By: Richard Gazowsky
I love the way the Message Bible translates certain Scriptures, because it makes God’s meanings so stark-raving plain ~ especially where Paul talks about making a clean slate, a fresh start; and how to achieve it. In the year 2012 we will be entering a time of birthing brand new things, so it’s vital that we begin with a clean slate and a fresh start. The purer we are the purer our offspring will be.
2011 was definitely a year of ending things and of crossing the line. If there ever was a definition of this last year that made things abundantly clear, it was that it’s now time to cross the finish line and end all of the works of our former flesh. I can readily acknowledge that God has done this in my life ~ at an amazingly detailed level. He has dealt with me on so many personal levels that it’s almost impossible for me to articulate them all. And I felt that each change in my life was like cutting off a cancerous cell that could grow into something bigger later on. I can best describe the Lord’s pursuit of purity in my personal life as the relentless untiring chasing by a father who will never give up until his son reaches perfection. In other words, I feel loved.
What is God achieving in us? I feel He is looking for a completely clean slate where He can paint the colors of our future in shades that will last for generations. I recall when I once consulted with an artist about painting a poster for one of our movies. I had asked her to paint it on an 8 x 20 foot canvas. I took her down to an art supply house to make the purchase and was surprised that it was going to take a few weeks just to prepare the canvas to receive color. With fascination I watched the detail the artist went through in the process, and that it required so many coats of a plaster-like primer, sanding, and then more coats. This preparation continued for weeks, until finally the surface was white, smooth, and flawless.
I realized, as I followed her patiently through this procedure, that God also needed to go through the process of preparing our hearts ~ so they would be ready to receive the words of life He was going to give us concerning the future projects we were to do. Finally, the canvas the artist prepared was ready to receive the oil paints. They would adhere deep into its surface, creating a bond that would last for hundreds of years. This is why the artwork of the great masters in Italy has kept its vibrancy throughout the centuries. God desires our hearts to receive His words, not just as information or knowledge, as part of the permanent culture of our lives.
My three children were raised on a higher spiritual plain than I was. As a result, prayer is a part of their daily lives. It’s not a chore or a duty, but is an integral component of their cultural decision-making process. To present things before the Lord is natural with them. They wouldn’t even consider dating just any Christian without prior prayer and fasting. Even small decisions, like going to someone’s house to eat, or what garment they put on in the morning, is done with careful consideration in God’s presence. This is God preparing the canvases of their hearts.
Jesus said, “I can do nothing unless I see the Father do it.” Jesus’ heart was prepared to such a state of cultural discipline that He would not consider doing any activity unless He first saw it in the Spirit ~ that it was an action in pursuance of the Father’s perfect will. If I put this in the context of a painting, this means that the artist wouldn’t even consider putting a brush stroke on the canvas unless he had first seen the Father pick out the brushes, the colors, and even the direction of the strokes of the brushes. Wow! What unity in the Spirit there is in this example, and how it calls us to new levels of commitment to the activities we are to pursue in 2012. Because you’ve been listening to God, He’s been preparing your hearts to receive the anointed oils and heavenly hues of His Spirit. You will then be beautifully colored by His glory and will show the world the true vividness of the kingdom of Heaven.
This kind of pursuit will lead us to explosive moments of birthing. Once things are heaven-born, not only will they multiply quickly, the changes will be permanent and you’ll be set on an exciting pathway that you’ll be able to follow for many, many years. When Israel finally came into the Promised Land, they experienced an explosive growth period. They quickly conquered Jericho and, after a hiccup of disobedience, they conquered the city of Ai. But in their next decision they didn’t fare so well. They got so busy conquering and settling they forgot to ask God beforehand, and went ahead and made a contract and covenant with the Gibeonites. This slight mistake turned into four hundred years of annoyance and troubles.
We see that the same situation occurred in modern Israel when, in 1967, God gave Moshe Dayan and Golda Meir the city of Jerusalem. But instead of immediately removing the Dome of the Rock and reclaiming the whole site of Zion, they stood back and compromised. For the years since then, this action has been a plague in the sight of Israel. As a result, the Arab nations have become stronger, instead of weaker, with the passage of time. In the same way, you and I must be careful not to make little compromises in our ministries ~ especially during the next two years, which are to be the years of change. Otherwise, the compromises could turn into encroachments of evil in our businesses and ministries, and give satan the ability to attack and hinder us over the next forty years. Here are some areas that I feel you need to be careful regarding, and to consider asking the Lord about:
1. Endeavor to pay things off in full ~ from homes, to vehicles, to equipment. Try never to borrow, lease, or rent ~ but instead become the owner so you can loan to others.
2. Don’t step outside of your sphere of influence. Whatever area of dominion God has allocated to you, stick to it. Don’t get sidetracked by pursuing opportunities or affiliations that don’t concern you.
3. Ignore time wasters, black holes, and clouds without rain. During this time of birthing you will have many supposed opportunities come to you, and a large percentage of them will be nothing more than time wasters, or they’ll promise you rain but you’ll never see a drop. These so-called business and ministry opportunities are very easy to recognize, as they’ll be presented to you through the use of swelling words and great promises.
Usually, if God gives you something, He will tell you in advance that it’s coming. The, when it happens, you’ll find out it’s just what God promised! This may come as a shock to you, but I believe if you truly approach a business or ministry opportunity with complete honesty, every time God will reveal their deception right in front of your face. It really works! As long as you don’t allow yourself to succumb to their sales pitch.
4. Beware of becoming obsessed with a single “divine call”, where you end up ignoring your family, children, and grandchildren. You’ll become like a black hole in outer space, where the gravity is so centrally focused that even light cannot escape its intense inward pull. I’ve lost many a close friend because of their singular pursuit of their “God project”. They no longer were able to have healthy relationships with those closest to them.
God is not like the world. It tries to put you on its “cutting edge”, but you end up bleeding to death. God puts you in the center of His wheel, where you will experience life ~ in your family, business, church and social acquaintances ~ more abundantly than you ever thought possible!
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Richard Gazowsky pastors a church in San Francisco called The Voice of Pentecost, and is also president of Christian WYSIWYG Filmworks. He has directed the films, “Guardians” and “The Roman Trilogy.”