While Matthew was getting ready for school this morning, I pulled up the home page of one of the television stations in Cleveland. I almost started wishing that I hadn't done that. Headline after headline was filled with tragedy, brutality and hideous things. My mind was affected immediately and discouragement came all over me. I just stared at nothing for awhile. My thoughts were something like........
God what is going on? For months I've been telling people to watch out for a mighty move of You. When people will start moving back to you and we will see things begin to make a turn. God what about the dreams You've given me about the extended period of grace that is upon us? My vision about the Holy Spirit moving in and out of homes here and cleaning people up when they don't even realize it's You? I feel kind of numb.
God moved my eyes off of what is seen. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN. All those things that God has been showing me have started to take place. Others have had the same visions or similar experiences and we are confirming it for each other. Among all the bad things going on there is a lot of good and great God things.
And then, my mind drifted back to something that caught my attention last night which is what I really want to talk to you about today. I've started to read 1 Corinthians very slowly. Taking time to ponder each verse and to try to understand what Paul is really saying. It wasn't a particular verse that caught my attention, but it was more of the subtitle in my Bible right before chapter 4. This is the subtitle that is penned in the "Spirit Filled Life Bible." (Which is my favorite, by the way.)
STEWARDS of the MYSTERIES of GODand then chapter four begins.
I began to think about what it means to be a "steward," especially of the things of God. I won't try to paraphrase. I will instead quote directly from the Kingdom Dynamic section right out of my Bible.
"..........the "steward," one who manages the affairs of another. A steward is not the owner, but the OPERATOR and only EXERCISES the power, resources, or responsibilities given him with the interests and mind-set of the owner at heart and in focus." (Do me a favor and read that again.)
Now think about how God has us here......on this earth......to take care of all that is His. Now don't miss this, because this is the nugget that I want to pass on to you today that has the potential to change your neighborhood, community and city.
Remember the part about the steward operating and exercising the power, resources, or responsibilities? Well, this steward, meaning me, is going to enforce and release the spiritual power of the supernatural, invisible, and very real things of God that can't normally be seen. I have already begun to develop this mindset. Starting today though, more than ever I've decided to consider myself God's steward of Madison, Ohio. The keeper of the gate, so to speak. Yes, I pray for this county, this state, this nation and people in other countries, but Madison is where I live. You have the most direct impact on where you live. So it is here for me. While I can do tangible things to improve Madison and to help people in Madison, I have become much more determined to release the power of Heaven upon this town and I do not stand alone. God is raising up many "stewards" of Madison. We are determined to see this town won for God and will contend with any darkness that tries to come in. In football the term "prevent defense" is used. Many of us are already trying to practice what I will call the "prevent defense" in Madison. Remember, when you prevent something you've stopped it before it could happen.
Sometimes satan has the ball, or at least thinks he has the ball. He is like a roaring lion constantly looking around to see who he can destroy and devour. He is looking to pick apart and wear down not the defense of the Cleveland Browns, but rather families, schools, governments and entire populations. The time has come to stop his attacks before they can happen. This morning when I looked at the news headlines I saw the demonic at work hidden behind the veil of what we call the news. The schemings of the devil. Murder, lives taken by drunken driving and hideous acts by people that make made me feel sick.
You know what?
Not in my town
Not on this stewards watch
I will stand and pray for protection against tragedy BEFORE it can happen.
Sound crazy like a fantasy? Does it? Think about it. All each city needs is for individuals to rise up in the name of Christ with this kind of mindset. Can you imagine if there were a dozen, or even a half dozen (and in Madison there already are) individuals who would become stewards of their city? Keepers and defenders of their town determined to stand their ground in Christ and in prayer, exposing darkness to the light, uncovering the plans and schemings of the devil BEFORE they can be manifested. The devil is nothing more that a pawn and I pray for God to expose his every move and intention to use the spirit of drunkenness, drug use, murder, hate, sex crimes and other immoral actions. Bring these things into light, God, before the unthinkable can happen. Raise up stewards in every community to begin to take action in the natural and in the supernatural. Because there is spiritual warfare that is always taking place I do believe that there are also specific times when satan works to destroy by using the natural forces of nature. I can think of two such instances lately where I am very certain that the devil wanted to use severe weather to bring death and devastation to northeast Ohio, but it was "unexplainably" stopped. In fact one of Cleveland's meteorologists wrote about one of those instances.
Click here on: NEAR MISS
This might be a bit of a stretch for some, but I give you an example that came to my mind that speaks quite a bit along these lines. At least for me. 2 Chronicles 20 starts out by reading, "It happened after this that the people of Moab and the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat." This surely was bad news and Judah could have been completely destroyed. Jehoshaphat and the people could have accepted what was about to happen to them and just hope for the best, plead for mercy at the hands of their enemies, or even turn and run. Instead, they put their "prevent defense" (humor me if you will) into effect. They got ready for this attack by calling on God, reminding Him (and in doing so reminding themselves) of the mighty ways of the Lord and how He had delivered them before. Jehoshaphat called for a fast. Instead of growing weaker, doing all the right things made them stronger. In both faith and in the understanding of what their God was capable of doing. Verse 13: "Now all Judah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, stood before the Lord." They ALL stood before the Lord! Their greatest defense, uniting together and drawing strength from the Lord was about to turn into a great offense. This seemed to excite the Lord to see this response, because things begin to get very exciting with God proclaiming to them: "Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's." And so it was!!!
After this morning, I will be the first to admit to you that the news is sometimes very bad, media reports are not the best, evil gets a lot of recognition. As for me and my house, though, we will trust in the Lord. Our defense is about to become our greatest offense.
What about you? Your town, your city. Are you ready to hear the call, abandoning all risk? Can I call you "Steward of the City?" Are you ready? Are you saying:
Not in my town
Not on my watch?
What say you?
The Steward of Madison (at least one of them),