell us what to do or how to act. They assist us with our connection with God, a connection only found in the human heart. That testimony is one of intimacy with God and it is called faith. Faith comes when we hear God speak within our hearts and faith frames our world to become all that God says it should be from His life-giving throne in heaven. It works through love and it is therefore a testimony of the One we hope in at work in our lives.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

The worlds that were framed were the ages of men and women who were moved by God’s voice at work in their hearts. They heard God and they were able to believe for the things that God could see above the visible things they could see in their ages. God wants us all to walk by faith. Holy Spirit is at work in our lives with the power of grace to empower our world to be framed by all that God sees. God also sends authority to us to assist us in this process of a personal relationship with God in our hearts.

Romans 1: Through Him (Jesus) we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name…

Obedience to the faith is obedience to the voice of God in our hearts. God’s grace and God’s sent authority to our lives assists us in becoming who and what God says we are. Apostleship is not just about a few apostles sent thousands of years ago. The word apostle means sent one. Those sent ones are the God’s sent authority of life to assist us in becoming testimonies of God’s life in this world.

A God-sent life-giver causes you to be a life-giver to others. Authority is the source of identity, inheritance, and the power to become nobility. Power alone cannot reveal who we really are. Who we are is always connected to where we come from.

Isaiah 32: 8 But the noble man devises noble plans; and by noble plans he stands (NAS).

Isaiah 32: 8 But a generous man devises generous things, and by generosity he shall stand (NKJ).

Freedom without the essence of nobility is not a true testimony of life. Jesus said that those who drink of Him would become those who give life-giving water to others. He said rivers of life would flow from within them (Jn. 7:37-39). We are sons and daughters of the King of kings. We were born for the sake of the world. As children of God we are princes and princesses for His glory! God-sent authority in our lives helps us come to faith in who we are. A child getting to watch all of every kind of movie they want to watch, eat all the candy they want eat, wear anything they want to wear, sleep in as long as they want to sleep, stay up as late as they want to stay up, may think that is life but it doesn’t empower them to be life.

For every act of receiving there is an act of giving and for every act of giving there is an action of receiving – this is life! Power alone always creates some form of death or dysfunction, but authority always produces life.

Food For Thought,

 

Ted J. Hanson

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Connection to a Few

Greetings,

Leadership is not a matter of control. It is not a matter of receiving things from those being led. Leadership in the Church is a God-given grace given to assist the body of Christ in growing to become a testimony of Christ in the earth. Everyone carries a measure of authority for others. That authority is some substance of life given to them for the sake of making others come alive. When we experience Jesus in our lives there is a measure of living water that flows from within us for the sake of others. It is a substance of life and it is a testimony of relationship with others.

The apostles were the ‘sent ones’ of authority in Christ. They were the source of submission to God in a physical way. Jesus had sent them to the Church as His Father had sent Him to them (Mt. 28:18-20). They illustrated a lifestyle of giving life to others with the power and presence of Christ in their lives. This same truth continued into the generations of leadership in the Church. Paul, an apostle born out of time, challenged his spiritual son Timothy in regard to the responsibilities of leadership.

1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

Timothy was to be an example to those God was sending him to. His example was to be a testimony of the word of God, the conduct of Christ, God’s love, faith, and purity. He was to do the tasks of reading the Scripture, exhorting the believers, in order to assist them in living in the teaching or way of life of a Christ-like community. Timothy was to receive Paul’s instruction and to propagate the same pattern of leadership to the successive generations.

2 Timothy 2:1-2 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

This pattern of leadership was set in the foundation with Jesus and his disciples. At the completion of Jesus life, He prayed a prayer to His heavenly Father. His words were words that reveals a relationship that He had with twelve men that God had given to Him in His earthly destiny as a man. His prayer reveals that His ultimate goal was to give eternal life to twelve men who could also lead others into the eternal life of God in Christ. Those men were to lead others into the same life that Jesus had led them to. Eternal life was not something to start when they died, but it was a testimony of a personal relationship with Him and with God as their Father.

John 17:1 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. Jesus

Jesus had done what every leader is called to do. He had manifested the name of God His Father to those God had given Him. He manifested the character, nature, way, power, and authority of God to those He had been sent to. This is what all leaders are called to do.

John 17:6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.”

Everyone has been sent to someone. Parents are sent to their children. Leaders are sent to those they lead. Even friends are sent to their friends. Life is about relationship and our goal in life is not evangelism of the world, but evangelistic relationships of life. Jesus influenced thousands in His journey of life, but He was called to reveal God to twelve men who also had relationships with others. We can learn a good lesson from the life of Jesus. If Jesus was sent to twelve, what makes us think we are sent to thousands. We may influence thousands, but we are only sent to a few. It is a matter of relationship, not influence. Prayers of relationship are prayers of love. They are knowledgeable prayers of intimacy concerning individuals known by us.

John 17:9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.

Who are those in our lives that we are called to give life to? Jesus was glorified in the testimony of His disciples. Who has been sent to us that inspires us to become who we should be in Christ? Who are we sent to for the glory of Jesus name? The commission and the pattern is one of relationship. Like Jesus, we are called to give God’s words of life to those God gives us.

John 17:14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

The disciples of Jesus were being sent to the world in the same way that Jesus was sent to the world. They were being sent to find those God had given them so they too could lead them into eternal life, a personal relationship with Jesus and God their Father. They in turn would propagate this same pattern to the generations that would follow.

John 17:20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”

John 17:24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

The leaders of the New Covenant Church were men sent by God to bring release to the Church with the grace of the laying on of hands and the authority of Christ. We must position ourselves to receive all that is being given so that we can in turn give all that we have in order to release life to others. We are sent to a few and a few are given to each of us that we might affect many. We are set from relationship with God and one another and to relationship with others. This is the way of the Spirit of Counsel.

Food For Thought,

 

Ted J. Hanson

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Life-Giving Connections

Greetings,

We were born to be loved by God! This makes us come alive in our hearts to God’s goodness and to His presence in our hearts. When we know we are loved by God we become empowered in our hearts to demonstrate our love for God and for others through the works of our lives. When we receive a revelation of God’s Word and the Spirit given to us by the power of Christ in us it is easy for us to become a testimony of Christ in this world. His gifts given to us demonstrate His judgment of love towards us and they invoke responses in our lives that demonstrate a judgment of love towards Him. These attributes are ones of repentance, faith, and Holy Spirit empowerment. These attributes are foundations for a life-giving family of authority. The repentant, faith activated, Spirit empowered Church of the first century continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine (Acts 2:42). What does it mean to continue steadfast in the apostle’s doctrine?

The apostles were the ‘sent ones’ of authority in Christ. They were the source of submission to God in a physical way. Jesus had sent them to the Church as His Father had sent Him to them (Mt. 28:18-20). They illustrated a lifestyle of giving life to others with the power and presence of Christ in their lives.  If this was true in the beginning of the Church, shouldn’t it be even more true in a growing and maturing Church? Those apostles were not men of control. They were men sent by God to bring release to the Church in the glory that she is called to walk in. They were sent to give authority to the Church to walk in the grace of the laying on of hands with the power of the Spirit of Council. This is a testimony of light to darkness, healing to sickness, and all manner of life to death. We need this submission level of life in the Church like never before!

A glass has no water unless it placed in a position beneath a pitcher filled with water. A pitcher has no water to give unless it is placed beneath a spout that fills it. A spout has no water unless it is connected to a reservoir. The principle is simple. It is called a submission level of relationship. The reservoir never takes water from the spout, the spout never takes water from the pitcher, and the pitcher never takes water from the glass. Authority is a ‘giving’ thing and never a matter of ‘taking’. Authority is a receiving thing in order to in turn give away more. Every fountain must willingly release its water to the container that comes to receive. Every pitcher of water willingly tips in the direction of every empty glass that comes to receive water. Every glass of water is not afraid to be lifted above a thirsty mouth and then tip in the direction of the thirsty. This is the way of life! The earth turns toward the sun to receive its light. The sun never takes light from the earth, but rather makes all things light. The vine grows from the ground to receive the light given. The fruit comes on the vine to receive the life that is being given. The earth takes in the rain to germinate the seeds hidden. This is the Spirit of Council and principle of the laying on of hands. We must position ourselves to receive all that is being given so that we can in turn give all that we have to release life to others. Just look at nature, for every act of receiving there is an act of giving and for every act of giving there is an action of receiving. This is the way of life!

How do we identify those who give us life? We didn’t choose our parents, nor did our parents choose us. Of course this is not true in the case of adoption, but perhaps adopting parents and adopted children are really a matter of destiny as well? Perhaps the choosing of children is not really a choice but a matter of embracing destiny? Whether we were born into a family or adopted into a family, our family is our family. We don’t migrate in search of what we think is best for us. We are placed into families that can become the best for us when all the family members embrace the grace of life-giving authority given to them by God. There is a lot of confusion in the body of Christ in regard to anointing and authority. When someone has an anointing it doesn’t mean they have the authority, but those with God-given authority are given access to God’s heavenly anointing.

Authority is very real and it is what gives us the ability to rule today. Ruling is not about control. True authority brings life to others. Power alone can manifest control, but only authority produces life. Each of us has a measure of authority and authority is a continual growing reality in our lives. Who we are today determines the measure of life we give to the world today and it will also affect our ability to give life to the world tomorrow. As authority grows in our lives we are able to give more life to those around us. It is connected to who we are and who we are enables us to carry the responsibility of authority for the sake of others. The most valuable measure of authority in our lives is the authority we walk in each and every day. Who we are called to be tomorrow is not more valuable than who we are today, it is just a greater measure of life given to us for the sake of the world.

We must seek out and know those who are in authority in our lives. God wants us to receive what is being given to us by those He sends to us in life. Who we are called to be tomorrow is not yet a measure of life in our lives. We cannot give life where we have not received life to give. Tomorrow’s authority is not today’s authority. It is merely a calling upon our lives. If we grasp to function in tomorrow’s authority today it will produce death and dysfunction in our lives and in the lives of others. When Samuel anointed David to be the king, that anointing was not the right for David to be immediately installed as the king of Israel. David was destined to be a king, but when Samuel anointed him his authority was still to keep a few sheep. He grew in his authority. His authority to keep the sheep anointed him to kill the lion and the bear while protecting the sheep. His anointing was kingly, but his authority was that of a shepherd. His authority to deliver a few cheeses to his brothers in the front line of battle brought him to the place of increased authority in his journey to become the king. His inquiry for permission from King Saul to battle Goliath authorized him to kill the giant. His authority to kill the giant Goliath gave him an invitation to serve in the courts of King Saul. His authority to serve Saul empowered him to manifest his authority of worship and bring peace to Saul’s demonic harassments. His authority to hide from Saul’s anger empowered him to walk in honor to the king. His honor to the king took him on the journey of becoming the inheritor of Israel. He grew in his authority, as he was faithful in each step of his destiny. He had an anointing, but it was more important to walk the journey of authority than to grasp for power through a demonstration of anointing. His journey involved a process filled with faithfulness in his daily appointments with the increasing draw of tomorrow’s calling. Throughout the journey he walked with the anointing of a king, but his authority was specific to each step of his path. He was a shepherd with the anointing of a king, a cheese deliver with an anointing of a king, a giant slayer with the anointing of a king, a worshipper with the anointing of a king, a dodger of javelins with the anointing of a king, a builder of armies with the anointing of a king, and finally a king with the anointing of a king. It wasn’t the anointing that gave him his authority. It was his faithfulness in the responsibility of each day.

We have one Father. He is the one who gives us identity and inheritance. We receive our identity and our inheritance that we might expand it to the generations that follow. Let’s continue steadfast in the apostle’s way of life. When we submit to the sent ones in our lives we also become sent ones in the lives of others. Let’s live to receive the life that is being given so we can in turn give life to all that God sends us to in this earth.

Food For Thought,

 

Ted J. Hanson

 

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Testimonies of Relationship

Greetings,

A big part of being a member of the community of God is revealed in and through relationship. Leadership is not a task of leading people into activities of Christian work, but one of leading in Christ-like community. God appoints leaders to inspire each member to find a personal connection with the Holy Spirit that empowers them to grow in maturity and the destiny of Christ. Submission in the community of God is not a matter of control or the implementation of some form of hierarchical order. It simply a testimony of God joined members that grow together in the maturity process of being a community of God.

1 Peter 5:5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 

Submission is a matter of releasing the flow of relationship. It is important that those growing in their relationship with God receive those who have been sent into their lives as examples of faith. They are not only examples of faith, but activators, facilitators, and releasers of the life of Christ within their God-given sphere of influence. This is accomplished through life-giving and life-receiving relationships in a community expression of Christ. Relationship is the key ingredient in the community of God to being a testimony of Christ rather than a testimony of self. Relationship is the key, but God is the one who joins us together and then He expects us to figure out the relationship part. The disciples of Jesus didn’t pick Jesus; He chose them and then challenged them to follow Him. The disciples didn’t pick one another; Jesus chose them and then He expected them to figure out how to become friends.

Even in the organic flow of the community of God we look to one another as examples of true life and as inspirations to our own walks with God. We look to one another in the activation of our faith, but we never look to any human as the one who solves the challenges of our lives. We each have a relationship with God and God is the only one who holds the responsibility of the ultimate care of our lives. Leaders set an example of the shepherd, but they only serve to assist those they lead in finding their connection with Jesus, the Chief Shepherd of their souls in all things.

1 Peter 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

A leader must know how to cast their cares upon Jesus and then lead others to doing the same. People very often want to make the pastors of the church or the leaders of a church the ones who solve their challenges in life. They seldom go to them when wanting to exercise their own freedoms, but often go to them when facing a crisis of some kind. They seldom give leaders credit when things are going well in their lives, but often blame them for their own failures. These things would not be so if we each embraced the responsibility of humbly submitting to the mighty hand of God as the one who cares for each of us. We must each accept our own responsibility of maintaining and embracing a process of growing in maturity in our relationship with God. That maturity is also made manifest in our relationship with one another. It affects our family, our marriage, our community, and every aspect of our everyday lives. Leaders must embrace this process of growing in maturity in relationships first and then they must lead others to do the same. The devil is an intimidator and he seeks to devour the weak through his pretenses of strength. He is not a lion, but he pretends to be one. Leaders must set an example of resisting him and teach those they lead to do the same. We resist the devil when we remain steadfast to God and one another in the midst of sufferings. It is our faith that overcomes all the things of the world and that faith comes by hearing God in our hearts in the midst of every situation in life. We can expect to face resistance so we must be watchful in our relationship with God and with one another.

1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 

Suffering is part of the process of growing in the grace of God. It is by faith that we enter into grace and it is in grace that we experience resistance to the power of Christ that is within us.

Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

We can expect to face tribulations in our lives that require us to persevere. Our perseverance is a cheerful endurance to allow the power of Christ within us to transform the character of our lives to be Christ-like. When the character of Christ becomes real in our lives we experience the true hope of life. That hope is the power of Christ in us and it continually reveals the increasing glory of God in our lives. It is from glory to glory that He changes us from within. Leaders in the community of Christ must set and example in this and lead those within there measure of rule to do the same. This is the testimony of God’s grace at work in our lives.

1 Peter 5:10-11 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

God wants each of us to know that suffering is part of life. The fatherless cultures of the world often believe that suffering is a testimony of abuse, but suffering is part of the process in growing in the grace of God in our lives. Even Jesus learned obedience through the things that He suffered.

Hebrews 5:8-9 … though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him…

Embracing the grace of God in the midst of suffering will perfect our lives. It is the process of God’s perfection in our lives that will establish us in all things. As we are established we also become strengthened and we come to know the steadfast, immovable, always present love of God. We are settled in our confidence in Christ in us and in our midst as a community of His life. We are here for the glory of His name in all things!

I pray that we each of us find the grace of God in our journey together as communities of Christ. May leaders lead those in their responsibility to find the true life that comes from dependency upon Christ in all things. May we all grow as a community of relationship with God and with one another for the glory of God’s kingdom come and His will being done in the worlds in which we live.

Food For Thought,

Ted J. Hanson

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