Resistance? Stand Firm.


Have you ever had spiritual resistance as you pressed in to the Father’s heart?

I have. Mainly the resistance is found in my thought life.

The thoughts usually tell me who I am not, where I fail, have failed, or the droning you never measure up. Sometimes the thoughts are regrets because of my stupidity in certain past failed situations. In response, I own the thought. Pray, and ask forgiveness. A lot of the time I say out loud, “Not my thought! Get out of here!

It’s interesting sometimes, my choice of resistance is spiritual ignoring …refusing to acknowledge the enemy or his taunts by shifting my focus. Alexa, play Upper Room Worship Radio.

Dreamland Troubles

I occasionally have troubling dreams. When I wake up I refuse to say out loud anything to describe the dream. I simply begin to meditate on, or pray out loud, Psalms 23.

On Track

Often resistance is an indication we are on track. It’s why Jude tells us to exercise our faith by, “keeping ourselves in the love of God.” Have you noticed resistance comes from people? This is why we need to keep ourselves in the love of God. Some of my greatest failures were when I focused upon the person, instead of focusing upon the love of My Father, giving Him my hurt and offense. Anger never heals wounds.

Keeping ourselves in His love is something we have to do for ourselves. No one, except you, can keep you, in His love. Your Pastor can’t. Your spouse can’t. Your friends can’t. They can encourage, exhort and comfort, but it’s really up to you and your faith to keep yourself in His love.

Resistance strengthens our Spiritual heart, when you have done all… stand.

Jehoshaphat was told to go stand and see …after they heard the promise …after worshipping together. The next day Jehoshaphat consulted with the people… they decided their best response to the Fathers promise was to give Him worship and praise. As they stood fast and worshiped ….focusing upon… the Father and His promise, their enemy was defeated.

Pause for effect….  They didn’t focus upon their situation, nor upon the enemies threats.

Their decision, in response to the Fathers command “to stand and see” was to worship and praise. Their focus helped them shift their mindsets and to renew their faith in His promises. As they worshipped He brought the victory.

Then in the midst of the assembly the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, the Levite of the sons of Asaph; and he said,

“Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the valley in front of the wilderness of Jeruel.

You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the LORD is with you.”

Their Response to His Promise.

Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD, worshiping the LORD. The Levites, from the sons of the Kohathites and of the sons of the Korahites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel, with a very loud voice.”
‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭20:14-19‬ ‭NASB

The Next Day

“They rose early in the morning and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa; and when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said,

“Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your trust in the LORD your God and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets (His Word) and succeed.”

When he had consulted with the people,

(I often wonder what they talked about.

Hey, you’ve heard His promise for today’s battle. We are to go stand and see what He is going to do when He defeats our enemy. What should we do in response to this wonderful promise and in response to our God, Whose lovingkindness is new every morning?

The people’s response…Let’s worship and give praise! Hey, let’s also dress for the occasion.

Jehoshaphat’s response… sounds good to me!)

Side note: Good leaders trust and include people in the midst of a battle. He didn’t have to consult with the people. He could have given a directive. Jehoshaphat knew he needed to be inclusive in this major life threatening situation.

he appointed those who sang to the LORD and those who praised Him in holy attire, as they went out before the army and said, “Give thanks to the LORD, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.

When they began singing and praising, the LORD set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; so they were routed.
‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭20:20-22‬ ‭NASB

Tip: Notice where your focus turns when you are in a battle. If you are like me …you will have to consciously shift your mindset and heart. Shift by worshiping, declaring, reading, journaling, and resting in His presence.

Here is a song I sing most days.

You are Faithful and True,

All of your promises speak of You,

You are Faithful and True… O God.

It’s Who You are,

It’s  Who You are.

Key phrases:

1. Having done all, Stand.

2. Direct worship toward the Father…as you are standing firm, and as you are responding to His nature and to His promises.


Speak / Declare

I also speak out loud as I put on Eph 6 armor and as I stand against.

“Finally, I am strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
I Put on the full armor of God, so that I will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

For my struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Therefore, I take up the full armor of God, so that I will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

I will Stand firm …therefore…

Usually as I close my ‘stand firm’ worship times… I sing the names of my family, my relatives, the people and leaders within my sphere of influence.

Having done all, Stand Firm! His promises are true!

Why I Turkey…

2013 was a big year for serving the community. When I was with the Dayton Vineyard we touched hundreds of families at Thanksgiving.
It’s a great example of how any church can serve, love, and care for their community at Thanksgiving.

Why I Turkey…

I often ask the question, How can you know and see need unless you position yourself to venture out into your community? The answer, you can’t.

How do you learn to serve? By serving.
How do you learn to love? By loving.
How do you learn to care? By going and seeing with your heart.
How do you learn to pray? By praying.

What we do is not rocket science by any means, it’s just faith that works through love.

Going, seeing, serving, and praying for others is really the only way to receive a personal ah-ha moment. Going, serving, and loving often is the catalyst that sparks a greater commitment toward personal outward involvement, lifestyle change, and thankful gratitude.

Someone asked me: How do you serve the less served week in and week out, it must affect you?

I answer, Jesus said the poor you will have with you always, so I understand whatever I do in a small way, or in a great way, is good enough. I can’t possibly meet every person’s need, but I can stop for the one and pray.

Going out into our community also helps keep me grounded, humbled, and personally grateful for all I have received… like the ability to pay my bills, to have heat, to have running water, to have clothing, to have a family that is somewhat normal, and to have great relationships.

It’s why I Turkey.

Church gives away 500 Thanksgiving dinners

Volunteers surprise families with meal deliveries.

By Mark Gokavi, Staff Writer 12:05 AM Sunday, November 20, 2011
BEAVERCREEK — About 500 families got a knock on the door Saturday morning and received a free Thanksgiving dinner.

The Vineyard Church of Dayton and Beavercreek packed and delivered that many meals to families in Fairborn, Xenia, Huber Heights and Centerville as part of their “Turkeys Giving Away Turkeys” initiative.

Organizer Steve Bowen said hundreds of volunteers put together packages including a frozen turkey, corn, green beans, yams, cranberry sauce, potatoes, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, rolls and more.

“To see the look on somebody’s face when you show up with a complete dinner and they didn’t know where their food was going to come from, it’s hard to believe,” said Scott Sliver, one of the pastors at The Vineyard.

The Vineyard also delivers regular groceries to families in need in Huber Heights, Fairborn, and Dayton which is a program they help other groups with each month.

“The face of the poor is changing around town,” Sliver said. “It’s really hit the middle class pretty hard.”

We had a blast serving those in need by giving away the 550 turkey dinners.

The people who served were surprised, encouraged and in some cases moved to tears. God space was created by the simple act of kindness. People were able to show care to the person served: by having a listening ear, which often led to giving loving hugs, and significant prayer.

How your church can to participate:

Join together as a family, friends, or a small group to fill up the IKEA bag (we used boxes for several years) located at the exits around the building with items listed below.

Turkey Dinner List.
2 Cans Corn
2 Cans Green Beans
1 Large Can Yams
1 Can Cranberry Sauce
1 Box Au Gratin Potatoes
1 Box Brownies
2 Boxes Mac and Cheese
1 Dinner Bag Rolls
1 Box Stuffing Mix
1 FROZEN Turkey!
Optional:
1 Pie
Fresh Veggies
Roasting Pan
Fun Stuff!

Important Instructions:
If you are going on the outreach…Please leave your dinner in your car then come into our main room for instructions.

Not going on the outreach, and you only want to participate by donating a turkey
dinner …Please drop the dinner off at 9am.

Impact:
  • One mom and daughter had just moved in the day before. They were going out to sell some households so that they could purchase needed items for their Thanksgiving day dinner. They were more than surprised when they received the dinner offered for free.
  • One of our team members was so moved by what he saw in one apartment that he ran back to the truck to pick up a boxed dinner for a lady who only had ice cubes in her fridge. He then spent time caring for her, listening to her story, and praying for her needs.
  • Another family who served had just delivered their turkey and went back to the truck to grab a dinner for another person in need. When they arrived they realized there were no more dinners, so they went to Kroger and purchased a full dinner for a grateful family.
  • Several families who served were not aware of people in such need within their very community. They were surprised, glad they could help, yet at the same time upset by what they saw. They also came away from the experience more personally grateful and thankful.

Hope…Run with Percy.

The light at the end of the tunnel is not an on-coming train!

Hope:

The last few weeks I’ve been battling.

Circumstances, death of a love one, stress from destructive Tornadoes, tiredness in my relief efforts, a sense of failure from disappointing life investment outcomes…

My bounce isn’t as high as it used to be. I’ve had to lean forward into Hope. I’m shifting my mindset yet again and running with Percy.


Towards a Psychology of Hope is a great article. (click link for full article.)


“We all know that hope is a good thing, even an essential thing: there is no life without hope, or so the saying goes. Psychologists believe hope might be the most important feeling, state, or emotion we can experience. Hope is a skill you can acquire. It is active—you can cultivate and nourish it. 

It is self-perpetuating—hopeful people tend to be more resilient, more trusting, more open, and more motivated than those less hopeful, so they are likely to receive more from the world, which in turn makes them more hopeful—which is why it’s so important.”

Now
May the God of all hope
Fill you
With all joy and peace 

in believing
So that
You may abound in Hope
By
The power of The Holy Spirit. 

Romans 15:13:NASB

I’m re-applying my life verse.

Steve Believe you will abound in hope.
Hope will be poured into my life and my hope will exist in great quantity.
I will be rich in hope, and I will be well supplied with hope.

You will be filled with hope. You will over-flow or teem with hope.
You will have all joy and peace in believing. 

Pray:
God of all hope, fill me with all joy and peace so that I will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Come Holy Spirit empower me with Hope. Thank you now for filling me.   

Look forward in hope:

Hope Defined.

Hope is a confident expectation of good things to come.
Hope looks to a future bright. The light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train.
Hope believes the best is yet to come.

Jer 29:29 NASB 

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
 

Proverbs 23:18 (NIV)
There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

Hope is future, Faith is now. In hope we see ahead, in faith we believe for our hopeful future now.

Hey 11:1 NASB 
Now faith is the assurance / confidence / substance of things
hoped for,
(Faith is) the conviction / evidence of things
not seen.


What things not seen?


Questions?

What are you and I believing, looking for, hoping for? Refreshment? Motional stability? Spiritual connection with Holy Spirit, the Fathers love and the Sons faithfulness?

We can activate our faith and hope toward whom we are believing.  

We develop a positive mindset by reading hopeful articles and the Bible. We fuse hope and believing by offering thanksgiving and cultivating gratitude. Spending time slowing down to rest. Positioning ourselves to worship and believe.

Hope is the center word for purpose.
There is no faith without hope and no love without hope.

Hope is the seed bed of faith and love.

These three remain:
“Faith, Hope and Love…these three but the greatest of these three is love.” I Cor 13 

Hold on to hope long enough until hope becomes faith.

Hope is the connector and the seed bed that creates faith and love. Faith and love spring from hope. 

Col 1:5 NIV 
The faith and love that spring from the hope stored up / secure for you in heaven

It’s important to speak hope, to declare, to believe and to rest in God’s love.

Ps 62:5 NIV  

Yes, my soul, find rest in God, my hope comes from him.

Lamentations 3:24 (NASB)
The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore, I have hope in Him.”
 
The biggest question, “Where do you and I place our hope? Who is our hope?”

Where is your hope, your expectation placed? 

Jesus!

Hope, by definition is a person, or a thing, in which expectations are centered or focused upon. 
Who are you trusting / looking to? People? Places? Things? Jobs? Governments? Leaders? Feelings? Circumstances?

Pattie and I often have to shift our mindsets, our focus and our declarations:

Our hope is only found in you Jesus. We declare ___________ is not our Savior. Where we go, or where we stay will not save us, nor provide for us. In You, and You alone is our hope. All of our hope is found in You. Thank you Jesus, our future is secure. Thank you for providing for us, guiding us!”

The Reality.
Jesus is our only hope. Hope is embodied in Him. He is the hope of glory.
Our hope is secure and steadfast…

Heb. 6:18-20 NIV 
We who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be strong / encouraged. 

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and steadfast. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus our forerunner has entered on our behalf.

Jesus is the better hope.

Heb 7: 9 NASB
for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 

Heb 7:22 NASB
so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. 

It’s interesting and encouraging…The eye of the Lord is upon those who hope and who hope for something tangible, yet supernatural, His loving-kindness.

Ps 33:18 NASB
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who hope for his Loving-kindness.
 

“Our trials are turned to gold.” Keith Green.

Trials do one thing well… if we hold on, if we don’t give up and if we continue… Trials produce a hope that does not disappoint. In hope… we hope.

Rom 5:1-5 NASB
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 

2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.(hope)

3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 

4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 

5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Running with Percy.


There is something to be said about perseverance. Perseverance enables us to keep on keeping on, to lean forward by faith, and to look into the future in hope. 

Sometimes we need to run with our friend Percy. Running with Percy produces a hope that does not disappoint. It’s important to faint not; to not grow weary and never give up.

Trials of life show us what we are made of. Trials reveal our metal. They test our metal.

We are the hopeful ones. We have a future and a hope. It is secure. We can draw from heavens hope and give what we have received away.

We can have joy and peace and abound in hope. The connector… in believing.

“My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”

by Edward Mote, 1797-1874
 

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
 

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
 

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Bowen News, Encounters.


Christmas is fast approaching. I love this time of year, winter, snow, lights, and family. We will be heading to Birmingham to be with Pattie’s family. We call ourselves the Gisbo’s on Christmas Vacation.


Guidance and where we are heading. We traveled to Pensacola a while back. We were testing doors and seeking to find our path on this adventure. While we were in Pensacola it became very clear we had to return to Ohio. We knew we had a few loose ends to take care of before we could fully step into what God has for us. My sister was one of the take care of’s. My sister who has lived with us for three and a half years moved out this month into her own place. We are so glad she is taken care of and her future is now secure.
We are still finding our way forward. We are investing in a couple local churches and a non-profit in the area. Pattie is still working at a school in the area. In January I’ll be speaking in a couple of conferences and in the new year leading a couple of teams outside the USA.


Encounters… I’ve been thinking about Encounters…those special moments in time when the Holy Spirit makes His tangible presence known.

In Luke, Jesus is about to breathe his last breath. Just before He declares,”It’s finished!”, the sixty by thirty, four inch thick veil in the temple is rent from top to bottom. The renting of the veil signified the finished work of the cross. What 

Jesus did for us now gives us confident access to the Father.
What’s more amazing… He now, because of what Jesus did for us, …has access to us.
Ephesians 2:13;18 NIV
 

But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.
For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Eph 3:11;12 NASB the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.
(See Hebrews 6,8,9,10)


His Presence Saved Me. Years ago when I was a troubled teenager. I went into the chapel at St. Joseph’s to talk to God. My parents were divorcing. I was broken. As I was talking to God, suddenly His Presence came into the room. I remember I left the room in a hurry.

Years later, I was messed up. I had overdosed the night before. I was driving back to Pensacola when suddenly Jesus began to speak to my heart. He said, “Steve, this is your last chance.” I knew if I prayed and asked for help  I was going to have to leave my past and press into following Jesus. I prayed, “God help me!” When the words left my mouth, suddenly His presence filled my car. I knew at-that-moment everything was going to be ok.


Recent Encounters. Throughout the years I’ve had more that a few suddenly’s.
A few months ago a friend and I were in Virginia. We were walking up a staircase to go into a meeting when we both felt the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. We suddenly encountered His Presence. We paused and stopped for a moment in the stairwell and looked at each other in amazement. The awareness of His presence and the sense of His love for us was wonderful. We walked to the top of the stairs. When we opened the door, the door ahead had a simple handwritten sign that said … Encounter Joy!

The meeting was beyond awesome! A lady who had been in a wheelchair for years walked out of her wheelchair! Last reports she is doing well and the doctors are dumbfounded.

Yet, my heart wondered about the staircase encounter. I wondered what would have happened if we had chosen to stop, pause, listen, and receive? I wondered what would have happened if we had laid aside our hurried agenda? I wondered what would have happened if we had slowed down and sat on the steps to be with Him and had taken some more time to linger in His presence? I wondered.

Communion was Communion. A week or so ago I was meeting with a leadership team. We talked for a while, then dove into the whiteboard. Arron Simmons, who was leading, suddenly stopped writing and said,  “We are getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s wait a few minutes before we dive into our work for today. Let’s pause, listen to some worship and take communion together.”

As we were taking communion suddenly His tangible presence touched all of us at the same time. We were filled with awe and wonder. We did press pause. We put the planning meeting on hold. We lingered in His presence. His presence did increase and we were all very encouraged.

Our work flowed and we accomplished what we came to accomplish. I later thought, “The moments of worship and receiving was the most important part of the meeting.”

I also wondered, “What would have happened if we had laid aside our work for another day, and had taken full advantage of our advantage?”

These two recent encounters with His presence made me want to create space in my life. When I notice His presence I want to intentionally pause. I want to learn to seize those moments in time. I want to slow down and enjoy His suddenly’s, His access to my heart.

Thanks again for your friendship and partnership.

Steve and Pattie
People have asked how we are making it. Pattie is working and we have a few gifts that come in to help cover living expenses. We are amazed at His faithful people who care for us.