To be anointed is to be empowered and enabled to do that which God is commanding us to do. The anointing of Issachar has a twofold outworking, firstly, to know the time you are in and secondly to know what to do. See 1 Chron 12:32
“In any moment of decision, the best thing to do is the right thing. The next best thing is the wrong thing but the worst thing you can do is nothing at all.” Theodore Roosevelt
The Father does not what us to be in the dark and so he has promised to switch the light on so we can see the time and our much-needed action.
The entrance of His word brings light. Ps 119:130 He has also promised that He will flood the eyes of our heart with light. See Eph 1:18 (enlightened means to flood with light).
So, as I open His word now, I pray and come into agreement with you, that the Holy Spirit will give you the anointing of Issachar, so you’ll see what time it is and what actions are needed.
In the New Testament, there are three different words for time and each one is describing a different phase of the same process. The three words are Chronos, Kairos & Pleroo. Let’s look at the keyword and core dynamic of each, how they related to each other and what actions, lead us from one phase to the next?
Chronos – general or everyday time. What I call tick tock time! The clock just keeps ticking and tocking, like an old grandfather clock in the hallway of life, as we come in and go out! Scripture reveals three core dynamics, attitudes of life, that need to be developed in Chronos time: perseverance, faithfulness and thanksgiving. See Roms 5:3-5 & James 1:2-8
“Let us not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time (kairos) we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Gal 6:9
An illustration from the life of the bee will give us insight into proper (kairos) time.
In the first stage of its life, the bee is placed in a hexagonal cell, given sufficient honey and then the cell and bee are sealed over with wax. Stage two happens when the bee runs out of honey, it discerns it is time (kairos) to start stage three. Stage three is all about pushing through the wax. So, it begins to make a hole just big enough to push through. This stage and the effort requires becomes very wearing to the bee. Yet, it this effort and pressure that removes a thin membrane, that’s covering its wings. It then flies, soars and begins to receive and release life-giving material.
Kairos means opportune or strategic time and always involves pushing against pressure. It does not feel like an opportune time for the bee, and for us too because the pressure and effort can make us weary. Yet, the consistent effort the bee makes in ‘wax time’ and we make in Kairos time, contains the designer’s strategy which will enable and empower us to fly, soar and receive and release life-giving material.
The third and final word for time is pleroo and refers to something being completed or finished. So, in Gal 4:4 we read –
“but when the time (pleroo) had fully come, God set His Son….”
I refer to pleroo time as holding and showing the baby off time!
I am an Abu el Banat which is a Bedouin saying & the title of an episode from the West Wing. It means father of daughters!
I was there when each one was conceived and born. I share this because I don’t know of a more precise illustration for all the three words for time and the process it leads to, than having a baby
Conception and gestation happen in tick-tock time. When the news comes that a baby is on its way, there are actions around nutrition and check-ups that are key. Then comes Kairos time – labour. It’s time to push!
I can remember with our first daughter, Dawn was enormous and feeling very uncomfortable and so we walked over the river for a drink at the pub. Dawn got her soft drink, I had a pint of Guinness that was settling when suddenly Dawn said – “my waters have broken.” I have never drunk a pint of Guinness so fast and off we went to the hospital where, 24 hours later, Heidi was born.
Chronos became Kairos and I can well remember the pain and difficulty that Dawn went through and the potential danger there was, to her and Heidi!
All of this was forgotten, for a while at least, as Dawn held Heidi!
‘Spiritual babies,’ the gifts and new arrivals Father puts inside all His sons and daughters, all have to come through this threefold process. So, the crucial question is –
What time are you in?
- Is it time to get pregnant? (the historical meaning of intercourse, describes two minds connecting!) Father has something in His mind that He’d like to see running around in His world. Is it time to take His idea and give it life and legs
- Maybe you’ve been carrying and feeding His idea for a while now. Keep persevering, remain faithful and step up the thanksgiving because, these attitudes and disciplines, will lead you to Kairos time! (labour time.) Read Ish 66:9)
- If your circumstances are difficult, uncomfortably painful and there’s been an increase in fear, then you are definitely in Kairos time. Get ready to push!
- If you’re holding the baby congratulations! Now help that new arrival to mature, produce and multiple.
Abu el Banat
‘No pain. No Gain.’ Is simply not true! Many times, in my personal life and pastoral ministry I have experience and seen pain, that has not led to gain. This is in part due to the deception called event-mindedness which says that just experiencing pressure and pain will lead to gain. It will not!
Some learnt wisdom from Arnie –
“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens.” Arnold Schwarzenegger
“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow,” Boom!
It’s not just experiencing the pain that leads to gain, it is what we do within the pain, that leads to growth. Not just physical muscle but mental, emotional and spiritual muscle. As we push, rep-eatedly, against the weight we submit to a process and resist the cry of our emotions to quit and go back to comfort!
The word for suffering in Roms 5:3 is pressure and the writer says that pressure produces perseverance, perseverance character and character hope, which does not disappoint because it is attached to the love Father has already poured into our hearts, who we be! On the surface, this scripture seems to support event-mindedness. However, the best interpreter of scripture is scripture. So, let’s bring James 1:2-4 alongside, to build the complete thought –
“consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials [pressure] of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Because you know that testing [pressure] develops perseverance! Do we know this? As a revelation and a principle, do we get this? These verses are a great synopsis of what an event leads to, which is always an invitation to work a process. So, the pressure comes [event] and we have an opportunity to develop [process word] perseverance. We take this invite and our first event of preserving, begins the much-needed process of becoming mature and complete.
No pain. No Gain, is a deception, mostly borne out of our emotions which are kick in when the going gets tough.
What if the Father has designed events that will trigger a much-needed process, so that our potential grows and meets the demand we are facing. The bridge between our potential and the problem is called pressure. What we do, rep-peatedly in this pressure is who we become!
“Because we know that…….
Perhaps, some of the pain and the pressure we are experiencing at the moment, has been purposely factored in by the Father? Maybe, this is His version of gym time? A divinely inspired opportunity to enter that area of pain that will develop us into champions?
All I know is this – life will bring pressure! Jesus, who I trust the most said so –
“In this world, you will have trouble [word is pressure] but take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jn 16:33
There are two emphatics in this verse: you will have and I have overcome! And there is one command: take heart which to paraphrase means locate and lock onto your courage. Courage is acting in the face of fear. Jesus is asking us for something in the face of fear; to be courageous and act! Not turn and run! For those who stay and face the pressure, He promises overcoming power. Cf Roms 8:37; Eph 6:10 & Phil 4:13
I am learning to use, and I’m enjoying, lose weights in my home gym. But one of the vital lessons is knowing the signs when you are in that area of pain where if I push through and do two more reps, I will gain what I set out to do: develop muscle and strength.
I am not there yet – turning my bay window [stomach] into Baywatch!
But I am on the bridge called pressure and I know what to do and what lies ahead is a ‘enduring walk of faith’ and I will inherit what’s on the other side of the bridge. See Hebs 6:12
Disciple means disciplined learner and is a definition and dynamic Jesus gives to all who return to the Father through him. It’s also a title that will not be revoked, unless we choose, until we exit life and enter eternal life.
Therefore, we are lifelong learners whose only constant is change!
The biblical word for change is transformation, meaning transform or transfigure and appears only four times. Twice concerning Christ appearance on the mount of transfiguration. See Matt 17:2. And the transformation of the believer into the likeness of Christ, through the renewing of their minds. See 2 cor 3:18 & Roms 12:2.
One of the core changes that needs to happened to all disciples of Christ can be seen in the changing of the name, by Jesus, of Peter. Before Jesus re-named him, he was Simon, meaning reed-like. Peter means rock. His previous name infers he swayed and his latter name infers being solid. The name change was a outworking of an invisible truth – Peter’s substance had transformed. He appeared the same but in his words and actions, he was different. These words and actions would take time to fully develop, he would go on to deny his master, but when Jesus said He was now ‘Rocky.’ He was!
The context of this re-naming is very important –Peter had just received revelation directly from the Father regarding who Jesus was. Immediately, Simon is given a new name and his substance is changed. This dynamic is clearly highlighted in John 1:12 –
to “all who received Him (Jesus, the Word) to those who believe in name (work) he gave them power to become children of God!”
Formulaically – receive + believe = become.
The core of Simon was changed by receiving and believing the released Word of God, and so, he went from being easily swayed to becoming rocky. The biblical word which is also an ongoing process, for this, is stable!
Dynamically, stable means established and strengthen, something or someone, who has become and is becoming. They are fixed and becoming firm, established and strengthen! These works are within a person’s life and primarily refer to the state and condition of their faith and their mind! Col 2:5&23; 2 Pet 3:17
In these verses, the word stability and steadfast are being used and the pictures behind them are – to make stable, place firmly, set fast, fix, a firm foundation. These refer to the state and quality of the heart and mind of the believer, and they are also a litany of what the Spirit desires to continue to do in and through us!
Central to our hearts and minds being and becoming more stable is pressure or testing. When the pressure is on, we are close to an opportunity to become more stable, as James, puts it –
“that you may be complete and mature, not lacking anything.” James 1:4.
‘That you may,’ is the language of someone responding, doing their part and so the principle imparts what it contains. The principle here in James is perseverance which is the expected out working or fruit of a life under a time of testing v3. Verse three begins with an assumption – ‘because you know that’ the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Isn’t that just an annoying word, develops?
I say this sarcastically because I have met many believers who have experience and gone through pressure, testing times, and yet they have not become stable. Quite the opposite actually!
This is due, in part, to a wrong paradigm which is called event-mindedness, that simply believes the event will change them. It will but not for the better, unless they respond to what every event offers: an R.S.V.P. And that, is always to understand and work the process being offered – mature and complete not lacking anything.
If our substance is going to transform we need to have, like Peter, a revelation from the Father. As we respond to that revelation by doing our part, consistently, we will see constancy develop and grow in our hearts and minds, and as a result flow downstream into our lives and contexts!
The process of becoming stable I call gym time or road work and in part two of this blog, I share some thoughts about this necessary discipline. Until then some wise words –
“Champions aren’t made in the ring, they are merely recognised there. What you cheat on in the early light of morning [road work/gym time] will show up in the ring under the bright lights!” Joe Frasier [parentheses mine]
In my last blog (18/8/16) I shared some thoughts about unconscious incompetence.
The dynamic of not knowing that we don’t know what we need to know as men.
Our Father loves to bring His life and fill those spaces that are empty.
Today’s blog is a reflection about one man, who one day was led into a sacred space and divine appointment by Jesus.
His teacher was trying to make him aware of the competency that was already in him, which would fill the space and meet the need which was coming over the horizon.
That man was Philip. That day is found in John 6:5-13
As a disciple, a man within His team, Philip had the mandate and the designated power to ‘fill the earth.’ Cf See Gen 1:28 & Eph 1:23
Jesus was intentionally training His men to do what He’d been doing and do greater things. Jn 14:12
This particularly day Jesus saw the need before Philip and He turns and asks Philip, there were other team players there, a direct question.
Teachers and questions are historically almost negative for me.
What is it about being put on the spot by being asked a question?
This is one of the uncomfortable sides of Jesus but a side I now expect and am learning to love.
Here’s my paraphrase of that event (Jn 6:5) – Jesus saw on the horizon a pressing need; hungry people. “I can and will feed them, yet I need to train the lads because when I go back they’ll have to do what I’ve been doing. Who’s ready for this test, this pressure? Phil!
Turn up the heat, apply great pressure are the dynamics of the word test.
Jesus intentionally puts His friend and team mate in the zone, and He makes no apology for it!
The words of the late Myles Munroe are very insightful –
“Potential is determined and revealed by the demands placed on it by its creator.” Myles Munroe
Jesus puts Philip in an exacting place and a sacred space, for the sole purpose of bringing out what’s dormant: the power to fill the space and meet the need!
Some time back, during an intense time, I asked the Father want was going on and He said this-
Exacting places; are extracting places!
- Exacting – trying or unremittingly severe in making demands.
- Extracting – to draw out, withdraw.
I came to realise that the problem I was facing and the pressure I was under, were designed and factored in by Father. Through me, He would fill the space, meet the need and relieve the problem!
The problem was, I didn’t know what He’d put in me and how it related to what I was facing.
I was unconsciously competent!
This problem in me needed to be addressed before the external problem could be properly faced and solved.
Are we under pressure?
Is a problem coming over or covering the landscape of our life?
Perhaps these are designed and factored in by your Father?
Is He trying to get us to realise what we’ve been given, so we can release it?
Pressure is essential for muscle growth.
Is He asking us to wake up and grow a latent ability, gift or skill?
Willing us to pick up the bar, start to rep and produce?
Unless we realise, become consciously competent, we cannot release and we and others will miss out.
Invitations trigger emotions and require a decision. The Father loves to give invites but they usually come at what we might think are strange times. This pod will shed some light on this Inviting Father!