“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Unmoored … for More!, by Randall D. Kittle
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Do you ever feel like your spiritual life is on hold? Does it sometimes seem like you’re just going through the motions … nothing’s new … little is exciting? This can leave your heart yearning, “There must be more than life as usual? God must have more for me?” I have good news for you; God does have more for you … and more for all of us as a Church.

As I was praying recently, I asked the Lord what was on the calendar of heaven? What year is it? What day is it? What time is it? This is how He replied:

This is an appointed time — a time set by Me in advance. This is the acceptable year of the Lord, a time of My favor … and it will be filled with days of salvation! It will be a year of restoration, a year of acceleration, and a year of transformation. This year will be like the books of Matthew and Mark — things will happen suddenly and immediately. This year will be a break out year … a year where things that have been long awaited, things that have been often prophesied, will finally begin to be realized! The days of being on hold are over. The days of saying ‘someday’ are about to change to the days of declaring ‘this day.’

“This year I will release barren promises in your life. Fallow fields of almost forgotten hopes and dreams will bring forth a fruitful harvest of fulfillment. Many long-held declarations will change from being promises written on paper to reality — in this one year! Spouses and children will be saved. Friends and neighbors will hear the good news. New families will begin by betrothals, weddings, and children being conceived. Jobs will be found and promotions received. Debt will be dug out from, and new outreaches and new ministries will be birthed.

“Things will not only turn out better than expected, but they will change sooner than you thought was possible. You have longed for more, and I am about to release to you the more for which you have been longing. Prepare yourselves and look for Me to move. Awaken your hearts to have great expectations, for the season of fulfillment is about to be loosed.”

As the Lord was speaking, I had a vision in which I saw a sailing ship like those of the 18
th century. It was moored at the dock — held fast by two ropes. It sat dormant with its sails furled and no one visibly on board. Suddenly, I began to see great activity on the ship. Provisions were loaded onto it while sailors busily began climbing up the rigging and unfurling the sails. Soon the crew took their stations and the sails began to fill. As the mooring ropes that kept the ship tied to the dock began to tighten and hold back its progress, I noticed two hatchets sunk into a chopping block. Engraved on the handle of one hatchet was John 2:5, and carved into the other was 2 Chronicles 20:15. Two sailors picked up the hatchets and in unison they cut the mooring ropes with one, strong downward stroke. With that the ship’s sails filled the rest of the way and it headed out to sea.

The Lord wants us to know that:

This is an appointed time. As it says in Psalm 102:12–13, “But you, O Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations. You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come.”

This is the acceptable year of the Lord. Jesus declared in Luke 4:18–19 that He was the fulfillment of Isaiah 61, the One who could proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

This is a time to receive God’s favor and a time for new salvations. These are days like those spoken of in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”

Time to Prepare
How wonderful that God is inviting us to experience more of His kingdom … but He also told us that we must prepare ourselves. We are called to cast off of those things that hold us back from going deeper with Him. We need to sever every restraint that hinders us from moving completely into all God has for us.

In the vision, there were 2 hatchets that cut the mooring ropes and set the ship free. The first hatchet represents one of the truths of God’s kingdom we need to lay hold of if we want more from God. On its handle was engraved John 2:5. Mary, Jesus’ earthly mother, spoke this verse during the wedding feast in Cana. She turned to the servants and said, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” As the servants listened to Jesus and obeyed His instructions, it led to Jesus’ first miracle — a miracle people are still talking about 2,000 years later. This was how Jesus’ earthly ministry began, and it is how all true ministry is done — by hearing and heeding what Jesus says!

John 2:5 is the “Just Do It” verse of the Bible. It is a call for us to both hear the Lord and heed His word.

First, We Must Hear
We need to hear the voice of the Lord. While you might be thinking that you could never hear God’s voice, I want to assure you that every born-again believer has heard God’s voice … for you heard the calling of God unto salvation.

Listen to what Jesus said about us hearing His voice:

• John 8:47 — “He who is of God hears God’s words.” Are you “of God”? Are you a born-again believer who belongs to Him? If so, this verse promises that you can and will hear Him speak to you.

• John 10:27 —
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Is Jesus your Great Shepherd? If that is true, then He declares that you will be able to hear His voice.

• John 18:37 —
“Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Are you “of the truth”? Do you belong to Jesus, the One who has declared Himself to be Truth (see John 14:6)? If you belong to the one who is Faithful and True, this verse promises that you will hear Jesus’ voice.

As a believer, you are a supernatural, eternal being created in the very image of God … and created for relationship with God. Throughout the Bible, it reveals God to be a God of revelation. It has always been His heart to have a family with whom He can share His life and love. In the very beginning of time, we see God meeting daily with Adam, walking with him in the cool of the day. Even after the fall, we see that Enoch walked with God … and God loved this fellowship so much that He took Enoch to heaven to be with Him!

In John 15:15, Jesus told His disciples that since they were His friends, He had shared His Father’s business with them.
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” And He will do no less today, for “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

God is speaking in these days, saying much more than we are hearing. As it says in Job 33:14,
“For God speaks time and again, but a person may not notice it.” How does God speak? In whatever way He chooses. He may speak to us audibly or speak to our hearts as we pray. Sometimes He speaks to us through the Bible, as the Holy Spirit quickens the written words to speak specifically to our lives. At other times, the Lord may speak to us by using someone else to give us a word of encouragement or a prophetic word. God may even use a certain song to touch our hearts and speak into our current situation. It doesn’t matter how God speaks; what is important for us to recognize is that God is speaking.

Distance & Distraction
So if God is speaking, why might we miss hearing what He is saying? There are two reasons we may become “hard of hearing.” They are distance and distraction.

#1 — The difficulty of distance. In the natural, the farther you are from a person the harder they are to hear. When you are very close to a person, you can hear their faintest whisper. It is the same spiritually. The closer our relationship is with the Lord, the better we will hear His voice. Think about which disciple was the most prophetic? I believe it was John who wrote the book of Revelation. It is no coincidence that it was also he who laid his head on Jesus’ chest at the last supper and considered himself to be the beloved of the Lord.

You may have noticed that when we draw close to God in utter dependence that we hear His voice more clearly. For example, often those on a mission trip find that as they rely on God to help them do things they have never even tried before that they seem to hear His voice more clearly.

If you want to know God’s heart better, don’t pray for more revelation; pray to be drawn closer to Him. Ask the Lord to help you to love Him more. The closer you are to Him, the better you will hear His voice.

#2 — The difficulty of distraction. One of the skills I have couples work on in premarital counseling is “active listening.” This is the ability to really focus on what the other person is saying so you truly understand not only their words, but how they feel about it and what their hopes and concerns are. The desire I have to actively listen to my wife means I have to choose to put away distractions. Sometimes this means we go for a walk (without our mobile phones) or that I purposely choose a seat in a restaurant that doesn’t face a TV that is showing a sporting event that might draw my attention away from her.

In our society, it is so easy for the distractions that surround us to hinder our ability to hear what God is saying. If we want to be those who “walk with God,” we must choose to reduce the things that interfere with hearing His voice. Our culture is cluttered with things that can and will distract us from hearing our Beloved’s voice: hobbies, entertainment (movies, TV, video games), sports (both playing and watching), social media, web searching … the list is almost endless. Ask the Lord to show you what distractions are interfering with you hearing His voice … and be brave enough to put them in their place so God can take His rightful place!

Second, We Must Heed
It is not sufficient to merely hear the Lord. Once we have heard Him, we need to heed His word by obeying it and acting on what He has said.

Jesus clearly declared His expectation that His followers would “be doers of His words and not hearers only” (as the book of James would put it). In Luke 8:21 Jesus replies to a comment about His family by declaring,
“My mother and My brothers are those who hear God’s word and do it.” Later, in Luke 11:28, Jesus responds to a declaration that His mother is blessed by saying, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”

If we are the family of God, we should be doing the things He has told us to do. The Lord’s blessing resides on those who both hear and heed what He has said. God not only sees obedience as blessed, it also brings Him great joy. Oswald Chambers said that,
“The spirit of obedience gives more joy to God than anything else on earth.”

The Great Schism
A. W. Tozer says that there is a “Great Schism” in the modern Church. This schism is not the separation between black and white, nor is it the gap between male and female. The great disparity of the modern Church he has observed is the vast gulf between theology and experience … between knowledge and practice… between hearing and heeding.

Why don’t we heed what God has said? Why is there such a vast difference between what God says to us and what we do? The fault lies primarily with
doubt. Doubt causes us to question God’s ability to use us. We begin to ask, “Who am I?” Who am I to think I can pray for healing? Who am I to speak for God? Who am I to start a new ministry? Too often we look at what God has called us to and compare it to what we are capable of doing … and they don’t match up. But we need to remember that the greatest advances in the kingdom of God are almost always made by those called to do things far beyond their abilities; those who must depend upon God to take what little they have and do exceedingly more with it.

Each of us needs to remember who we are in God’s eyes. How He sees us. The Bible declares that you are God’s child, God’s friend, and God’s beloved. According to Colossians 1:27, it is “Christ in you” that is the hope of glory, and remember that you “can do all things through Christ who strengthens [you] (Philippians 4:13). God is looking for His sons and daughters to start being who He made them to be and doing all that He has for them to do.

God’s Looking for You
For whom is God looking? In Ezekiel 22:30 God declares, “I looked in vain for anyone who would build again the wall of righteousness that guards the land, who could stand in the gap and defend you from my just attacks, but I found not one.” God isn’t looking for the somebodies — those the world knows and applauds. He is looking for the anybodies. God wants to do extraordinary things through ordinary people like you and me. God calls and uses the John Does and Plain Janes of the world to display His glory in earthen vessels.  “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

God is not looking at your ability, but your availability. Remember, “… man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Church history is filled with examples of the Lord using those who outwardly looked unusable, disqualified, or washed up. For example, no one would have chosen D. L. Moody to bring the gospel to the world when he first became a believer. Uneducated and nearly illiterate, Moody couldn’t read any passage of Scripture without stumbling over many of the words, and struggled to memorize even the simplest Bible verses. Yet God chose him to become “the father of the American evangelical movement.” God does amazing things through those others would say are common … at best.

Luis Palau was a frustrated Bible student from Argentina who was about to drop out of Bible college when he attended one, last mandatory chapel service. The Holy Spirit used the message at that service to encourage Luis not only to stay in school, but also to surrender his life more completely to God. Now, years later, Luis Palau has been called ‘the Billy Graham of South America.” God has used him to bring hundreds of thousands to Christ. God sees beyond the current situation, into the heart of those He is calling.

Randy Clark was a little known, discouraged country preacher who wondered if God could still use him to build His kingdom. Soon after asking God if he should stop ministering, Randy accepted an invitation to speak at a small storefront church in Canada. There, God used him like a match to start a fire in that little Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. The fire from the Toronto Renewal eventually shook and ignited four continents. As it says in 1 Corinthians 1:27, “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.”

Facing Intimidation
The second hatchet represents something else we must lay hold of if we want all God has for us in the days ahead. Its handle had 2 Chronicles 20:15 engraved into it. This verse says, “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

This is so important for us to remember because once we have heard God’s voice and chosen to obey Him, the enemy will try to intimidate us into surrender or apathy. If Satan can’t get us to miss God’s leading, he desires us to become complacent toward it. He wants us to become the frozen chosen, and enter into “the ministry of the posterior,” failing to move forward into the more God has for us.

The enemy wants us frozen with fear, doubting God, and losing heart because we have become dismayed. We know what it means to be “afraid,” but what does it mean to be “dismayed”? This isn’t a word we use much our days. The word dismayed means: “horrified, shocked, shaken up; taken aback, alarmed, unnerved, unsettled, thrown off balance.” The Greek word translated “dismayed” or “discouraged” here literally means: “to prostrate oneself.” It implies one’s surrender or submission, either by force or because of confusion and fear.

Don’t Lose Heart
In this Bible verse, God prophetically declares to His people, “Don’t be afraid and don’t be discouraged. Don’t be intimidated, don’t surrender, and don’t lose heart! This is the first key for overcoming the intimidation of the enemy. We must not lose heart!

Second Chronicles 20:15 was spoken to King Jehoshaphat at a time when he had every reason to be terrified, to choose to surrender or flee. Look at the news he received in 2 Chronicles 20:1–2, “After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to make war on Jehoshaphat. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, ‘A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Sea. It is already in Hazazon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi).’” The news wasn’t good. In fact, it was frightening. An army was amassing against him … and it was already on its way!

That was just the news Satan wanted the king to hear … intimidating propaganda! The enemy is constantly bombarding us with negative, derogatory, and misleading information. He will remind us over and over again of every obstacle standing between us and what we are called to accomplish. Satan will declare the inability of God’s people to stand against him because he is hoping we will forget that God is for us and with us.

But we need to remember that Satan is the king of liars. John 8:44 says of him, “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” The Bible shows a long history of the Devil declaring that there is no hope when God’s people faced insurmountable odds. Imagine what Satan was saying to those who faced the following situations:

• Pharaoh and the mightiest army in the world were pursing the children of Israel as they stood trapped and trembling against the Red Sea.
“You might as well surrender and return to slavery in Egypt.”

• Jericho stood as an indestructible barrier to Israel’s advance into the Promised Land. The people mocked them for even thinking they could penetrate its defenses.
“The land of promise will remain nothing more than an empty promise to you.”

• In Gideon’s day, the Midianite hordes ravaged God’s people who were hiding in holes — famished and fearful.
“How can you ever hope to break free of their stifling stranglehold?”

• Goliath and the Philistines stood for days belittling God’s people and their God, while King Saul and his army stood trembling.
“You have no one who possesses the size and strength to best their champion. Your defeat is imminent.”

Hope in God
How did King Jehoshaphat respond to the overwhelming situation in which he found himself? Where did he turn? “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him” (2 Chronicles 20:3–4). Instead of being seized by fear, he chose to call a fast. He didn’t allow the people to panic; he called them to pray. Jehoshaphat chose to keep his eyes fixed on God and hope in Him. Heeding what he had heard, he saw the battle as God’s. Because he did, he could look to God and hope in Him.

This is the second key for overcoming intimidation. We must hope in God! Unless our hope is fixed on God, we will lose our spiritual vision and see things only with earthly eyes. The situation we find ourselves in will begin to erode our belief of what God will do. Remember that Proverbs 29:18 warns us, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

We can hope in God because when God is on our side, things really are never as bad as they seem. When Satan says, “I’m too strong for you. You’re too weak!” we need to remember that 2 Corinthians 12:10 promises “… when I am weak, then I am strong.” Our weaknesses only make room for more of God’s strength!

After all, what happened to Pharaoh, Jericho, the Midianites, and Goliath?

• God’s people walked across the Red Sea on dry ground without losing one soul, while Pharaoh and the mightiest army in the world were devastated … drowned as the sea closed upon them.

• The walls of Jericho crumpled as they crashed to the ground. Leveled by a people who simply obeyed God’s instruction to march, blow trumpets, and shout.

• The Midianite hordes that had terrorized God’s people for so long were utterly destroyed by three hundred men whose primary weapons were torches and trumpets.

• The giant Goliath was defeated by a youth who had no training as a soldier, wore no armor, and carried only a shepherd’s sling as a weapon. The giant’s head was cut off that day using his own sword!

God is still well able to deliver His people if we, too, will hear and heed what He has for us to do, and keep our hopes fixed upon Him.

In these days, it is vital that we don’t believe the lies the enemy is saying about us, and look instead at God’s truth:

Psalm 18:29 —
“For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.”

Proverbs 28:1 —
“The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

Romans 8:31 —
“If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Philippians 4:13 —
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

1 John 4:4 —
“… greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

How did Jehoshaphat and the people of God respond? They obeyed the Lord. “Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in His prophets and you will be successful.’ After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.’ As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated” (2 Chronicles 20:20–22).

The people of God left the protection of their city to watch the Lord’s rescue. They didn’t go out in fear and trepidation. They went out singing! They weren’t afraid or dismayed, as the enemy had hoped. They simply obeyed! And that is what we must do in these days if we want to come into the more that God is longing to give us.

It’s Time to Choose
This is a time for choosing. We can choose to believe the limiting lies of the enemy or believe the promises of God and hope in Him. Either we will choose to be victims who have lost their dreams or those who are willing to walk out our faith by hearing the Lord and acting upon what He says.

Are we willing to cast off every restraint and truly go deeper with God, or are we going to let the enemy keep us from moving into the much more God has for us? Will you repent of embracing any and every lie of the enemy, of shrinking back instead of pressing forward, and instead choose this day to fix all of your hopes on God and His sure plans for you? Will you seek to hear His voice and heed His word by choosing this day to pursue being closer to Him, remove the things that distract you from hearing His voice, and believe that He wants to do extraordinary things through you?

Be Strong … God is With You
When Israel was about to go into the Promised Land, God spoke to Joshua and told him three times to be strong and courageous. “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). To come into the fullness of God’s promises to us, we will need the same!

Lord, I thank You that You are unchanging. Just as You promised your servant Joshua that he didn’t need to be afraid because You would be with him wherever he went, You have promised us that You will never leave us nor forsake us! Renew our minds that they would see the promises of God as more real than the obstacles the enemy has tried to place before us. Encourage our hearts to be fearless because You are with us. We choose this day to not only listen for your voice, but to do whatever You call us to do. We choose to put away every distraction and make every effort to draw closer to You. Thank you for giving us such great and precious promises, help us lay hold of each and every one of them. Amen.

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