JANUARY/FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER FOR BOLZ MINISTRIES
Happy New Year! We are writing a January/February newsletter for you this month—our one and only combination newsletter of the year!
LESSONS ONCE YOU START TO ENTER INTO YOUR PROMISED LAND
I have never seen so many people enter into their greater life’s work, or their version of their promised land, as I have in the past few years. Christianity is maturing all over the world, and people are getting commissioned to do what they were created for. This has great significance to the world around us.
Cherie and I can see the line we crossed just a few years ago, when we were working toward entering into what God had promised us and spoken to us about. When we did cross over, we had another whole series of learning processes—that I want to share—from this wonderful but very intense season. I remember reading an article years ago, “Lessons from the Battlefield,” and thinking what about giving us lessons from those inheriting what was warred for? In this season Cherie and I, and many of you, are learning about what comes after the battle. What comes when you begin to occupy God’s promises? Here are five lessons we learned about starting to live in the promised land:
1) You have to look at everything as if it’s new
When you enter into your greater destiny, you have to recognize that everything is new. Sometimes you can have an expectation that when you start to do the things you were made for, you will know exactly what to expect because you have been there before in some way, but no! You have been prepared, but you have not “been there, done that, or worn that t-shirt.” I love what God says to the Israelites, who felt like they knew every way that God worked, or like they could anticipate the new season they were entering into: “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19 NIV).
When you come into the promises of God, you have to set your heart like a child–as if you don’t know anything. You have to be in dependence on God or you could miss the joy of the connection and learning that comes with the new. Sometimes we can sacrifice this joy by trying to keep our know-it-all attitude.
2) Entering into your promises is an answer to your prayer and your heart’s deepest cry, and God has made it happen
Jabez prayed this radical prayer for the people of Israel (not for himself): “Bless me, O bless me! Give me land, large tracts of land. And provide your personal protection—don’t let evil hurt me” (1 Chronicles 4:10 MSG). God gave him what he asked for.
That, in itself, was a sign to Jabez: His intimacy with God produced the fruit of greatness. The fruit of intimacy gave Jabez the depth of prayer he needed to pray into his promises. These prayers were not self-absorbed but were for his people, and when God fulfilled them, Jabez and everyone around him knew that God was with them and was pleased.
When God does the things you are believing for, you will know you couldn’t have accomplished it on your own! You don’t even always know how to pray for it to happen; you just walk with God and stand in awe of how he delivers his will.
3) Entering into promise causes us to fully form or develop
“This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God” (2 Corinthians 9:10 MSG).
Part of developing your promises with God is that you become very whole and connected to yourself and the world around you. Your intrinsic value causes you to prosper through this valuable God who lives inside you. You connect to others as a contributor, not as a needy soul. You become a mentor, father (mother), a teacher, and it’s not because you set out to do it, your life just manifests a development of your intimacy with God that people want to be around or learn from.
4) When we enter into our promises, God enlarges our territory
“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities (Isaiah 54:2 NIV, emphasis mine). [Desolate cities—see Isaiah 49:19.]
We are expanded so we can carry more—more favor, more influence, and the resources required to fulfill the destiny God has given us.
5) It requires rest to sustain our life in the promised land
God himself rested on the seventh day. In that day he occupied, enjoyed, and encountered all that he had created. He stopped to be present with it. When we live a lifestyle in which rest is a priority, it causes us to stop on the gerbil wheel and actually dwell on the goodness of what God is doing—both in our lives and in the world around us. Rest is a reset for faith and hope. It is a restorer of vision.
“But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do” (Deuteronomy 5:14 NIV); “But you will cross the Jordan and settle in the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, and he will give you rest from all your enemies around you so that you will live in safety” (Deuteronomy 12:10); “But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no adversary or disaster” (1 Kings 5:4, emphases mine).
When we enter into the greater promises on our lives, we also begin to walk in a atmosphere of rest from warfare and from drama. The more mature we get, the more capacity we have to carry graciousness and wisdom. Relational conflict, politics, and drama just don’t slow us down or cost us time. Also, we learn how to let God fight our battles so that we can stay focused on the joy of intimacy with him and partnering with his purposes.
Whether you are in the midst of growing pains, a battle, or occupying God’s promises, we pray that God meets you in his extravagant love this month. May his presence surround you and resource you!
Director of Bolz Ministries
KIDS’ EVENT REPORT: Growing Up with God Kids’ Event was amazing! We had over 430 kids at the event between the ages of 7-11, and they were exposed to our new materials. With them coming from so many churches and backgrounds, we weren’t sure how this brand-new curriculum would land in a one-day seminar, but it was awesome. Kids were prophesying, getting words of knowledge, hearing God about their own lives, and we even had dozens of salvations. What a marking time for kids!
CHARISMA MAGAZINE: If you subscribe to Charisma, you’ll see Shawn featured on the March cover with a full editorial spread. Thanks, Charisma, for the opportunity!
BETHEL.TV E-COURSE: There is still time to start our Bethel TV e-Course on Translating God! Check us out at http://ecourses.bethel.tv/course/translating-god-6/overview
Director Bolz Ministries