“Paying The Price”
By Joni Ames
The enemy has been trying to discourage many from the very basics of their faith in this season in order to destroy the pursuit of our purpose, call, and destiny. In that, I‘ve sensed a real call to “Get back to the basics.” So I felt led of the Lord to walk us through some of what that means, from The Word, through my own pursuit of the Lord.
You may wonder what this has to do with prophecy, but it has everything to do with it. Without a basic foundational Biblical life, we end up shipwrecked as prophetic people. If you have need of this word/teaching, then let this be a Joel 2:25 time for you to be restored to the life and relationship the Lord has for you in Him.
From the beginning of time, Mankind has longed to know the reason they exist. Many attempt to choose a “short cut” toward that goal. However, there is a price to be paid for that type of information. I’m not speaking of money, but of the price of relationship – intimate relationship – with the Living God. And of not giving up and ignoring God just because the road becomes rough.
Jesus promises that His Sheep (that’s US!) know His Voice! (John 10:4) It’s all about spending time and communicating with Him. When we are better acquainted with our Lord, we will better know and understand who He is, what He is all about, AND what His heart and will for OUR individual life is.
“Faith comes by hearing; and hearing by The Word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
If you want to increase your faith, become a true student of the Word on a regular basis.
As a young Christian, I began to hear a lot about tithing. In my mind and heart, I felt that God’s promise in Malachai 3 regarding tithing our money may well also be applied to our time. After all, we “spend” both, right? So I began to “tithe” my time by “spending” 10% of my time with Him. Not “doing works,” but truly in getting to know Him through spending time in His Word, and in prayer – meaning not just “asking for stuff,“ but both talking and listening to Him.
Just to be specific, a tithe is 10%. There are 24 hours in the day. SO…10% of 24 is 2.4 hours, or more plainly, 2 hours and 24 minutes. So I decided to “spend” or devote at least 2 hours and 24 minutes a day with the Lord.
In the beginning, I didn’t know much else to do except read the Word and pray. And I admit, at first, that was pretty dull. But I kept on with my commitment, and was not disappointed. When His Word enters our being, we can be sure that It will bear fruit.
“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)
In reading the Word, I began to have questions. What would I do with those questions? First of all, I asked God about them. Then, used various materials such as concordances, dictionaries, commentaries, a topical Bible, and other such tools. – Many of which today can be easily accessed free on line through such sites as www.crosswalk.com. Thankfully, I also had access to good leaders in my church that I could go to who would either answer my questions or lead me in the right direction as well.
ADVENTURES IN PRAYER
Then there was the topic of prayer. How could I do that effectively? I asked God, and looked up every scripture about prayer that I could in search of my answers. Bottom line is, prayer is communication with God. Talking AND listening to Him!
Through this, I began to feel a real call to pray for others. I felt badly when I discovered how casually some would promise to pray for others, and then totally forget to do so. Therefore, when people would ask for prayer, I felt led to write down their request, and faithfully keep my promise before God to pray for them. I got a recipe box, index cards, and alphabetic dividers for the box.
In the front of that box, I had cards with scriptures on them about repentance, and would repent for anything I felt I needed to do so about, so that I could enter into prayer “with clean hands and a pure heart.” Then I would follow the directions in His Word to “enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.“ (Psalm 100:4)
After that, I had scriptures about praying for those in authority, etc., and would begin my prayer time there. (Ref. 1 Timothy 2:2-3): “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.”
By the way, there are now excellent web sites with prayer guides for praying for those in authority. Two of them are:
In the alphabetized section of my prayer/recipe box, I put individual cards for family, friends, and others that I promised to pray for, with their name at the top of each card (last name, then first name). On each card I would list and date each request, with a little box in front of the request so that I could “check off” and date when it was answered as well. I’d also write a little “PTL” (standing for “Praise The Lord”) to thank the Lord for each answered prayer. This was a wonderful way to see how faithfully God answers prayer all the time! It became – and remains – an exciting adventure!!!
When it comes to searching out the heart and will of God, there is no other source to go to but HIM. Everything that happens in our lives is meant to point us toward Him for our answers.
We will not receive and walk in the authority and power of God because of the Bible School we attend or the amount of anointed people that pray for and lay hands on us. It won’t come because we were born into privilege of some sort. Any worthwhile ministry or calling we achieve will come as a direct result of a heart dedicated to cultivating a personal, one-on-one, intimate relationship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is our only legitimate resource.
We do not have to be professional – just available. The apostles Peter and John are prime examples of those who pressed into the Lord and walked in power and authority because of it. The crowds that witnessed the miracles they did observed the effective results of the faithfulness of two men who were willing to ‘pay the price’ of spending time with Jesus. In Acts 4:13 it says, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. (For) they realized that they had been with Jesus.” (NKJV).
By observing their lives, the people around them realized that Peter and John had been with Jesus! He manifested Himself in and through them because of their diligence to spend time with Him!.
Sadly, many think that communication with the Living God is some far-fetched, unattainable thing, reserved only for the “perfect.” Gladly, it is not. – For there are none that would qualify! We ALL sin and fall short of the glory of God! (Romans 3:23)
God is no respecter of persons: Acts 10:34
God promises us that, because of His Son, we can have total access to Him and His Power.(John 15: [INSERT SCRIPTURE HERE])
ROSE OF SHARON
Years ago, I heard a story about a place where they grow many Rose of Sharon plants. The townspeople below would always know when one who entered their store had been there, for simply walking through the gardens caused the fragrance of the plants to permeate their clothing and it could be smelled on them as they walked in the door.
That’s the way it is with Jesus. When we spend time with Him, it is evident. Likewise, when we don’t!
There is no shortcut or replacement for intimate relationship with the Lord. In the process of our quest for Him, He will bestow upon us His anointing in order to complete our God ordained purpose. All that He requires of us in return is that we spend time with Him, vehemently pursuing and contending for the type of intimate relationship with Him for which we were born. We must, as it says in Jude 3, “Contend earnestly for the faith.”
Some attempt to go vicariously from meeting to meeting, conference to conference, minister to minister – seeking to have it ‘imparted’ to them, at no personal cost. Going to conferences and meetings is not a ’bad’ thing, but you don’t get the type of anointing that changes the world by going after someone else’s. We must individually go after a true, up close and personal relationship with the Lord for ourselves.
I know of one man who studied all of the famous ministers – old and new – and even memorized and practiced their sermons. It brought him into the limelight he desired, but he had no substance in his own personal relationship with the Lord to carry him, and he fell hard. Very sad, indeed. But ministry isn’t a game. There are no scripts we can follow to give us the character we need on the inside. We still need the “real thing” of intimate relationship with the Lord for ourselves so that we can stand sturdy when times are tough. Even the Apostle Paul said that he didn’t himself want to be disqualified.
(24) Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. (25) And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. (26) Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. (27) But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
THE POWER STATION
I once had a dream where the Lord showed me a power station that looked like an old telephone switchboard. There were many spots on the board, and each either had someone’s individual name on it, or some big ministry’s name on it. Most people didn’t “plug in” to where their own name was. Instead, they piggy-backed onto the extension cords of some big name ministry. It looked something like strings of Christmas tree lights, with each one plugged into one another. Finally, there would be too many connections attached onto each one, and the weight of it began to bend the wires. Consequently, many ended up breaking off from their connection and falling to the ground, totally powerless. However, as soon as they got up and plugged themselves into the spot where their own name was, they seemingly jumped up to atomic power levels! They had more power than they ever dreamed possible!
That’s the way it is with the Lord. We can try to piggy back on someone else’s anointing if we want to. For awhile, we may even be somewhat content with the results. But that doesn’t last forever. Just like the story of the wise and foolish virgins (see Matthew 25:1-12), we must each get our own oil, “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” (see 2 Corinthians 10:12)
We should not try to be like or compare ourselves to anyone else. We have to be who and what God called us to be in order to reach those He made us to reach, and to fulfill the purpose for which we, individually, were born to do.
When David prepared to go and kill the giant, King Saul offered him the use of his armor. When David put it on, it encumbered and tripped him up. He couldn’t use it. David had to go with the ‘equipment’ (a slingshot) and the clothing (probably a simple loin cloth) that was “his” in order to kill the giant! (see1 Samuel 17:38-39). Just as David couldn’t walk in Saul’s armor to kill “his” giant, we can’t walk in anyone else’s personality, style, or anointing to kill ours.
We must be willing to trust the Lord that what He provides us with is exactly what we need, and only take upon ourselves that which He chooses to clothe us in. When we are dressed in the ‘armor’ He gives to each of us, it is exactly what we have need of in order to ‘win’ against the giants we must face.
“Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11).
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (see Ephesians 6:13).
THE SOURCE OF OUR POWER
Some get impatient with God for answers and go to a fortune teller, or try searching out their futures through horoscopes, or by ‘reading’ the stars in the heavens, or asking questions of an Ouija board, an 8-Ball, or via some similar sort of divination.
However, when it comes to searching out the heart and will of God, He is the only source for the truth.
Sadly, many think that communication with the Living God is some far-fetched, unattainable thing, reserved only for the “perfect.” – Gladly, it is not – for none would qualify! “We all sin and fall short of the glory of God!” (Romans 3:23)
When a family member coughs, sneezes, or even walks in another area of the house, we know who it is, because we have spent time with them, learning their ways. We know the individual sounds they make – even to the sound of their footsteps. Likewise, the Lord’s Sheep know His sounds, because they spend enough time with Him to be able to recognize and discern them.. “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.“ (John 10:4)
God promises us that, because of His Son, we can each have total access to Him. No exceptions! He is close to ALL who call upon His name! (Psalm 145:18) And He is no respecter of persons! (see Acts 10:34)
Jesus died and went to the right hand of the Father to obtain more than “fire insurance” for us to be kept from Hell. When He ‘left’ this earth, He sent to us His Holy Spirit to indwell and empower us to do the “greater works,“ Thus fulfilling His promise: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” (John 14:12)
In Matthew 11:14, Jesus said: “If you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.” – He then emphasized it by saying in verse 15, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
John the Baptist had already come, Jesus was the one speaking, so who was to come? The Holy Spirit! – HE is our Elijah! Not any man or woman! Jesus said: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the helper will not come to you; but if I depart; I will send Him to you.” (John 6:7)
“When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” (John 15:13-15)
The only way we can even begin to fathom the Love of God is through the working of His Holy Spirit as John 17:26 tells us: “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.“ (John 17:26)
Jesus paid the price, not only for salvation, but also that we might walk in the fullness of His Love and power
KINGDOM “AT HAND”
Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15).
The Kingdom of God is at the end of your very own arm! It is in YOUR hand! Because HE is IN You. Go ahead and “lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:18).
“God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)
Jesus told us that we won’t see the promises fulfilled just by ’watching!’ – He made us to take part in it all!
Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU.” (Luke 17:20-21)
The Kingdom of God is WITHIN US. It is not far away nor unattainable. And He will not leave us out!
We are not called to be observers, but disturbers!!! – Let it be said of us also “Those who have turned the world upside down have come here too. (Acts 17:6)
Forgive us for allowing the enemy and even the times we are living in to keep us from You, Your Word, and our purpose, call, and destiny in you. Help us get back to the basics in you and go forward to fulfill that for which you made and formed us.
In Jesus’ Name,
– Joni Ames